I’m very pleased to see a group stepping up to take control of Seamonkey. It’s something I’ve been working for, and I’m very glad to see it happen. The Mozilla Suite still has a lot of users this side of the Atlantic (there’s a distinctly European slant to the supporters list). Keeping this effort within the framework is a win for everyone involved.

One piece of advice for those striking out in a new and fresh direction: your first release (“Seamonkey Suite 1.0” or whatever it ends up being called) should not be a world-shaking event in browser technology development. Take time between now and the Firefox 1.1 release to get organised, plan and keep things ticking over, and then release something off that branch with as few changes as possible. Start Small and Simple, and build from there. You’ll have enough problems designing and implementing a properly-QAed release process without adding more bugs by changing the code.

Let a hundred browsers bloom :-)

4 thoughts on “Seamonkey

  1. Gerv, it’s shame, that Mozilla Foundation has problem to be connected with community driven Suite by it’s name and Mozilla couldn’t be used for common open source model. It’s really absurd, that “Mozilla” can’t be called Mozilla.

  2. > [Firefox 1.1] … release something off that branch with as few changes as possible

    Exactly what I’m recommending in my user page linked from the supporters list.

    I don’t think trying to do the toolkit port in that timeframe, as biesi intends is such a great idea. It will be a lot of works, introduce regressions, let’s just take the current 1.8 beta, and complete what is needed to make releaseable. Then it’s time to think about porting to toolkit.

  3. What I don’t like about dropping the suite now is that not all replacement programms are ready. Firefox is, but Thunderbird isn’t.

    And the install base of the suite in corporate environments is quite high, they’ll think twice before switching.

  4. I never really believed in the One Hundred Browsers idea, as I felt that the growing array of marginal mozilla-based browsers diluted the brand name, diminished (or obscured) market share, and diffused the efforts of interested developers. Even viewing the alternatives as test beds, it’s difficult to see what useful features or improvements have been produced by these projects.

    So I concur with the Mozilla Foundation’s decision to discontinue official support for the suite, even as I continue to use Mozilla Suite(1.6, I’m not really the ‘early-adopting’ type…) as my email client and Composer as my HTML editor. Further, I don’t fully understand the interest in the community for maintaining the suite. The reasons enumerated so far seem to fall into three categories, each of which could be addressed by the Foundation’s current offerings:

    1. Better interoperability among components: seems to me this could be accomplished with a comprehensive installer and perhaps some new preferences to manually override system settings. For example, though I use Firefox almost exclusively as my browser, IE remains the default on my machine simply for compatibility with other non-Mozilla applications. It would be nice, though, to enable Thunderbird to invoke Firefox when I click on a URL in a message, regardless of the system settings.

    2. Contributions by interested developers have been ignored or not valued sufficiently by the core Firefox team: recent steps by Ben and/or MoFo to delegate responsibilities seem to have begun to address this concern.

    3. More sophisticated features found in the Mozilla Suite browser are missing from Firefox. In most cases, this doesn’t seem to be true – only the UI for accessing the features has been removed; the features themselves are generally still accessible through about:config or by using extensions.

    The Mozilla Foundation’s mission, as I understand it, is to preserve and promote choice in internet applications; not just in the narrow sense of offering an alternative browser application, but also in the larger sense of offering a browser (and mail client, etc.) with enough market share to force web developers to adhere to open non-proprietary standards. To me, this remains the primary objective and a worthy one, and Firefox has done this in tangible ways that the Suite never did. Yahoo never released a toolbar for the Suite, nor did Merriam-Webster ever supply a set of tools for the Suite.

    I’m glad the Foundation is providing transition support and infrastructure to the new SeaMonkey team. However, I think they should also encourage those developers to reconsider their plans in light of the ultimate objective which the majority in the community support. Perhaps the Foundation should appoint someone with the necessary standing, diplomatic skills, and patience (Blake Ross would seem to be a good candidate in my opinion) to address the developers’ concerns I alluded to above and gently persuade them to rejoin the flock.

    Finally, I hasten to add, while I disapprove of the effort to maintain SeaMonkey, I will defend to the death the right to do so!