All in one solutions can be very appealing. Since I have multiple communication methods online and SeaMonkey is touted as an “all in one Internet solution”, I simply had to put it to the test against my browser of choice and the associated packages I use. With the release of 2.0.14 what better time?
I’m sure SeaMonkey will be available for many in their respective repo’s, but since I wanted the latest version and wanted it now, I downloaded direct from the site. The comparison for this review will be with Chromium 11.0.696.25 (and I suppose X-Chat & Thunderbird too) which are currently installed on my system. Presently I am also running Compiz with the desktop cube effect, I have 4 available desktop spaces with each desktop space being given to Chromium, Thunderbird and X-Chat. The remaining workspace is left empty for anything else.
Since the desktop cube displays its faces in realtime (and not merely a snapshot frozen at the point of invoking) I am able to manipulate my cube and keep an eye on multiple packages at the same time in a visually appealing way. There is to be a TechBytes videocast on Seamonkey so you can appreciate better what is meant.
SeaMonkey makes setup simple. It can import your Thunderbird mail preferences (including RSS feeds and Usenet groups) with a single click, the only work needed is that login/password credentials will need to be provided again. Within about 10 seconds SeaMonkey was in control of my online life!
For browsing, bookmarks too can be imported and in the case of Chromium exporting them to html is simple, as is importing them into SeaMonkey. No problems encountered at all.
SeaMonkey in action
The ease of installation must be remarked upon and is certainly one of the strongest features of SeaMonkey. For someone who has been a Chromium user for a long time and now used to a slightly different GUI, the whole process of migration was simple and I felt immediately at home with a return to a “Firefoxesque” UI.
Page rendering seemed fine, ordinarily its not something I make a conscious decision to make note of, so on first look all seemed well with the browsing experience.
IRC was painless to access with the remaining internet suite found in the Window menu. Whilst I had to “/msg nickserv” my password (due to me having forgotten to set up the IRC side of the software) I was taken aback by the mother of all fonts which it seemed to default to, rendering the #techrights channel in a font so large that a Mr Man book would seem like it was printed on microfiche. This maybe some fault of mine and my system default font, but I doubt it since no other package has exhibited this behaviour. Other than that the IRC experience was just as expected. I am not sure I like the default username listings on the left-hand side of the client but maybe that’s because Ive been using X-chat for quite some time.
I could delve into details regarding email, RSS and Usenet, but I don’t think its needed, suffice to say its all working out of the box and no issues have been experienced.
Benchmarks / Testing
Before we move into this section, I must remind you that the basis for these tests were for the viability of me moving from my current multi-faceted online communication methods, not as a definitive conclusion for every possible permutation of solution out there. I am constantly looking for improvements to my experience in every area of computing, so SeaMonkey is being looked at from a position of possible migration. I would ask you again (to get a more accurate picture of the results here) to look back at the specs of the test machine before studying my findings.
The first test I ran was SunSpider 0.9.1, Ive summarised the results and for chart simplicity have rounded down. The results between SeaMonkey and Chromium were so strikingly different, it makes little difference to highlighting how far apart these two really are:
I also put both SeaMonkey and Chromium through an HTML5 test, with Chromium scoring 293 & Seamonkey scoring 143. The test can be viewed in detail here.
The ease of installation is a major plus here, with your online life being imported painlessly. All the packages which make up the suite work as they should and stability wise I would say that there were no issues at all.
I have to admit being very disappointed with the test results. I focused on Java because that is something I have need of and the best possible rendering performance is a requirement of mine. As you can see from the test results on my setup, Chromium left SeaMonkey behind and also far excelled in the HTML5 test.
That being said, to have SeaMonkey defaultly packaged with a distro would be no bad thing, it performs as expected and does indeed provide a “one stop shop” for a suite of Internet apps.
As I stated earlier I use a combination of Chromium/X-Chat/Thunderbird and I would challenge anyone who said that the SeaMonkey suite was preferable to that. Agreed, my solution requires the execution of three separate apps, but I am able to switch between them just as easily as the “internet suite” of SeaMonkey, which for me offers no obvious benefit.
For the purposes of this review, the test machine used was: AMD Athlon II Quad Core , 3gb of DDR3 and an Nvidia 9200 integrated gfx card.
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