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General: Last updated August 17th, 2006
- I have read that the Mozilla Suite has been discontinued by the Mozilla Foundation. Does this mean that there won't be any upgrades or fixes for it ?
Yes and no. The Mozilla Foundation has decided to focus its efforts on Mozilla Firefox and Thunderbird. While there won't be any newer versions (i.e. 1.8 or up) or new features for the Mozilla Suite, bug fixes, especially for security-related bugs will be released for a while to come, so you can safely continue to use the Mozilla Suite.
In addition, volunteers have picked up the development work. While the Suite will no longer be called the Mozilla Suite, it is now available (with many new features!) under the name
Seamonkey Suite at Mozilla.org
- Is there a page that shows all the different Mozilla Programs ?
Yes, there is. You can find it
here at Mozilla.org (page lists the official Mozilla products).
Please look here if you want to see additional software based on Mozilla (like e.g. the Seamonkey Suite or Calendar).
- Can Mozilla be used by visually disabled users, as well?
Yes, it can, if you install the Mozbraille extension, which adds Braille, text to speech and large characters output.
Another interesting extension that can help imporve the accessibility of websites when using Mozilla is the Accessibar extension, which " aims at providing various accessibility features for users who could benefit from them. These features primarily focus on the dynamic manipulation of the visual display of the web page in addition to the integration of a text to speech reader which can read out loud the browser's user interface as well as web page content.".
- I am not sure if I should install the Seamonkey / Mozilla Suite or Firefox. Is there a short overview that compares them?
Yes, there is. You can find it
here at Ilias.ca.
- I've heard that Mozilla (Firefox) is a safer browser. Does that mean that it has no security bugs?
No, Mozilla products - like pretty much most software - have security bugs, as well, so using Mozilla does not mean that you might never suffer from a security exploit. Still, I would definitely say that the Mozilla Suite and Mozilla Firefox are safe browsers. You can find a list of known / fixed security bugs for the Mozilla Suite, Firefox and Thunderbird at the Mozilla Security advisory.
However, simply because a product has bugs does not mean that it isn't the safer alternative. Here are a few things to consider:
- How many security bugs does a browser have and how serious are they? On November 26th, 2004, the Secunia Vulnerability Report listed 70 security advisories for Internet Explorer 6, one or more of which were rated serious, 10 for Mozilla 1.7.x, none of which is rated higher than less critical and zero for Firefox 1.x. Mozilla 1.7.5 which is to be released in December 2004 will most likely bring the vulnerability count down to zero for the Mozilla Suite, as well. You can find the Secunia Vulnerability Reports here: IE 6, Mozilla 1.7.x and Firefox 1.x.
- How easily can bugs be found? Mozilla products are open source, i.e. anyone can inspect the code for bugs. This is e.g. not possible for Internet Explorer. In addition, the Mozilla foundation has started the Bug Bounty Program where anyone who finds a serious security bug is rewarded with $500. This is in my opinion proof of the Mozilla Foundation's determination to offer a safer browser.
- How quickly are bugs fixed? Since Mozilla is open source, anyone with sufficient programming skill can fix bugs. In some cases, fixes for bugs were available only a few hours after the bug was first discovered.
- Will a fix be available at all? IE has numerous unpatched security bugs. In addition, Microsoft can easily decide to not offer any patches except for those users who have the latest version of their operating system / agree to install a service pack that may bring 'upgrades' that you might not want. Case in point: At the time of this writing, only those IE users who were on Windows XP SP2 were protected from the Bofra exploit. What this means for you is that you may be forced to buy an upgrade to the latest version of Windows in order to be able to safely use your 'free' browser.
I am confident to say that while Mozilla products are not perfect from a security point of view, they do have a good track record.
Note: Symantec wrote in one of its Internet Security Reports that Firefox was in fact less secure than IE because it had more reported severe security bugs in the first half of 2005. You can find an excellent rebuttal (including a link to the original report) at CNET's Security Watch: In defense of Mozilla Firefox.
- Is there a list that shows all available Mozilla versions for the different operating systems (like e.g. Mac OS 8)?
Yes, there is. You can find it
here at Andrew Turnbull's Mozilla Network.
- What is Mozilla?
I think the Mozilla web site says it best:
Mozilla is an open-source web browser, designed for standards
compliance, performance and portability. You can find more information
mozilla.org at a glance.
What is Mozilla on Moztips neatly summarizes what Mozilla is and why you should use it.
- Can I get Mozilla in my language / a language besides English?
Yes, you can. Mozilla is available in a variety of languages. You can either download a language pack to update your current English Mozilla version or you can download and install Mozilla in your language (if it's not yet on your system. Mozilla also supports languages like e.g. Hebrew that are read from the right to the left. You can find an overview of the languages Mozilla is available in, plus the download locations
Mozilla Localization Project.
- Is Mozilla / Netscape 6 & 7 based on Netscape 4?
No. Mozilla and Netscape 6 & 7 are entirely new browsers.
- Can I import my Netscape 4 profile to Mozilla / Netscape 6 & 7?
Yes, you can. The profile manager does it for you.
It will import your entire profile(s) if you wish, including bookmarks, cookies, as well as your email messages and mail and news server settings. It's as easy as the click of a button! Please note that your existing Netscape 4 profile will not be altered in any way, i.e. you can still use Netscape 4 as before.
Note: There is a difference between importing your Netscape 4 profile with Mozilla and Netscape 7. Only Netscape 7 will convert/import your Netscape 7 address book! Mozilla cannot do that due to the proprietary file format that Netscape 4 uses.
- What is the difference between Mozilla and Netscape 6 & 7?
Netscape 6 and 7 are based on Mozilla. You can see them as Mozilla's "commercial cousins". Both Mozilla and Netscape are open source.
The main difference is, that Netscape 6 and 7 come with all the plugins you will
need (including a commercial grade, multilingual spell checker - there is a third-party spellchecker available as a plugin for Mozilla), and they have
a lot of Netscape (i.e. commercial) links (such as "shopping") pre-wired. In addition, Netscape 7 features an integrated AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) as well as ICQ.
Update: Netscape 7.1 and up now also comes with an ActiveX plugin that is intended to increase compatibility with websites that use embedded Windows Media video streams. It also has the automatic Spam filter that was included with Mozilla from version 1.3 and up.
For more detail, see the next question. The following link also offer some more infomation on the differences between Mozilla and Netscape 6 & 7:
Mozilla Is Not Netscape
- Which browser is better suited for me - Mozilla or Netscape 6 & 7?
The most current Netscape version is Netscape 7.2, based on Mozilla 1.7.2
The answer to this question depends two things:
a) What type of user you are and
b) How you plan to use your browser
First of all, let's look at the similarities between using both browsers:
They have matured quite a bit since Netscape 6 was first released. They
are very standards compliant, quite stable (especially when using any of the
NT-based Windows OSs, such as NT and 2000), and they are no slouch when it
comes to rendering websites.
A big plus, especially when compared to Internet Explorer, is security.
While it might be argued that IE is more of a target to exploits since it
is used by far more users, this should be irrelevant to the end user. Security
bugs have been discovered for
older versions of Mozilla and Netscape 6 , but they have been eliminated
for the current versions. In addition, if and when security vulnerabilities are discovered, they are usually fixed very quickly. While no piece of software will ever be 100% safe,
Mozilla and Netscape 6 & 7 are for you if safety is important to you.
In addition, both browsers offer a lot of privacy features such as a cookie
manager, image permissions (allows you to block ad-banners, a popup manager which allows you to block automatic popup windows,...
Now back to the question, which of the two browsers is better for you:
If you are the "casual user" type, i.e. just want to start your browser,
surf the internet and use email and newsgroups without having to worry much
about getting plugins or configuring things, then Netscape 6&7 are for you.
The release of Netscape 7 (recommended), which you can get here, is an effortless install, comes with all the important plugins, preinstalled sidebars, various language packs, links an so on. If you are an AOL user, Netscape 6 & 7 let you access your AOL email account and you can run AIM in the browser's sidebar. Netscape 7 PR 1 and up additionally offer ICQ integrated into the browser. Most importantly, Netscape 7 is always based on Mozilla's stable branch, which is 1.7.2 for the current version (7.2). The advantage of the stable branch is that it's...well...more stable and works more reliably. The downside is that Netscape is usually updated less frequently than the Mozilla Suite, but this is not a big minus since I advise against overly frequent updating in
So if you are looking for "easy", "features" and "works", Netscape 7 is for you.
If, however, you don't mind "messing with things", Mozilla could be for
you. There are two flavors: The release builds, which you can find
here and the nightly builds. Release builds are good if you do like
to experiment but at the same time want to minimize "surprises", whereas
nightly builds are for the more "adventurous" - they usually have more features
than release builds (who in turn may have more features than Netscape builds)
but these features may or may not work, and if worse comes to worst, might
actually break other features. So, unless you are very adventurous or involved
in coding Mozilla, I would strongly recommend against using nightly builds.
- Some pages don't look right with Mozilla / Netscape 6 & 7 - how come?
There could be several reasons: Either the site
uses improper Browser detection and sends Mozilla / Netscape 6 & 7 code intended
for Netscape 4, or the site uses IE specific coding. In both of these cases,
it is not the browser's fault. In some (now very rare) cases, the fault may lie with Mozilla/Netscape 6 & 7 since there still are some bugs. Their number is decreasing with every new release.
- Can I still only access 1 POP email account per profile as was the case with Netscape 4?
This limitation no longer applies for Mozilla /
Netscape 6 & 7, i.e. you can access as many mail accounts as you wish without
having to create new profiles.
In addition, Netscape 6 and 7 will let you access AOL mail, and Netscape Webmail (via IMAP).
- Which Operating Systems is Mozilla available for?
Mozilla is currently available for:
- Windows 95, 98, ME, NT, 2000, XP
- Mac OS 8.5 - 9.x (only up to Mozilla 1.2.1), OS X
- AIX, BSD/OS (bdsi), HPUX, Irix, Open VMS, Solaris, Tru64 Unix
In addition to those Operating systems, FreeBSD and Amiga ports are also available at mozdev.org. The Amiga port is still being worked on.
- Where can I download Mozilla?
You can download Mozilla
here. Just chose the version you want. Please note that the Net installer
is a small installer which downloads the needed parts during the installation
process, whereas the full installer is just that - it comes with all the
files. Please chose the talkback enabled builds. Talkback sends crash data
whenever Mozilla crashes.This is an easy way to contribute to Mozilla's development.
- Where can I find themes for Mozilla?
You can find Mozilla, Mozilla Firebird and Thunderbird and Netscape 7 themes (aka "skins") here. Please make sure that the skin works with the Mozilla version you have installed on your system (click on "help" and then "about Mozilla" in your menu bar to see which version you are running). For more information, go to Newzilla's "Skins, themes and chromes explained" article.
- Why won't older themes work with newer versions of Mozilla / Netscape 6 & 7?
Older themes won't work with newer versions of Mozilla / Netscape 6 & 7 because the front end code for Mozilla is continuously improved, i.e. it differes between branches (e.g. 1.0 vs. 1.2 vs. 1.4), i.e. it changes from release to release.
note: Using older themes with newer versions of Mozilla and Netscape can actually cause the browsers to not work properly. Make sure to uninstall themes before installing a newer version of your browser!
- I tried Netscape 6.0 and it was really bad - why bother using it / Mozilla now?
I think the premature release of Netscape 6.0 is still a sore point for many people. Netscape 6.0 - which was based on Mozilla 0.6 - was indeed slow and unstable. However, a lot of things have changed since then, so if
you were unhappy with Netscape 6.0, there is no reason no to try the vastly
improved Netscape 7.1 or Mozilla 1.4 In addition to being faster and
very stable, they look nicer and have additional features.
- Many programs use IE as their HTML rendering engine. Can the same be done with Mozilla?
Yes, it is possible. Winamp 3 Beta 3 for example allows the user
to select either IE or Mozilla as rendering engine for its Minibrowser. Hopefully, more programs will take advantage of this now that Mozilla 1.0 has been released. Probably the greatest advantage of using the Mozilla's rendering
engine (Gecko) is that it should allow for easier cross-platform availability
of many programs that could not be ported to e.g. Linux because they use
IE's rendering engine and IE is not available for Linux.
- Does Mozilla support W3C (Web) standards?
While Mozilla does not support all of the W3C's
standards, it is very good when it comes to standards support, especially when compared to other browsers. Please see Ian Hickson's Evil Test Suite test results and his CSS Import Test Suite results.
Update: Unfortunately, it appears that both these links are not reachable at the moment.
- What are all the files in my Mozilla profile directory?
You can find the answer to that here. Knowing what each file does can come
in handy when you want to backup your data (such as email).
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