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What is SeaMonkey?

Whether you're browsing the Web, checking email, building a website or debugging a bit of tricky code, the free and open-source SeaMonkey suite of applications from Mozilla has the tools you need.

A community-driven project designed to create a quality, all-in-one Internet applications suite, Mozilla's SeaMonkey combines, in the words of its creators, "(a) Web browser, advanced e-mail, newsgroup and feed client, IRC chat, and HTML editing...all your Internet needs in one application." SeaMonkey is, like its Mozilla kin Firefox and Thunderbird, a free and open-source application, making it a great choice for anyone looking for a customizable Internet experience.

What is unique about SeaMonkey?

At the core of SeaMonkey is its browser. Based on the same architecture as Firefox, the SeaMonkey browser provides a similar experience, with tabbed browsing, pop-up detection and blocking, feed management, and a plethora of add-ons, themes and other tweaks to create a personalized Web browsing application.

Beyond the browser, you'll also get SeaMonkey's mail and newsgroups clients, which are based on Mozilla's Thunderbird and draw the bulk of their code from it. Inside, you'll find powerful features such as adaptive junk mail filtering, custom tags and views, built-in support to read Really Simple Syndication (RSS) and Atom feeds, tabbed messaging, support for multiple accounts, S/MIME, and address books with LDAP support.

In addition to browsing and email, SeaMonkey includes a powerful set of coding tools. Composer, a simple but versatile HTML editor, lets you create and edit dynamic Web content and documents right from the SeaMonkey window. You also get a customizable Internet Relay Chat (IRC) client, a DOM Inspector (which allows you to examine a wide range of properties within websites, pages, and objects, including JavaScript and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)), and a JavaScript debugging tool known as "Venkman" that lets you debug JavaScript code on your websites, in add-ons, and even the SeaMonkey software itself.

If all of that isn’t enough then you can extend your SeaMonkey experience with a wide range of add-ons. To give you a sense of what sort of add-ons are out there in May 2015 the five most popular add-ons are:

  • Adblock Plus: An add-on that removes intrusive ads and blocks all known malware domains while supporting websites by not blocking unobtrusive ads by default (all ads can be blocked by adjusting custom settings in the add-on).
  • NoScript Security Suite: This add-on allows you to limit which sites are able to run active content, thereby protecting you against XSS (cross-site scripting) and clickjacking attacks.
  • DownThemAll!: A download management add-on that speeds up downloads and provides other management tools such as pause and resume.
  • Ghostery: A tool that allows you to see which websites are tracking your moves on the web and to block them.
  • Lightning: A calendar integration for SeaMonkey’s email client.

Why choose SeaMonkey?

The biggest reason to choose SeaMonkey is that it’s a resource saver. If you typically have a browser, email client, a text editor, and a chat client all running at the same time on your computer then you can save some major RAM resources by switching to SeaMonkey and doing all of this in a single application suite.

However, there are some downsides to SeaMonkey. For starters, SeaMonkey is not too easy on the eyes. To a certain extent this can be remedied by installing one of the many available themes, but you’re still stuck with buttons and menus that appear dated. Also, SeaMonkey is generally better suited to power users. For example, setting up the email client is considerably more challenging than setting up Thunderbird even though they both use much of the same programming.

What are some alternatives to SeaMonkey?

There aren’t any direct alternatives to SeaMonkey: an internet application suite that includes a browser, email client with address book, HTML text editor, IRC chat client, and add-ons galore. In order to get all of those applications you can either go with SeaMonkey, or use a combination of multiple pieces of software.

There are many alternatives to each piece of the SeaMonkey suite. A little research online will net you many free options for browsers, email clients, IRC clients, and text editors. One potential source for replacement products is SeaMonkey’s relative Mozilla who offers a replacement to each piece of the SeaMonkey package:

  • Firefox browser
  • Thunderbird email client
  • Chatzilla IRC client add-on for Firefox
  • Simple Text Editor add-on for Firefox

How do I install SeaMonkey?

SeaMonkey is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux. PC and Linux users will require a PC with at Pentium processor running at 233 MHz or higher (a 500 MHz Pentium or higher is recommended), along with 128 MB of RAM and 50 MB of hard drive space. Mac users will need OS X 10.6 or higher, an Intel processor, and 200 MB of hard drive space.

To try SeaMonkey for yourself just head to the project website, download the appropriate version, and follow the simple installation process.

SeaMonkey Hosting Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the current status of SeaMonkey development?

    SeaMonkey is extremely active. As of May 2015 there have been 6 updates in the first half of the year. The current version is 2.33.1, but that probably won’t last long based on the update history. Rapid updates are both a blessing a curse. They’re great because it means security patches are applied rapidly, and bugs are fixed as soon as they’re found. However, the downside is that you can expect to have to upgrade SeaMonkey on a very regular basis which can get a little old.

  • What web browser engine does SeaMonkey use?

    SeaMonkey uses Gecko, which is the same browser engine used by Mozilla Firefox. As a result, SeaMonkey will render webpages virtually identically to Firefox. Other popular browser engines include WebKit (used by Safari), Blink (a WebKit fork used by Chrome and Opera), and Trident (used by Internet Explorer).

  • Is SeaMonkey a Mozilla product?

    No. While SeaMonkey is a continuation of the former Mozilla Application Suite, ongoing development of SeaMonkey is community-driven. Development of Mozilla products, on the other hand, is governed by the Mozilla Foundation. So while there is a lot of code shared between SeaMonkey and Mozilla products Firefox and Thunderbird, the community that drives the development of SeaMonkey and the Mozilla Foundation are two separate entities.

  • Can I use any Firefox extensions with SeaMonkey?

    SeaMonkey maintains it’s own database of add-ons. However, if you can’t find what you want in the SeaMonkey database many Firefox extensions work great in SeaMonkey without requiring any modification. However, for those that don’t work, SeaMonkey offers an Add-On Converter tool. No guarantees are offered that the converted extension will work in SeaMonkey, but most simple add-ons convert without any problem.

  • Who uses SeaMonkey?

    SeaMonkey is generally used by technically-inclined power users who prefer a more traditional user interface over the minimalist UI’s of more popular browsers like Chrome, Safari, and Firefox.

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