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Microsoft copying SeaMonkey design?

therube on IRC pointed me to this picture today:

The top is "Microsoft Download Manager" (in Vista or Win7 design from what I can tell), the bottom is SeaMonkey's Download Manager (seems to be Windows Classic design, so prettiness can't be compared obviously).

I wonder if that "Microsoft Download Manager" thing is new or has been there for longer, but it looks like they pretty much did copy what has been there for a long time in the suite. :)

We have meanwhile taken the next steps, added a search filter, and done away with the confusing "the top toolbar only works on the selection in the tree" functionality, instead placing the most important actions as graphical mini-buttons into the tree itself. Let's see when they follow. ;-)

Entry written by KaiRo and posted on May 22nd, 2010 23:47 | Tags: Microsoft, Mozilla, SeaMonkey | 13 comments | TrackBack


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If you had half a brain & decent search-engine skills, you'd know the MS Download Manager has been around since 2005 for MSDN subscribers.
2010-05-23 01:24


from California

Don't flatter yourself
Take a look at any download manager window. If there are 100 others that exist, 98 of them probably look the same as this.

Last edited by KaiRo at 2010-05-23 12:56

2010-05-23 06:22


I'm sorry, but how does this look any more like SeaMonkey's download manager than any other browser or non-browser download manager? Besides showing a list of files I don't see any similarities. Opera's download manager also looks very similar, as does DownThemAll for Firefox.

Last edited by KaiRo at 2010-05-23 12:56

2010-05-23 09:06


They look very little a like. Maybe you spend to much time staring at download managers? =P
2010-05-23 09:35



Quote of Cornelius:
If you had half a brain & decent search-engine skills, you'd know the MS Download Manager has been around since 2005 for MSDN subscribers.

I wouldn't need half a brain, but I'd need to be a developer for MS architecture, which I'm not. Don't go out insulting people for not knowing what you do.

DownThemAll has started based on the Mozilla Suite download manager, i.e. the old SeaMonkey one. Not sure if Opera did the same. The Mozilla Suite one might have been based on what Netscape 4 had, but I can't remember the design so far back.

Well, I re-implemented the one we have in SeaMonkey 2, and which is pictured there, so I needed to stare a lot on it for a reason. The older one from SeaMonkey 1.x and Mozilla Suite with the confusing toolbar that acts on the selection instead of the mini-buttons in the tree and without a Search filter looked even more like the MS one. If you say they don't look alike, you're confusing theme with structure. Switch the MS one to WinClassic theme, or ours to Aero/Glass/whatever it's called now, and the design would match more. The structure is basically the same.

The Firefox Download Manager looks completely different, for example, and so others do as well. Those that look similar might just all have been inspired by Netscape 4 (and earlier?), I have a hunch that it already had that design, and given it had a majority market share back then, it's reasonable that it would be the source of such inspiration.

I didn't want to say that SeaMonkey is doing the innovation for Microsoft (though I'd like that theme), I just found the similarity impressing, given that I'm told that SeaMonkey is conservative, backwards, old school, and probably irrelevant in the modern world and Internet.

Also, copying is nothing bad in software design, re-using successful and good ideas is a good base for creating good software (of course you need to put your own innovation on top of that). A bad idea in software design is to avoid copying others by re-inventing successful things from the ground without any good reason other than the successful one not being your idea (if you have good reasons to make it much better while rebuilding it differently, that's something else, of course). Consistency even between different pieces of software is usually good for the learning processes of users, needless differences are harming it a lot.

Last edited by KaiRo at 2010-05-23 13:13

2010-05-23 13:07

Jo Hermans

Of course they look the same - it's what most download managers look like, although it can be a bit too complicated for many users. Hence the single column design in Firefox (and Safari and a few others).
2010-05-23 15:37


from USA

What is this?
There is nothing here, I can't believe Planet Mozilla wasted my time with this post.
2010-05-23 18:06


They copied nothing. It's perfectly reasonable to assume that two or more people, thinking independently, will put "Pause" and "Resume" one after the other in a context menu. Sorry, but this design is as basic and simple as it gets.
2010-05-23 20:03

Anonymous guest

In UI design copying is best one can do
Mozilla itself always, again and again, states, that in UI design copying is best you can do.

I don't see the point in this post and wonder how it got to Planet Mozilla (yeah, I know, there's little to write about on weekend, but still...)

Furthermore: In my eyes both images (yes, I know one of them is Aero, one is Classic...) have little in common, except the basic idea of a Download Mananger: listing some downloads in a window.
2010-05-23 21:50

Walter K

DM Issues
By pretending that the topic of the post is not a serious one, I'd like to mentioned a couple of usability issues that the already solid SeaMonkey's DM has. Both of the issues are concerned with not seeing and being able to copy URL of a download in the DM manager. After a few futile attempts to see the URL, I figured out that there is a column one can add to the DM to see it. While it's a good start, it's not easily discoverable or usable - I cannot copy URL from the column.

There are two separate fixes that can improve the situation. First, the DM needs to have the URL of a download as part of a tooltip for each of the items. Second, Properties pop-up needs to have URL in it, and the URL should be presented in such a form where one can copy it from.
2010-05-24 21:41

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