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...