“Sure, you’ve use Firefox and Internet Explorer. You may have even dabbled in Flock and Opera, or even become a devotee of one of these lesser-known applications. But have you ever browsed the web with Deepnet Explorer? How ’bout SeaMonkey? And when’s the last time you used Netscape? Did you even know that it was still around? And that’s without even mentioning the really obscure browsers, with names like NutScrape, Orca, Salamander, Skipstone, SkyKruzer, Kazehakase, Madfox, Arachne, Charon, Chimera, Dillo, Oregano, and Viola. Here we’ll review three web browsers that are far from today’s Internet limelight: Deepnet Explorer, Netscape, and SeaMonkey.” On a related note, a new version of K-Meleon has been released.
Forgotten Browsers Reviewed: Deepnet, Netscape, Seamonkey
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2006-09-26 6:43 ampandronic
K-Meleon could be a very interesting project, but sadly it’s interface is a mess.
The menus are too clutered, there is not attention to details and the options look strange, to say the least (last time I’ve checked they were a combination of native controls, XUL and text files).
I’ll be keeping my eye on it, maybe now that it’s got past 1.0 it will go in the right direction.
2006-09-26 4:12 pmdylansmrjones
There is no XUL in the controls.
The UI part is only Win32-API – but yes, textfiles are abundant, but you don’t have to use them. And they give functionality no other browser gives you.
And you rarely meet them unless you seek actively for them.
And too cluttered menues? What on earth are you smoking? Look at menues in all other GUI-browsers, and you’ll find no clutter in K-Meleon. At least point out the exact clutter…
Edited 2006-09-26 16:14
2006-09-26 8:43 pmMoochman
I remember installing K-Meleon (beta 0.8 or so, I think) on a friend’s ancient computer in the hopes it would run faster than Firefox. Whoops, what a mistake! Turns out K-Meleon actually used up MORE memory than Firefox, and that without the ability to support any of Firefox’s cool extensions or themes! Admittedly, all of the optional plug-ins were installed, but that just to get the equivalent functionality of a basic Firefox (with tabs, etc.) And the interface, to my eyes anyway, was noticeably worse-looking, with the plug-ins noticeably worse integrated than their equivalent functions in Firefox. Maybe this has all changed by this point, but as long as K-Meleon has the same or worse memory footprint and performance as Firefox, it will keep on looking to me like a solution in search of a problem.
That said, I’m heading over to the K-Meleon site right now to check out the new version.
Edited 2006-09-26 20:46
2006-09-27 1:35 amdylansmrjones
Hmm… You must have run into a bad release then, because K-Meleon uses slightly less memory than Firefox (perhaps it is opposite in some situations, depending on the site visited?).
You don’t need extensions to get the basic Firefox functionality (like tabs). Actually you have to extend Firefox to get basic K-Meleon functionality. True, there are no tabs in K-Meleon, there are however layers, working the same way as tabs – just a lot more configurable (even without messing with text). This was also true for K-Meleon several years ago. And K-Meleon has a preloader – Firefox doesn’t. That’s a nice thing on Windows.
The biggest let down is the lack of support for Firefox extensions. So many extensions are missing compared with Firefox.
2006-09-28 8:20 amMoochman
The layers were actually what I was referring to as a plug-in I installed, since I recall that it gave me the option not to istall them. Aside from the preloader, what features does K-Meleon have that a basic Firefox install lacks?
2006-09-28 1:52 pmdylansmrjones
Layers have been an integrated part of K-Meleon since the beginning, so I’m a bit confused. But then, I’ve made full installations for so long, I can’t remember the options anymore
K-Meleon is much better integrated with Windows than Firefox, and can make better use of Windows components. This is very pronounced when visiting sites that makes use of Windows/IE-only technologies. Firefox will often crash or fail to work properly while K-Meleon just keeps working. The chat on hotpeople.dk is an example of this, as is media playback on dr.dk and tv2.dk.
K-Meleon’s group functionality also works better (IMO) than the “open all bookmarks” functionality in Firefox.
But the winning element is the better integration with Windows.
Seems like the reviewer knows nothing or almost nothing about Mozilla’s products and their history… some friends of mine use Seamonkey as they were used to the old Mozilla suite but wanted something new
Despite of not being on the edge Netscape and its latest try with a browser have been largely covered by the news; Deepnet, too, because of its p2p integration has received some media coverage.
Those are not “Forgotten Browsers” to me… talk about dillo, k-meleon, arachne, kazehakase, then I’d say we’re talking about forgotten browsers…
Edited 2006-09-25 21:42
2006-09-26 1:47 pmalex
>Seems like the reviewer knows nothing or almost nothing about Mozilla’s products and their history…
Indeed – anyone with a bit of knowledge about browser development would know the historical reasons why SeaMonkey resembles the Netscape suite and saying that it’s “based on firefox” is getting things completely the wrong way round.
The article also shows a screenshot of the profile manager in Seamonkey, saying this isn’t present in Firefox. Actually, running firefox.exe -ProfileManager (for the Windows version at least) brings up an identical dialog. Hardly intuitive, but as the review says most users would use Windows profiles anyway for this task.
These browsers are overlooked for the reason that they honestly don’t offer that much more over Firefox and Internet Explorer that is compelling to most end users. It’s the same rendering engines with new shells built around them. As such, these browsers really only appeal to a small niche of users.
I just installed latest Netscape on my test box (a clean box with only xp + all updates installed).
It crashed on the first start (great). Then I was able to use it. Damn! They ruined such a great browser (back in the 4.x days). It’s slow, bloated, unstable, (insert some more problems here).
Netscape is dead.
2006-09-25 11:42 pmumccullough
It’s slow, bloated, unstable, (insert some more problems here).
Did you also notice it was using the IE rendering engine by default (last I checked anyway) – it allows the user to swap to the gecko engine also, but for “compatibility” reasons, they provide dual-rendering engines for windows users…
So Netscape now is just a combination of IE and Firefox with bolt-ons to make it unreasonably slow and ridiculously bloated.
Seamonkey adds an e-mail and news client as well as an HTML editor, something both Firefox and MSIE are seriously lacking. 🙂
And it isn’t a new shell — it’s the old shell.
2006-09-26 2:11 amflanque
That’s one of the reasons I prefer these browsers. I absolutely hate having other software “bundled” with a core product. I much prefer to download a seperate mail/news reader, when (and if) I need it.
I loathed how Netscape was constantly bundled with stuff I just didn’t want.
2006-09-26 4:23 amAxord
Considering the history of security between both Outlook and MSIE, I shudder to think what might happen if they were more integrated.
Never did see the appeal of having your browser bundled with an HTML editor and a e-mail client, though.
I instantly “forgot” Netscape when it moved to version 8 and became a quite awful (and insecure thanks to its IE/ActiveX hooks) Windows-only browser. Yep, that’s right – you can no longer run recent Netscape releases on either Mac OS X or Linux and therefore it’s effectively a dead browser in my eyes. Needless to say, the article dismally failed to mentioned that the once ubiquitous cross-platform nature of Netscape has long since been buried, along with any relevance the browser had.
And yet Netscape scores 8 out of 10 and the clearly superior SeaMonkey gets 6 out of 10 – work that one out…
These so-called “browsers” are little more than skins around a well-known, well-tested engine; Seamonkey, for example, is a fork of old Mozilla’s code, and share the rendering engine with Netscape 7/8 and Firefox. That Deepnet thingy is just a wrapper around MSIE engine, and, because of that, just as (in)secure as the system’s IE. Besides, it’s Windows only.
I’d like to see *different* browsers reviewed. For example, Konqueror/Safari, some browser using Gecko, Opera, MSIE, Dillo, Lynx, Links, Amaya… In this list, each and every component is *really* a different beast than the other, and that would be worth reviewing.
2006-09-26 1:26 amdylansmrjones
They are more than “just” skins.
They all share the same content renderer. The UI around the browser-engine however is quite different. Try K-Meleon, Netscape 7.2, Firefox 1.5.0.x, SeaMonkey and the ReactOS browser (utilizing the Mozilla ActiveX Control) – and you’ll see that the content rendering is quite the same, while the UI’s are quite different. Loading speed will typically also be different with the ReactOS browser being the slowest (probably not caching anything, I guess).
But yes, the differences can be VERY subtle in cases where the UI is almost identical.
Weird. When I read this article I felt like I woke up one day and found that the entire history of web-browsing had been forgotten.
It’s not a forgotten browser, it’s a new name for the Mozilla Suite that used to exist some time back, and is quite popular too (not at all forgotten). I am using Seamonkey which is based on Mozilla 1.9a1 and Firefox and also Camino are based on Mozilla 1.8, even Internet Explorer has its roots in Mozilla (now known as Seamonkey).
Actually K-Meleon 1.0.2 is a few days old. Almost unnoticed K-Meleon has finally passed the v1.0-barrier, and it’s already at 1.0.2.
I’ve been using it for years, and even though development has been slow at moments, it has been following the major ones quite well.
It’s a good gecko-browser for the windows platform.