David Madore's WebLog: Mozilla dies (at age 2¾)

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Mozilla dies (at age 2¾)

We all knew the blow would come, but it is now official: as if I hadn't had enough bad news recently, I now learn that Mozilla [Seamonkey] development (by the Mozilla foundation) is officially terminated. Well, some people are gathering to continue development anyway, but I'm afraid they'll find the task a bit overwhelming.

The official successor to the Mozilla [Seamonkey] Application Suite is [Mozilla] Firefox, which can be briefly but accurately described as a version of (the browser part of) Mozilla with a lot of features—including many useful ones—removed and a slightly different look (that's something one has to admit: Firefox looks better than Mozilla). It's not really usable as such, however: one must add various extensions to Firefox to recover the functionalities present in Mozilla (most—but not all—of them are indeed available in such form); however, such extensions are clumsy to install, do not integrate seamlessly in the browser, and cause various problems I need not go into (you have to upgrade them separately, they might have restrictions on which versions they work with, and they might not work fully well with each other).

Also, Firefox has some user interface limitations; for example: under Mozilla you can search something in Google by simply entering the words in the URL bar and choosing Google search; under Firefox you have to use a different, and visually obtrusive, form for searching (which clutters up the window and forces the URL bar to be smaller); another limitation of Firefox is that its sidebar, contrary to Mozilla's, cannot be folded and unfolded by a single mouse click, and can display only one sidebar tab at a time; anyway, these limitations are mostly minor, but irritating. I could list some more annoyances of Firefox, but to keep it short: don't try it—if you aren't alreay addicted you probably won't like it much. Note also that Firefox is just a browser; if you're looking for the successor to the mail and news agent that used to be in Mozilla, that's Thunderbird, which I haven't tried using (I suspect it's pretty much in relation to Mozilla news what Firefox is in relation to Mozilla browser, although it might be less stable because it was started more recently and maybe also—relatively—better because Mozilla news was never really much good anyway); of course, the annoyance of having to start two different programs to browse the Web and Usenet is another grievance one could have, and if you use the Mozilla composer, you're plain out of luck (unless you count N|vu) but I don't.

The question of what I will do, or what browser I will now recommend to other people, requires some thought. To tell the truth, I believe that the might Lizard has been dead for quite some time already—all they do is fix bugs on it—and its fiery offspring is not really any much more alive. Maybe I should try switching to Konqueror instead (but I don't very much like the way it's sort of tied in with KDE—and I'm also unsure as to how well it handles MathML). Other than that, it will depend on how fare those who attempt to bring a second life to Mozilla [Seamonkey].

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