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Personal Thoughts on SeaMonkey 2.1

I know, we are already 3 weeks past the release of SeaMonkey 2.1, and we'll actually see a 2.2 release next week, but I wanted to get some words up here about 2.1, given that I had been project coordinator and release manager for most of its release cycle.

In the end, it was Callek who built the release and InvisibleSmiley who updated the website, though I did send the announcements - but as always with SeaMonkey, it has been a simply great achievement of an all-volunteer community, and I would like all the great people in that team for all they did and continue to do.

That release was a somewhat emotional moment for me - I have said for a few months that this would be "my last release", and even if I didn't do the final steps in the end, I have been working a lot since 2.0 to make this happen before transitioning over to working on Firefox crash analysis for Mozilla.

I even did some UI and build system code work, including some heavy lifting and some very visible code, for example lightweight themes (Personas) support, defaulting to tabbed browsing, switching to places bookmarks, turning on out-of-process plugins, adding the Data Manager, OpenSearch support, using omnijar, and an optional search bar and an OpenSearch engine manage, not to speak of the release engineering and management work.

This brought SeaMonkey up to date with Firefox 4 not only in the platform and in the web-facing parts, but also in many other user-facing features - and even added a unique feature that Firefox doesn't offer by default (Data Manager).

I also organized a first SeaMonkey Developer Meeting in October 2010, where the core team had a great opportunity to talk about the past, present and future of the project and, most importantly, meet face to face. This showed what a cool, diverse, and great group there is at the heart of SeaMonkey, but it also made me think even more deeply about my personal priorities.

For several years I coordinated a vibrant community project, and with the 2.1 release, it has delivered a really great product, starting a new era - the updates will follow in faster succession and be even closer in time and code to what Firefox is shipping.

For myself, it also marked the start of a new era as I passed the baton on project coordination back to the collective of the SeaMonkey Council and the great volunteer team and community, which I trust to make the project continue doing great Internet suites for quite some time to come.

I learned a lot in this project, and the project management experience there made it possible for me to now work in program management at Mozilla to help making Firefox more stable than ever before. I'm very passionate about the Mozilla mission and believe this is the best way I can make a difference to support it and drive it further to success, but I'll still be in reach to help and support SeaMonkey as part of my free time - just not in such a prominent role. I'll still be around in discussions, do small things here and there, esp. in support of Callek in release engineering, work on the Data Manager as well as some other add-ons that work in both SeaMonkey and Firefox - and I'll try to make "the official Mozilla" and SeaMonkey work together as well as possible.

This is a great release, project and community, I thank you all for making all that possible, for supporting me and us all over the years, and I hope you will take care well of this baby I helped to grow up and that you will help it grow even more mature over the next few years!

Entry written by KaiRo and posted on July 2nd, 2011 02:16 | Tags: Mozilla, SeaMonkey, SeaMonkey 2.1 | 3 comments | TrackBack



Tony Mechelynck

from Brussels, Belgium

Or as someone else put it:
«Fare thee well, for I must leave thee,
And don't let the parting grieve thee
But remember that the best of friends must part, must part;
Adieu, adieu, kind friends, adieu, say adieu,
I can no longer stay with you, stay with you-u,
I'll hang my harp on a weeping willow tree,
And may the world go well with thee.»

Fare you well, Robert, it makes me feel good to know that in the Firefox team there'll be at least one program manager and extension developer who'll constantly remember, even without being told, that SeaMonkey exists, is a worthwhile product, and has actually much in common with Firefox (and with Thunderbird, but maybe that's more up Karsten's alley) — This very week I made one Firefox extension work in SeaMonkey by merely adding a SeaMonkey <targetApplication> section in its install.rdf. ^!^ No other change was needed. One shortcoming which I think SeaMonkey cures fast and forever is parochial thinking about the Mozilla codebase, and in that sense, maybe it was Mozilla's worst error when they dropped "official support" for SeaMonkey, error not in terms of its market share, which is tiny indeed, but of its central role in making all Mozilla "products" work together (the browser, the mailer, news reader and address book, the chat client, the javascript debugger, the calendar, the add-ons manager, all backend parts of course, and if you're serious about using it to the full, the crash reporting client and server, and the bug reporting application — maybe there are some Mozilla products which a serious SeaMonkey user may never meet or (even unknowingly) use, but I bet they're few and far between. Even if the "useless bells and whistles" that I see in Firefox (the "kiddie-toy" style of the Options UI, now the tabs-on-top and the URL-bar greying-in-and-out silliness) sometimes irritate me when compared with SeaMonkey's nice and efficient no-nonsense style, somewhere deep down I still know that Firefox and SeaMonkey are in the same family — indeed, sometimes I feel that Firefox is our little sibling or child — kindergarten vs. grown-up, if you will (or maybe the Firefox guys will call it young adult vs. doddering greybeard from a different point of view I suppose. ;-) )

And yes, the members of the SeaMonkey Council are indeed great people all, people who make me feel proud looking up to them, and that's no flattery (they are reading your blog I'm sure) but the plain truth as I see it. With them in charge of keeping the Suite in shape, and you putting grease on the wheels where some people seem to find fun in throwing wrenches nowadays, I think we stand a chance.
2011-07-02 07:30



one one short question.
Can I change the size of the scroll bar in 2.1 Bookmarks Sidebar?
The Scrollbar is really small in the 2.1 version, I would like to have it sized as the normal browser views bar.
I use the sidebar a lot.

2011-07-05 02:42


Always liked how you focused on the open source version of Netscape Communicator called Mozilla Suite, renamed Seamonkey and variously called Allizom by some of us. Hope you can be a voice of reason over at Firefox and wish you all the best.
2011-07-22 17:26

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