Mozilla’s monkey business



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seamonkey.pngMozilla have built their reputation mainly on the back of the excellent Firefox browser which has finally challenged the dominance of Internet Explorer. However, they also offer a whole host of other products, one of the most ambitious being SeaMonkey.

SeaMonkey is Mozilla’s successor to Mozilla Suite – an all-in-one suite comprising browser, e-mail client, chat, calendar and much more. SeaMonkey has been the codename for the Mozilla Suite for some time although it was originally invented by Netscape as a codename for Netscape 6 (which was, incidentally, originally known by the less politically correct name of ‘ButtMonkey’).

Since security is a major issue with a suite where you invest so much personal information, the latest release has plugged various holes that left it vulnerable to attack. This means more visible security indicators in the browser and enhanced phishing detection for e-mail. Other changes include inline spell checking in the browser, an updated version of ChatZilla, and a significantly improved startup script on Linux.

One of the things most users praise in SeaMonkey is the e-mail client. The blind copy tool, as well as its intelligent organisation functions and address access, are much better implemented than equivalents in Outlook or Thunderbird. Those who like Firefox will also love the SeaMonkey browser, which features more advanced tabbing functions and customisable security functions. Many users also report that it performs quicker than Firefox even when the latter has been optimised for speed. Not only this but the whole suite takes up half the amount of disk space compared to running Firefox and Thunderbird simultaneously. However, with no automatic update manager, upgrading the suite is a pain in the neck, meaning you have to uninstall the whole thing, including any special profiles you’ve set up.

Its arguable too that the days of all-in-one suites such as SeaMonkey have had their day. With e-mail clients such as Gmail offering tons of storage space, organisers such as Google Calendar and hundreds of chat clients to choose from, who needs a suite?
However, if Mozilla were to join forces with Google on a project like this, you never know – the monkey might finally have its banana and eat it.



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