Mozilla Application Suite is back as SeaMonkey 1.0

For long time Mozilla Application Suite’s fans content, the SeaMonkey council announced yesterday the release of SeaMonkey 1.0, the direct descendant of the venerable Netscape for Windows, MacOS X and Linux platforms.

Last year the Mozilla Foundation announced that it would drop the development of the Mozilla Application Suite (code name SeaMonkey), to focus on its core products Firefox, Thunderbird and Camino, but would provide required support . In a true example of an open source project a group of developers gathered and started a project devoted to continue the suite development. After selecting a name for the new project, a new logo and a round of alpha and beta releases, time for a first public release has finally come.

As the original Mozilla Application Suite it includes a web browser, an e-mail client, and IRC (chat) client, address book and web page editor, all of which has been improved since the last Mozilla 1.7.12.

This new release features:

  • Tabs can now be rearranged by dragging and dropping them.
  • When you close a tab, the browser will select the tab which you last selected if you have not selected or opened any other tabs since the current tab was opened and you have the “Switch to new tabs opened from links” preference enabled. This enhancement is also coming to Firefox 2.0
  • SVG support
  • auto save draft messages
  • select flagged messages
  • make the Return key start a new paragraph when composing
  • The Chatzilla menu item now appears in the correct place even if you don’t install Mail

For a complete list check:

Congratulations to the SeaMonkey team on their first release!

Netscape 8.1 released

Today Netscape 8.1, a Firefox based browser from AOL Netscape division was released.

As in previous versions Netscape adds a number of features like viewing incompatible web sites using Trident, Internet Explorer’s rendering engine, two themes (Winscape and Fusion), an enhanced form and password manager, weather updates, centralized site preferences (cookies, password, Java, Javascript, images, rendering engine and ActiveX) and AOL instant messenger.

It also features anti-spyware protection, a Dynamic Security Center, profile manager, RSS support rendering, tabbed browsing enhancements, UI enhancements and performance improvements.

Beware that during setup it also offers a chance to download additional software and collect usage information. In my quick test, the anti-spyware protection identified eMule as spyware so it seems to be a little paranoic. Since Netscape added a number of widgets and options, Firefox themes are incompatible with Netscape so users don’t have many options to change its appearance. Incredibly it doesn’t recognize web site feeds. Users have to click on RSS/Atom feeds to open them (Netscape will render them with a nice layout) and then bookmark them. There is no live bookmarks support at all so these are lost when importing from Firefox.

Otherwise with its fresh look and convenient features it may be an interesting alternative for some users.

Open source Flash player coming soon

The GNU project has announced the development of Gnash, an open source player of ubicuous Macromedia Flash presentations and applications.

Currently the Flash Player is distributed by Macromedia as a free download but due to distribution restrictions it can’t be bundled with open source applications like Mozilla Firefox.

Gnash will be available as a stand alone application and as a Mozilla plugin (like Flash Player) available for Firefox, Camino, Netscape, Flock and other Gecko-based browsers. When released it could be possible for Mozilla to bundle it with Firefox and provide Flash support out of the box.

Radio Firefox

The premier show of Radio Firefox was broadcasted last night on the College of New Jersey’s WTSR 91.3 FM. Produced and conducted by Jason Schramm, a computer science student, it covered among other topics: a CES roundup, Google, Apple and Intel Macs, Bill Gates CES Keynote, slowness to patch WMF vulnerability, IPOs and the corruption that overinflated their prices.

It runs on Wednesdays from 12:00am to 3:00am (EST, GMT -5:00). A podcast should be available soon for those who missed it and we will post it here as well.

Europe: 1 in 5 web users prefer Firefox

XiTi, a France-based web analytics firm has released a report (English version by Google) stating that Firefox owns about 20% of European browser market share. Market share ranges from 38.4% in Finland to 9.5% in Ukraine with Slovenia (35.5%), Germany (30.27%) and Czech Republic (29.29%) following in the lead.

The study ranks continents as follows:

  1. Europe – 20.11%
  2. Oceania – 18.6%
  3. North America (excluding Mexico) – 15.88%
  4. Africa – 9.41%
  5. Asia – 8.81%
  6. Mexico, Central, South America and the Caribbean – 5.79%

According to XiTi report 39% of Firefox users have already upgraded to latest version 1.5. The rest is still using version 1.0.x and previous. It also shows that usage no longer variates significantly between weekdays (20.5% , mostly at the office) and weekends (21%, mostly at home.)

The study was done on January 8, 2006 including 32’544,568 visits. For weekend/weekdays comparison January 9, 2006 data was also used for a total of 71’967,156 visits.