Does anyone reading this want to code a more modern version of SeaMonkey?

I’m asking because one of my primary annoyances is not having an all-in-one browser/IM/email client to usher ex-AOL users to once they’re ready to quit AOL. For years I’ve wanted to be able to say to them, “There’s this program named X that works just like AOL does, with instant messaging, email, and browsing all in one client, but it runs on a more modern layout engine, loads more pages the right way than AOL or IE does, and it’s safer to use and more enjoyable than AOL.”

Outside of SeaMonkey, there is nothing on the market that I know of that can replace not just what AOL has, but the way AOL combines it all into one client. I don’t think it’s a bad thing to just use Firefox and say, Yahoo! webmail and/or Outlook if you like, and to keep an AIM or MSN client on the computer for chat, but for people who have used AOL forever and like having all three tools ready-to-go in one browser, having a replacement for that would make it much easier for them to move away from AOL.

While I like SeaMonkey for it’s strong Mozilla/Gecko backbone, it falls short of what I’d want to see ex-AOLers using for several reasons: the GUI is out-of-date and would need a complete re-write to bring it up to today’s standards, you can’t use too many Firefox add-ons or any Firefox themes with it, and the few SeaMonkey themes that are available are getting pretty old. SeaMonkey crashes a lot, and it does not work with AOL’s SMTP (at least, not as of last night). It doesn’t include any modern chat, just Chatzilla/IRC.

I would like to see a more modernized version of the SeaMonkey client, or an entirely new client that is simply a fork of the old project. That would keep the price of moving away from AOL as low as possible (free) and make it more tempting and a little easier to cancel AOL, knowing a full replacement that works pretty much like the AOL client does is already lined up, ready and waiting for people on their computers.

Short of that, if a pay project for a non-open source client was to be started for such a thing, I was thinking that just charging a small amount for the first, say, 10,000 downloads (maybe $1?) could pay all of the costs, which would keep the browser free later on for the majority of people who will use it.

Unfortunately, I can’t code, so I can’t write and publish such a program, but if anyone has any ideas for such a project, please drop me a comment here or email me with what you think.

Maybe this is not the “cool” or “in” thing to say, but I think such a client could have potential well beyond the AOL crowd. How cool would it be if you could combine browsing, email, IM (or maybe an embedded Meebo page), along with Twitter, Facebook and Flock-like “Post to such and such site” tools into one client? Because, seriously, it’s a pain to open Firefox, AIM, and Digsby, then jump back and forth between all the windows, plus it can put a big strain on a computer’s RAM and CPU – at least on older computers, which a lot of us (like me!) still have.

Thoughts?

7 thoughts on “Does anyone reading this want to code a more modern version of SeaMonkey?

  1. Did you come across Seamonkey 2.0? It uses the Firefox 3.4.5 engine and I think you can use Firefox extensions-I heard the GUI’s been updated and fits in nicely with OS X.
    Also, I thing Google Wave attempts to do exactly what you’re talking about re: IM and social networking sites-unfortunately it’s still in beta and by invite only right now.

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  2. Yes, I was using SeaMonkey 2.0 Thursday night. I was expecting a modern interface/AOL SMTP support/more add-ons/more themes/modern chat and instead I got what looked and acted like Netscape pre-2001. My eyes still hurt from it.
    Google Wave isn’t what I have in mind, either. I got an invite weeks and weeks ago and I’ve tried it out. It’s just a glorified GMail client where people can see what you’re typing as you reply; it also acts as an IM client and people can see you typing in that mode, too. I think there’s some Twitter support, but that’s not good enough. I don’t recall it having any AIM/MSN/Trillian/Miranda/ICQ/Pidgen support, either.
    Google Wave is also not a browser, and what I would like to see is pretty SeaMonkey-ish/AOL-ish; to embed all the functionality you need in one browser. To do that with Wave you would need…another browser. With the browser I would like to see, you just sign into it to access chat/email and so on; with other browsers you have to first travel to the Google Wave page, then travel to other pages, sign into each page individually, then keep each service pinned open in a tab; that’s how it works these days for most of us, but that’s not what I’m going for here. I want lots of retro functionality, on a nice, quick, Gecko engine that is fleet of foot and supports add-ons, new themes, CSS3, HTML 5, and embeds every email, IM, and social service you can think of – without crashing.
    I know I might be asking for too much, of course. 🙂

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  3. Pingback: Switching to Firefox « Anti-AOL -An InTooLate Production

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