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Old 13. Oct 2009, 03:47 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default K-Meleon Firefox Comparison and History

to those who don't know (obviously all of you), i'd like to say a few things:

first of all, if you are firefox fanboy(fanboy is someone who irrationally gets attached to something and refuses to listen to any kind of reason to persuade them that the item they are possesed with can be flawed) if you are fanboy, please stop reading here.

K-Meleon is neither an ie add-on or a firefox-knock out or a slimmed-firefox or firefox as it used to be.

k-meleon uses the gecko engine for rendering, that's similar to firefox, seamonkey, flock etc. but that's were the similarities end.

the main difference between firefox and k-meleon has nothing to do with it slimming down firefox or not. k-meleon uses native windows api (aka widgets) to make the interface (you know the buttons and menus) that's a similar approach to other platform-specific gecko browsers like camino for mac (uses cocoa) , galeon for linux(uses gtk+) while k-meleon uses something called cairo api.. this is the native windows widget where all your regular windows applications use to make their interface.

what does that mean in layman terms? k-meleon is integrated with your operating system and hence it is low on resources such as cpu cycles and memory usage.

how is that different from firefox? firefox draws the interface with xul..which is basically an html markup language.. unfortunately using a non core api will always cause a memory leak, there's no way around it.. you might restrain it a little but ultimately an xul application will end up using all your memory if it can.. this is undebatable fact. i know some might be stench firefox fanboys.. i don't care what browser you use or prefer..you're free to use whatever you like but facts are facts. but the fact is firefox has always used xul so k-meleon can never be firefox as it used to be or a slimmed down version because they are completely different concepts.

if xul is so bad why did mozilla choose it you might ask? there's a little bit of history in that question and a lot to learn. before phoenix(ex-firebird) was released circa 2002; there was quite a debate at mozilla labs whether to use native widgets(the k-meleon approach- and by the way, k-meleon is 3 years older than phoenix and technially the first browser built on the nglayout after netscape had outsourced it.. obviously you all don't know that, but k-meleon was released in 2000) anyway, the debate at mozilla labs was about using cairo api for windows and explore other native widgets for other operating systems and the majoirty sadly voted for xul.. the main reason for that.. even though the devs knew the limitations of such a poor choice but it's simply as easy way out for a programmer... since using xul allowed cross-platforming without any major programming, cross-platforming means writing same code that can run on any operating system.

phoenix was later released and that was lightweight (for those of you who like the term lightweight firefox..that was the one-not k-meleon) so the problems accompanied with the xul language were minimum and controllable.. , however even though it was cross platform.. it had little success on mac platforms which later made mozilla work on camino(cocoa) for mac but that's another story.

as the gecko engine advanced, the xul language started to choke with all the additions and patches.. after all there's a limit to what you can do with a pseudo interface.. and then the product started to show bigger leaks and awful resources usage (commonly know as bloated). technically there's nothing bloated about the latest firefox when compared with the very first phoenix..it's just that the gecko engine has gone too big for the xul interface to handle.

aren't mozilla folks aware of such a problem? ofcourse they are but since they chose xul from the beginning.. it's extremely hard to change courses now. if they want to use native api that will mean rewriting their products from scratch, getting new devs..firing half of their devs.. give up support ot many of the 'addons' and ultimately loosing user base.

are there other browsers that use xul for interface? apart from the usual mozilla derivatives (firefox, flock, seamonkey fennec etc); no

what about chrome and safari, they don't seem to use native api? actually they do but..those are skinned api's.. that means they do use native widgets but use bitmaps over them to give the browser a different look or appeal.. this is like the exact opposite of xul..where it tries to make its interface appear like native..the others try to make the native look like something else.

so firefox is a bad browser? yes.. it's a terrible browser, not just firefox but any xul application not just browsers..like songbird etc. this is from personal experience, i know a guy with a quite capable and new computer who got tired of the memory usage with firefox but he was so hooked on firefox and didn't want to use a diiferent browser, he decided to buy an extra gig of ram to accommodate firefox.. not suprisingly, ff started leaking into the extra ones too. a fanboy might tell you big deal..restart the browser..no, it's a big deal..a browser must be stable throughtout its entire session and shouldn't need to be restarted

how come it became so popular? well.. it's like the biggest rubbish in software history and the masses unfortunately bought it. at the time phoenix was released, there wasn't much browsers to compete with ie which people were getting tired of. k-meleon for windows was slow on development and actually fought by mozilla to end development. opera was shareware.. browsers for linux like galeon or epiphany were very raw.. so phoenix filled the gap perfectly for those looking for an alternative and more secure browser than ie
.

so what do you suggest mr. know-it-all? i don't endorse any browser.. i'm not a fanboy and i don't believe a browser should have a following like a cult..if you're comfortable with firefox..then stay with it. my advise to those who want a browser than respects their os and their hardware is this:
1- for windows, k-meleon, opera, chrome (in that order)
2- for linux, epiphany or galeon
3- if you're on a mac, you actually have a lot of choices, most of them are good. safari on mac is the best choice..if you like the gecko engine, go for camino.
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Old 13. Oct 2009, 11:25 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Hey Whocares - nice work there. The best history of the Mozilla browsers etc I've seen. You should write that up as an article and publish it on the main site.

You'd have to remove the abuse though

I use Firefox for jobs where I need the toolset, K-meleon for browsing because of the speed and handy small features. So I guess I'd agree with you on most of that stuff. Ffx has the tools and you can't argue with that - but mine is so slow now that even an Adobe app combined with Vista would be faster... And like you say, it would use 20GB of RAM if you let it. Jeez.

The only real beef I have with Kmeleon is how it is totally screwed up with favicons, no matter what options you choose, it renders the wrong ones everywhere and turns icons into a real pain.

Last edited by chris.p; 13. Oct 2009 at 11:28 AM.
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Old 13. Oct 2009, 11:30 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Well, guaranteed that a lot of people won't necessarily agree with this (just because of Firefox) but I'd just like to say thanks for making such a comprehensive post. Irrespective of how people might feel about the content too often we get 'this is great', 'no it's rubbish' remarks with little or no real data to back up the arguments.

How do you fancy taking on a review for one of our vacant categories?
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Old 14. Oct 2009, 02:22 AM   #4 (permalink)
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i didn't mean to abuse or insult anyone, if i did.. i sincerely apologise, i was actually replying in a thread (i forgot where it was) to a couple of guys enquiring about k-meleon whether it was a good enough browser.

now it seems like i'm talking to a mirror but i didn't mean to sound like i'm bashing firefox and promoting k-meleon. the gecko is an outstanding engine and i still believe it's the best when it comes to standard-compliance.. it's just that it comes in horrible packages with xul.

the problem with favicons was a known bug mostly due to how gecko sends the icon to the urlbar in kmeleon.. even though mozilla is opensource..they don't really make it easy for others to adapt their engine.. lots of code is written specifically for xul and they don't really provide enough documentation for external devs (the people at epiphany got tired of this after years working with gecko and now they've migrated to webkit as far as i know)

i think that favicons bug was fixed in the latest km release 1.5.3, also make sure this pref value (about:config)
browser.chrome.favicons is set to true (by default it was set to false to avoid your mentioned bug)

i can't argue that firefox has got all the tools but only because the addons developer chose to write them for firefox only, only very few like wladimir palant has wrote adblockplus version for kmeleon..or gary goldstein(microrss).

in theory many ff addons can work on kmeleon..some were adapted..only the parts where it creates icons in the statusbar or toolbars are removed because those were written for xul interface. javascript extensions are easily injected with macros, toolbar buttons and menus are also made with macros and to manipulate the statusbar or add overlay functions is done with special k-meleon plugins(k-plugins) which must be written in c++.

you can find some of the adapted ff addons and special extensions written especially for k-meleon there:
http://kmext.sourceforge.net

not trying to promote k-meleon..this is a link if you are an already km user and would like to expand the browser features. the number of installed extensions in k-meleon have no affect whatsoever on performance, rendering speed or startup.. this is due that kmeleon doesn't need to load every addon chrome at startup like other browsers(since the ui is c++) and the extension is only called when needed or triggered by the user.

i hope i provided some useful info to any km user.

i;m very flattered midnightcowboy by your offer.. currently i'm in a somewhat transient state in my life and i'm not very sure of my writing skills either.. i'll consider it and let you know.

if i may, since it appears you have lots of readers here; i would like to add one last thing to firefox users.. but please trust me on this. if you use the noscript addon..please remove it. this addon is overhyped and it's not really a great extension(the settings for what it does are already in firefox prefs), but the problem is something is really fishy about this code and there's something not right about mr. maone.. i don't want to sound paranoid but something is wrong when an extension that merely controls javascript elements requires an update every couple of days.

we adapted noscript for k-meleon and it was causing unnecessary support but we did it because it has been requested several times by ex-firefox users..then we found a much better unknown extension called policy manager which is way more advanced than noscript.. for some odd reason the extension has been for a long time in the sandbox on amo -perhaps cause there was no money involved..who knows- anyway, this extension is called policy manager, creates zones ala ie style (like trusted , internet(global), restricted) with no limits on zones..you can create your zones and set different policies for each zone for scripting..you can disable everything for one zone..enable just a few for others etc and ofcourse you add websites under those zones for which you want them to comply to your restrictions or permissions.

i think you should try this addon because i really don't trust this guy maone and i don't think anyone should
https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/7066
http://piro.sakura.ne.jp/xul/_policymanager.html.en
(i'm not the writer of this extension and i don't even know him by the way)

also for ff 3.5, it might not let you install..i think you need to edit the install rdf file for max version.

thanks for reading my post.
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Old 15. Oct 2009, 04:51 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whocares View Post
if i may, since it appears you have lots of readers here; i would like to add one last thing to firefox users.. but please trust me on this. if you use the noscript addon..please remove it. this addon is overhyped and it's not really a great extension(the settings for what it does are already in firefox prefs), but the problem is something is really fishy about this code and there's something not right about mr. maone.. i don't want to sound paranoid but something is wrong when an extension that merely controls javascript elements requires an update every couple of days.
Strangely enough, right after I read your post, I found this little article.

http://dedoimedo.com/computers/noscript-use.html

Quote:
A few days ago, I've received a lengthy email from a reader, explaining why using Noscript extension in Firefox is not only not recommended, but also unnecessary and even hazardous to the Internet experience.
This is such a weird coincident, I wonder if it was you who wrote that email.
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Old 18. Oct 2009, 10:52 AM   #6 (permalink)
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K-Meleon as far as I can tell is no better than Firefox at resourse management, please see attachment for the two browsers on my system both with 11 tabs open to the same website, next to QtWeb with again same tabs. And K-Meleon scores 53 on the ACID3 Test so isn't that standard compliant.

Not bashing it btw. I mainly use QtWeb which is very quick but has an annoying bug where I cant post on forums, weird.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg resoursespic.jpg (9.8 KB, 18 views)

Last edited by bob2345; 18. Oct 2009 at 10:57 AM.
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Old 18. Oct 2009, 01:41 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bob2345 View Post
Not bashing it btw. I mainly use QtWeb which is very quick but has an annoying bug where I cant post on forums, weird.
I seldom use my Vista partition now but I too really liked QtWeb except it would enable me to log onto the site here for the main page, but not for the forum as well. As you say, just a few odd bugs in this program but apart from that I loved it.
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Old 04. Nov 2009, 01:43 PM   #8 (permalink)
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regarding noscript, i didn't write that email but many people are realising what a bad extension it is. the sender's complaints are somewhat different from mine.. as i agree that it is indeed overhyped and everything can be managed with hostperm but having a gui for managing it is certainly needed, that's why i recommend policy manager as an alternative for noscript. my main concerns with noscript is; as we were porting the extension to make it work with kmeleon, we have discovered a lot of weird and unneeded coding (some may even regard as malicious)..it's without doubt that mr. malone has a hidden agenda.

k-meleon is certainly superior when it comes to resource management when compared to xul interface browsers. however with some websites that use plugins like java runtime or rely heavily on actionscript flash; it will appear that kmeleon is intensively using ram but the truth is the plugin the website is calling is the one actually using all that ram and not the other tabs with "normal" websites. that is npswf32.dll is using all that ram through one or 2 websites through kmeleon..and since it's a library, it will not show that the dll is the one actually using all that memory but the executable it's running from. for best cpu, memory tests for any browser; it's advised to test with sites that do not rely on 3rd party plugins.. particularly flash(especially actionscript). that flash 'bug' started appearing after the adobe acquisition and never happened when macromedia was in charge.

acid tests are not really standard compliancy tests as much as graphics rendering accuracy tests and have seldom effect on real browsing. the reason kmeleon has poor scores on acid3 is because kmeleon is still being built on the gecko 1.8 trunk.. so it's not a kmeleon problem per se but more to do with the rendering engine ofcourse. kmeleon gecko trunk is based on the equivalent seamonkey(mozilla) and not firefox because kmeleon was first released on the mozilla engine. kmeleon is more tied to seamonkey than firefox when updating the engine so when seamonkey 2.0 is officially released(still in alpha stages); kmeleon will naturally migrate to the gecko 1.9 trunk which has the better scores in acid3. in theory kmeleon can use the firefox trunk and hence can be kept up-to-date with the equivalent firefox trunk (like orca/lunascape for e.g) but this will require unnecessary coding because ultimately seamonkey will use the latest trunk. in the past mozilla/seamonkey engines were updated at the same pace(if not faster) but there has been a long delay with 1.9 because of some bugs that firefox devs normally ignore where the seamonkey devs prefer to update when everything has been resolved (they have to ensure that everything is working because they have more to work on)

qtweb/webkit engine is a very good engine but in the past has been notorious for unicode rendering(non-latin based characters).. they've come a long way but they still have some issues with unicode and utf-8,16 so when it comes to standard-compliance they're still missing a few things.
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Old 04. Nov 2009, 01:59 PM   #9 (permalink)
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whocares, I believe you are associated with K-Meleon?
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Old 04. Nov 2009, 02:13 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whocares View Post
kmeleon is more tied to seamonkey than firefox when updating the engine so when seamonkey 2.0 is officially released(still in alpha stages); kmeleon will naturally migrate to the gecko 1.9
Seamonkey 2.0 went final on 27th October. It's actually my browser of choice now for Ubuntu (or at least it would be if I hadn't messed up my upgrade to 9.10 and hosed my network settings!)
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