Pale Moon (web browser)

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Pale Moon
Pale Moon browser icon.png
Pale Moon 28 running on Windows 8.1
Pale Moon 28.9.3 running on Puppy Linux
Developer(s)M.C. Straver[1]
Moonchild Productions[2]
Initial release4 October 2009 (2009-10-04)
Stable release(s) [±]
28.12.0 (4 August 2020; 0 days ago (2020-08-04)[3]) [±]
Preview release(s) [±]
29.0.0a5 (26 July 2020; 9 days ago (2020-07-26)[4]) [±]
Repository Edit this at Wikidata
Written inC/C++, CSS, JavaScript, XUL
EnginesGoanna, SpiderMonkey
Operating systemWindows 7 or later, Linux (unofficial build for OS X 10.7 or later and contributed builds for various platforms[5])
PlatformIA-32, x86-64[6]
Available in23 languages[7]
List of languages
Argentine-Uruguayan Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, British English, Bulgarian, Chinese Simplified, Czech, Dutch, Filipino, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Korean, Mexican Spanish, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Slovak, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish, Ukrainian
TypeWeb browser
News aggregator
License
Websitewww.palemoon.org Edit this on Wikidata

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,[10] 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.[11] It also continues to support some types of add-ons that are no longer supported by Firefox.[11][12][13]

Overview[edit]

Pale Moon 8 running on Windows XP (no longer supported)
Unbranded logo

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

  • Always runs in single-process mode, whereas Firefox became a multi-process program.[14][15]
  • 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.[11]
  • 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.[16]
  • Defaults to a customizable start page in cooperation with start.me[17]
  • Defaults to DuckDuckGo as the search engine instead of Google or Yahoo!
  • Uses the IP-API service instead of Google's for geolocation[18]

Old platforms[edit]

Version 26.5 was the final official release to support Windows XP.[19] Version 27.9.4 was the final official release to support Windows Vista as well as the final unofficial release for Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard.[20]

The end of XP support was quickly followed by Pale Moon getting at least two forks of its own, both of which take the most recent Pale Moon code and recompile it for XP; New Moon by roytam1, and Mypal by Feodor2.[21]

The final version for Snow Leopard is the foundation for the Arctic Fox web browser.[22]

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.[23]

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.[24]

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.[jargon][25] Eventually the scope of the project grew, and version 24 became a true fork of Firefox 24 ESR.[25] Starting with version 25, Pale Moon uses a completely independent versioning scheme.[26]

Pale Moon 27 was a major re-fork of the core browser code to Firefox 38 ESR[jargon], which added HTTP/2, DirectX 11, MSE/DASH, and JavaScript ES6 capabilities.[27] Add-on support remained almost entirely unchanged, with a slight reduction of Jetpack compatibility.[11][28]

UXP[edit]

In 2017, the team behind Pale Moon began the Unified XUL Platform (UXP) project.[29] UXP is an actively maintained fork with a historical fork point of the Mozilla code at Firefox 52 ESR[30] with significant modifications to be a codebase for updated web technology support and creating any number of XUL-based applications.[jargon][clarification needed][31][32] To demonstrate, develop and refine the platform, Straver used it to create a new browser, Basilisk.[33][34]

Pale Moon 28, released in August 2018, was the first version built on UXP, thereby providing improved support for web standards and video.[35]

Android[edit]

Pale Moon for Android was a distinct development effort that is no longer maintained.[36] First released in 2014,[37] Straver announced the following year that it would likely be abandoned due to lack of community involvement.[38] The final release was 25.9.6.[39]

Releases[edit]

Release history
Version Release date Significant changes
3.5.2 9 October 2009 First public version.
3.6.x versions were Firefox rebuilds without code changes.[clarification needed]
4.0 Rebase to gecko/2.0.[jargon]
4.0.3
4.0.5
4.0.6
4.0.7
5.0 Rebase to gecko/5.0.[jargon]
6.0 Rebase to gecko/6.0.[jargon]
6.0.2
7.0 Rebase to gecko/7.0.[jargon]
7.0.1
8.0 Rebase to gecko/8.0.[jargon]
9.0.1 Rebase to gecko/9.0.[jargon]
9.1 Pale Moon is now built using MSVC[expand acronym] 10.0.
9.2
11.0 Rebase to gecko/11.0.[jargon]
11.0.1
12.0 Rebase to gecko/12.0.[jargon]
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.[jargon][clarification needed]
15.0 Rebase to gecko/15.0.[jargon]
15.1
15.1.1
15.2
15.2.1
15.3 Pale Moon is now build using MSVC[expand acronym] 11.0.
15.3.1 30 November 2012
15.3.2 5 December 2012
15.4 16 January 2013
15.4.1 28 January 2013
19.0 22 February 2013 Rebase to gecko/19.0.[jargon]
19.0.1 24 February 2013
19.0.2 9 March 2013
20.0.1 11 April 2013 Rebase to gecko/20.0.[jargon]
20.1 23 May 2013
20.2 1 July 2013
20.2.1 8 July 2013
20.3 13 August 2013
24.0 13 September 2013 Rebase to gecko/24esr.[jargon]
24.0.1 18 September 2013
24.0.2 27 September 2013
24.1.0 4 November 2013
24.1.1 5 November 2013
24.1.2 19 November 2013
24.2.0 26 November 2013
24.2.1 4 December 2013
24.2.2 11 December 2013
24.3.0 28 January 2014 Intel Atom optimized build introduced.[jargon][clarification needed]
Geo-location provider switched.[clarification needed]
24.3.1 31 January 2014
24.3.2 11 February 2014 Support for TLS 1.2 introduced.
First Pale Moon for Linux release.
24.4.0 10 March 2014 Default search engine changed to DuckDuckGo.
24.4.1 19 March 2014
24.4.2 2 April 2014 Support for OCSP stapling introduced.
24.5.0 25 April 2014
24.6.0 6 June 2014 Rendering engine overhaul.
From this version Pale Moon uses its own Sync server.[clarification needed]
24.6.1 8 June 2014
24.6.2 16 June 2014
24.7.0 29 July 2014
24.7.1 6 August 2014 First Pale Moon for Android (operating system) release.
24.7.2 11 September 2014 Last version to support Windows XP on non-Intel Atom optimized builds.[jargon]
25.0.0 10 October 2014 Pale Moon now uses its own UUID.[expand acronym]
Forked gecko/24esr[jargon] code base is still being used.
25.0.1 15 October 2014
25.0.2 24 October 2014 SSL 3.0 is now disabled by default.
25.1.0 11 November 2014
25.1.1 28 November 2014 An Android-only update.
25.2.0 15 January 2015 Improved ES6[expand acronym] draft implementation.
25.2.1 27 January 2015
25.3.0 13 March 2015
25.3.1 25 March 2015
25.3.2 25 April 2015
25.4.0 8 May 2015
25.4.1 10 May 2015
25.5.0 10 June 2015
25.6.0 15 July 2015
25.7.0 26 August 2015
25.7.1 28 September 2015
25.7.2 2 October 2015
25.7.3 14 October 2015
25.7.3.1 15 October 2015 An Android-only update.
25.8.0 17 November 2015
25.8.1 18 November 2015
26.0.0 26 January 2016 Layout engine is rebranded to Goanna.
Basic support for ES6[expand acronym] Promises and WebP image format implemented.
A built-in XSS filter added.
Forked gecko/24esr code base is still being used.[jargon]
26.0.2 3 February 2016
26.0.3 5 February 2016
26.1.0 16 February 2016
26.1.1 24 February 2016
26.2.0 5 April 2016
26.2.1 8 April 2016
26.2.2 10 April 2016 An Android-only version 25.9.2 is released at the same time.
26.3.0 21 June 2016
26.3.1 25 June 2016
26.3.2 27 June 2016 A Microsoft Windows-only build.
26.3.3 1 July 2016
26.4.0 17 August 2016
26.4.0.1 23 August 2016 A Linux only build.
26.4.1 12 September 2016 Triple-DES[expand acronym] cipher suites[clarification needed] are now disabled by default.
26.5.0 28 September 2016 This is the last version supporting Microsoft Windows XP.
27.0.0 22 November 2016 Pale Moon is now based on forked mozilla/38esr platform code.[jargon]
Support for add-on SDK[expand acronym] extensions dropped.[jargon]
HTTP/2 implemented. Initial MSE[expand acronym] implementation introduced.
27.0.1 28 November 2016
27.0.2 2 December 2016
27.0.3 16 December 2016
27.1.0 9 February 2017 Media back-end reworked, now uses FFmpeg on Linux.[jargon]
27.1.1 21 February 2017
27.1.2 3 March 2017
27.2.0 18 March 2017 Support for JPEG-XR implemented.
27.2.1 24 March 2017
27.3.0 28 April 2017 MSE[expand acronym] implementation is now more spec-compliant.[jargon]
27.4.0 12 July 2017 MSE[expand acronym] implementation is now fully spec-compliant and asynchronous.[jargon]
27.4.1 3 August 2017
27.4.2 22 August 2017
27.4.2.1 28 August 2017 A Microsoft Windows-only portable version build.[clarification needed]
27.5.0 26 September 2017
27.5.1 10 October 2017
27.6.0 7 November 2017
27.6.1 15 November 2017
27.6.2 28 November 2017
27.7.0 15 January 2018
27.7.1 18 January 2018
27.7.2 2 February 2018
27.8.0 2 March 2018 Improved TLS 1.3 draft support.
27.8.1 6 March 2018
27.8.1 22 March 2018
27.8.3 28 March 2018
27.9.0 17 April 2018
27.9.1 7 May 2018
27.9.2 18 May 2018
27.9.3 12 June 2018
27.9.4 17 July 2018 This is the last version supporting Microsoft Windows Vista.
28.0.0 16 August 2018 Pale Moon is now based on Unified XUL Platform (UXP) forked from mozilla/52esr.[jargon]
Nearly complete ES6[expand acronym] support.
WebGL2,[expand acronym] WASM,[expand acronym] CSS Grid[expand acronym] and FLAC support introduced.
28.0.0.1 28 August 2018 A Microsoft Windows-only version.
28.0.1 31 August 2018
28.1.0 20 September 2018 Final TLS 1.3 draft support implemented.
28.2.0 13 November 2018
28.2.1 16 November 2018
28.2.2 6 December 2018
28.3.0 15 January 2019 AV1 support introduced.
28.3.1 23 January 2019
28.4.0 19 February 2019
28.4.1 27 March 2019
28.5.0 30 April 2019
28.5.1 4 June 2019
28.5.2 5 June 2019
28.6.0 2 July 2019
28.6.0.1 4 July 2019
28.6.1 25 July 2019
28.7.0 29 August 2019
28.7.1 12 September 2019
28.7.2 29 October 2019
28.8.0 10 December 2019 Added support for modern Solaris (operating system).
28.8.1 11 January 2020
28.8.2 28 January 2020
28.8.2.1 4 February 2020
28.8.3 18 February 2020
28.8.4 1 March 2020
28.9.0 24 March 2020
28.9.0.1 25 March 2020
28.9.0.2 25 March 2020
28.9.1 10 April 2020
28.9.2 30 April 2020
28.9.3 8 May 2020
28.10.0 5 June 2020
28.11.0 15 July 2020
28.12.0 4 August 2020
29.0.0a5 26 July 2020

  Old,   stable,   testing

Benchmarks[edit]

Straver has remarked that the role of benchmark tests is questionable, 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."[40]

The questionable role of benchmarking was confirmed by leading technology experts[41][clarification needed][42] when, for example, Google announced it was retiring its Octane benchmark in 2017.[43]

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.[44] 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.[45] 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.[45]

Current (UXP) versions of Pale Moon score comparatively to other browsers in benchmarks, showing, for example, no significant difference on the Sunspider benchmark compared to Firefox Quantum.[46]

Market share[edit]

Worldwide market share according to StatCounter was stable at 0.02% between March 2019 and 2020.[47]

Data breach incident[edit]

It was reported on 10 July 2019 that a data breach of the archive server holding previous binaries of the Pale Moon browser had occurred and malware inserted into the executables. This breach was discovered on the previous day. It is unknown when the breach first occurred. Firstly, it was estimated to have been as early as 27 December 2017, according to timestamps. After getting some more feedback from users, it is now estimated to have occurred somewhere between April and June 2019.[48]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b M.C. Straver. "About Moonchild Productions". Archived from the original on 13 March 2017. Retrieved 19 April 2018.
  2. ^ M.C. Straver. "About Moonchild Productions". Archived from the original on 9 April 2020. Retrieved 23 April 2020.
  3. ^ "Pale Moon – Release Notes". Pale Moon. Retrieved 4 August 2020.
  4. ^ "Pale Moon unstable releases". Moonchild Productions. Retrieved 4 August 2020.‹See TfM›[failed verification]
  5. ^ a b "Contributed builds of Pale Moon". Pale Moon. Retrieved 12 February 2017.
  6. ^ a b "Pale Moon - Technical Details".
  7. ^ "Pale Moon language packs". Moonchild Productions. Retrieved 14 February 2019.
  8. ^ a b "Pale Moon redistribution", Official website, retrieved 10 February 2017
  9. ^ a b "The Pale Moon Project homepage". Pale Moon. Retrieved 9 January 2017.
  10. ^ "Moonchild" (M.C. Straver) (15 March 2017). "Current Mac development status". Pale Moon forum. Retrieved 24 April 2020.
  11. ^ a b c d "Pale Moon future roadmap". Pale Moon. Retrieved 9 February 2017.
  12. ^ Needham, Kev (21 August 2015). "The Future of Developing Firefox Add-ons". Mozilla Add-ons Blog. Archived from the original on 5 September 2015. Retrieved 7 September 2015.
  13. ^ Villalobos, Jorge (16 February 2017). "The Road to Firefox 57 – Compatibility Milestones". Mozilla Add-ons Blog. Archived from the original on 17 February 2017. Retrieved 17 February 2017.
  14. ^ "Multiprocess Firefox". Mozilla. Retrieved 24 August 2018.
  15. ^ "Multi-process, or: the drawbacks nobody ever talks about". Pale Moon forum. M.C. Straver. Retrieved 24 August 2018.
  16. ^ "Pale Moon - Add-ons - Themes". addons.palemoon.org.
  17. ^ Robijn, Arjen (11 February 2015). "Browser Pale Moon Integrates New Personal Start Page" (Press release). Amsterdam: PRWeb.
  18. ^ "Pale Moon 24.3.0 released! - Pale Moon forum". forum.palemoon.org. Retrieved 9 April 2017.
  19. ^ "End of Windows XP support in Pale Moon". Archived from the original on 26 August 2017.
  20. ^ WinterClaws; Moonchild (M.C. Straver). "Pale Moon 27.9.4 for Snow Leopard". Pale Moon forum. Post 5 (#p146639) and 11 (#p151480). Retrieved 23 April 2020. It was a bit disheartening to hear that v28.x SL builds will no longer be made but still…" "…Pale Moon 28 does not run on Snow Leopard.
  21. ^ "Building Palemoon 27 for XP".
  22. ^ wicknix (6 April 2020). "Arctic Fox web browser for 10.6 (32 & 64-bit)". MacRumors Forums. Retrieved 23 April 2020.
  23. ^ "Pale Moon SSE for Linux".
  24. ^ "Pale Moon branding information". Official website.
  25. ^ a b "History of the Pale Moon project". Moonchild Productions. Retrieved 6 February 2017.
  26. ^ "What is Pale Moon's versioning scheme like?".
  27. ^ "The Future of Pale Moon". palemoon.org.
  28. ^ "Jetpack Style Extensions". Retrieved 10 February 2017.
  29. ^ "README for the initial, deprecated UXP repository on GitHub". Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  30. ^ "README for the originally created UXP repository on GitHub". Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  31. ^ "UXP vs goanna".
  32. ^ "There is only XUL". Retrieved 18 September 2018.
  33. ^ Brinkmann, Martin (17 November 2017). "Pale Moon team releases first version of Basilisk browser". GHacks. Retrieved 20 November 2017.
  34. ^ M.C. Straver (20 April 2018). "Basilisk's nature (a small clarification)".
  35. ^ Pale Moon 28.0.0 release notes
  36. ^ "Pale Moon for Android". Retrieved 9 February 2017.
  37. ^ "Pale Moon for Android 24.7.1". 3 August 2014.
  38. ^ "I may have to let Pale Moon for Android go. :(". 16 April 2015.
  39. ^ "Pale Moon for Android updated to 25.9.6!". Retrieved 9 February 2017.
  40. ^ "Moonchild" (M.C. Straver) (9 April 2012). "What's the deal with browser benchmarks?". Pale Moon forum. Retrieved 22 June 2017.
  41. ^ "Google deprecates Octane JavaScript benchmark, because everyone is basically cheating". Ars Technica[clarification needed]. Retrieved 23 July 2019.
  42. ^ Meurer, Benedikt (16 December 2016). "The truth about traditional JavaScript benchmarks". Retrieved 23 July 2019.
  43. ^ "Retiring Octane". V8. 12 April 2017. Archived from the original on 12 April 2017. Retrieved 23 July 2019.
  44. ^ Nawrocki, Matt. "Review: Pale Moon web browser for Windows". TechRepublic. Retrieved 12 February 2017.
  45. ^ a b Brinkmann, Martin (3 January 2016). "32-bit vs 64-bit browsers: which version has the edge?". GHacks. Retrieved 12 February 2017.
  46. ^ "Dromaeo benchmark (Sunspider)". Mozilla. Retrieved 26 June 2019.
  47. ^ "Browser Market Share Worldwide – Mar 2019 - Mar 2020" (CSV). StatCounter. Retrieved 24 April 2020.
  48. ^ "Moonchild" (M.C. Straver) (10 July 2019). "Data breach post-mortem". Pale Moon forum. Retrieved 17 November 2019.

External links[edit]