Looking forward in 2017 - Questions

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Luna Tic

Looking forward in 2017 - Questions

Unread post by Luna Tic » 2017-04-17, 16:31

I tried to post these questions in the original Looking forward in 2017 thread, but the forum did not let me.

1. The original post makes a big distinction between product and platform. Could someone please explain - like a patient mother to her retarded five year old - what the difference is between platform and product (in general and specifically related to PM).

2. After mozilla moves to the new engine, how will that affect the security updates to PM? I am probably totally wrong, but my understanding is that a lot of security fixes are taken from the mozilla code and applied to PM.

Pale as the Moon

Re: Looking forward in 2017 - Questions

Unread post by Pale as the Moon » 2017-04-17, 17:07

I have some questions as well:

1) Will this new browser support WebExtensions? I am sure we all want our current XUL/XPCOM add-ons to run in the future, but support for WebExtensions would be an added bonus for sure. Since the current Firefox iterations already provide a significant amount of WebExtensions support it would be a shame to throw that away.

2) Will an Australis Pale Moon and the current Pale Moon coexist (two different application code variants on the same platform code)?

3) Will you fork Gecko 56 to achieve maximum compatibility with the current Firefox?

4) I wonder why the Waterfox cooperation didn't came to pass... The Waterfox dev seems to plan the exact same thing according to this source: https://www.waterfoxproject.org/blog/wa ... e-download Shame to waste this developer but apparently this is how things are standing at the moment, aren't they?

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GreenGeek

Re: Looking forward in 2017 - Questions

Unread post by GreenGeek » 2017-04-17, 17:15

Roughly, product is the application that the user uses and platform is behind the scenes code that makes it work. You can have many products sharing a common platform. FIrefox, Pale Moon, Sea Monkey, Waterfox, Cyberfox, K-meleon are all products (browsers) that run on some version of the Mozilla platform. In PM's case, with more of it's own modifications. Even Thunderbird and FossaMail which are email programs are still dependent on the Mozilla platform code.

After Mozilla switches to their new web page rendering engine, security patches are likely to be different from PM. Some may be applicable with adjustments, others may be irrelevant. Some security patches can be relevant for more than one platform, like both Chrome and Firefox, even though there will be some differences in the code used. But if what you want is to know if PM can rely on Mozilla for security patches, then basically no. Moonchild follows security notices from other sources and can make the patches needed (in general they're small changes; something major could be difficult to implement).

The significance to me of the announcement is saying Waterfox and SeaMonkey both are not interested in maintaining shared back end code (platform). I already knew that though. Waterfox is going to follow Mozilla down their new path, and SeaMonkey is going to die. If PM developers decide to create a new version based off of anything later than the equivalent of Firefox version 52, then I will just stick with old PM as long as I can (probably 2-3 years). Whatever I use after that will not be Mozilla based.

Pale as the Moon

Re: Looking forward in 2017 - Questions

Unread post by Pale as the Moon » 2017-04-17, 17:21

@GreenGeek: Nothing newer than Firefox 52? What's wrong with Firefox 56? I imagine forking from 56 would be better, as it would provide maximum compatibility as well as more security since sandboxing is going to be introduced with Firefox 55 (correct me if I'm wrong)!

GreenGeek

Re: Looking forward in 2017 - Questions

Unread post by GreenGeek » 2017-04-17, 17:44

You're not wrong necessarily; you're just wrong for me. Alex had that same idea for Waterfox, forking an ESR from 56 (not sure if that is still possible but sounds unlikely if he doesn't want to put in more time). But 52 is the brick wall dead end for me (I'm already there on both WF and SM). I will look for non-Mozilla based browser after the current ones become antiquated. Unless, someone starts a fork of Firefox 24-28 or even earlier. All I really want is basic HTML spec support (somehwere in the 3.5 to 5.0 range) with security updates to handle whatever new threats come along. I don't give a rat's ass about all the "modern" stuff (video, social networking, or whatever the fad is). I have Firefox 2, 10, and 24 installed, but my "default" browser is Opera 8.54 -- most servers refuse a connection and I just laugh because that is great for security.

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Re: Looking forward in 2017 - Questions

Unread post by Sajadi » 2017-04-17, 17:51

Just saying, i will stay with Pale Moon as long as it will stay a customizable browser and not becoming like the upcoming Firefox... a limited, locked up browser for amateurish users and explicitly excludes power/advanced users.

Actually as i have 2 competent backup browsers, i really also give a rats ass about glittering shiny new web standards/drafts... If a page does not work in Pale Moon at any point, i just use my other browsers for it. If something can't be implemented because it is not possible, so be it.

So Moonchild, do what you ever have done, do what is possible and what's not possible... it is not the end of the world to install a backup browser for web resources which have become incompatible with Pale Moon.

That sums up everything for me pretty much. 8-)

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Re: Looking forward in 2017 - Questions

Unread post by Moonraker » 2017-04-17, 18:37

If i may,
I notice 2017 is mentioned but i feel people are more concerned about the long term maintenance.
Im a loyal pale moon user and its the best browser i have ever used and this is a question which will come up so i may as well ask it.
As the passage of time goes on hard choices will have to be made as eventually palemoon as it stands now cannot stand in a fixed state of time,a major rebase will have to be made which will involve the incorporation of future web standards.

Ten years from now what are the plans..dare we look that far ahead.
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Re: Looking forward in 2017 - Questions

Unread post by Sajadi » 2017-04-17, 18:42

Moonraker wrote:If i may,
I notice 2017 is mentioned but i feel people are more concerned about the long term maintenance.
Im a loyal pale moon user and its the best browser i have ever used and this is a question which will come up so i may as well ask it.
As the passage of time goes on hard choices will have to be made as eventually palemoon as it stands now cannot stand in a fixed state of time,a major rebase will have to be made which will involve the incorporation of future web standards.

Ten years from now what are the plans..dare we look that far ahead.
best wishes.
If you talk about becoming like Firefox 57 and later.. i do not believe that will be an option. Pale Moon exists because it has features - if the features are lost, the reason of Pale Moon is ceasing to exist. So, Pale Moon lives or dies depending what happens to the customization.

Re-basing is no ongoing solution and soon it can't be done anymore as new Firefox code does not allow the features Pale Moon has right now.

dark_moon

Re: Looking forward in 2017 - Questions

Unread post by dark_moon » 2017-04-17, 19:04

Here the news & comments on ghacks:
https://www.ghacks.net/2017/04/17/pale- ... announced/

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Re: Looking forward in 2017 - Questions

Unread post by Pallid Planetoid » 2017-04-17, 20:53

dark_moon wrote:Here the news & comments on ghacks:
https://www.ghacks.net/2017/04/17/pale- ... announced/
thanks for posting... the comment in the article:
It is too early to tell whether this will work out well in the long run or not. If it does, it could become the new home for Firefox users who are disillusioned by Mozilla's current strategy for one reason or the other.
... is hopefully what will happen in the end and as a result potentially be a significant benefit to the Pale Moon user base. :thumbup:
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PhilK

Re: Looking forward in 2017 - Questions

Unread post by PhilK » 2017-04-17, 21:36

My understanding about why PM decided to maintain it's codebase fork where it currently is, is because of Australis, mostly. And for at least a year or two now it seems to me that MC was adamant that they would not re-base again for that reason.

So I'd like to know what the downsides are of a new re-base. Will Australis be forced on us? What other things should we expect to give up or expect to be changed from a UI/features standpoint compared to PM v27?

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Re: Looking forward in 2017 - Questions

Unread post by Moonraker » 2017-04-17, 21:38

Eventually australis will HAVE to be introduced as time goes by.....
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GreenGeek

Re: Looking forward in 2017 - Questions

Unread post by GreenGeek » 2017-04-17, 21:51

I don't think so! PM is already using post-Australis back end (page rendering code, aka engine), but Australis is the FF front end (user interface). PM27 uses equivalent of FF38 back end, with PM specific modifications. Australis was the new FF front end introduced in FF29. Moonchild has said before something like no Australis ever, and I think most PM users agree with that. SeaMonkey uses even more current back end but has no trace of Australis.

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Re: Looking forward in 2017 - Questions

Unread post by ron_1 » 2017-04-17, 22:07

Moonraker wrote:
Eventually australis will HAVE to be introduced as time goes by.....
No, it doesn't. Why do you believe it has to be?

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Re: Looking forward in 2017 - Questions

Unread post by Moonchild » 2017-04-18, 00:35

Answering some questions (sort of) concisely:

In answer to Luna Tic:
  1. The distinction between product and platform is made as clear as possible for a good reason. Mozilla's original design (which is why it is designed the way it is) makes this platform/product distinction. That is why "xulrunner" has been a thing. XUL, as in, the XUL library (the big xul.dll on windows) is mainly monolithic for that reason. What it allows is a ready-made platform that can run any XUL-designed UI/application on top of it. XUL "products" are primarily UI layout code (in the XUL markup language) and javascript, used to build a functional, scripted, but otherwise extremely flexible application on top of that platform. Mail, news, chat, web browsing, you name it, the possibilities are pretty much endless. The platform in this context will primarily be the tightly-interwoven DOM/Spidermonkey(javascript)/layout marriage
  2. Because of the way XUL programming works, the vast majority of security issues are in the platform code, and specifically in the javascript code. Firefox post-57 will still be using Spidermonkey, and as such will still need mostly-compatible patches for sec vulnerabilities for us. Most of the sec vulnerabilities have required custom patches for Pale Moon for a few years already, so in that respect very little will change. The only difference is that there will be fewer "new code" vulnerabilities for us to look at, and there might be more sec patches for us that require our own work from scratch (that also isn't anything new).
In answer to Pale as the Moon:
  1. The Firefox-derivative browser will support WebExtensions and have Australis/CustomizableUI available. The idea is to provide as much of a Firefox-parity browser as possible with that.
  2. Yes. "Australis Pale Moon" will however not be called "Pale Moon" to prevent confusion among our users; especially if we will long-term move both variants to the same platform (ultimately the idea but we'll have to see how things pan out for Pale Moon and web compatibility first, and in how far our capacity will be able to maintain 2 separate forks)
  3. No. Firefox 56 will already have a bunch of things that are most definitely not desirable. Instead of trying to undo vast amounts of damage to the platform preparing for Rust integration/takeover, it'll be better to fork from an earlier point and work forward without the issue of trying to reintroduce what was axed. Maximum compatibility is actually finding the sweet spot where old tech hasn't been ripped out yet. 56 will definitely not be it.
  4. Waterfox didn't come to pass because Alex wasn't interested in maintaining a platform or looking ahead far enough. It's a shame, but for this to work, partners will have to be on the same page and putting the platform technology first, and although I personally saw cooperation being quite possible, he didn't think so. I'm not one to force the issue in that case.
Moonraker wrote:Ten years from now what are the plans..dare we look that far ahead.
It's impossible to look that far ahead. All we can do is look at what we have, what is in development, what technologies are being advanced, and respond to that.
10 years is a very very long time in software terms, especially in rapid areas like the web. Look at how old Pale Moon is: a little over 7 years. 7 years ago, we had Firefox 3.5. Remember that? See how far we've come since then.

As said before: Regardless of these developments and a new platform for it or not, Pale Moon will remain Pale Moon. It exists because its setup and features are wanted, and because people find it useful. The product (application) will at its heart remain the way it is, as long as our users desire it.
Moonraker wrote:Eventually australis will HAVE to be introduced as time goes by.....
Incorrect. Australis is purely front-end code. As long as there is a flexible (XUL) platform to build on, the front-end can use whatever UI it wants or needs. We are already using a post-Australis back-end for Pale Moon, but the front-end is absolutely Australis-free because it's not a requirement. Australis may be the only way to run "Mozilla's version" of Web Extensions, true, but we won't be required to support those to have a fully-functional browser. So, Pale Moon may never support them, but the other planned browser most likely will, since it will be based on the post-Australis Firefox UI product code.

And yes, it's too early to tell many of these things in detail, and I'm also not disclosing any further details right now about the planned new browser, because I simply don't want to risk saying things that aren't going to be true. All this will be fleshed out further later on, so please be patient, but I wanted to at least provide some insight and clarity on where we stand and what we plan to do to keep the original spirit alive in these times of change.
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JodyThornton

Re: Looking forward in 2017 - Questions

Unread post by JodyThornton » 2017-04-18, 00:38

Pale as the Moon wrote:@GreenGeek: Nothing newer than Firefox 52? What's wrong with Firefox 56? I imagine forking from 56 would be better, as it would provide maximum compatibility as well as more security since sandboxing is going to be introduced with Firefox 55 (correct me if I'm wrong)!
But if anything between Firefox v53 to v56 is forked, won't there already be parts of XUL and XPCOM that will be deprecated? It appears that Firefox features will be deprecated piece-meal.
:(

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Re: Looking forward in 2017 - Questions

Unread post by gracious1 » 2017-04-18, 01:22

GreenGeek wrote:But 52 is the brick wall dead end for me....
For me, too. I don't care for "social media", either. And DRM can go jump in the lake.
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Re: Looking forward in 2017 - Questions

Unread post by Rickkins » 2017-04-18, 01:33

First off: Thank you for keeping this browser/project or whatever else one may call it, alive.

Second, I'm no coder, and I type with two fingers. That said, if there is anything I could do to help, lemme know. :thumbup:

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Re: Looking forward in 2017 - Questions

Unread post by CharmCityCrab » 2017-04-18, 06:37

1. Is this new Firefox-derived browser intended as a proof of concept for the continued development of the platform, with the application itself having a limited shelf-life? Or is the new browser intended to be as permanent and ongoing as Pale Moon itself with the two applications existing and being developed side by side indefinitely?

2. Any preliminary thoughts as to the branding of the new browser? Should we expect something that connects it with Pale Moon in some way in naming convention (ie New Moon, Dark Moon, Red Moon, etc.) or color scheme (ie blue logo)? Something that relates it in some way to Firefox without violating trademarks or copyright (Already existing examples past and present would include things like IceWeasel, IceCat, and Waterfox that are sort of in one way or the other plays on words and/or images via Firefox)? Entirely new branding from scratch that bares no similarity whatsoever to either browser?

Will user submissions be considered branding wise, or will this be done entirely in-house?

3. Will the new browser be following the Pale Moon approach to EME and DRM, or be closer to the Firefox approach?

4. It was mentioned that Pale Moon may or may not eventually adopt the new platform code. What would be the scenario where it *doesn't*? If a modern platform code that is compatible with Pale Moon is being developed on ongoing basis, isn't a lot of the benefit of that the ability to use it to keep the backbone of Pale Moon current, compatible, and secure; knowing that the UI and customizability is in the application code, and thus we retain that even if we adopt the platform code of a browser with only modern Firefox levels of customizability and the modern Firefox UI?

It sounds like reading between the lines that one potential benefit here is that we could get more developers and users to support the platform via the late-Firefox forked browser, and that that work would go to support Pale Moon as well as Firefox because its the same platform (Hypothetically).

5. Which part of the code does the web rendering- the platform or application code? If its the application code, is it possible that there could be a mostly common web rendering code base between the two browsers anyway? This plan in general seems very daring and forward-thinking (Both good things in this case). One of the key concerns I have with Pale Moon in general for the future (With or without the announcement) is the ability to keep the web rendering engine current and compatible with sites that are increasingly coding for Blink. It'd be nice to give Goanna the ability to read web content in a way similar to Blink with similar rendering rules even if done through entirely through a rendering engine that is coded completely differently.

6. Could these browsers eventually have similar or identical user agent strings to boost numbers and encourage websites to write their sites for compatibility and answer back with a standard Pale Moon/new browser page upon recognition?

7. Are these browsers going to be crosspromoted as sister browsers or be run as if they are two totally separate projects from the end user perspective?

8. Just in general as a discussion comment, I don't think this new browser will be "for me", because its essentially the modern Firefox UI, which I hate. I actually like Firefox's upcoming Photon UI better than the current Firefox UI, if I were asked to choose (The way I have customized Pale Moon being better than both).

However, I am excited about the new project because I see it as potentially providing tremendous benefits to Pale Moon via its potentially shared platform and more developers potentially getting involved in that, while retaining the Pale Moon application code that allows me to continue to achieve the UI I want.

redblade7

Re: Looking forward in 2017 - Questions

Unread post by redblade7 » 2017-04-18, 08:55

By "hard fork of a later version" do you mean that Australis will be forced on us? Will there be a Classic Theme Restorer equivalent if that's the case? Also, why do we need to fork the XUL/XPCOM addon support from a later Firefox version when we already have been maintaining it?

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