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Any possibility of a community based ff28 branch...??

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patrickjdempsey

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Post Posted May 14th, 2014, 5:38 pm

SeaMonkey is the only real "fork" out there. Even if PaleMoon has more non-default settings than other builds, that doesn't make it a true fork. A fork is a project that by it's definition gets further and further from the baseline project with every release... you know, like a fork in a road. A true fork is 100% possible but as I've pointed out before in several of these threads, nobody wants to do a true fork because everybody wants to advertise that Firefox extensions and themes will work in their product without any fuss. In order to guarantee compatibility with the existing Firefox extensions and themes, it is a basic requirement that those products have the same UI as Firefox and use the same identifying GUID as Firefox (which is something that a true fork would not be allowed to do). So a TRUE fork means from Day 1 loosing what many people consider being the most powerful aspect of Firefox itself: the extensions. That's not to say that if you were REALLY serious about it you couldn't convince extension authors to go out of their way to support your browser, but the vast majority will never do it. Even really polite and helpful developers don't want to get sucked into the world of supporting multiple platforms... anyone using SeaMonkey can tell you this. That's also not to say that determined users won't be able to "hack" extensions to work in your project, again SeaMonkey users and developers do this all the time.

So what does a real fork entail? Essentially it entails a very long set of questions. Since you appear to be sincere, I'll humor you. This is what a fork decision tree looks like:

- What application are you going to fork? This is actually a much more complicated question than it sounds on the surface. There are very good reasons to fork from Firefox 28, and equally good reasons to fork from Firefox 24 (last ESR build without Australis), and there are even very valid reasons to fork from an older build like Firefox 7 (before any Australis-related changes started appearing).

- Are you going to support Tab Groups? and will you continue to support Tab Groups after Mozilla abandons them?

- Are you going to support Persona Themes? Is it even possible for forks to use Personas? And if Mozilla changes the Personas implementation, will you follow suit?

- Are you going to support Dev Tools? Are you going to freeze Dev Tools UI or continue to get new versions? (which change in EVERY Firefox release BTW)

- Are you going to support New Tab Page and Home Page? If so, will you support integrated advertising when Mozilla adds that in? Are you going to support user tracking (err User Personalization)? Or are you going to try to continue to use the "old" versions that are in Firefox 28?

- Are you going to support legacy features like Addons Bar, statusbar shim, Firefox app menu and other features with hooks which addons will likely remove support for anyway?

- Are you going to support JetPack SDK extensions which may look for hooks present in future Firefox versions?

- Are you going to support any text strings different than stock Firefox? (a trick question because even if you don't plan on it, eventually you WILL)

- Are you going to support OSX and Linux builds? (most so-called "forks" are Windows-only Builds)

- Are you going to try to suppress features you don't like?

- Are you going to try to incorporate popular extensions like AdBlock Plus into the distributable? (this is a popular request)


For every Yes on that list, you need to be prepared for the CSS changes, Core level C# changes, JS changes, and even changes in the way XBL and XUL are implemented. In some cases you may not even have examples to go by in the new code to continue your support. You need a CSS wizard, an XUL wizard, an XBL wizard (proficient in XBL 2.0 changes), a JS wizard (proficient in Gecko-specific calls and code requirements), probably a MySQL wizard (proficient in Gecko databases), and a Gecko application structure wizard... all on top of the various platforms Build wizards. You need expert advice and coding from people who have been working with Mozilla code for years. You'll also need community support for Localization and testing, testing, testing.

Sure, you might be able to get away with not having most of that for a little while... but eventually Mozilla will decide they are ready for a major UI change. Don't believe me? One of the arguments for Rapid Releases was that Firefox 4.0 was going to be a *stable* interface design for Firefox for a long long time, so version numbers didn't matter. The reality was that even if users didn't notice it, the UI changed with EVERY SINGLE RELEASE from 5.0 to today. This is something most people who talk about forks just don't get. Just because you don't see a change with your eyes doesn't mean it didn't happen. Mozilla has become notorious for changing the names of UI elements again and again and again for no apparent reason. They also keep changing the CSS implementations for various features again and again and again for no apparent reason. To the point where many of us Themers gave up supporting Firefox long before Australis. The Dev Tools have changed with every version, the theme structure has been changed several times. This isn't trivial stuff, and I've only touched on some of the more obvious challenges. And with EVERY version that your fork gets further from Firefox, all of this gets more complicated.

One thing you'll notice is that absolutely nobody who is rallying behind the idea of a big fork has any experience with maintaining Themes or Extensions for Firefox, has any background in Gecko development, or has experience in long-term Firefox support. Again, not to say that it isn't impossible... just that I think most people entering into this discussion have no appreciation for the fact that the SeaMonkey dev folks do a great deal of this work already.
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Rickkins
 
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Post Posted May 15th, 2014, 6:34 am

Oh I never doubted for even a second that it would be a massive amount of work, never for a second.

One thing that occurs to me though. Given the unpopularity of 29, who's to say that the fork wouldn't be more popular than the official release.

And from where I sit, my only goal was to get people talking about it, knowing as I do that there are a lot of vary smart and capable people out there, some of which might even consider at least contemplating the issues involved, know that such a move would be wildly popular....

rsx11m
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Post Posted May 15th, 2014, 6:45 am

patrickjdempsey wrote:SeaMonkey is the only real "fork" out there.

I would say that Firefox is a fork of SeaMonkey with a redesigned UI, but that's a matter of perspective. ;-) (admitted, SeaMonkey has incorporated a lot of the Toolkit stuff over the years...)

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Post Posted May 15th, 2014, 8:20 am

Rickkins wrote:Oh I never doubted for even a second that it would be a massive amount of work, never for a second.

One thing that occurs to me though. Given the unpopularity of 29, who's to say that the fork wouldn't be more popular than the official release.

And from where I sit, my only goal was to get people talking about it, knowing as I do that there are a lot of vary smart and capable people out there, some of which might even consider at least contemplating the issues involved, know that such a move would be wildly popular....

Your mythical fork will never arise if the people yelling for it are content to be just consumers. Which is pretty much all of them.

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Post Posted May 15th, 2014, 8:35 am

patrickjdempsey wrote:One thing you'll notice is that absolutely nobody who is rallying behind the idea of a big fork has any experience with maintaining Themes or Extensions for Firefox, has any background in Gecko development, or has experience in long-term Firefox support. Again, not to say that it isn't impossible... just that I think most people entering into this discussion have no appreciation for the fact that the SeaMonkey dev folks do a great deal of this work already.

I've come across lots of third-party build users who aren't even aware of SeaMonkey, or never used a minute of Suite their entire lives, while they blather on about their favorite "forks". It's quite amusing, really.

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Post Posted May 15th, 2014, 2:37 pm

I use Pale Moon because I didn't know about Firefox ESR, and I heard PM mentioned in these forums. I keep using it because I like how I can use it separately from Firefox, so I can experiment with fixes to the FF interface (and profiles are migratable between the two). I've given up for now, but I'll probably try again later when ESR hits the end of the road, hoping that by then, we'll have more extensive add-ons for restoring FF to its former glory.

Despite all the claims of super-optimization, I don't notice any speed difference on my Core i7-3770 and SSD. It sure sounded good when I downloaded it though.

patrickjdempsey

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Post Posted May 15th, 2014, 2:39 pm

SnoutSpout wrote:I've come across lots of third-party build users who aren't even aware of SeaMonkey, or never used a minute of Suite their entire lives, while they blather on about their favorite "forks". It's quite amusing, really.


No, they are talking about Builds. I'm talking here about Fork with a capital F... the real thing.
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Kipary
 
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Post Posted May 15th, 2014, 2:50 pm

patrickjdempsey wrote:
SnoutSpout wrote:I've come across lots of third-party build users who aren't even aware of SeaMonkey, or never used a minute of Suite their entire lives, while they blather on about their favorite "forks". It's quite amusing, really.


No, they are talking about Builds. I'm talking here about Fork with a capital F... the real thing.

I noticed you posted a nice migration guide from Firefox to SeaMonkey too. Might try that sometime, but can you tell me if SeaMonkey supports Tab Mix Plus? I'm kinda hooked on that add-on.

patrickjdempsey

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Post Posted May 15th, 2014, 3:21 pm

Browsers don't support extensions... extensions support browsers. ;) TMK Tab Mix Plus does not support SeaMonkey, and in my experience it only really supports the Default Theme of Firefox.
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Kipary
 
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Post Posted May 15th, 2014, 3:50 pm

patrickjdempsey wrote:Browsers don't support extensions... extensions support browsers. ;) TMK Tab Mix Plus does not support SeaMonkey, and in my experience it only really supports the Default Theme of Firefox.

Hah, yes, that is true. Well, it probably won't work for me then, but I'll probably still try it to see if I can recommend it to others. I know people who just want the traditional UI (like File and Edit at the top left), and can't stand Chrome or IE and have no patience for customization. Maybe SeaMonkey can fill that hole.

SnoutSpout

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Post Posted May 15th, 2014, 4:22 pm

patrickjdempsey wrote:
SnoutSpout wrote:I've come across lots of third-party build users who aren't even aware of SeaMonkey, or never used a minute of Suite their entire lives, while they blather on about their favorite "forks". It's quite amusing, really.


No, they are talking about Builds. I'm talking here about Fork with a capital F... the real thing.

They *think* they know what it is, which is good enough for them apparently. Because almost invariably when I read Palemoon recommendation posts, they're almost always sprinkled with the F word. That it's been going on for so long means the community (and thus the maintainers of the builds) are doing nothing to disabuse their users of the notion, because it's good as a selling point, no matter how untrue it is.

rbens
 
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Post Posted May 15th, 2014, 5:51 pm

SnoutSpout wrote:
patrickjdempsey wrote:
SnoutSpout wrote:I've come across lots of third-party build users who aren't even aware of SeaMonkey, or never used a minute of Suite their entire lives, while they blather on about their favorite "forks". It's quite amusing, really.


No, they are talking about Builds. I'm talking here about Fork with a capital F... the real thing.

They *think* they know what it is, which is good enough for them apparently. Because almost invariably when I read Palemoon recommendation posts, they're almost always sprinkled with the F word. That it's been going on for so long means the community (and thus the maintainers of the builds) are doing nothing to disabuse their users of the notion, because it's good as a selling point, no matter how untrue it is.


It doesn't matter a pixel what you call the Pale Moon browser-- whether a "build" or a "fork" or a "Fork with a capital F" or a "spin-off" or a knife or a spoon. Instead, Pale Moon's continued success depends on the marketplace for free software (as does Firefox's continued success). I like Pale Moon's chances.

malliz
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Post Posted May 15th, 2014, 6:03 pm

rbens wrote: I like Pale Moon's chances.

And yet you are posting with Google Chrome :?
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Post Posted May 15th, 2014, 6:06 pm

rbens wrote: I like Pale Moon's chances.

Good for you....and you are who, exactly?
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patrickjdempsey

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Post Posted May 15th, 2014, 6:36 pm

rbens wrote:It doesn't matter a pixel ...


It may not matter to you, but it certainly matters in the context of THIS THREAD which is pretty much the only thread on this whole forum where someone has specifically asked about maintaining a real browser fork. If you don't care about the distinction, then why post in a thread specifically dealing with these distinctions? There's already a dozen "I love Palemoon" threads which you would probably find more to your interests.
Tip of the day: If it has "toolbar" in the name, it's crap.
What my avatar is about: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/seamonkey/addon/sea-fox/

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