The SeaMonkey Web Browser and Internet Suite (Web page editor, Mail and News client, and ChatZilla for IRC) is still producing releases.
I installed version 2.53.13 as packaged in Fedora GNU/Linux 36.
The program is based on a forked version of the Gecko Web engine that Firefox uses.
Ironically, it was Firefox that was forked from SeaMonkey.
It was also SeaMonkey that caused AOL’s iteration of Netscape Corporation to go ahead and collapse.
(It was not on solid footing following Microsoft’s attack on the original company, which is what made AOL decide to buy it out as a distressed asset.)
This is because many people, myself included, saw no point at all in using Netscape’s version of “Mozilla Suite” (SeaMonkey’s original name) and started following Mozilla Suite instead, because the browser was open source, highly Web Standards compliant, and packed full of features.
AOL turned these releases into “Netscape 6/7” by adding proprietary software (useless) and a bunch of garbage bookmarks to shopping sites, and having their setup program put icons for “Free AOL Trial” on your desktop.
(Which seemed to be their only concrete business plan for anything they took over, including another of my favorite programs, Winamp.)
The “done thing” by people like me was to just grab a new nightly build and install it every once in a while manually to get at the latest new features in “Mozilla” as the Suite was commonly referred to, happily ignoring the “This is just for testing. End users should go to Netscape.” warning.
We knew that “Mozilla” was a fully functional browser sans AOL crap, so why use something from AOL?
Meanwhile, AOL made a series of unforced errors, including pressuring Mozilla to declare something “stable” and then finally giving up and basing Netscape “6” on something that was clearly not ready for average users and throwing a multi-million dollar advertising budget behind it. This, only to get booed in the tech media as a “bloated program that crashes all the time”.
Microsoft Windows, especially in the 1990s, was really really ugly to look at. Honestly, it’s the ugliest operating system of its time in any decade, but that’s an aside.
One of the things AOL pressured Mozilla to do was create a “theming engine” that had performance problems on everything it ran on, especially the “Modern” theme (which Netscape made their default), and especially on Windows, where the majority of reviewers would be evaluating it.
(Mozilla with the default theme usually ran fine on my old AMD K6/2 system, so I mean…..they clearly weren’t the only problem here.)
By the time Microsoft had a theming engine in Windows XP, running Netscape 6/7 on it looked even worse, because they looked like two clown cars with a different paint job crashed into each other.
After AOL divested itself of Mozilla, Blake Ross (who left to work at Facebook) and David Hyatt (who left for Apple, to work on Safari) spun off the far less capable Firefox browser, whose selling point was ease-of-use for people who couldn’t figure out how to use an Internet Suite.
They also claimed Firefox was “less bloated”, however most of the bloat was in the engine and loaded with Firefox anyway, so it did not consume significantly fewer resources than the Suite. In fact, if you used ThunderBird as a separate program, you’d load everything twice instead of opening Mail and News and observing a ~1% increase of RAM consumption.
Over the years, since the fork, Firefox has continued to bloat up to the point where people used to complain that the entire program was using 1 GB of RAM, and now it often uses almost that much per tab. So, we should begin by dispelling this revisionist history that led to the forking of Firefox.
At the time, I was one of the people who kept on using the Suite and pooh-poohed Firefox for being “dumbed down”, but clearly the Suite’s days were numbered. And even I began using Firefox as fewer people used or developed for the Suite anymore, and you could add most of the missing features back to Firefox with extensions.
SeaMonkey 2.53.13 (released July 11th, 2022) uses Gecko 60.8 “with backports and fixes” and advertises itself as Firefox 78.
For the most part, I was able to browse the Web just fine in SeaMonkey.
However, it had problems dealing with certain Web sites, including the Element chat software (incorrect rendering) and the WordPress Editor (malformed rendering, but usable).
I also had a problem when I went to log in to Facebook, which I barely use except to occasionally message distant relations about something.
(I don’t even use my real name and always load it in a private window, but relatives know it’s me.) Facebook text entry boxes do not function, which is also a problem I had near the end with Firefox 78 ESR.
I also had problems with some video sites not playing videos.
I ended up having to drop to about:config and set site-specific user-agent overrides sometimes, identifying it as mobile Safari for some video sites, or desktop Safari for some others.
Why Safari? Well, it’s pretty much the least Web Standards compliant browser, but it has too many users for Web developers to ignore completely.
Since Apple has so much of the Web platform missing from Safari, that leads to a situation where developers have to make changes and not use those features to get a site to work, which means your chances of having it work (or at least work better) in an old version of Gecko should improve.
In most cases, lying to a particular domain to get the Mobile Safari version at least got the site to work, even if it looked odd on my laptop computer.
This is exactly the same approach that Cameron Kaiser used in Clasilla, a long-lived fork of the Mozilla Application Suite 1.3.1 for old version of Mac OS, which couldn’t run anything else.
Mobile Web sites assume that your computer has less resources, a partially functional Web browser like Safari, and tend to foist less code for the browser to figure out what to do with.
While the current state of the Web on SeaMonkey is almost certainly nowhere near as bad as a fork of a browser from 2003 (Clasilla) that was maintained mostly by one guy, a browser core rooted in 2018, even with modifications, is going to start having some trouble in 2022.
As GNOME Web, which is actually based on Webkit (like Safari, although with improvements) found out, even if you use the same rendering engine, lying globally and identifying as Safari turns out to be radically destructive. Sites start trying to send you files meant for Mac OS, for example. Or, with the mobile version, pressuring you to use an Apple store, which doesn’t exist on a real computer.
Still, for a Web engine from 2018 (plus some enhancements), I was still somewhat surprised at how quickly things have managed to degrade.
You can try out the NewsWaffle without a Gemini browser (such as LaGrange) by clicking this link.
Most news sites that are unbearable on a modern PC could be loaded this way even on a computer from the 90s with a dial-up modem.
(I tested it out, including the “enter any news site” feature, and found it to work about as I expected.)
Certainly nothing important must have been added to the Web platform in the last few years that could account for all of these problems. Sites are just getting morbidly obese to the point where you have to find some way of “tricking” them. Even in browsers like Firefox that can handle them better, they’re still far too annoying.
All of those sites and apps that are now giving SeaMonkey so many problems existed in 2018 and all of them did pretty much what they do now without trouble. That proves that this is all gratuitous bloat.
I found the process of installing Extensions (Add-Ons) to be somewhat annoying and indirect in SeaMonkey.
For starters, I absolutely need an ad blocker. The Web is totally unusable without one, unless you use Lynx, which can’t load ads in the first place. (No images, no scripts.)
When I went to SeaMonkey’s Add-Ons Manager and tried to look for ublock-origin, nothing showed up. Same when I went looking for anything to block ads with. Okay, that’s irritating.
Not to be discouraged, however, I remembered something about a “legacy” version which Raymond Hill maintained for Pale Moon, which might work in SeaMonkey. Sure enough, it still exists and still works. Problem solved.
(I found this page and installed the “Firefox Legacy” version, and then set up my usual block lists.)
For e-mail, the SeaMonkey documentation says it shares code with Mozilla Thunderbird’s back-end.
It seems to do this while preserving the classic Mail and News GUI layout and features. These will be immediately recognizable to people who were around in the Netscape Communicator days.
The problem is, while you will get it working eventually, there’s too much trial and error, especially if you want to set up Microsoft or Google IMAP account. Both of them make it incredibly difficult, and for my Outlook Mail, for example, I did not get the settings correct on my first try.
Once I found the IMAP and SMTP servers, and the non-standard ports that Microsoft and Google use, and the security protocols to use, I also had to create an App Passwords, which both also made hard to find. Google is actually worse than Microsoft, in that you additionally have to find a setting hidden in your GMail account to enable IMAP, or else the server will refuse to deliver mail.
When I tried to simply use OAuth with Microsoft, it told me that I couldn’t use it with a personal account and they only let you use it with a work or student account. However, GNOME Online Accounts and Thunderbird get to use OAuth. Do they have some sort of Microsoft deal?
I set up GMail to. Google is apparently threatening to cut off anything that doesn’t support XOAuth2 in the near future. So far, I have K9 Mail on my phone set up to check GMail and my Outlook to avoid their official application.
(I wonder how long that will keep working. Bark Bark.)
Other than Microsoft and Google deliberately making their IMAP settings hard to get at and use to drive people onto their terrible 500 MB per tab WebMail with built-in spam, which is not SeaMonkey’s fault, I found the Mail and News client to be quite enjoyable to use, once properly set up. I don’t understand why people with many e-mail accounts don’t insist on a Mail client running on their local machine. It’s gotten to the point that even many GNU/Linux distributions don’t offer a Mail client because people have been trained to roll over, fetch, and play dead by megacorporations with “free” WebMail.
The good usability of SeaMonkey’s Mail and News client comes from the fact that it hasn’t really changed much at all since AOL/Netscape paid to have Netscape Mail re-written as part of the Suite. I knew of people continuing to use Netscape 4 in a limited capacity into the mid and late 2000s just because it could open Netscape Mail, and that still worked.
AOL was the butt of a lot of jokes, but they always did e-mail really well, and you even still see a few @aol addresses out there in use today.
Due to the “If it’s not broken, don’t ‘fix’ it.” mentality, Mail and News works! This was always the strongest part of Mozilla/Netscape/SeaMonkey line in my opinion.
To give an example of how badly “WebMail” has devolved under Microsoft, one of my attorneys PAYS them for Microsoft “365”. It crashes all the time, it loses attachments. It’s a complete disaster. I had to resort to uploading sensitive documents onto a Google Drive and then deleting them as soon as she told me she had it(!) to get around Microsoft’s shit that people actually pay for!
SeaMonkey allows the user, of course, to customize their interface.
The GUI works much like Netscape Communicator did by default, because that’s what it was modeled on, but the user can customize it, even to resemble Firefox.
Unfortunately, in all of these years, nobody has added per-tab close buttons as an option. So, you need to either right-click and close the tabs, or middle click on them. Which is a little annoying. First there was an extension called SeaTab to add close buttons, then it was abandoned, then forked into SeaTab-X, and then SeaTab-X-2.
What’s frustrating is that this extension was listed as incompatible with my version of SeaMonkey, but then I told it to install anyway, and it works as it’s supposed to.
As SeaMonkey is an Internet Suite and designed for power users, expect a lot of advanced preferences.
If you don’t like them, then this program is probably not for you.
One thing that greatly annoys me about GNU/Linux is that the traditional behavior of pressing the middle mouse button is to paste whatever is in the clipboard into the application. I have never been able to get used to this. You can change that behavior in “GNOME Tweaks”, which is good, because middle mouse paste is bizarre for a modern GUI. Actually, any GUI in my opinion. Maybe it’s because I started out as a DOS/Windows users years ago?
SeaMonkey/Gecko, however, ignore your system-wide preference. To stop that, and to change it so the middle mouse button “auto-scrolls” when you press it, you have to drop to about:config and look for “general.autoscroll” and double-click it to “true” and “middlemouse.paste” and double-click it to false.
To be fair, Chromium browsers (Chrome, etc.) don’t allow for auto-scrolling in GNU/Linux, it seems. I don’t use them much. I have ungoogled-chromium for emergencies when a site is being difficult, but I don’t open it much.
SeaMonkey has some potential security pitfalls even if they are properly backporting fixes for security issues.
For example, I noticed that TLS 1.0 and 1.1 are still allowed in SeaMonkey, even though you’re unlikely to run into a site that uses it and other browsers disabled them years ago.
If you leave them enabled, you could be the victim of a protocol downgrade attack if an attacker finds a vulnerability in them and uses it to intercept your communications with the “secure” Web site you are visiting.
This could allow them to record everything you’re doing, or to insert tampered pages or files into your connection.
ChatZilla has returned! With IRCv3 features!
The only other Web browser I’ve known about that had a built-in IRC client was Opera, before the Chromium version (which was widely panned by Classic Opera users).
With many younger people moving to Matrix or Discord, they may have never even heard of Internet Relay Chat. IRC still exists, and some networks are very popular.
Matrix.org has “bridged” some of these IRC servers in to pressure people to use Matrix.org. The unfortunate thing about “centralizing” something like this is you get to deal with arbitrary moderators.
Matrix.org banned me four times in the middle of the night, and with no explanation. They didn’t tell me why. It didn’t even say I was banned or who did it. Just BAM and my account “didn’t exist” on the server anymore. I’ve watched their “moderators” at work. They designed the protocol to just say “people log out” and “won’t be active anymore” when it happens. No hint that they were kicked, banned, anything. Being black-bagged anonymously is baked into the software.
Being taken out back and knifed caused a major upheaval for me. While I eventually created an account they haven’t banned, yet, I don’t trust Matrix.org to handle my chats anymore.
Especially not bridging them into IRC servers that also have their own moderation and policies. I only use IRC clients to handle IRC now so there is no middleman that can censor me and cause me to lose everything, even on other networks.
Many people are fleeing Matrix.org and causing the protocol to fragment, as servers that supposedly “decentralize and federate” mutually ban each other and the whole thing falls apart into an incoherent mess where you need to run multiple tabs of Element, each one consuming hundreds and hundreds of MB of RAM, to deal with the servers warring against each other. It’s completely stupid. Someone told me that Matrix.org is just another way to say “Reddit”, but it’s much worse.
IRC is a “social network” by definition, but the benefit of it being more “mature” is that the leftist hate groups don’t tend to hang out there and abuse their power to run people off the network. I mean, Libera Chat might, but the older established networks don’t. It also doesn’t demand gobs of system resources and use it to drive advertising and clickbait, like Facebook or Twitter, which are a waste of time.
Hopefully, some people that fell for the “Social Network” trap and get tired of the absolute parasitism that is unfolding there will re-discover IRC and allow the Reddits, the Matrix.orgs, the Discords, Facebooks, and Twitters to rot in Hell.
~20 years ago, I used ChatZilla to save system resources. Computers didn’t have much memory and ChatZilla was a way to free some up since you already had a Web browser running anyway. Today, resources don’t matter as much, but the relative simplicity is nice. For outright minimalism, you’d probably use ircii or something. Right now I have ChatZilla set up to do all of the things I have HexChat configured for. Maybe using ChatZilla makes me a hipster or something. I don’t know.
Probably so would using SeaMonkey, or not subscribing to a million streaming sites so I can play song files that I already possess.
Another positive thing to note about SeaMonkey is they don’t seem to even offer the user DRM (Widevine).
This is a plus. I hate the entire idea of Web DRM on so many levels. It’s dangerous (software that can be used by malware), it restricts what I can do with my own computer, and it’s proprietary. It was specified and dictated by entities that are hell bent on ruining the Interoperability of the Web.
When Tim Berners-Lee envisaged the Web, he specified document formats for the easy exchange of information. Formats that nearly anyone could learn to write and use. DRM is one prong of an attack on the Web, designed to turn it into some idiotic “content delivery pipe” for outfits like Disney and the other streaming disservices.
Since they have specified it, the only thing that seems to stop smaller video sites from deploying it is, ironically, that Apple specifies competing DRM for Safari.
For many years, YouTube has been resorting to nastier and nastier tricks to prevent people from getting at the videos and saving a copy. Microsoft has collaborated to knock projects like YouTube-DL off of “GitHub”.
I’m surprised YouTube hasn’t just pulled the trigger and gone DRM-only. Who would be left to fight them? Mozilla capitulated anyway with nothing but a “sorry/not sorry” letter about it.
The fact that SeaMonkey doesn’t support Widevine may be due to SeaMonkey being a separate organization from Mozilla (registered in Germany, since 2012) and being unable to obtain a license to Widevine, but I don’t care why it’s gone, I’m just glad that it is gone.
It’s always such a nuisance to have to turn off DRM and hide the prompts in Firefox browsers. It is actually something that requires dropping to about:config, because Mozilla doesn’t respect your choice to leave it off and stop asking.
While SeaMonkey is a browser that has quirks, doesn’t handle some “Web apps” particularly well, and needs some fine tuning to customize it for your use, I can’t say that I hate it.
As weird as it may sound, given some of the troubles I found with it, I found it overall surprisingly pleasant to browse in, most of the time.
For stubborn Web sites, GNOME has a browser called GNOME Web that is roughly comparable to Safari. So anyone with GNOME has a GAFAM-compatible browser engine anyway, all they have to do is install the user-interface shell.
Theoretically, SeaMonkey could just jump to a more recent release of Gecko and it would solve almost all of these rendering problems. I spoke with one of the developers on IRC, who told me that the reason they use “Gecko 60.8 plus backports” for now is because Mozilla keeps removing APIs that SeaMonkey developers don’t want to lose access to.
In fact, I already knew that Mozilla quit viewing Gecko as anything other than a Firefox component many years ago, and SeaMonkey is one of the few surviving independent organizations that is trying to make something useful out of it, and that’s commendable.
Mozilla has made numerous “breaking” changes to Gecko over the years, that many of their users disagree with. The end result has been Firefox turning into a badly performing clone of Google Chrome instead of having the vibrant third-party application ecosystem that it once did, which is Mozilla’s loss. More applications needing Gecko, using Gecko, would make Gecko more important. Instead, they have chosen to isolate themselves and die in silence. Bleeding users. Negotiating for Google stipends that get smaller and smaller. Pissing off users with advertising and spam every time Firefox opens.
While Firefox still has some clout and there was sort of a recovery in the number of browser extensions after “quantum” brought in Chrome-style and did away with XUL-based extensions, they aren’t as high quality as they used to be.
One of the reasons I used to recommend Firefox or Mozilla Suite to anyone who would listen to me is that the extensions were nothing short of revolutionary. If the browser or Suite could run on a platform, an extension could too. If the browser could do something, an extension could do it too. This opened up a world of opportunity that Mozilla threw in the trash by adopting Google Chrome’s vastly inferior extension model.
Gone are the days where Mozilla’s platform was an “operating system that runs on an operating system”, where entire applications could be developed and you could point people at them as long as they had a computer because the browser engine abstracted away differences between operating systems.
Some of the other browser vendors have tried to hash out a “public specification” of what a Google Chrome extension is, and Mozilla’s term for them is a “WebExtension”, but like Sun Microsystem’s effort to “standardize” Win32 (the Windows programming interface) in the 1990s, Google (as Microsoft) has absolutely no reason to want to help out and every reason to want to kill the standardization effort.
They dictate what a browser extension is, and everyone else just has to copy it and tell developers that this is what we have now. Nobody is adding APIs and removing limitations. They just copy Chrome.
One reason this system is so terrible is that Google is an advertising company. They’ve never allowed ad blockers in Chrome in Android, and they’ve released an update to “Manifest” (the specification for Chrome extensions) that will neuter ad blockers in much the same way that Safari’s Content Blocking scheme did.
Many of the people who made the best ad blockers for Safari gave up, quit, and left, because they couldn’t make it do what they wanted it to anymore.
Raymond Hill, maintainer of ublock-origin, responded to Google’s Manifest V3 by saying he’d rather quit developing ublock-origin than to make it “less than it is now”.
For years, Adblock Plus had been the only game in town, until Google and other major parasites started paying into a protection racket set up by Wladimir Palant.
Point is, unless something changes drastically, I’m just simply not sure where the future of the Web is going. Nowhere good, I’m sure.
You can already just barely get an ad blocker for SeaMonkey, and it’s because Raymond Hill still cares that there are users who find it useful.
(I guess you might be able to rig up a filtering local proxy like Privoxy.)
As for other extension developers, they don’t seem to be paying SeaMonkey any attention. If they did, they’d also have to keep a version of a Firefox “WebExtension” around that’s old enough to work in SeaMonkey, which would essentially mean checking how things are going in a browser with less users than Firefox.
It’s not like SeaMonkey got to retain its powerful “XUL” extensions. It gave that up when it brought in the “Firefox Quantum” version of Gecko. Yet, usually what will happen when you try to install a WebExtension meant for Firefox into SeaMonkey is it will not function at all, or will malfunction.
Again, aggravating, but entirely Mozilla’s fault.
While it is ironic that the browser that essentially invented extensions (Mozilla Suite) is the browser that only has a few left that you can use, in some ways it’s for the better.
Why? Many Firefox extensions are proprietary software. That means you don’t have unconditional rights to use them or improve or share them with others. Furthermore, since Mozilla doesn’t monitor most of them for code quality or to see if they have malicious software in them, they can destabilize the browser, or even spy on you, when you run them.
Firefox itself is spyware (telemetry+the Firefox Suggest keylogger) and has remote backdoors, such as Normandy, which allows Mozilla to run experiments without your consent, even if you’ve disabled the preference that allows them to install extensions behind your back!.
Adding extensions, many of which are from large corporations, is a guaranteed way of having your browser send off more data to be spied on by more people.
I keep getting Capital One badgering me to install an extension that applies coupons. What else is it collecting? Well, SeaMonkey can’t even run it. Same goes for all of those Avast! and AVG “anti-virus” extensions that flout their own alleged privacy policies.
Extensions aren’t necessarily always a good thing, and Mozilla doesn’t always make it obvious what license you’re even agreeing to when you run them.
Since probably all you’re installing into SeaMonkey is ublock-origin, which is under the GPLv3, and the most important browser extension anyway, you’re at less of a security risk than Firefox users.
While the LibreWolf developers have gutted Firefox of a lot of non-Free software, spyware, and the keylogger, and have done a lot of good work, you still need to be very very careful which extensions you install. The vast majority are “not monitored by Mozilla” and “you install them at your own risk”, says Mozilla’s own site.
The big problem SeaMonkey really has is that Firefox is an ongoing disaster with SeaMonkey in tow.
I can only imagine how the developers of SeaMonkey must feel about this. From the outside looking in, I’d compare it to being in the car with a drunk driver.
So, do I recommend SeaMonkey?
That’s a qualified yes. If you’re like me and you’re fond of the way Internet Suites used to work, it’s really your only option. Many people who stuck to Opera 12 ended up with an experience that degraded until it couldn’t render Web sites and couldn’t even connect securely to others over TLS. If you appreciated “real” Opera, SeaMonkey might be for you.
You’ll need to hack your way around some limitations, mainly due to the fact that “Web developers” are a bunch of idiots, being given too much to work with, by a captured W3C that’s at the beck and call of two advertising companies, who dictate what the “standards” are.
Long term, we need to overthrow the Web and go back to something with largely static content. Or developing small programs such as the NewsWaffle that take bloated Web sites and strip them down and feed them to our browsers. As Anthony Hopkins (as Dr. Ford) put it in WestWorld, “The Earth does not want to move. We will move it, regardless.”. It’s time to beat uncooperative sites into something more…..manageable…..more rational.
What’s really important with the Internet is what people choose to do with it, and what people want and what big corporations want are two entirely different animals.
Take news sites, for example. They set out like 10 KiloBytes of text and haul in 300 MegaBytes of garbage to read it. The news text is like the cheese in a mousetrap. What’s the garbage? Oh, don’t mind them. It’s just autoplay videos, scripts that spy on you that you’re not even supposed to know about. Crazy video streaming specifications that only exist to obfuscate how to download the video or to call DRM so you can’t save a copy even if you have an extension that could figure out where it’s at. Advertising. Formatting junk to “make it look pretty” (who cares?) often by pulling in Web Fonts that spy on you.
You know, “important stuff”. 😉
You’re always better off running local applications on a computer that you control, and only backing up your data, which those local applications create in formats that are well understood, to storage that you control.
For starters, we know that every “Cloud Storage” site has a backdoor. Your files are accessible to governments. Maybe not even your government. Do they need a warrant? Probably not.
Just as bad, creeps, weirdos, and perverts that work at companies like Google can get into all of your files. This isn’t hypothetical. They had a child sex predator working there doing it to people, to stalk children.
If that wasn’t enough, they fired dozens of employees over the years for inappropriately accessing user data, leaked documents say. What did they do with the data? How many copies did they make?
In return for this, you’re supposed to pay them by the month to store your files.
How convenient is that? If one of their hard disks crashes, you can still lose data. If they have a security misconfiguration, you can’t fix it. You won’t even know about it. If there’s a data breach, they’ll hide it from you. If they can’t hide it and get sued, it’ll go to a class action and you’ll get a year’s worth of identity monitoring and coupons to Bennigan’s while the class attorney gets $500 million dollars. 🙂
Some people encrypt their laptop in case it gets stolen, then upload all of these files to OneDrive and Google Drive and Apple iCloud, where they are at much more risk.
When you really consider the situation as a whole, which is the only logical way to consider any situation in life, is SeaMonkey perhaps maybe not working too well with this shit really a loss?
If it pulls up your recipes, sends and receives e-mail, and lets you browse 99.9% of the Web, bank, and use IRC, it’s probably fine. Isn’t it?
I’m unaware of anything I’m doing that SeaMonkey can’t do. Buy some thumb drives for crying out loud. Use an office suite on your computer.
(When thumb drives were new, they held 32, 64, or 128 MB. I don’t remember what my ex paid for one when he was in college, but he was amazed by them, and it was a lot of money. Today you can get a 512 GB model for $45.)
People say Richard Stallman can be a bit abrasive. Can you blame the guy, sometimes? Look what he has to deal with.
He goes to give a speech and is surrounded by people who think that loading a word processor in a Web browser on someone else’s server, puts out files in secret undocumented formats that are not well specified (and change), which can change in ways they don’t like, or lock them out, charge an unlimited amount of money, crash, and any combination of these things…. is a good idea. Every time someone interviews him, they make the same mistakes the last interviewer did and you have to skip past minutes of the interview while they’re asking stupid and obvious questions like why they should care about local computing and use weak language like “open source”.
When you’re surrounded by these people, you probably get tired of it.
SeaMonkey, it’s a browser which has its roots in the before time, from the long long ago. Before everyone took leave of their sanity and stopped demanding to do their own computing.
If you’re a heavy user of “Web Apps” it’s probably not right for you, but if you use the Web like I do, it generally does work fine.
If you’re looking for a browser to handle “Clown” computing and lots of heavy “Web apps” with that wonderful Digital Restrictions Malware, go use Google Chrome. I hear you’ll like it much better. You’ll have nothing good to say about SeaMonkey once you’ve seen it. If you’re a “Web 3.0” basket case, just give into Chrome. You know you want it.
You can use Google Chrome or one of the “Also-Google Chromes”, like Vivaldi, Opera, and Edge.
Or you can go to Firefox, for whatever that’s worth, as Mitchell Baker turned the program into something that’s just a damned pest. It’s why they’re losing their users. At the same time, several years ago, Mitchell Baker attacked the entire concept of supporting other use cases involving Gecko, essentially accusing them of parasitism (“why should we pay a tax blah blah blah”). This is, of course, back before Mozilla itself stopped “dogfooding”, using their own technologies, conducting development in the open, where people could participate. A lot of the development now goes on in proprietary malicious platforms, like Discord (they shut down their IRC server) and GitHub (instead of NNTP newsgroups and BugZilla). They’ve been closing out what’s left of the community, firing people, and outsourcing to Microsoft and Google.
One more reason why SeaMonkey deserves consideration is because they conduct development and discussion openly. You can just open ChatZilla and point it to Libera Chat and join #SeaMonkey and you’re talking to the developers and community, and you don’t need to create some sort of Microsoft account and participate in this major fraud and parody of “open source” that Mozilla has created.
Baker also said they would be “laser focused” on Firefox. Instead, they fire engineers and keep “Diversity and Inclusion” people, and the Mozilla Foundation has turned into a political party calling for more Web censorship and Cancel Culture. So much “Free and Open Source” software today is endangered by letting in people who should have never been there in the first place. Mitchell Baker is “Exhibit A”.
What’s going wrong is that the far-left crowd, which is a hate group, has commandeered these communities, thrown in with the enemies like Microsoft and Google (who want FOSS to be in turmoil so that they can sit back, laugh, and watch us destroy each other), and the idea of people of good conscience being able to have disagreements isn’t tolerated. This is why Mozilla and Matrix.org are a match made in Hell and deserve each other.
20 years ago, FOSS was a different beast entirely. It was fun. It was novel. You could make tasteful jokes. In #techrights IRC yesterday, I pointed out that there is a program, now called GNOME Planner, that used to be called MrProject. The joke was that Microsoft had a MS Project. Today, this sort of thing is considered “inappropriate” and gets censored out as “offensive”. It’s offensive for some on the left that there are men and women, so they have to stop you from referencing that, even in a joke. It’s not offensive, so these people create “offense”, then they’re offended on behalf of other people. Then if you tell them to chill out, they’ll attack you by lashing out in bizarre ways. Using tactics like these, they’ve ran off, or tried to run off, people who are actually doing something important for the community. Such as how Matthew Garrett, who participated in Microsoft’s attacks on GNU/Linux (including Security Theater Boot, which he now hypocritically complains of as an anti-user lockout mechanism…duh), goes after Richard Stallman and Ted T’so using trumped up allegations which are bullshit.
Firefox isn’t fun anymore because Mozilla has gone to the dark side.
After the Firefox fork, Mozilla never cared much for the Suite continuing to exist, but there was enough interest to keep it around.
Eventually, they forced it to spin off into an unofficial program called SeaMonkey, which they never gave warm regards to. Then they forced SeaMonkey out of Mozilla completely.
But like Dick Van Dyke continuing to bring a little bit of decency into a new world mostly devoid of such, SeaMonkey is still there with us.
It reminds us of a more civilized time.