Since there are still quite a few evangelists out there who keep spreading misinformation about Pale Moon, I'm providing a hopefully clear list of points here to clear up the misconceptions still being spread out there.
"This is rumor control, here are the facts" - as stated by the warden in Alien 3.
- Rumor: "Pale Moon is a one-man show and does not have the manpower to keep up with Firefox"
Pale Moon is no longer "just me" and hasn't been for the majority of its life. There are some talented and dedicated people at work in our little community to make Pale Moon what it is, and actually has seen support in many ways by many people over the years. The fact that I am the one leading this project and holding the keys and making the overall decisions about direction doesn't mean that no others are involved. To name a few other people currently actively helping with the project's core development: Matt A. Tobin, Travis W. (trava90), Axiomatic, Antonius32. Don't forget our beta testing team, either. Or the people helping with extensions and extension compatibility. Or theme porting (thanks Ryan!). Or even the community as a whole providing support to users. People doing translations. I can go on. One man? I think not. Of course since it's crowdsourced, it's easy to forget the numerous people in the background who play their part, but please don't forget them.
- Rumor: "Pale Moon is just a rebranded rebuild of an old Firefox version"
Pale Moon has been on a divergent path with its own code for a long time already. It was a rebuild in 2009, yes. It was a rebuild with minor changes in the Firefox 4.0 era, yes. But we've come a very long way since then with an increasing amount of different code being carried over each time it was re-based on later Firefox code. It's a true fork now and has been employing rapid development (as opposed to rapid release) to solidify this independent direction with its own focus and attempt at keeping the browser sane, lean, and offering users choice and stability.
At the same time, Pale Moon's focus on security and evolving networking standards has added features and kept pace with those developments in other browsers, by e.g. adding TLS 1.1/1.2 support a while back, by offering OCSP-stapling, by keeping a close eye on encryption and the browser's security by continuing to port or re-implement security fixes that apply to Pale Moon as a browser. It is neither old nor outdated, it is not a "rebuild" and it does not use obsolete technologies or have security holes.
- Rumor: "Pale Moon will have to adopt Australis or die"
Unlike other "Firefox alternatives" that basically ride Firefox's release cycle and add extra layers on top of that like Classic Theme Restorer, Pale Moon's front-end and user interface is its own, is built on the fully-customizable XUL/toolkit framework of pre-Australis versions of Firefox, and there is no reason at all why this would have to change as Pale Moon continues to develop.
- Rumor: "Pale Moon disables too many components to be useful"
Common mentions of disabled components are accessibility and WebRTC in this context. First off, WebRTC is functional and included in Pale Moon's source tree, but it is not built because the user base as a whole voted against it with a vast majority. This underlines one key statement about the Pale Moon browser: user involvement. As far as accessibility goes: Pale Moon supports full accessibility features as one can expect from a browser, like caret browsing, adaptation to high-contrast themes, etc. -- but what it does not support is specialized hardware for the severely disabled. This has been a choice since day 1 of its publication, and falls in line with another key statement about the Pale Moon browser: that it does not attempt to cater to all possible usage scenarios, but instead tries to find a sane balance between features and performance/stability. This inevitably means that deeply-complexity-impacting components that would be used by a disproportionately small portion of the users are disabled.
The browser is no less useful because of what is disabled - but it may of course not cater to specific specialized needs that specifically rely on those components and fall outside of what should be considered the scope of a web browser.
- Rumor: "Pale Moon has redirected search engine revenue to its developer"
Developing Pale Moon is a full-time job (and then some). It is not a hobby; it is a profession. The browser is free for anyone to download and use, and keeping development up, keeping myself supplied with food, paying rent, etc., and paying for the more than a few servers to provide all additional services needed for its presence on the internet (like the website server, release download mirrors, blocklist server, Pale Moon Sync, the forum, automatic update server, ftp, mail server, CDN) all costs money. This money has to come from somewhere besides donations, because donations simply do not cut it. There has to be enough on the other side of the equal sign. What did you expect; that I would continue to fund the Mozilla Corporation from an independent browser by keeping the search parameters to their Mozilla ones?
In addition, every single other alternative browser out there does this to pay for itself, as well.
- Rumor: "Pale Moon is not truly Open Source"
Pale Moon is released under the Mozilla Public License v2.0. This is a fully Open Source license with a strict requirement that all sources are open to be used, modified and republished by others. The misconception seems to still be that "Open Source" would either mean "Public Domain" or "Open Binary", neither of which are true. Pale Moon's binaries (the compiled version of the browser) are distributed under a more restrictive license to prevent rogue altered/bundled copies of the browser negatively impacting the browser's reputation. This is tied in with the trademark claim that exists on the Pale Moon name, logo and other copyrighted branding materials.
Mozilla, by comparison, has the same (or very similar) restrictions on its officially-branded binaries, because officially branded Firefox binaries may also not be redistributed willy-nilly when they have been materially altered from their original source (hence re-branded versions like IceWeasel, etc., popped up).
- Rumor: "Pale Moon's tools are proprietary"
The profile migration tool, web installer stub, and some other helper applications are released under a different freeware license. These tools are not part of the browser and do not need to be Open Source. You also in no way need these tools to be able to fully use the browser in all its facets. There is no requirement or even reason why I should be forced to also release helper applications that are in no way tied to browser operation as Open Source as well.
- Rumor: "All your extensions will stop working"
This is a slightly complex point, but even so, the number of third-party developed extensions that don't work out-of-the-box with Pale Moon is relatively small, and the rumor that it would be "all" is ridiculously exaggerated.
The extensions impacted fall into a few groups:
- Extensions targeting specific target applications: With the change of its globally unique identifier in version 25, a number of extensions became incompatible because they explicitly targeted the unique identifier of Firefox. The changes needed for these are minimal.
- Extensions following the moving target that is Firefox with adding the latest new additions "for developers" to the extension. Many of these extensions do not need the changes or additions to perform their task, and work just fine, provided you use an older version that hasn't been "updated" yet to include the latest coding shinies. Unfortunately, addons.mozilla.org as a distribution platform for extensions is not very cooperative in this case and will simply inform users that an extension "is not available" (instead of offering the latest compatible version that is available right there on their site). Requests for a smarter handling of extensions and browser versions have been wholly ignored.
- Extensions written to solely work with the new Australis user interface: These are the only ones that are truly incompatible, because Pale Moon does not and will not include it.
- SDK extensions (the ones that are actually compatible which is a very limited number) will stop working in v27 or later. We cannot support this abstraction layer any longer in that version or later due to the large gap that exists in UI handling.
I'm probably missing a few more points, but this is an essay already as it is