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The future of Seamonkey?

Discussion of general topics about Seamonkey
patrickjdempsey

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Post Posted December 14th, 2015, 7:28 pm

tonymec, :roll: SeaMonkey has ~120,000 users compared to Firefox's half? a billion. It's also seriously labor intensive to build a complete SM theme... ever looked at all of the icons under Messenger?? I mean what the heck to any of those even mean? Remember, in order to create new icons for something, first you have to know what the icons do. And SM has a TON of icons. Also something you probably have forgotten... traditionally, SeaMonkey project extensions and themes used to be hosted on different websites and not on AMO. Which means there's a huge invisible history of SM theming that's basically lost at this point.

All of that said, there are 8 BRAND NEW complete themes on AMO available for SeaMonkey created in the last year and a half, some of them in the last few months. (Dang I need to test these!!) And I'll bet you cash on the barrel-head that even those newer ones that aren't marked as compatible will work just fine with current versions of SM... as an author, it's just easy to forget to bump the version on AMO.

Now, how many brand new themes are there for Firefox? About the same number. Hmm. And how many are actually updated and compatible with Firefox? Hmmm. I think your argument is completely backwards. If anything, SeaMonkey theme authoring is going through a Renaissance it hasn't seen in ages. And just wait, when Mozilla pulls Themes from Firefox for good, I bet we'll see another big bump.
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Frank Lion

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Post Posted December 14th, 2015, 7:33 pm

tonymec wrote:Talking of that, how many Complete Themes are still available for SeaMonkey? At https://addons.mozilla.org/en-us/seamon ... rt=updated there are exactly 27 of them, which IMHO seems damn few, and of these 27, there are 10 which were not updated even once in 2015, and of these ten, there is one whose latest update was in 2007.

The simple answer is, not many. There again, there are not that many users using even the existing ones, so why make more?

I felt that the default SM and then existing themes for it, did not present the type of professional looking program that would fit into a modern workplace. So, I plugged that gap with 2 new themes and left it at that.

Can existing themes by recoded to the new method? Yes, proof of concept was done here - viewtopic.php?p=13907129#p13907129

In addition, both Pat and I are more than capable of creating brand new themes with brand new, original, graphics and certainly in my case, I prefer doing that rather than converting someone else's old stuff over. Just to give you a timescale, I ported that Past Modern theme above to the new template in less than 3 days (i.e. 3 x 3 hour sessions)

So, Complete Themes for SM are not a problem, just find me the users to actually use them and you can have as many as you like.


Not what I would call very discoverable: apparently the idea was to kill complete themes by attrition ever since lightweight themes came around, at the time under the name "Persona": remember that «no one uses it, and anyway it isn't discoverable» is one of the excuses they use when they've decided to kill some feature. So they make it almost undiscoverable, no new users discover it, and Presto! Now you see it, now you don't

Yep, now you're getting the idea of what has been going on. ;)
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tonymec

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Post Posted December 14th, 2015, 7:41 pm

rsx11m wrote:...what is a web browser? Whatever it is, SeaMonkey is definitely more. ;-)

I agree:
  • SeaMonkey is a web browser.
  • SeaMonkey is a mail & news client not requiring webmail.
  • SeaMonkey is a RSS and Atom feed reader using its own mail client to display feed articles.
  • SeaMonkey is an IRC chat GUI client.
  • I've been told that SeaMonkey is a webpage composer but I'm not sure that that apartment of the Suite is 100% satisfactory.
  • SeaMonkey used to be a JavaScript debugger but that part has recently been dropped due to the loss of its APIs ("thanks", Core devs).
  • SeaMonkey is a XULrunner where extensions can, if they want, get their own tabs to display XML+CSS, HTML or XHTML with or without CSS, even XUL (usually with CSS) and all of them optionally with JS, to display whatever the extension author is clever enough to write. They can also add or hide menus, submenus, dialogs, buttons; and modify existing pages by means of CSS, JS, and/or overlaying.
The latter bullet point is both a huge asset and a liability depending on your mindset. To me it is the most distinctive feature which makes SeaMonkey (and Firefox-as-it-used-to-be) attractive. I know that there are others to whom it is a gaping security hole. I believe that there is a way to preserve its attractiveness and block most of its security issues. But maybe not once and for all. Are those issues enough of a danger to scrap the whole feature? I don't think so. I know others do, but hopefully not among the SeaMonkey core developers.
Best regards,
Tony

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Post Posted December 14th, 2015, 9:24 pm

I would seriously doubt if there's ever been a piece of malware or hijacker specifically designed to attack SeaMonkey in the last decade. Firefox has always been the vector and with Firefox moving to a completely different renderer and different addons system, I have doubts that anyone would go through the trouble of trying to attack a browser with 120,000 users. It just seems like a waste of time. Not that there won't always be some new global exploit out there, but to go through the effort of specifically targeting such a small group someone would have to be very very bored.
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Post Posted December 15th, 2015, 4:19 am

I am surprised that SM has only 120,000 users and Firefox so many more. I never realized that. Seems the word would get out and more people would come over to this side than what there are. Especially since they already prefer the Mozilla approach. I guess people are afraid to try something else. SM is the best and most seamless browser/email there is. I am just rambling on to the choir, though...

Frank Lion

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Post Posted December 15th, 2015, 6:56 am

Redbugdave wrote:I am surprised that SM has only 120,000 users...

I wouldn't mind if it only had 10 users, so long as it does the job well and I reckon it does.

But yeah, stuff like that should be a reality check for those who go down this 'Sea Monkey is so much more that a mere...' rhetoric path. Yeah? Word up, old son, if your product has been out there for well over 10 years and you can only pick up 120,000 users, then either the product is wrong or you've done damn poor marketing!

In either case, needs to be fixed.
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ndebord

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Post Posted December 15th, 2015, 7:03 am

patrickjdempsey wrote:tonymec, :roll: SeaMonkey has ~120,000 users compared to Firefox's half? a billion. It's also seriously labor intensive to build a complete SM theme... ever looked at all of the icons under Messenger?? I mean what the heck to any of those even mean? Remember, in order to create new icons for something, first you have to know what the icons do. And SM has a TON of icons. Also something you probably have forgotten... traditionally, SeaMonkey project extensions and themes used to be hosted on different websites and not on AMO. Which means there's a huge invisible history of SM theming that's basically lost at this point.

All of that said, there are 8 BRAND NEW complete themes on AMO available for SeaMonkey created in the last year and a half, some of them in the last few months. (Dang I need to test these!!) And I'll bet you cash on the barrel-head that even those newer ones that aren't marked as compatible will work just fine with current versions of SM... as an author, it's just easy to forget to bump the version on AMO.

Now, how many brand new themes are there for Firefox? About the same number. Hmm. And how many are actually updated and compatible with Firefox? Hmmm. I think your argument is completely backwards. If anything, SeaMonkey theme authoring is going through a Renaissance it hasn't seen in ages. And just wait, when Mozilla pulls Themes from Firefox for good, I bet we'll see another big bump.


Patrick,

So long as Early Blue is around for SeaMonkey I shall be happy, as it is the one and only original theme.
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Lemon Juice
 
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Post Posted December 15th, 2015, 7:12 am

Frank Lion wrote:if your product has been out there for well over 10 years and you can only pick up 120,000 users, then either the product is wrong or you've done damn poor marketing!

I wonder how much the removal of SM from mozilla.org has contributed to the reduction of this number. But at the moment I understand that SM has no marketing at all - apart maybe from an occasional article (once a year) in a technical on-line magazine, which is soon forgotten in the mass of other stuff. Contrast this with the obnoxious power of Google pushing its browser wherever possible.

Product is certainly not wrong, although it needs some polishing to get up to speed with modern times, like a better default theme, fixing youtube, etc. I have a friend who is far from being a technical person and she likes SM a lot - and she uses it only because I have installed it some time ago on her laptop, otherwise she would have no idea it exists.
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Peter Creasey

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Post Posted December 15th, 2015, 7:49 am

patrickjdempsey wrote: I don't know enough about how Composer and Mail/News work


rsx11m wrote:...what is a web browser? Whatever it is, SeaMonkey is definitely more. ;-)
Let's keep in mind that we also have to keep the Mail/News side happy.


Gentlemen, I have used Mozilla, Netscape, SeaMonkey "forever".

The browser is important but SO ARE the Email and Composer processors. I use all three facilities every day.
. . . . . . . . . . Pete

tonymec

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Post Posted December 15th, 2015, 8:28 am

patrickjdempsey wrote:tonymec, :roll: SeaMonkey has ~120,000 users compared to Firefox's half? a billion. It's also seriously labor intensive to build a complete SM theme... ever looked at all of the icons under Messenger?? I mean what the heck to any of those even mean? Remember, in order to create new icons for something, first you have to know what the icons do. And SM has a TON of icons. Also something you probably have forgotten... traditionally, SeaMonkey project extensions and themes used to be hosted on different websites and not on AMO. Which means there's a huge invisible history of SM theming that's basically lost at this point.

All of that said, there are 8 BRAND NEW complete themes on AMO available for SeaMonkey created in the last year and a half, some of them in the last few months. (Dang I need to test these!!) And I'll bet you cash on the barrel-head that even those newer ones that aren't marked as compatible will work just fine with current versions of SM... as an author, it's just easy to forget to bump the version on AMO.

Now, how many brand new themes are there for Firefox? About the same number. Hmm. And how many are actually updated and compatible with Firefox? Hmmm. I think your argument is completely backwards. If anything, SeaMonkey theme authoring is going through a Renaissance it hasn't seen in ages. And just wait, when Mozilla pulls Themes from Firefox for good, I bet we'll see another big bump.

I stand corrected.

But when you say SeaMonkey themes are labor-intensive, IMHO you got your argument backwards. I've been watching the repository for the test versions of two themes, a git repository on KaiRo's user site. Both of these themes' "stable" versions are also hosted at AMO. One of them, EarlyBlue, supports only SeaMonkey, and it has barely one update every six weeks, to bump up the maxVersion in the install.rdf I guess. The other one, LCARStrek, supports also Firefox, and its updates are both more frequent and more extensive (they add and remove more text in more text files and more bytes in binary files). So maybe making a SeaMonkey theme needs more work the first time, but Firefox is such a moving target that theming for it is a constant work-intensive hassle.

About having only 120,000 users: SeaMonkey never had the big money for big advertising campaigns. We let it be known at Wikipedia and at Mozillazine KB that the Mozilla Suite was now a community project named SeaMonkey, and the rest was about only word-of-mouth advertising. Not quite mass-reaching, but dirt cheap. We knew we never could reach a market the same order of magnitude as Firefox's, so we didn't try, and we concentrated on making a niche product of as high a quality as we could, targeting tech-savvy users rather than what I call kindergarten kiddies, and thus distanced ourselves from the Firefox look and feel while keeping some of the aspects most important to Netscape nostalgics, including for instance a rich Preferences dialog, and the Suite concept. Firefox OTOH was dwarfed by big-$$$ Microsoft Internet Explorer and is still dwarfed by big-$$$ Google Chrome, but it's still aping the latter, possibly under a death wish.

The latest blog post in the Mozilla Discourse page about "Planning the future of Complete Themes" indeed includes the sentence "Simple users can use Firefox, advanced users use Seamonkey, everyone would be happy, and with a little bit of help and money you could turn that whole negative publicity instantly into a good one." a few paragraphs near the end. With that statement, with which I agree even though I don't know the person who wrote it, I rest my case.
Best regards,
Tony

Frank Lion

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Post Posted December 15th, 2015, 9:12 am

Lemon Juice wrote:
Frank Lion wrote:Product is certainly not wrong, although it needs some polishing to get up to speed with modern times, like a better default theme, fixing youtube, etc....

Sea Monkey usage figures hits 2 barriers - those who know about it and those who don't.

You all must see something is wrong when browsers being created by one man and his dog are being downloaded in greater numbers than Sea Monkey. So, that covers those who don't know about SM and the solution is pretty obvious.

Now we turn to those who do know, or rather think they do (the sensitive may want to look away now) and SM has a terrible rep out there. Step away from the cosy warm glow of the SM forums and you'll hear stuff like 'Sea Monkey is a slow, bloated old-fashioned pile of crap' and that is from genuine power users, not some spotty adolescent!

How SM ever got that rep I don't know, but it sure ain't like that now, well, OK, it does look a bit old-fashioned by default, but apart from that. Fact is, SM is a good, un-bloated and very effective and complete Internet suite. So, yeah, there is a rep/image problem to overcome.

Who knows? Maybe people don't want suites any more. Maybe looks do count, for example, how could the #1 Linux distro of a few years back - Ubuntu, have ever have been knocked off that top spot, despite having huge backing and resources, by Linux Mint, a new distro that had very little going for it, other than it worked and looked damn good?

As I wrote earlier, I'll use SM till they stop doing it. But, yeah, if you want to be effective, you must first be honest. Wishful thinking just doesn't cut it in the real world.
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Frank Lion

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Post Posted December 15th, 2015, 9:31 am

tonymec wrote:I stand corrected.

But when you say SeaMonkey themes are labor-intensive, IMHO you got your argument backwards. I've been watching the repository for the test versions of two themes, a git repository on KaiRo's user site. Both of these themes' "stable" versions are also hosted at AMO. One of them, EarlyBlue, supports only SeaMonkey, and it has barely one update every six weeks, to bump up the maxVersion in the install.rdf I guess..

Not quite sure why we're getting sidetracked onto Complete Themes on this thread, but prepare to stand corrected again.

You are confusing the creating of themes with the maintaining of them. Patrick was writing about the former, creating of original themes, and he is correct.

For most people (I work a fair bit quicker) to make a theme using existing icons would take around a month. To make a brand new theme with brand new original icons and graphics would take most people 3 months.

That is not labour intensive? How did you guys think, if ever you did, that these things got made, using Windows Paint in an evening or something?!
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"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil, is for good men to do nothing." - Edmund Burke (attrib.)

ndebord

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Post Posted December 15th, 2015, 11:54 am

Frank Lion wrote:
Redbugdave wrote:I am surprised that SM has only 120,000 users...

I wouldn't mind if it only had 10 users, so long as it does the job well and I reckon it does.

But yeah, stuff like that should be a reality check for those who go down this 'Sea Monkey is so much more that a mere...' rhetoric path. Yeah? Word up, old son, if your product has been out there for well over 10 years and you can only pick up 120,000 users, then either the product is wrong or you've done damn poor marketing!

In either case, needs to be fixed.


Frank,

The suite also suffered from too many name changes IMO. Essentially, it shouuld still be called Netscape Communicator, failing that, The Mozilla Suite... the SeaMonkey name comes in a poor third IMO. Name recognition and all that jazz.
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malliz
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Post Posted December 15th, 2015, 2:48 pm

ndebord wrote: it shouuld still be called Netscape Communicator, failing that, The Mozilla Suite... the SeaMonkey name comes in a poor third IMO. Name recognition and all that jazz.

Nope completely disagree. The current generation know nothing about netscape and the for those of us who do it brings bad memories. Screw Mozilla anything they just want to sink it as too much trouble. The big problem with Seamonkey is it's way to twee and cute. They should have picked something with an attitude
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Lemon Juice
 
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Post Posted December 15th, 2015, 3:15 pm

tonymec wrote:The latest blog post in the Mozilla Discourse page about "Planning the future of Complete Themes" indeed includes the sentence "Simple users can use Firefox, advanced users use Seamonkey, everyone would be happy, and with a little bit of help and money you could turn that whole negative publicity instantly into a good one." a few paragraphs near the end. With that statement, with which I agree even though I don't know the person who wrote it, I rest my case.

This is a good one and I also agree with it - having a suite of three internet programs - each targeted to a different recipient and sharing much of the same code - sounds like an excellent idea... But we've been there, so this doesn't look cool any more... Instead, Firefox has decided to move at the speed of the web :shock: - I prefer not comment on that!

An interesting issue for SeaMonkey will be extensions. As far as I know, whatever new necessary development direction SM takes I think most extensions will stop working. Also, the differences between Fx and SM will grow much larger and it will not be as easy to write the same extensions for both. Currently, SM gains quite a lot by fairly decent (more or less) compatibility with Fx. After the change SM will be left alone and extensions will need to be adapted - at most we can count on partial compatibility with Pale Moon extensions. Many Fx add-on developers will therefore stop supporting SM because it will no longer be a matter of "cosmetic" code changes and the converter may not work any longer. We will need to build our new ecosystem of extensions and most importantly get extension developers interested in supporting SM. Not to mention SM will need to have its own add-on reference pages for extension developers since MDN will no longer be applicable.
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