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Mozilla Suite, Seamonkey, huh?


© October 2005 Tony Lawrence

OK, apparently some of the Firefox developers aren't happy .

I don't follow this stuff closely, and probably wouldn't understand their complaints anyway. This whole collaborative development scene is completely foreign to me, and although it obviously works, I sure don't understand how. But never mind that.

These unhappy folks are working on Seamonkey, which says :

The SeaMonkey project is a community effort to deliver
production-quality releases of code derived from the application
formerly known as "Mozilla Application Suite"
 

Hmmm. "formerly known" ? Looks to me like it's still known as the Mozilla Application Suite.

Never mind all that too. Firefox is obviously the thing to concentrate on.

I don't mean for any technical reasons. Whether you think the monolithic suite approach is right or the supposedly "light" Firefox (except it's really not so light anymore) , I don't care. It's the name that counts.

It would be really dumb if Firefox is abandoned. Whether you call it Mozilla or Seamonkey, the Mozilla Suite never caught fire, while Firefox definitely did. The reasons are unimportant. Firefox is well known, Mozilla isn't. Having these competing products brings nothing but harm.


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Mon Oct 3 11:49:57 2005: 1150   drag


It's very weird sometimes how this stuff works out...

I read somewere, long time ago, that the Mozilla suite wasn't realy ever suppose to be a end product. That it's mainly as a test bed for the Mozilla application design stuff and that it was expected that other people would create things like Netscape out of it that would end up being usefull for the average person. Not sure about this though.

However it became the defacto standard browser for the Linux platform anyways, which is often how these sort of things work out. It was big, slow and undergoing a major rewrite to deal with the horrid navigator disaster that Netscape company left behind when they couldn't keep up with Microsoft's developement rate of IE and then prices. (basicly they just ended up hiring bunches of cheap programmers to make up for the expensive original programmers that they were firing. They just flung code at the problem).

However the Mozilla suite was unmaintable in it's form and it would of been much to hard to turn it into a presentable product for 'everyman/everywoman'. So it's become the rage to make things small and modular then make it easy to add-on functionality thru plugin or extension framework. This is how we got firefox.

With Mozilla suite any new feature that a person wanted they just thru into the gigantic code base. With Firefox any new feature a person wanted they programmed and maintained it themselves outside the project.. anytime you wanted to use it you just download and install the extension.

That way you keep it maintainable and people get the features they want. Everybody wins.

But people have grown accustomed to having the full featured setup with everything they need for their web/internet purposes.

Firefox is just a browser. Mozilla suite is a browser, emailer, news client, irc client, and probably a whole host of other things most people don't want and can't use.

Seamonkey is good because it gives those programmers who are Mozilla suite fans something to _do_. Otherwise they'd just hang around and bitch, try to figure out how to get firefox to turn back into Mozilla suite or try to get thunderbird to more tightly integrate into it. They would be counter productive, they would probably cause more harm then good to the overal project. (if it wasn't for this sort of people Mozilla suite would be much deader then it is now).

But having the Seamonkey setup gets them off of the backs of the Thunderbird, Firefox and the Mozilla/Gecko/Xul/etc app framework. It gives them a chance to be productive, and they may actually end up making something great.

Also the Mozilla project goal isn't just a browser or to become the widest used browser.. they want to make it easy to build entire applications that have nothing to do with browsing at all, but is accessable from the local computer or over the web.

Think about instead of having to download and install OpenOffice.org or Abiword... you just type into the URL bar: www.realygoodword.org or something and you get a entire word proccessor, maybe a entire office suite, that runs like a native application without ever having to install anything other then firefox! It doesn't matter that your running Linux, Solaris, OS X, Windows 98, Vista, or anything that firefox supports. That's the sort of thing that keeps Microsoft Office developers awake at night.

People developing Seamonkey will end up doing things with the Gecko renderer and other parts of the Mozilla codebase that Firefox developers won't do at all. This increases the likelyhood of uncovering problems in the design, problems dealing with corner cases, and the like. Hopefully this would increase the overall quality of the product and will ultimately improve the quality of all Mozilla-using applications, including firefox.

Also since 90 or more of the code is shared between Firefox and SeaMonkey because they are using the identical framework, then it's not so much a fork or taking away from firefox development as adding a new application that people can use that wouldn't normally like firefox or IE.

At least thats what I think.



Mon Oct 3 17:45:34 2005: 1155   TonyLawrence

gravatar
But that's the point: it isn't whether you believe monolithic is the way to go or not, the problem is that the name is confusing and damaging.

Leave Firefox alone and create a "Firefox Suite" from the Seamonkey code. It's the name that matters now.







Mon Oct 3 19:13:57 2005: 1156   anonymous


Maybe. But it's very likely that the Seamonkey project will end up with something that doesn't look much like Firefox.

It may be more confusing to have two projects with 'Firefox' name, but have the UI be different, with different locations for some options, different side bars, and different extensions and such.

But I don't know that for a fact.. but what I've seen from Mozilla suite-fans complaining about Firefox it's likely that it will be quite different.



Mon Oct 3 21:22:34 2005: 1157   TonyLawrence

gravatar
Then both teams are idiots.

The world has embraced Firefox. Not because of anything but the impression that they are safer with it than with IE. As for anything else, even most of the geekier crowd only cares about tabbed browsing and the ability to add extensions.

Other than those two things, I and I'm sure thousands of others don't give a damn about anything else.



Mon Oct 3 23:32:14 2005: 1158   anonymous


Well I can't disagree with you there!

Thing is is that, as a firefox developer or whatever, you can't realy control the situation easily. There are probably good programmers and testers that contribute elsewere in the project and having SeaMonkey project for them to mess around with probably keeps them happy and productive. It's not like you can fire them, or threaten to pass them up for a promotion or whatever.

What will end up happenning, that I figure, is that they (mozilla.org simply won't promote Seamonkey or mention it much at all. If you go to (link) you'll notice that there isn't any mention of Seamonkey anywere. Only the geeks that would care about this sort of thing would be the ones to even know about it.



Mon Oct 3 23:34:00 2005: 1159   drag


also this is one of the major advantages companies like Apple have over Linux.

They get to direct their employees, rather then try to 'herd the cats' like OSS projects have to do.



Fri May 1 12:55:03 2009: 6300   TonyLawrence

gravatar
I see the SeaMonkey is still alive (link)

Of the last 190,000 visitors here, 506 used Seamonkey..

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