Boutique browsers try to scratch out a living by finding a niche underserved by the usual suspects. Brave is one of those browsers.

Brave has gotten more attention than most alternate browsers, partly because a co-founder was one of those who kick-started Mozilla’s Firefox, partly because of its very unusual — some say parasitical — business model.

That model, which relies on stripping every site of every ad, then substituting different ads, came under attack almost immediately from publishers that depended on online advertising for their livelihood. “Your plan to use our content to sell your advertising is indistinguishable from a plan to steal our content to publish on your own website ((emphasis in original,” lawyers for 17 newspaper publishers wrote in a cease-and-desist letter to Brave Software in April 2016.

Computerworld took a deep dive into Brave to figure out what it is, what it does and how it does it. Here’s what you need to know to decide whether Brave’s for you. (If you do decide to try it out, download information is detailed below.)

brave browser Brave

The Brave browser can show users how many ad trackers (and ads) have been blocked.

What is the Brave browser?

Brave is a more-or-less standard browser that lets users navigate to websites, run web apps, and display online content. Like other browsers, it is free to download and use, remembers site authentication information, and can block online ads from appearing on sites.

Its maker, Brave Software, is among the newer entries in the browser battles, having previewed the browser in January 2016. (By comparison, Google’s Chrome launched in September 2008 and Microsoft’s Edge traces its lineage to July 2015.) The firm was co-founded by Brendan Eich, the creator of JavaScript and a co-founder of Mozilla, after he left that browser vendor under pressure for supporting California’s 2008 Proposition 8, a ballot measure that banned same-sex marriage.

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