Pale Moon (web browser)

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Pale Moon
Pale-Moon.gif
Pale Moon 26 running on Windows 10
Pale Moon 26 running on Windows 10
Developer(s)M.C. Straver[1]
Initial releaseOctober 4, 2009 (2009-10-04)
Stable release(s) [±]
28.5.0 (30 April 2019; 25 days ago (2019-04-30)[2]) [±]
Preview release(s) [±]
28.6.0 Alpha 1 (May 23, 2019; 2 days ago (2019-05-23)[3]) [±]
Repository Edit this at Wikidata
Development statusActive
Written inC/C++, CSS, JavaScript, XUL
Operating systemWindows 7 or later, Linux (unofficial build for OS X 10.7 or later[4] and contributed builds for various platforms[5])
EnginesGoanna, SpiderMonkey
PlatformIA-32, x86-64[6]
Available in23 languages[7]
TypeWeb browser
News aggregator
License
Websitewww.palemoon.org

Pale Moon is an open-source web browser with an emphasis on customizability; its motto is "Your browser, Your way".[9] There are official releases for Microsoft Windows and Linux,[9] an unofficial build for macOS,[4] and contributed builds for various platforms.[5]

Pale Moon is a fork of Firefox with substantial divergence. The main differences are the user interface, add-on support, and running in single-process mode. Pale Moon retains the highly customizable user interface of the Firefox version 4–28 era.[10] It also continues to support some types of add-ons that are no longer supported by Firefox.[10][11][12]

Overview[edit]

Pale Moon 8 running on Windows XP
Unbranded logo (whereas the official one is blue)

Pale Moon has diverged from Firefox in a number of ways:

  • Always runs in single-process mode, whereas Firefox became a multi-process program.[13][14]
  • Replaces the Gecko browser engine with the Goanna fork
  • Uses the pre-Australis Firefox user interface
  • Continues add-on support for XUL, XPCOM, and NPAPI plugins, all of which are no longer supported in Firefox.[10]
  • Supports add-ons exclusive to Pale Moon, including dozens of themes. These include retention of "Complete Themes", themes which apply to the entire UI of the browser rather than affecting only a few elements, support for which was removed in Firefox.[15]
  • Defaults to a customizable start page in cooperation with start.me[16]
  • Defaults to DuckDuckGo as the search engine instead of Google or Yahoo!
  • Uses the IP-API service instead of Google's for geolocation[17]

Old platforms[edit]

Version 26.5 was the final official release to support Windows XP.[18] There are some unofficial projects to build newer versions for XP.[19] Version 27.9 was the final official release to support Windows Vista.

The official releases do not support older processors without the SSE2 instruction set.[6] However, a contributed build for Linux is available that supports some older processors.[20]

License[edit]

Pale Moon's source code is released under the Mozilla Public License 2.0 except for parts relating to branding. To ensure quality, redistribution of officially branded Pale Moon binaries is only permissible under specific circumstances.[8] The name and logo are trademarked by the project founder and cannot be used without his prior permission.[21]

History[edit]

M.C. Straver is the project founder and lead developer.[1] Straver's first official release of Pale Moon, in 2009, was a rebuild of Firefox 3.5.2 with tweaked compiler settings.[22] Eventually the scope of the project grew, and version 24 became a true fork of Firefox 24 ESR.[22] Starting with version 25, Pale Moon uses a completely independent versioning scheme.[23]

Pale Moon 27 was a major re-fork of the core browser code to Firefox 38 ESR, which added HTTP/2, DirectX 11, MSE/DASH, and JavaScript ES6 capabilities.[24] Add-on support remained almost entirely unchanged, with a slight reduction of Jetpack compatibility.[10][25]

UXP[edit]

In 2017, Straver began the Unified XUL Platform (UXP) project.[26] UXP is a fork of Firefox 52 ESR[27] with significant modifications to be a codebase for creating any number of XUL-based applications.[28][29] To demonstrate and refine the platform, Straver used it to create a new browser, Basilisk.[30][31]

Pale Moon 28, released in August 2018, was the first version built on UXP, thereby providing improved support for web standards and video.[32]

Android[edit]

Pale Moon for Android was a distinct development effort that is no longer maintained.[33] First released in 2014,[34] Straver announced the following year that it would likely be abandoned due to lack of community involvement.[35] The final release was 25.9.6.[36]

Releases[edit]

Release history
Version Release date Significant changes
3.5.2 October 09, 2009 First public version.
3.6.x versions were Firefox rebuilds without code changes.
4.0 Rebase to gecko/2.0.
4.0.3
4.0.5
4.0.6
4.0.7
5.0 Rebase to gecko/5.0.
6.0 Rebase to gecko/6.0.
6.0.2
7.0 Rebase to gecko/7.0.
7.0.1
8.0 Rebase to gecko/8.0.
9.0.1 Rebase to gecko/9.0.
9.1 Pale Moon is now built using MSVC 10.0.
9.2
11.0 Rebase to gecko/11.0.
11.0.1
12.0 Rebase to gecko/12.0.
12.1 Major update, numerous security and stability fixes.
12.2
12.2.1
12.3
12.3 r2 A 32-bit only build addressing a performance regression.
15.0 Rebase to gecko/15.0.
15.1
15.1.1
15.2
15.2.1
15.3 Pale Moon is now build using MSVC 11.0.
15.3.1 November 30, 2012
15.3.2 December 05, 2012
15.4 January 16, 2013
15.4.1 January 28, 2013
19.0 February 22, 2013 Rebase to gecko/19.0.
19.0.1 February 24, 2013
19.0.2 March 09, 2013
20.0.1 April 11, 2013 Rebase to gecko/20.0.
20.1 May 23, 2013
20.2 July 01, 2013
20.2.1 July 08, 2013
20.3 August 13, 2013
24.0 September 13, 2013 Rebase to gecko/24esr.
24.0.1 September 18, 2013
24.0.2 September 27, 2013
24.1.0 November 04, 2013
24.1.1 November 05, 2013
24.1.2 November 19, 2013
24.2.0 November 26, 2013
24.2.1 December 04, 2013
24.2.2 December 11, 2013
24.3.0 January 28, 2014 Intel Atom optimized build introduced.
Geo-location provider switched.
24.3.1 January 31, 2014
24.3.2 February 11, 2014 Support for TLS 1.2 introduced.
First Pale Moon for Linux release.
24.4.0 March 10, 2014 Default search engine changed to DuckDuckGo.
24.4.1 March 19, 2014
24.4.2 April 02, 2014 Support for OCSP-stapling introduced.
24.5.0 April 25, 2014
24.6.0 June 06, 2014 Rendering engine overhaul.
From this version Pale Moon uses its own Sync server.
24.6.1 June 08, 2014
24.6.2 June 16, 2014
24.7.0 July 29, 2014
24.7.1 August 06, 2014 First Pale Moon for Android release.
24.7.2 September 11, 2014 Last version to support Windows XP on non-Intel Atom optimized builds.
25.0.0 October 10, 2014 Pale Moon now uses its own UUID.
Forked gecko/24esr code base is still being used.
25.0.1 October 15, 2014
25.0.2 October 24, 2014 SSL 3.0 is now disabled by default.
25.1.0 November 11, 2014
25.1.1 November 28, 2014 An Android only update.
25.2.0 January 15, 2015 Improved ES6 draft implementation.
25.2.1 January 27, 2015
25.3.0 March 13, 2015
25.3.1 March 25, 2015
25.3.2 April 25, 2015
25.4.0 May 08, 2015
25.4.1 May 10, 2015
25.5.0 June 10, 2015
25.6.0 July 15, 2015
25.7.0 August 26, 2015
25.7.1 September 28, 2015
25.7.2 October 02, 2015
25.7.3 October 14, 2015
25.7.3.1 October 15, 2015 An Android only update.
25.8.0 November 17, 2015
25.8.1 November 18, 2015
26.0.0 January 26, 2016 Layout engine is rebranded to Goanna.
Basic support for ES6 Promises and WebP image format implemented.
A built-in XSS filter added.
Forked gecko/24esr code base is still being used.
26.0.2 February 03, 2016
26.0.3 February 05, 2016
26.1.0 February 16, 2016
26.1.1 February 24, 2016
26.2.0 April 05, 2016
26.2.1 April 08, 2016
26.2.2 April 10, 2016 An Android only version 25.9.2 is released at the same time.
26.3.0 June 21, 2016
26.3.1 June 25, 2016
26.3.2 June 27, 2016 A Microsoft Windows only build.
26.3.3 July 01, 2016
26.4.0 August 17, 2016
26.4.0.1 August 23, 2016 A Linux only build.
26.4.1 September 12, 2016 Triple-DES cipher suites are now disabled by default.
26.5.0 September 28, 2016 This is the last version supporting Microsoft Windows XP.
27.0.0 November 22, 2016 Pale Moon is now based on forked mozilla/38esr platform code.
Support for add-on SDK extensions dropped.
HTTP/2 implemented. Initial MSE implementation introduced.
27.0.1 November 28, 2016
27.0.2 December 02, 2016
27.0.3 December 16, 2016
27.1.0 February 09, 2017 Media back-end reworked, now uses FFmpeg on Linux.
27.1.1 February 21, 2017
27.1.2 March 03, 2017
27.2.0 March 18, 2017 Support for JPEG-XR implemented.
27.2.1 March 24, 2017
27.3.0 April 28, 2017 MSE implementation is now more spec-compliant.
27.4.0 July 12, 2017 MSE implementation is now fully spec-compliant and asynchronous.
27.4.1 August 03, 2017
27.4.2 August 22, 2017
27.4.2.1 August 28, 2017 A Microsoft Windows only portable version build.
27.5.0 September 26, 2017
27.5.1 October 10, 2017
27.6.0 November 07, 2017
27.6.1 November 15, 2017
27.6.2 November 28, 2017
27.7.0 January 15, 2018
27.7.1 January 18, 2018
27.7.2 February 02, 2018
27.8.0 March 02, 2018 Improved TLS 1.3 draft support.
27.8.1 March 06, 2018
27.8.1 March 22, 2018
27.8.3 March 28, 2018
27.9.0 April 17, 2018
27.9.1 May 07, 2018
27.9.2 May 18, 2018
27.9.3 June 12, 2018
27.9.4 July 17, 2018 This is the last version supporting Microsoft Windows Vista.
28.0.0 August 16, 2018 Pale Moon is now based on Unified XUL Platform forked from mozilla/52esr.
Nearly complete ES6 support.
WebGL2, WASM, CSS Grid and FLAC support introduced.
28.0.0.1 August 28, 2018 A Microsoft Windows only version.
28.0.1 August 31, 2018
28.1.0 September 20, 2018 Final TLS 1.3 draft support implemented.
28.2.0 November 13, 2018
28.2.1 November 16, 2018
28.2.2 December 06, 2018
28.3.0 January 15, 2019 AV1 support introduced.
28.3.1 January 23, 2019
28.4.0 February 19, 2019
28.4.1 March 27, 2019
28.5.0 April 30, 2019
28.6.0a1

  Old   Stable   Testing

Benchmarks[edit]

Straver has downplayed the role of benchmark tests, stating that they "can't be used to draw hard (or regularly even any) conclusions. Plain and simple: they are an indication, nothing more. They serve well if you compare closely related siblings (e.g. Firefox and Iceweasel) or different builds of the exact same browser, to get a relative performance difference between the two on the limited subset of what is actually tested, but that's about as far as it goes."[37]

In 2013, Pale Moon was a bit slower than Firefox in the ClubCompy Real-World Benchmark, with the browsers respectively scoring 8,168 and 9,344 points out of a possible 50,000.[38] In a 2016 browser comparison test by Ghacks, Pale Moon version 25 had the smallest memory footprint after opening 10 different websites in separate tabs.[39] However, in the same report Pale Moon scored bottom in the Mozilla Kraken, Google Octane, 32-bit RoboHornet tests and second-to-last in the 64-bit RoboHornet benchmarks. Whilst other browsers hung during some tests, Pale Moon only hung during the JetStream JavaScript benchmark.[39]

Market share[edit]

StatCounter estimates that Pale Moon had a 0.02% market share for desktop browsers in November 2018.[40]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b M.C. Straver. "About Moonchild Productions". Archived from the original on 2017-03-13. Retrieved 2018-04-19.
  2. ^ "Pale Moon – Release Notes". Pale Moon. Retrieved 28 March 2019.
  3. ^ "Pale Moon unstable releases". Moonchild Productions. 2019-02-19. Retrieved 2019-02-21.
  4. ^ a b "Pale Moon for Mac OSX". Retrieved 2018-03-19.
  5. ^ a b "Contributed builds of Pale Moon". Pale Moon. Retrieved 2017-02-12.
  6. ^ a b "Pale Moon - Technical Details".
  7. ^ "Pale Moon language packs". Moonchild Productions. Retrieved 2019-02-14.
  8. ^ a b "Pale Moon redistribution", Official website, retrieved 2017-02-10
  9. ^ a b "The Pale Moon Project homepage". Pale Moon. Retrieved 2017-01-09.
  10. ^ a b c d "Pale Moon future roadmap". Pale Moon. Retrieved 2017-02-09.
  11. ^ Kev Needham (2015-08-21). "The Future of Developing Firefox Add-ons". blog.mozilla.org. Retrieved 2015-09-07.
  12. ^ Jorge Villalobos (2017-02-16). "The Road to Firefox 57 – Compatibility Milestones". blog.mozilla.org. Retrieved 2017-02-17.
  13. ^ "Multiprocess Firefox". Mozilla. Retrieved 24 August 2018.
  14. ^ "Multi-process, or: the drawbacks nobody ever talks about". Pale Moon forum. M.C. Straver. Retrieved 24 August 2018.
  15. ^ "Pale Moon - Add-ons - Themes". addons.palemoon.org.
  16. ^ "Browser Pale Moon Integrates New Personal Start Page" (Press release). Amsterdam: PRWeb. February 11, 2015.
  17. ^ "Pale Moon 24.3.0 released! - Pale Moon forum". forum.palemoon.org. Retrieved 2017-04-09.
  18. ^ "End of Windows XP support in Pale Moon". Archived from the original on 2017-08-23.
  19. ^ "Building Palemoon 27 for XP".
  20. ^ "Pale Moon SSE for Linux".
  21. ^ "Pale Moon branding information". Official website.
  22. ^ a b "History of the Pale Moon project". Moonchild Productions. Retrieved 2017-02-06.
  23. ^ "What is Pale Moon's versioning scheme like?".
  24. ^ "The Future of Pale Moon". palemoon.org.
  25. ^ "Jetpack Style Extensions". Retrieved 2017-02-10.
  26. ^ "README for the initial, deprecated UXP repository on GitHub". Retrieved 2018-04-25.
  27. ^ "README for the current UXP repository on GitHub". Retrieved 2018-04-25.
  28. ^ "UXP vs goanna".
  29. ^ "There is only XUL". Retrieved 18 September 2018.
  30. ^ "Pale Moon team releases first version of Basilisk browser". ghacks.net. 2017-11-17. Retrieved 2017-11-20.
  31. ^ M.C. Straver (2018-04-20). "Basilisk's nature (a small clarification)".
  32. ^ Pale Moon 28.0.0 release notes
  33. ^ "Pale Moon for Android". Retrieved 2017-02-09.
  34. ^ "Pale Moon for Android 24.7.1". August 3, 2014.
  35. ^ "I may have to let Pale Moon for Android go. :(". April 16, 2015.
  36. ^ "Pale Moon for Android updated to 25.9.6!". Retrieved 2017-02-09.
  37. ^ "What's the deal with browser benchmarks? - Pale Moon forum". forum.palemoon.org. Retrieved 2017-06-22.
  38. ^ Matt Nawrocki. "Review: Pale Moon web browser for Windows". TechRepublic. Retrieved 2017-02-12.
  39. ^ a b Martin Brinkmann. "32-bit vs 64-bit browsers: which version has the edge?". GHacks. Retrieved 2017-02-12.
  40. ^ "Desktop Browser Market Share Worldwide". StatCounter.

External links[edit]