Mauriat Miranda     mjmwired

Mozilla SeaMonkey and More Confusion

I just downloaded Mozilla SeaMonkey to test out. For the interested, I have some instructions and commands near the end of this post. However this post is more about confusion in Mozilla’s choice of naming for their products.

I don’t care to re-tell the whole story about Netscape, Mozilla and Firefox, but let me be clear that these folks have had the most abysmal track record when it comes to names. Currently the Mozilla project claims the following for SeaMonkey:

The SeaMonkey project is a community effort to deliver production-quality releases of code derived from the application formerly known as “Mozilla Application Suite”. Whereas the main focus of the Mozilla Foundation is on Mozilla Firefox and Mozilla Thunderbird, our group of dedicated volunteers works to ensure that you can have “everything but the kitchen sink” — and have it stable enough for corporate use.

The truth is that sometimes for corporate users and maybe more-so for personal users stability may not be as valuable as name recognition. Simply put a web browser should be known as just that, not code names or monikers. Before the “Mozilla Application Suite”, it was known as just Mozilla. And Firefox (technically Mozilla Firefox) is living on its third name designation (prev. Firebird, prev. Pheonix). I understand the issue with trademarks and branding, but I question if so many names is healthy for Mozilla’s wider adoption. Additionally Firefox and Thunderbird are available through mozilla.COM - the Mozilla Corporation, not to be confused with - the Mozilla Foundation. Of course this move was necessary if any of these groups wanted commercial success of their products.

The way I see it (objections welcome) is that the Mozilla “People” want everyone to think in terms of their flagship products: Firefox Browser and Thunderbird Mail Client. Ideally they would hope the Firefox would somehow imply “web browser” and a similar effect for Thunderbird even though for most people this would not be blatantly obvious (ie. can you guess the purpose of Microsoft Internet Explorer?). The Mozilla folks wouldn’t mind if people forget that Mozilla is (was) also a browser and mail client, so naming it to some funny project code-name (that they really don’t care if people use) would be logical.

Of course this is all just a lot of time wasted (mine included) instead of focusing on better products. I’ll keep using Mozilla whatever-the-hell-you-want-to-call-it, but if they want a true corporate presense this is one of the many factors they need to overcome.

I hope this will be one of the last names thrown around from this group.

SeaMonkey Installation to /opt

This assumes you have either the mozilla or the firefox RPM installed. These commands are for FC4, but should apply to all distributions.

Note: SeaMonkey will properly work with your ~/.mozilla profile directory.

All commands executed as root of course, start with: su -


# wget
# gunzip -c seamonkey-1.0.en-US.linux-i686.tar.gz | tar xf - -C /opt/
# ln -s /opt/seamonkey/seamonkey /usr/local/bin/seamonkey
# cd /opt/seamonkey/
# mv plugins plugins_seamonkey_default
# ln -s /usr/lib/mozilla/plugins plugins


# rm /usr/local/bin/seamonkey
# cd /opt/
# rm -rf seamonkey


As your own user (not root):

# cp -ar ~/.mozilla ~/mozbkp_pre_seamonkey
# seamonkey &

Currently using, it seems significantly faster than Mozilla 1.7.8 and much more responsive than my Firefox installation in FC4. Usability seems the same, however I have not validated added memory or resource consumption (knowing Mozilla, I know it will be a bigger resource hog).

Posted in: Linux, Philosophy, Software,


  • Jeff Schiller on February 5, 2006 - 12:00 AM

    Speaking of getting names right, I don’t think it’s “Mozilla” SeaMonkey. It’s my understanding that SeaMonkey uses Mozilla code, but it is not an official Mozilla product, it is “community-driven”. Yet more confusion for the user base… sigh…

    I downloaded and played with it - but I really only need a browser anyway, and to me, SeaMonkey’s Navigator just feels and looks too much like Netscape 4.x. Thus, it FEELS like 5-year-old product. Call me superficial, but they need to update their “chrome” while at the same time give me more compelling reasons to move away from Mozilla Firefox.

    Where are the Live Bookmarks? For an “internet suite” it’s really surprising they don’t include any Web Feed (RSS/Atom) features - then again I only installed the browser and composer, maybe I’m missing something…

    And why obscure my web page with an old-school pop-up Find dialog? Why can’t I customize my toolbars? Where’s the incredibly useful Google/Yahoo/MSN search box in my toolbars? Why make two ways to save bookmarks (one that blindly appends to the top-level Bookmarks menu, one that allows me to put it in a subfolder of my choosing). Why not allow me to right-click on bookmarks in toolbar folders? And they’ve just go to admit they’ve lost the battle on some things (Edit > Preferences vs. Tools > Options).

    (Btw, if anyone knows how to do any of the above using SeaMonkey, please let me know).

    On the other hand, I have heard claims (from SeaMonkey fans, of course) that SeaMonkey uses less memory/resources than Mozilla Firefox and Thunderbird combined. Seems like a sensible claim to me, but when XULRunner becomes the way Firefox and Thunderbird are deployed, that advantage should also evaporate if I understand things correctly.

  • Mauriat on February 6, 2006 - 08:08 AM

    Jeff: It’s my understanding that SeaMonkey uses Mozilla code, but it is not an official Mozilla product, it is “community-driven”. … SeaMonkey is the Mozilla code. I guess this is obvious to Mozilla insiders. There is some information on the seamonkey transition information page.

  • Jeff Schiller on February 6, 2006 - 01:13 PM

    Mauriat: Yes, the Mozilla source base has been using the name “seamonkey” internally for quite some time to indicate their codebase. That’s why the name for the Internet Suite is a bad one, because it’s not like you can take the Mozilla codebase and simply compile it and out comes the internet suite. There is a good deal of modification/extension that goes on top of the codebase to get to an internet suite (just like there is Firefox-specific code and Thunderbird-specific code).

    Anyway, my point was just that the internet suite “SeaMonkey” is not a “Mozilla” product anymore than the Flock Browser is. In other words, the internet suite is a community-based project that use the open-source Mozilla codebase to make their own product, unlike “official Mozilla products” like Firefox, Thunderbird, Camino and XULRunner. In other words, the Internet Suite has been divorced from Mozilla…

    At least this is my understanding, someone feel free to correct me if I’m mistaken.