Mozilla Seamonkey

SeamonkeySeaMonkey is a free, open-source software suite built off Mozilla's cross-platform source code. Volunteer programmers are continually updating this small, efficient all-in-one application suite, which combines Internet browsing, e-mail, chat, and an HTML editor.

First in Class: SeaMonkey Navigator

SeaMonkey's browser is far and away the best feature. GECKO-based, it offers tabbed browsing, blocks pop-ups, displays even the trickiest code, and loads a shade faster than Firefox. Google Reader displays perfectly, as does Gmail. Because it's built off the same code as Firefox, some of those extensions will also work in SeaMonkey, at least theoretically. SeaMonkey's full list of extensions is nowhere near as large as Firefox's and even with those add-ons and themes designed for SeaMonkey, it seems to have problems with loading them. Still, it's fast, renders pages admirably, and is quite stable, even moreso than Firefox.

Acceptable: SeaMonkey Messenger

Its e-mail program – SeaMonkey Messenger – uses some of the same code as Mozilla's Thunderbird. It filters spam, lets you access several different accounts from one inbox, and supports POP and IMAP. It allows you to import addresses and e-mail from Eudora, Outlook, and Outlook Express, along with other Messenger clients. You can sort your mail, color-code, even apply custom labels. Unfortunately, it has no OS X integration, so Mac users are out of luck.

Less Feature-Rich: Chat and HTML Editor

ChatZilla is its open-source IRC instant messaging system. Available in Firefox as an add-on, it doesn't differentiate itself or go above and beyond the basics. Though it's quick, it's also rather unfriendly to casual users.

SeaMonkey Composer – its basic WYSIWYG/HTML editor – is quite akin to a stripped-down Microsoft FrontPage. You can create/edit simple pages, but it's geared toward the less tech savvy users. The HTML experienced may find it lacking. Still, for the most basic uses, it's perfectly adequate.

By far the biggest advantage to SeaMonkey is the bundling of all these programs into one, user-friendly application. It does everything competently, but it's hardly exceptional at all of them. The browser is its best feature, loading faster than Firefox and offering many of the same capabilities, but the IRC chat client is quite basic and available elsewhere. If the goal is to find a solid, stable application that does everything, SeaMonkey is the answer. But for any great depth other programs are far more attractive. Still, it's small, fast, and best of all, free.

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