Remember when a web browser was so much more than just a web browser? It seems that the days of the all-you-can-eat Internet suite are back as the SeaMonkey 2.0 release code is made available to download.

There was a time when Netscape ruled the online world, but you have to be something of an Internet veteran to remember it to be honest. Back in the day, and that would be 1997 if my memory serves me well, Netscape Communicator was the only browser in town but it wasn't only a browser. You got email in the form of Netscape Messenger which also included a Usenet News client, and address book, a calendar and even an HTML editor known as Netscape Composer.

That was before Mozilla came along with Firefox and declared war on browser bloat. Now, as the likes of Google with the Chrome browser have stripped back to the basics, the circle of online life has been completed. Yes, the SeaMonkey Council is adopting the bloatware principle and brings you an all-in-one Internet suite. There's the familiar web browser, of course, but also a Mail and Newsgroups client with spam controls built in, an IRC 'chatzilla' client and, oh yes, the SeaMonkey Composer for HTML editing.

The big question remains, to be fair, does anyone actually want this kind of Internet application suite anymore? To be honest if I wanted a bloated browser I would still be using Internet Explorer. Oddly, back at the start of 2005 Mozilla itself didn't seem to think anyone wanted bloated browsers either. On March 10th, 2005, the Mozilla Foundation said that the Mozilla Application Suite (as it was then) would not have any more releases. The pretty sound reasoning being that it needed to concentrate on Firefox and Thunderbird as people wanted standalone clients. The development door was left ajar, however, with the SeaMonkey Council taking over the project and release management allowing community members to continue pushing the concept and the code forward.

So why do I say that Netscape Communicator has been born again? Well I have a very long memory, and was indeed around working online at the time, and can recall that while Netscape Communicator 5 never actually saw the light of day it did have a code name. That code name was SeaMonkey...

About the Author

A freelance technology journalist for 30 years, I have been a Contributing Editor at PC Pro (one of the best selling computer magazines in the UK) for most of them. As well as currently contributing to, The Times and Sunday Times via Raconteur Special Reports, SC Magazine UK, Digital Health, IT Pro and Infosecurity Magazine, I am also something of a prolific author. My last book, Being Virtual: Who You Really are Online, which was published in 2008 as part of the Science Museum TechKnow Series by John Wiley & Sons. I am also the only three times winner (2006, 2008, 2010) of the BT Information Security Journalist of the Year title, and was humbled to be presented with the ‘Enigma Award’ for a ‘lifetime contribution to information security journalism’ in 2011 despite my life being far from over...

ithelp 757

Netscape was my first browser, I am not sure how will it compete with chrome ,etc .

Did you change user id ?

happygeek 2,411

My first web browser was Lynx, just text at the time. Am giving my age away now :)

I am still happygeek, no id change here. When staff writers post a news story rather than a normal forum post, it shows our names as a byline instead of the DaniWeb user name - if that's what you are referring to?


Bloated browser? Dude, you contradict yourself. It´s WAY MORE than just a browser. Having it in memory uses LESS MEMORY than running Firefox and Thunderbird at the same time, because it uses a SINGLE COPY of the Mozilla Gecko HTML rendering engine.

Plus, Firefox uses the SAME ENGINE and foundations as Mozilla/Seamonkey, so performance is the same as well as rendering quality.

There´s still a lot of useful things that Firefox CANNOT DO:

#1 "File->Email this page" sends the page currently being viewed as an e-mail, not just a link, but the full HTML attached into the message, with the page's title as subject line. A LOT LESS WORK and useful to send copies of interesting web content that might be gone tomorrow

#2 File->Edit this page, cut / strip off any banners and adverts in Composer, and then Ctrl-P to print. SAVES TONS OF PAPER and printing supplies by just printing what you want, not the full crud around it.

The comparison with Communicator is silly. You've got things all wrong.

Netscape Corp opened its source code and it created MOZILLA (the full suite now renamed SeaMonkey), that is a completely new code base.

Based on Mozilla 1.x they created Netscape 6.0, 6.1, 6.2, 7.0, 7.1 and 7.2, at that point (2003) Netscape Corp fired all its programmers working on the Mozilla code, and the Mozilla Foundation was born.

So, to compare SeaMonkey with Netscape Communicator 4.0 is to have no idea of where SeaMonkey comes from or the Mozilla 1.x history.