Firefox vs. SeaMonkey vs. Flock

Hey,
I’m just here trying to decide whether to stay with Firefox. (The following was tested on a MacIntel running Tiger OS X.)

Firefox 2.0.0.1
Has incorporated the ability to recoup open pages during a crash. This is good.

Some Cons
Firefox 2.0.0.1 (or any version I’ve tried) seems terribly slow out of the box. I had to hack away at it to speed it up a bit (article soon to come).

It also crashes when de-selecting javascript option in preferences, something I do when leaving sites that don’t need it. I know there is an extension (called NoScript [1] [1]) that only allows scripts to be run from a preselected set of sites (from http://noscript.net/ [2] [2]). This would circumvent the mentioned bug.

SeaMonkey 1.1
SeaMonkey is faster and more stable than Firefox 2.0.0.1. It also has a nice tab feature that allows you to preview an unselected tab’s content. You can also delete that same unselected tab if the preview isn’t interesting, for those that thought that you actually had to select the tab in order to delete it.

It incorporates Chatzilla, an email (now incarnate as Thunderbird) and a newsgroups program (if you still use newsgroups or ever got into it), and an address book (also now part of Thunderbird). According to my readings, SeaMonkey (with it’s own email app.) has a smaller footprint than Firefox and Thunderbird together. This low footprint and “all in one” approach makes SeaMonkey convenient and practical for some low processing powered computers (there are individual programs with smaller footprints though).

Some Cons
It doesn’t have an extensions manager and dragging and dropping the .xpi file onto an open window (as suggested at http://forums.mozillazine.org/viewtopic.php?t=423495& [3] [3]) doesn’t install the desired extension; Clicking on it didn’t do it for me either.

Composer seems much more stable that it’s KompoZer or Nvu brothers, KompoZer being the better of the two. Still, Composer lacks a modern feature which KompoZer makes usable, CSS editing. Unfortunately, copy and past introduces weird symbols replacing vowels with tildes and “ñ”s into a document saved with Composer (after saving a file).

SeaMonkey retains the confusing or cluttered “Preferences” pane from Mozilla.

Flock 0.7.10.1
I’m very interested in Flock. It’s saving grace for me, in addition of it being perhaps a little faster than Firefox, is that it is a social browser. In fact, I’m writing this post from it’s Blog feature to be published at wordpress.com (as navigating through the wordpress site can be slow on some browsers, more on this later). It is not limited to supporting blogging services, but works with other online services such as Photobucket and Flickr.

This blogging feature has a spell checker (I missed this earlier).

The other thing I like is that it incorporates bookmarks (called Favorites) within the main window rather than having a pop-up-like window as in SeaMonkey and Firefox.

Flock also has it’s own RSS reader for the news junkie.

For those that spend a lot of time collecting and organizing bookmarks but never seem to make full use of them because a Google search “seems” faster, the search feature seems to take an index approach to history and bookmarks, as well as allowing search engine searches.

Flock seems very stable as I can’t recall it crashing after a few weeks.

Cons
The negatives here are that it only allows importation of bookmarks once, low level hacking did not work for me, and there seems to be no hierarchical system of bookmarks.

Flock seems to have a momentary lag during opening pages with media files, or perhaps a combination of this and multiple tabs.

The ability to store remote bookmarks allows one to travel and log into the net via multiple computers and have access to one’s bookmarks. I must admit, I wonder what they will do with all this browsing information. Sell it to interested parties? [I haven’t read up but I was refferng to survice providers] Might this be a privacy issue?

The self-update feature does not work yet, AFAIK.

Lastly and like Firefox (which I haven’t noted above), connecting to an online radio service based out of Canada via a javascript enabled player drives the cpu to about 30%, which I think is unacceptable.

Common Mozilla Based Browser Problems
Faster scrolling via arrow keys (not a scroll wheel mouse), like that of Safari, could be incorporated to all of the above. Also, they all suffer from a slow navigation at wordpress.com. Surprisingly, Safari doesn’t, thus my selective use of Safari (Safari is based on Konqueror).

There is another thing I would like to see in any of these manifestations of the Mozilla code, this is a sort of protected memory with a specific address. This term was used to envision a way to allow misbehaving apps to crash and NOT to take down it’s entire OS (ie., blue screen of death). I would like to see this sort of implementation between Mozilla code and the extensions due to extension introduced stability problems.

Final Words
Which browser would I choose? I would use Flock if I could get it to import my Firefox bookmarks again, which have changed since, and have them represented with a good infrastructure. Of course, the other minor Flock specific glitches need attention, as well as emulating SeaMonkey’s small footprint.

Common to both Flock and Firefox is the incorporation of a kill button to every tab, which unavoidably allows unintentional closing of tabs. SeaMonkey does not have this oversight. Don’t like not having a close button on every tab? Command/control “w” will close the window with much less occurrences of closing of tabs by mistake.

In the end, I think I like the Mozilla concept of an application suite of sorts ([KompoZer and blog software with a bulit in RSS reader, and Chatzilla?] especially for a minimalist Gnu-linux setup), the consistent speed and stability of SeaMonkey, perhaps, with Flock’s ability to connect to remote bookmarks feature (but represented hierarchically!) and it’s unified indexed history/Favorites/search engine searches with Firefox’s ability to reopen open windows after a crash (the “Session Manager” extension adds this feature to Flock), add the tab preview feature and disallow a kill option for every tab “on each and every tab”, enable the ability to navigate through every tab with the arrow keys (presently found only on Firefox and SeaMonkey), retain a spell checker, add a logical manner to organize bookmarks, add the protected and isolated memory from extensions feature, and you end up with –in my opinion– an optimally featured browser.

Of course, adding in the community support that Firefox possesses towards this theoretical prototype Mozilla based browser I’m describing would greatly benefit it.

Anyone see a fork coming?
I’ll call it “SeaFlox” from SeaMonkey +Flock + Firefox

This is licensed under the Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported Creative Commons License [4] [4]. All brands mentioned are properties of their respective owners. By reading this article, the reader forgoes any accountability of the writer. The reading of this article implies acceptance of the above stipulations. The author requires attribution –by full name and URL– and notification of republications.

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2 thoughts on “Firefox vs. SeaMonkey vs. Flock

  1. Hey Mauro,

    I’m glad you gave Flock a try – thanks for the kind words!

    To address some of your concerns:

    -1.0 should allow you to import bookmarks whenever you’d like.
    -We don’t sell any info. Most of it is not viewed at all, but the info that we do view is used to enhance your Flock experience. You can read our privacy policy here: http://www.flock.com/privacy/
    -Self-update will definitely be working come 1.0.

    I can’t promise any solution to the lag you’re facing; we’ll be doing a lot of work to make the browser even faster, but I don’t know which lag issues this will address.

    Thanks for Flocking and rolling!

    -Evan Hamilton
    Flock Community Ambassador
    evan at flock dot com

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