The free SeaMonkey suite is very similar to the old Mozilla software while keeping the underlying technology up-to-date. The new SeaMonkey 2.0, for example, adds the capabilities of Firefox 3.5's underlying browsing engine while maintaining the old Mozilla look and feel. eWEEK Labs' tests show that SeaMonkey 2.0 takes some getting used to but has some compelling features, especially for organizations that want an all-in-one Internet suite.
If you want to party on the Web like it's 2004, you may want to try out the
new SeaMonkey 2.0 browser suite.
That, of course, is the time before Firefox-back when the open-source
Mozilla suite was just starting to take on Microsoft's dominant Internet
Explorer browser. The Mozilla of that time, like the Netscape browser that
preceded it, was not just a browser but a suite of Internet applications-including
an e-mail client, a newsgroup reader, a chat client and a simple tool for
developing Web pages.
Most users applauded the Mozilla
group's move to the browser-only Firefox in
2005. However, there was a community of users who preferred the original suite,
and it was because of this community that the SeaMonkey project was born inside
The free SeaMonkey suite is very similar to the old Mozilla while keeping
the underlying technology up-to-date. SeaMonkey 2.0, for example, adds the
capabilities of Firefox 3.5's underlying browsing engine while maintaining the
old Mozilla look and feel. And when I say maintaining the old look and feel, I
mean it: Using the SeaMonkey browser with all of its default settings is like
jumping back in time.
For a look at SeaMonkey 2.0, click here.
I found it difficult at first to get used to the old browsing interface
methods of SeaMonkey, but there are definitely some benefits to the
suite-especially for businesses that want an all-in-one Internet application.
Like its Mozilla brethren, SeaMonkey 2.0 can be installed on most operating
systems (including Linux, Mac OS X and Windows), and setup is a simple
Once I launched SeaMonkey, I was presented with the classic Mozilla
interface-with no new-tabs button available until I had launched a tab, no
history menu and few of the keyboard shortcuts that many of us have become used
to (such as hitting Ctrl-Enter to add "www" and ".com" to a
word in the address bar).
However, while SeaMonkey looks like the Mozilla suite of yore, it doesn't
perform like it.
In addition to
including Firefox 3.5's underlying engine (a considerable benefit, with the
improved speed, stability and standards support the engine provides), SeaMonkey
2.0 makes it possible to find and restore recently closed tabs and windows
inside the browser. This is a welcome feature for those of us who are a little
too aggressive in closing tabs. Firefox makes this feature available in the
History menu, while in SeaMonkey it's accessible from the File menu.
Also welcome is the addition of the Firefox add-ons manager. This made it
much easier to find and install extensions and plug-ins for SeaMonkey during my
tests. The download and cookies managers have also been updated to reflect
changes in the current generation of browsers.
However, outside of these changes, much of SeaMonkey management remains the
same as in Mozilla, and the Preferences dialog still consists of mainly the old
Mozilla preferences and not the newer Firefox Options.
The mail client in SeaMonkey is solid-definitely on a par with Mozilla's
newer, stand-alone Thunderbird client. One nice new feature is the inclusion of
tabbed windows in e-mail, which makes it much easier to open and view multiple
SeaMonkey's mail client also now does a better job with IMAP connections and
the storage of messages offline, as well as with RSS feed handling.
For the most part, the ChatZilla IRC (Internet Relay Chat) client and the
Composer HTML editor components are unchanged, with updates reflecting
interface changes in SeaMonkey. Still, both are useful applications, especially
Composer HTML, which is helpful for non-experts looking to make simple changes
to Web pages.
I didn't run into any sites that the SeaMonkey browser had a problem with.
However, SeaMonkey now boasts Firefox's crash recovery features, so, if the
browser had crashed, I could have restored the sites I had been viewing prior
to the problem.
For more information and to download SeaMonkey, go to www.seamonkey-project.org.