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K-Meleon Logo
Screenshot of K-Meleon 74 beta 4
K-Meleon 74 showing Wikimedia meta's Main Page
Developer(s) Christophe Thibault, Dorian, et al.
Initial release August 21, 2000; 14 years ago (2000-08-21)
Stable release 1.5.4[1] (5 March 2010; 4 years ago (2010-03-05)) [±]
Preview release 74 RC[2] (11 August 2014; 22 days ago (2014-08-11)) [±]
Operating system Microsoft Windows
Type Web browser
Feed reader
License GPL
Website kmeleon.sourceforge.net

K-Meleon is a web browser for the Microsoft Windows platform. Based on the same Gecko layout engine as Mozilla Firefox, K-Meleon uses native Windows application programming interface (API) to create the user interface, instead of using Mozilla's cross-platform XML User Interface Language (XUL) layer, and as a result, is tightly integrated into the look and feel of the Windows desktop;[3] this approach is similar to that of Galeon and Epiphany (for the GNOME desktop), and Camino (for Mac OS X). This also makes K-Meleon less resource-intensive.

Development and specifications[edit]

K-Meleon is released under the GNU General Public License and runs on the Win32 platform. The current stable release version of K-Meleon is 1.5.4, which was released on March 5, 2010. This release is based on the Gecko rendering engine. While the developmental version is at version 74 beta 4, released June 1, 2014.

K-Meleon's very first version was originally written by Christophe Thibault and released to the public on August 21, 2000.[4]

The change from the K-Meleon 0.9.x series to 1.0.x was a major modification. The most notable change was the main K-Meleon code being updated to accommodate the Gecko 1.8.0.x rendering engine, as used in the latest releases of SeaMonkey and Mozilla Firefox. The change of layout not only brought the browser up-to-date on the level of security, but on web page layout as well. Several other major improvements included support for favicons and multi-user environments. Some themes and macros from version 0.9 are still compatible with 1.0, although the macro system has been updated. An even more fundamental update of the macro system was made concurrent with the development of K-Meleon 1.1,[5] which is based on the Gecko 1.8.1 rendering engine that is used in Mozilla Firefox 2.0 and SeaMonkey 1.1. The last release of the earlier K-Meleon 0.9 series (which was based on the earlier Mozilla 1.7.x rendering engine used in the former Mozilla Application Suite) was K-Meleon 0.9.13 (released April 24, 2006).[6] That release was based on the Mozilla 1.7.13 build (the final Mozilla Suite release). Although K-Meleon 0.9.13 is based on Gecko 1.7.13, which is now obsolete, a simulation of it (called "K-Meleon0.9.13-ud3-")[7] has been made that is based on a current "k-meleon.exe" and a recent 1.8.0.x Gecko rendering engine to allow people who prefer the older K-Meleon 0.9 interface to update their browsing to current security standards.

K-Meleon saw another big development step with the release of 1.5.x. With this version, the layers plug-in became obsolete and was replaced with built-in tabs. This was the first time real tabs were implemented in an official build. Various other features and improvements were added along the line of the 1.5.x. series.

K-Meleon was one of the twelve browsers offered to European Economic Area users of Microsoft Windows in 2010.[8]

As of 2012, the project was incorrectly reported as being on indefinite hold, supposedly for the reason that Mozilla was no longer providing an embeddable version of the gecko engine. [9][10] This was based on an incorrect understanding of the position, which has since been clarified in various K-Meleon Forums. See here [11] and here. [12]

In late 2013 the K-Meleon group began developing new versions based on Mozilla's XULrunner 25 runtime environment in place of the Gecko Embedded environment. The most recent release is code named "KM74.".


K-Meleon has a highly flexible interface design. All the menus and toolbar buttons can be customized using its configuration files. This feature can be very useful in an environment where the general public has access to the browser such as a public library or Internet cafe.[13] There is no graphical user interface (GUI) to customize the individual toolbars, so users will need to edit the toolbar configuration file to make any changes in the button layouts, although one can move around the toolbars by simply dragging their handles.[14]

The use of Windows native interface means that K-Meleon does not support Mozilla-based themes. Compatibility with Mozilla extensions is also limited, with only a few extensions that can be integrated. However, K-Meleon has its own plugins[15] (called "kplugins") and browser themes,[16] (the default being Phoenity) which can extend the functionality and customize the appearance of the browser. There is also a macro plugin which allows users to extend the browser functionality without having to know the C programming language.[17]

Release history[edit]

Color Meaning
Red Old release; not supported
Yellow Old release; still supported
Green Current stable release
Purple Current test release
Blue Future release
Major version Release version Gecko version Release date Significant changes
0.1 0.1 M17 August 21, 2000 First release; mainly a rebranded WinEmbed, using the BCG Library; customizable menu and toolbar, IE Favorites support.[18]
0.2 0.2 M18 November 26, 2000 Project hosted at SourceForge; right-click context menus; improvements and bugfixes.
0.2.1 M18 November 27, 2000 Bugfixes.
0.3 0.3 0.8 February 13, 2001 Major rewrite using MfcEmbed instead of WinEmbed and the BCG Library; plugin support for menus and toolbars; preferences dialog; customizable menus and accelerator keys; basic authentication; page source view; option to save files to disk.
0.4 0.4 0.9 May 11, 2001 KPlugin interface, support for Netscape bookmarks and fullscreen display, macro extension and history plugin; (bitmapped) menus, accelerator keys and toolbars customizable through configuration files; cache support; support for external source code viewer; configurable cookie and image settings; possibility to disable Style Sheets, Java and JavaScript; web search.
0.5 0.5 0.9.4 September 27, 2001 Support for SSL, Wallet and external protocol handlers; customizable UserAgent string; improved Java support and profile handling; pop-up blocker; symbiotic loader; various improvements and bugfixes.
0.6 0.6 0.9.5 October 30, 2001 Toolbar plugin; improved proxy support; file upload; numerous improvements and bugfixes.
0.7 0.7 1.2b October 31, 2002 New plugins: Layered windows ("tabbed browsing"), support for Opera bookmarks (hotlist), external program control; automatic detection of popular third party plugins; text zoom, print preview, page setup and type ahead find; skin support; various improvements and bugfixes.
0.7.1 (0.7 SP1) February 12, 2003 Numerous plugin improvements.
0.8 0.8 1.5 November 10, 2003 Various usability improvements.
0.8.1 December 13, 2003 Mouse Gestures plugin; improvements and bugfixes.
0.8.2 December 23, 2003 Improvements and bugfixes.
0.9 0.9 1.7.5 January 18, 2005 Privacy plugin, Flashblock extension and Aggreg8 RSS feed reader; new default skin (Phoenity); numerous usability improvements.
0.9.12 1.7.12 January 10, 2006 Community-driven Gecko update; various new features (partly unique to this version).
0.9.13 1.7.13 April 25, 2006 Community-driven Gecko update; various new features (partly unique to this version).
1.0 1.0 July 15, 2006 Full localization support, first official localization (German); find bar and improved URL bar; configurable download options, XUL-based advanced preferences panel; overall improvements for macros and menus; new default RSS/Atom feed reader (NewsFox).
1.0.1 (1.01) August 14, 2006 Gecko update.
1.0.2 (1.02) September 22, 2006 Gecko update, some improvements and bugfixes.
1.1 1.1 May 22, 2007 Multilanguage support, several official localizations; modular macros; session saver plugin; improved cookie permissions and password support; easier customization of search engines and mouse gestures; upgradable configuration of accelerator keys, menus and macros.
1.1.1 (1.11) July 22, 2007 Gecko update and bugfixes.
1.1.2 August 8, 2007 Gecko update and bugfixes.
1.1.3 November 26, 2007 Gecko update; update checker plugin.
1.1.4 February 11, 2008 Gecko update and bugfixes.
1.1.5 April 8, 2008 Gecko update and bugfix.
1.1.6 July 18, 2008 Gecko update.
1.5 1.5.0 August 8, 2008 True tabs instead of layered windows; improved multilanguage support; native preferences panel replaced by XUL-based former advanced preferences panel; new configuration options; feature improvements; Unicode build for Windows NT, non-Unicode build for Windows 9X.
1.5.1 October 16, 2008 Gecko update, improvements and bugfixes.
1.5.2 December 25, 2008 Gecko update, improvements and bugfixes.
1.5.3 May 8, 2009 Gecko update and bugfixes.
1.5.4 March 5, 2010 Gecko update and bugfixes.
1.6 1.6.0 Alpha 4 1.9.1 May 5, 2010 Gecko update to the 1.9.1 Trunk.
1.6.0 Beta 1 November 13, 2010 Gecko update to the Trunk.
1.6.0 Beta 2 December 12, 2010 Gecko update to the Trunk.
1.6.0 Beta 3 December 12, 2011 Gecko update to the Trunk.
1.7 1.7.0 Alpha 2 December 26, 2010 Gecko update to the Trunk.

References: K-Meleon file releases,[19][20] release notes[21] and Wiki documentation.[22]



K-MeleonCCF was developed by Hao Jiang, adding further features to K-meleon. The biggest change was the use of a true tab structure,[23] as opposed to a layer system used by K-Meleon at the time. Other changes include a Lua-based macro system to replace the original macros (giving greater responsiveness), and further user interface (UI) tweaks, such as a mouse-gestures plugin.

Many of the changes implemented were included in later versions of K-Meleon, and with the release of K-Meleon 1.5, this will include "real tab support and much powerful macro plugin". Development of CCF has ceased with users being advised to move to K-Meleon 1.5 upon its release.[24]

K-MeleonCCF ME[edit]

K-Meleon CCFME 0.08

K-MeleonCCF ME was developed as a more streamlined version of K-MeleonCCF, using less resources and yielding more responsiveness. This is done by omitting Mozilla's XML User Interface Language (XUL) in menus, and using Lua-based macros.

It is the least resource intensive browser for Windows using an up-to-date rendering engine[citation needed] making it ideal for older computers or those with lesser amounts of RAM. It may also be the fastest at rendering, loading pages faster than Opera.[25]

Further, new features and improvements are included in each version.[26]

On January 25, 2008, Hao declared his decision to discontinue the unofficial K-MeleonCCF project, however, since then he (along with increased input from Dorian) has completed version 0.08 of CCF ME, and development continues on version 0.09 of CCF ME, based on the Gecko 1.9 rendering engine. A beta version of 0.09 was tested to be twice as fast as Opera 9.5 at rendering JavaScript.[27]

Portable versions[edit]

Some users have created modifications to enhance the portability of K-Meleon so they can run the browser on other Windows computers without having to install the software. Douglas McFadzean has collected and expanded on those efforts resulting in a group of portable K-Meleon projects that are designed to "enhance" the K-Meleon browser's modularity and portability. These projects include Pocket K-Meleon, KMprof, KMV (K-Meleon on the MoVe), KMVX (K-Meleon on the MoVe eXtended, KM@, KM@X, and KMigrate. These projects focus on the ability to run K-Meleon from a USB flash drive or portable hard drive, leaving no trace of browsing on the host computer.

Douglas's work on portable K-Meleon for Windows has reduced as he has moved to using mainly Arch Linux and MEPIS Linux systems.[citation needed] It is a contemporary report written by a witness of that period, why a citation? [28][29]

By version 1.5.0 K-Meleon had become portable by default. The last last efforts concentrated upon how to prevent the creation of an empty folder in %appdata%\K-Meleon. The first solution was hexing xpcom_core.dll, found by desga2. Later guenter posted a Mozilla compiling option with the same result. [30][31]

There have also been some early attempts at making a version of K-Meleon which can run from a read-only device, such as a CD-ROM.[32]

K-Ninja, KMLite[edit]

K-Ninja, and later KMLite, were minor modifications of K-Meleon. They were designed with less on-screen space for menus and buttons, and more for web pages. An attempt was also made to expand and reorganize the right-click context menus to make them faster and easier to use.

Development history

K-Ninja was originally developed by Mark Reaves at Mot Studios. When Mark left Mot Studios and founded LDIOS (the Linux Desktop Initiation Operating System), the Official K-Ninja Forum also moved to the LDIOS site, which has not functioned since November 29, 2005. Mark was then no longer available to maintain the project.

On June 29, 2005, "TransitMan" updated the K-Ninja rendering engine to Gecko 1.7.9 beta, and since March 12, 2006, "Al." updated it further and began to maintain it on a new homepage as K-Ninja Samurai v1.x, with the v1.7.13 Gecko engine.

Al. continued development of K-Ninja and introduced K-Ninja v2.0 which updated the codebase to the same as K-Meleon v1.0, which was based upon Gecko v1.8. K-Ninja v2.0 saw several releases each concentrating on bugfixes and stability, plus security updates to the Gecko rendering engine.

The last couple of K-Ninja releases were done privately as a service to existing K-Ninja users reluctant to switch to another browser. The last release was K-Ninja v2.2.1 (codenamed Cydonia based on Gecko v1.8.1.12). An experimental version using the older Gecko v1.8.0.14pre rendering engine was also developed during this time; it was named "Orbital".

On March 12, 2008, K-Ninja development was wrapped up by Al.[33]

KMLite was an attempt at rebranding to lessen confusion for those people who didn't realise that K-Ninja was based on K-Meleon. KMLite was an abbreviation on the name K-Meleon Lite. The Lite part of the name obviously referring to the lite interface and features that KMLite shared with K-Ninja. KMLite was based upon the K-Meleon v1.5 codebase, which also featured the Gecko v1.8.x rendering engine. KMLite also shared the plugin macro system and XUL based Preferences Panel that was also part of K-Meleon v1.5.

The last version of KMLite released was v1.1.2 which featured Gecko v1.8.1.19. Al. announced on 21 April 2009 that he was no longer available to continue further development of K-Ninja or KMLite.

NX Variations[edit]

Developed and maintained by Fred, NX editions are unofficial versions that are optimised for Linux distros through the Wine emulator. Those versions can also run on MS Windows for those who prefer extreme light versions. Recent editions use K-Meleon's 1.5.x binaries and are based on the latest Gecko trunks-mainly 1.9.x. builds. Fred's NX editions provide a "sneak preview" for the upcoming K-Meleon 1.6 with 1.9.x Gecko and are therefore excellent testbeds for the official K-Meleon trunk migration. The NX editions are characterised by their special bookmarks for various news and online radio station websites.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "News". kmeleon.sourceforge.net. Retrieved 29 August 2014. 
  2. ^ "News". sourceforge.net. 11 August 2014. Retrieved 29 August 2014. 
  3. ^ Blanco, Elena. "Open source and the web browser". Oss-watch.ac.uk. Retrieved 2011-11-08. 
  4. ^ Blanco, Elena (2000-10-13). "K-Meleon: Are the browser wars back?". Zdnet.com.au. Retrieved 2011-11-08. 
  5. ^ "Re: Kmeleon 1.1a2 Gecko 1.8.1". Kmeleon.sourceforge.net. Retrieved 2011-11-08. 
  6. ^ "Files". SourceForge.net. Retrieved 2011-11-08. 
  7. ^ "new version: K-Meleon0.9.13-ud3-". Kmeleon.sourceforge.net. Retrieved 2011-11-08. 
  8. ^ BBC, Microsoft offers browser choices to Europeans, 1 March 2010
  9. ^ http://kmeleon.sourceforge.net/forum/read.php?8,113496,page=2/
  10. ^ "Mozilla kills embedding support for Gecko layout engine"
  11. ^ http://kmeleon.sourceforge.net/forum/read.php?2,126337
  12. ^ http://kmeleon.sourceforge.net/forum/read.php?1,125632
  13. ^ Mutch, Andrew; Ventura, Karen (2002-07-15). "Does Your Library Need a Different Browser?". netConnect. Library Journal. Archived from the original on 2007-10-11. 
  14. ^ "K-Meleon's official configuration reference page". Kmeleon.sourceforge.net. Retrieved 2011-11-08. 
  15. ^ What do each of the default K-Meleon plugins do? Official K-Meleon FAQ
  16. ^ "K-Meleon Themes Wiki page". Kmeleon.sourceforge.net. Retrieved 2011-11-08. 
  17. ^ "K-Meleon Macros library". Kmeleon.sourceforge.net. Retrieved 2011-11-08. 
  18. ^ "K-Meleon Browser Showcases Gecko". BetaNews. 2000-08-22. Retrieved 2011-11-08. 
  19. ^ "K-Meleon Wiki: Download". Kmeleon.sourceforge.net. Retrieved 2011-11-08. 
  20. ^ "K-Meleon SourceForge project file releases". Sourceforge.net. Retrieved 2011-11-08. 
  21. ^ "K-Meleon Wiki: Release Notes". Kmeleon.sourceforge.net. Retrieved 2011-11-08. 
  22. ^ "K-Meleon Wiki: History Of K-Meleon". Kmeleon.sourceforge.net. Retrieved 2011-11-08. 
  23. ^ Tabbed K-Meleon by Dorian Boissonnade
  24. ^ coolwulf (2008-01-25). "K-MeleonCCF ME: Goodbye K-MeleonCCF". Kmeleon.blogspot.com. Retrieved 2011-11-08. 
  25. ^ Hao Jiang ("coolwulf") (2007-05-16). "Speed Test Revisited with the latest K-MeleonCCF ME". K-MeleonCCF ME. Retrieved 2011-05-13. 
  26. ^ kmeleon.blogspot.com
  27. ^ Hao Jiang (2008-04-15). "K-MeleonCCF ME 0.09 Beta0 - Twice as fast as Opera 9..5 [sic]". K-MeleonCCF ME. Retrieved 2011-05-13. 
  28. ^ http://emereo.net/success/k-meleon-portable-versions/
  29. ^ http://kmeleon.sourceforge.net/forum/read.php?1,73481,73738#msg-73738
  30. ^ http://kmeleon.sourceforge.net/forum/read.php?2,110586,110586#msg-110586
  31. ^ http://kmeleon.sourceforge.net/wiki/KMPortable
  32. ^ K-Meleon1.0.1-mod-forCD by Fred, based on Mozilla Gecko, dated 20060730
  33. ^ K-Ninja Archives Google Group, K-Ninja website

External links[edit]