K-Meleon

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K-Meleon
K-Meleon Logo
Screenshot of K-Meleon 74 beta 4
K-Meleon 74 showing Wikimedia meta's Main Page
Developer(s) Christophe Thibault, Dorian Boissonnade, et al.
Initial release August 21, 2000; 14 years ago (2000-08-21)
Stable release 74.0 (September 27, 2014; 2 months ago (2014-09-27)[1]) [±]
Preview release 75 Beta 1 (November 25, 2014; 23 days ago (2014-11-25)[2]) [±]
Operating system Microsoft Windows
Type Web browser
Feed reader
License GPL
Website kmeleon.sourceforge.net

K-Meleon is an open-source web browser for the Microsoft Windows platform. Based on the same Gecko layout engine as Mozilla Firefox and SeaMonkey, K-Meleon's design goal is to provide a fast and reliable web browser while providing a highly customizable interface and using system resources efficiently. It is released under the GNU General Public License.

Development and specifications[edit]

K-Meleon uses the native Windows application programming interface (API) to create its user interface instead of 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). Omitting XUL makes K-Meleon less resource-intensive than other Gecko-based browsers on Windows.

The first version, K-Meleon 0.1, was originally written by Christophe Thibault and released to the public on August 21, 2000.[4] Dorian Boissonnade eventually took over as the primary developer of the project, and continues to maintain the project to date.

After many major release versions from 0.1 to 0.9.x, K-Meleon 1.0 introduced major modifications. 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 Mozilla Firefox and SeaMonkey. This update to the layout engine brought significant improvements to security and usability, including support for favicons and multi-user environments. Some themes and macros from version 0.9 were still compatible with 1.0, although the macro system was updated.

The macro system was updated further in K-Meleon 1.1,[5] which was based on the Gecko 1.8.1 rendering engine that was used in Mozilla Firefox 2.0 and SeaMonkey 1.1.

A true tabbed interface was introduced in version 1.5. Prior to this update, multiple web pages were only accessible within the same browser window using the included but optional "layers" plugin, which enabled a toolbar containing buttons representing each open page in a way that functionally mimicked tabbed browsing in every way other than appearance. These open pages were called "layers" instead of tabs.

In 2010, K-Meleon was one of the twelve browsers offered to European Economic Area users of Microsoft Windows.[6]

As of 2012, the project was incorrectly reported[by whom?] as being on indefinite hold, presumably due to the fact that Mozilla stopped providing an embeddable version of the Gecko engine.[7][8] This has since been clarified, as development continued.[9][10]

In late 2013, the K-Meleon group began developing new versions based on Mozilla's XULRunner 24 runtime environment in place of the discontinued Gecko Runtime Environment. K-Meleon 74 is the first release under development using updated versions of this environment.

Customization[edit]

K-Meleon has a highly flexible interface design. All the menus and toolbar buttons can be customized using text-format configuration files. This feature is useful in environments where the browser must be customized for general public use, such as in a public library or Internet cafe.[11] Although individual toolbars can be repositioned, users must edit toolbar configuration files to make any changes to button layouts as there is no graphical user interface (GUI) to customize them.[12]

The use of the native Windows interface means that K-Meleon does not support Mozilla-formatted browser themes. Compatibility with Mozilla extensions is also limited, with only a few extensions that can be integrated. However, K-Meleon has its own plugins (called "kplugins")[13] and browser themes (using Lim Chee Aun's Phoenity by default),[14] 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.[15]

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.[16]
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 1.8.0.5 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) 1.8.0.6 August 14, 2006 Gecko update.
1.0.2 (1.02) 1.8.0.7 September 22, 2006 Gecko update, some improvements and bugfixes.
1.1 1.1 1.8.1.4 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) 1.8.1.5 July 22, 2007 Gecko update and bugfixes.
1.1.2 1.8.1.6 August 8, 2007 Gecko update and bugfixes.
1.1.3 1.8.1.10 November 26, 2007 Gecko update; update checker plugin.
1.1.4 1.8.1.12 February 11, 2008 Gecko update and bugfixes.
1.1.5 1.8.1.14 April 8, 2008 Gecko update and bugfix.
1.1.6 1.8.1.17pre July 18, 2008 Gecko update.
1.5 1.5.0 1.8.1.17pre 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 1.8.1.17 October 16, 2008 Gecko update, improvements and bugfixes.
1.5.2 1.8.1.19 December 25, 2008 Gecko update, improvements and bugfixes.
1.5.3 1.8.1.21 May 8, 2009 Gecko update and bugfixes.
1.5.4 1.8.1.24pre March 5, 2010 Gecko update and bugfixes.
1.6 1.6.0 Alpha 4 1.9.1 May 5, 2010 Gecko update.
1.6.0 Beta 1 1.9.1.16 November 13, 2010 Gecko update.
1.6.0 Beta 2 1.9.1.17 December 12, 2010 Gecko update.
1.6.0 Beta 3 1.9.1.20pre December 12, 2011 Gecko update.
1.7 1.7.0 Alpha 2 1.9.2.14pre December 26, 2010 Gecko update.
74 74.0 24.7.0 September 8, 2014 Gecko update, improvements and bugfixes.
75 75.0 Beta 1 31.0 November 25, 2014 Gecko update, improvements and bugfixes.

References: K-Meleon file releases,[17][18] release notes,[19] Wiki documentation,[20] and forum.[21]

Unofficial Distributions[edit]

Portable versions[edit]

Several user-created portable versions have been created since the beginning of the project, focusing on the ability to run K-Meleon from a USB flash drive or portable hard drive without saving any data on the host computer. However, with version 1.5, K-Meleon became portable by default.

There have also been some early attempts at making a version of K-Meleon which can run from read-only media, such as a CD-ROM.[22]

K-MeleonCCF / K-MeleonCCF ME[edit]

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 the "layer" system used by K-Meleon at the time. Other changes included 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 included its tab support and macro plugin. Development of CCF has ceased with users being advised to move to K-Meleon 1.5 upon its release.[24]

K-Meleon CCFME 0.08

K-MeleonCCF ME was developed as a more streamlined version of K-MeleonCCF, using fewer resources and yielding more responsiveness. This was done by omitting Mozilla's XML User Interface Language (XUL) in menus. At the time, it was 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 low amounts of RAM. It may have also been the fastest at rendering, loading pages faster than Opera.[25]

On January 25, 2008, the unofficial K-MeleonCCF project was discontinued. However, since then, version 0.08 of CCF ME was released, and development continued 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.[26]

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.

K-Ninja was originally developed by Mark Reaves, who maintained the project until November 29, 2005. A developer by the name "Al." eventually came to maintain the project until March 12, 2008, when development ended.[27] The last release was K-Ninja v2.2.1 (codenamed Cydonia and based on Gecko 1.8.1.12). An experimental version using the older Gecko 1.8.0.14pre rendering engine was also developed during this time, named "Orbital."

KMLite was an attempt at rebranding K-Ninja to emphasize the fact that it was based on K-Meleon. "Lite" referred to the lightweight interface and features that KMLite shared with K-Ninja. It was based upon the K-Meleon 1.5.x codebase, which featured the Gecko 1.8.x rendering engine. KMLite also shared the plugin macro system and XUL based Preferences Panel that was part of K-Meleon 1.5. The last released of KMLite was 1.1.2, which featured Gecko v1.8.1.19. Development of KMLite ended on April 21, 2009.

NX editions[edit]

Developed and maintained by Fred, NX editions are unofficial versions that are optimized for use on Linux through the use of Wine. These versions are designed to be extremely lightweight, and can also be run on Windows. Later editions used K-Meleon's 1.5.x binaries and are based on the latest Gecko trunks, mainly 1.9.x. builds. Fred's NX editions provided a "sneak preview" for the then-upcoming K-Meleon 1.6 with 1.9.x Gecko and were therefore suitable testbeds for the official K-Meleon trunk migration.[citation needed]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "News". kmeleon.sourceforge.net. September 27, 2014. Retrieved September 29, 2014. 
  2. ^ "K-Meleon 75 Beta 1". kmeleon.sourceforge.net. November 25, 2014. Retrieved November 26, 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. ^ BBC, Microsoft offers browser choices to Europeans, 1 March 2010
  7. ^ http://kmeleon.sourceforge.net/forum/read.php?8,113496,page=2/
  8. ^ "Mozilla kills embedding support for Gecko layout engine"
  9. ^ http://kmeleon.sourceforge.net/forum/read.php?2,126337
  10. ^ http://kmeleon.sourceforge.net/forum/read.php?1,125632
  11. ^ 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. 
  12. ^ "K-Meleon's official configuration reference page". Kmeleon.sourceforge.net. Retrieved 2011-11-08. 
  13. ^ What do each of the default K-Meleon plugins do? Official K-Meleon FAQ
  14. ^ "K-Meleon Themes Wiki page". Kmeleon.sourceforge.net. Retrieved 2011-11-08. 
  15. ^ "K-Meleon Macros library". Kmeleon.sourceforge.net. Retrieved 2011-11-08. 
  16. ^ "K-Meleon Browser Showcases Gecko". BetaNews. 2000-08-22. Retrieved 2011-11-08. 
  17. ^ "K-Meleon Wiki: Download". Kmeleon.sourceforge.net. Retrieved 2011-11-08. 
  18. ^ "K-Meleon SourceForge project file releases". Sourceforge.net. Retrieved 2011-11-08. 
  19. ^ "K-Meleon Wiki: Release Notes". Kmeleon.sourceforge.net. Retrieved 2011-11-08. 
  20. ^ "K-Meleon Wiki: History Of K-Meleon". Kmeleon.sourceforge.net. Retrieved 2011-11-08. 
  21. ^ "K-Meleon :: Announcements". Kmeleon.sourceforge.net. Retrieved 2014-11-25. 
  22. ^ K-Meleon1.0.1-mod-forCD by Fred, based on Mozilla 1.8.0.6 Gecko, dated 20060730
  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. ^ 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. 
  27. ^ K-Ninja Archives Google Group, K-Ninja website

External links[edit]