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March 31, 2010

SeaMonkey 2 contributor interviews: sgautherie

It's been a while, but we are back with our series of SeaMonkey 2 contributor intereviews! This week, it's time to chat with sgautherie:

Who are you?

My name is Serge Gautherie.
I was born in Paris, France, and I have always lived there.
I was born in the early 1970s.

I'm a computer software engineer:
I've worked 7 years on building and maintaining XNet applications with Java EE and Oracle for different companies;
the last few years, I've been working on internet games with PHP and MySQL... :-|

Oh, and to curious people, I had 1-2 Nintendo gamepads, an Atari console, an Apple //c computer, some "IBM P.C." compatibles, ...

How did you become a SeaMonkey contributor?

If memory serves (though probably not fully exact)...
I started to use Mosaic then Netscape 2 on Windows 3.1, then Netscape 3 on Win-OS/2 2.1 and AIX, then Netscape 4 on Windows 95.
I switched to Mozilla Application Suite at around 0.9.5 in October 2001, my first comment was in April 2002 (bug 135570), my first filed bug in September 2002 (bug 168815), my first assigned bug about January 2004.
I began contributing with some bug reporting/triaging then I did some simple XUL+JS patches with cvs and Gerv's PatchMaker.
Eventually, I got a computer with which I could compile and I did some C/C++ patches for a while. Yet I waited for the move to Mercurial repository to become fully active.
Since then, I've carried on doing reporting/triaging/QA and a bunch of patches (rarely complicated but still mostly useful).
My main interest is in SeaMonkey, yet I contribute to Core and other projects too ;-)

What notable contribution did you make to SeaMonkey 2.0?

I think I've done quite some work over the years but I didn't create any major backend or UI feature.
I'm doing lots of simple (or less simple) ports from Core, Firefox, Thunderbird, and some fixes/enhancements including to tests.
A year ago, I spent a lot of time helping to improve the test harnesses (in trunk and in buildbot), especially in automating leak detection, to name one very visible feature.
More recently, I've been working hard on resynchronizing and cleaning up the comm-central configure and build system. This (round of this) task should be completed "soon" :-]

How can users give something back to you?

I really wish I knew!
In the meantime, some who feels like it can try to be a little more than users (which is already great) by contributing howerver seldom: just fo it :-)

As a note, I discovered in September 2008 that "someone" (;->) at Mozilla Europe had given my name to be invited at the first Moz'Camp (in Barcelona) ... and that was the first time I met in person with other Mozillians actually :-D
There have been a few other events which I attended since then and I have started to socialize with them ;-]

Why, in your eyes, should people use SeaMonkey 2.0?

On one hand, I like to find Firefox in public places where a small, fast and secure browser is very useful to stay in touch.
On the other hand, I do like SeaMonkey at home: using and updating an integrated suite (instead of several applications) is so much easier to me.
Did I say I don't remember the last time I used Windows Internet Explorer 6?
Then why SeaMonkey? It's open source, it's free, Mozilla saved us from I.E. monopoly (long) after Netscape was overwhelmed :-/

What next step do you see for SeaMonkey, and what would you like to happen in the Mozilla and SeaMonkey projects?

SeaMonkey 2.1 continuing mission is to explore strang^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hswitch to more new-Toolkit features, as SeaMonkey 2.0 was already a major step after the 1.x series.
The very good news currently are that we'll soon be able to stop maintaining SeaMonkey 1.1 and we have great hope that KompoZer and SeaMonkey will eventually merge back together this year :-)
I also wish KaiRo (the SeaMonkey project leader ;-)) could find time to look into whether creating some kind of company to support the project further would be realistic...

Posted by KaiRo at 12:00 AM | Comments (1)

March 30, 2010

SeaMonkey 2.0.4 Security Update

As part of Mozilla's ongoing stability and security update process, SeaMonkey 2.0.4 is now available for Windows, Mac, and Linux as a free download from www.seamonkey-project.org.

We strongly recommend that all SeaMonkey and old suite users upgrade to this latest release. If you already have SeaMonkey 2.0, you will receive an automated update notification within 24 to 48 hours. This update can also be applied manually by selecting "Check for Updates..." from the Help menu.

For a list of changes and more information, please review the SeaMonkey 2.0.4 Release Notes.

Note: All users of the outdated SeaMonkey 1.x, Mozilla or Netscape suites are encouraged to upgrade to SeaMonkey 2.0 by downloading it from www.seamonkey-project.org.

Posted by KaiRo at 11:13 AM | Comments (1)

March 16, 2010

Support For SeaMonkey 1.x Dropped

In January 2006, SeaMonkey 1.0 was released, a 1.1 release followed a year later. Another three years later, the SeaMonkey project is discontinuing support for the SeaMonkey 1.x series today in favor of SeaMonkey 2.0, which is not only more modern, but also maintained for stability and security problems.

As the SeaMonkey 1.x series no longer receives security updates, due to resource constraints, the SeaMonkey team strongly urges users of that series to upgrade. Additionally, the team continues to strongly urge people still using the old Mozilla Suite or Netscape 4, 6 or 7 to upgrade to the new SeaMonkey 2.0 version. All these older software packages suffer from a large, and steadily increasing, number of security vulnerabilities because they are no longer being maintained.

Everyone on reasonably modern operating systems is urged to switch to the newest release available for free download from the open source project's website at www.seamonkey-project.org, providing the familiar suite functionality in a remodernized application with additional features and fully up to date security.
For the few who can't afford that, a last 1.x release is available. SeaMonkey 1.1.19 does fix a few security issues, but not all known security vulnerabilites, some of which may even be grave. Those are only fixed in the new SeaMonkey 2.0, which will continue to be maintained for quite some time and updated for any security issues as they might arise, while the team is working on evolving the well-known suite even further in future versions.

Posted by KaiRo at 6:41 PM | Comments (3)

March 12, 2010

See No Monkey Dance

Why SeaMonkey isn't part of Microsoft's European "Browser Choice Ballot Screen"

In December 2009, after a three year legal hassle, the EU Commission finally accepted a commitment by Microsoft to provide Internet Explorer users with a ballot screen of rival browsers.[1]

Since March 1st, that page[2] is being rolled out by Microsoft, presenting, in a somewhat randomized order, "the 12 leading browsers" for Windows to the lucky IE user. Let's see how many of those you recognize: Microsoft Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Apple Safari, Opera, FlashPeak SlimBrowser, Maxthon, GreenBrowser, Flock, Avant Browser, K-Meleon, and Sleipnir. More than five, and you're good; more than eight and you're a true expert...

But no SeaMonkey, no Mozilla Suite, no Netscape - so, what's the matter with that list?! Where does it come from, who decides upon a browsers' rank?

The reason for this strange selection lies in the odd provisions Microsoft managed to get accepted by the EU Commission[3] (emphasis by me):

(11) The Choice Screen will be populated with the 12 most widely-used web browsers that run on Windows 7 according to a ranking based on usage share in the EEA as measured semi-annually (see the methodology set out in paragraph 14). In addition, if a browser’s usage share is ranked among the top 12, but that browser is no longer actively offered by its vendor, that browser will not be included in the Choice Screen. If a browser vendor does not wish to have its browser included in the Choice Screen, that browser will not be included.

That's strike number one - Mozilla Suite and Netscape are discontinued and lose.

(14) For each of the usage share sources listed in Annex D, web browser usage share will be determined semi-annually [...], with shares for different released versions of the same vendor’s browsers added together to determine a browser’s total usage share (e.g., Firefox 2.0, 3.0, 3.5, etc. all count towards the total share for “Mozilla Firefox”). No more than one browser will be listed per vendor. Other than Internet Explorer, the Choice Screen may not contain any web browser which is based on Internet Explorer’s rendering engine and the development or distribution of which is funded in whole or in substantial part by Microsoft. The list of the web browsers to be included on the Choice Screen will be determined as follows: First, a list of all web browsers will be established that both, meet the criteria laid down in paragraph 11 and are included in at least two of the three data sources of usage share information for web browsers listed in Annex D. Secondly, the browsers on this list will be ranked according to the arithmetic means of their numerical ranks in the data sources, taking into account their best ranking in two data sources (i.e. if a browser is included in three data sources, the two data sources where it was ranked highest should be used to calculate its arithmetic mean). Thirdly, if this procedure results in a list of more than 12 browsers, only the first 12 browsers will be included in the Choice Screen. Conversely, if this procedure results in a list of less than 12 browsers the remaining slots on the Choice Screen will be left empty. [...]

Oops, and that's where we're out now as well — the SeaMonkey project is legally backed by the Mozilla Foundation, which counts as the vendor...

It's very obvious that the notion of independent products/projects under the hood of the same legal entity is something quite alien to Microsoft and the EUC. :-(
Or maybe they're frightened. ;-)

Finally, let's a look at the statistical sources mentioned above:

List of the data sources referred to in paragraph 14

ComScore[4] is very tight-lipped about its browser stats, at least to the general public. NetApplications[5] has the most detailed public data, even listing SeaMonkey. Guess what? No trace of the oddball ballot browser bunch. And StatCounter[6] (in its .csv data) sums up something called "Mozilla 1.9" which is different from Firefox...

So, what do we learn from this?

It's all about YOU, the SeaMonkey users. Enjoy! Share SeaMonkey with your friends, share SeaMonkey with your family, share SeaMonkey with your colleagues. Write your own extensions! Tell the net! Participate in QA and development and make SeaMonkey become even better!

[1] http://ec.europa.eu/competition/elojade/isef/case_details.cfm?proc_code=1_39530
[2] http://www.browserchoice.eu/
[3] http://ec.europa.eu/competition/antitrust/cases/decisions/39530/en.pdf
[4] http://www.comscore.com/
[5] http://www.netmarketshare.com/browser-market-share.aspx?qprid=2
[6] http://gs.statcounter.com/#browser_version-eu-monthly-200902-201003

Posted by Mnyromyr at 12:59 PM | Comments (1)

March 10, 2010

The SeaMonkey Project Turns 5!

On March 10, 2005, Mozilla Foundation announced the transition plan that paved the way for the community to take over development, release and project management of Mozilla's application suite. This agreement formed the base of today' SeaMonkey project, which came to be after a number of IRC meetings where we decided we'd first work on releasing the then-available suite code as a first community version while starting work on transforming the suite to an application built upon the new Mozilla platform also in use by Firefox and Thunderbird.
On July 2, we announced the new name of the suite and community project to be "SeaMonkey", September 15 marked our first Alpha release, on December 2, we announced our new logo, and on January 30, 2006, we were able to release SeaMonkey 1.0 to the public.
While we released a slightly improved 1.1 based on the old one a year later, work continued on the version based on the new platform, culminating in a completely reworked SeaMonkey 2.0 that more or less was the first release our new team developed from ground up, going public on October 27, 2009.
5 years after the transition plan announcement, we are about to end support for the SeaMonkey 1.x series and leave the aged "xpfe" platform finally behind us, while we're working on a new 2.1 release that brings more features and closes the gap to Firefox and Thunderbird even further.
So, while we're celebrating the 5th anniversary, the SeaMonkey project is as active as ever, if not even more, providing the most modern Internet suite available today with SeaMonkey 2.0 and working on improving it even more.
Still, we need your help to make our software and project even better in the next 5 years!

Posted by KaiRo at 10:41 AM | Comments (1)