Seeking replacement for Firefox... considering Seamonkey

I've used Seamonkey in the past, and really liked the way I could work on my 'personal' website with the software. I stopped using it when it was declared "obsolete" a few years ago.

I am being forced to abandon Firefox, which I've been using for around 15 years now (and really liked, until the later iterations). I work from home, and absolutely CANNOT have software automatically install updates and force me to shut down (without being able to access another website to alert people). I've tried all of the tricks I could find to prevent automatic installation of updates, but nothing has worked, and I do NOT want to loose my job because of the programmers refusing to listen to reason.

(1): Can I LOCK OUT automatic installation of updates? I MUST be able to choose when updating happens.

(2): How up-to-date is Seamonkey kept?  I already have strong security on my system, but need to avoid security holes.

(3) How easy is it now to migrate Bookmarks, passwords, and so on?

(4): "Bonus" question - is the composer still part of Seamonkey?

I use Ubuntu 18:04 LTS - switched to it around the time I abandoned Office and IE (for security and other valid reasons).


9/4/2020 4:59:13 PM
📃 13594 articles.

💬 13 Replies

Are you using the distributions build of Firefox on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS?

You could install a version of Firefox you like from

I hear you can change the update channel from release to none or default in channel-prefs.js and it won't update. (Not verified by me)

Updates in SeaMonkey are broken so you should be able to install and be happy.

Can't comment on 2 or 3.

Composer is still an unsupported component of SeaMonkey and no longer being updated. AIUI.

Good Luck!

OS: Ubuntu Linux 18.04LTS - Gnome Desktop
9/4/2020 5:12:45 PM
I like SeaMonkey, and I also like Pale Moon.  You might want to try that one as well.

You can block automatic updates of the application and of the add-ons as well.  For the add-ons, you can allow updates (by clicking something) but block automatic updates. I found the easiest way to do that was to go into about:config and look up "update".

It seems to me that Pale Moon is a bit more up-to-date as far as security is concerned, but i like both.

It is very easy to export bookmarks from one browser and import them into any other browser.  For passwords, you need the encryption key (key4.db) as well as the logins.json file.

The composer is still part of SeaMOnkey but it is not up-to=date.
9/4/2020 6:12:52 PM
Right now, the internal capacity for updates is broken.  The only way to update is a manual download/install, at least for Windows/Mac.

On my Ubuntu box, I do have the ubuntuzilla repository enabled, and it happens frequently enough that that installation gets updated through package updating processes before I get around to updating Windows or Mac.

I believe that security updates up through Firefox ESR 68.10 have been backported, and developer notes indicate that there's a little bit of stuff from 78.0 ESR that have been backported, as well.

Not sure.  For Bookmarks, you can probably start with export to HTML, and then import that into Seamonkey, but I've never tried that. That process is pretty much standard for moving stuff from one profile to another, whether Firefox or Seamonkey.

As an aside, one of the things that I do with Seamonkey is to make use of the tool that allows for automatic export of bookmarks at the end of the session.  From there, with other browsers and profiles, I tend to set them to use that file as their home page, and as a result, all of my browsers have access to all of my bookmarks, at least as of the end of my last Seamonkey session.  The visual layout isn't great, but it's an easy way to share bookmarks.

I haven't tried to migrate passwords, so I can't comment there. There might be something in an article at

You probably can't copy files from one profile to another, even if they're all the same file name. In the same way that Firefox versions after about 57.0 are not backward-compatible, the same applies to Seamonkey since 2.53.0. If you want to test, you probably can copy files (e.g., bookmarks, passwords) from a Firefox profile to a Seamonkey profile where you understand that what Seamonkey is interacting with is test copies (and you still consider your Firefox data to be authoritative), it might work, but if it doesn't, then you'll see the effects of what "not backward portable" looks like.

Ultimately, for live data, you're going to want to export/import, rather than trying to copy.

It's still there, usable, but unsupported. I have a handful of HTML files that I used to maintain with the composer -- I really like the convenience of viewing something, and pressing CTRL-E to be able to edit.  However, a couple of years ago, I moved to using the stand-alone Kompozer, which has a little more capacity. It's also unsupported, but it's newer than using the bundled composer. Much newer (and supported, I think) is Blue Griffon, but I find that has enough UI quirks to it that I prefer Kompozer.

Although I primarily work in Windows 10, I do use Seamonkey on an installation that I just upgraded to Ubuntu 18.04 from 16.04, and it pretty much behaves the same way in Ubuntu as it does in Windows. Because I have a strong preference for doing package maintenance by repository and APT, and since Ubuntu's maintainers no longer distribute Seamonkey, I'm getting my updates from ubuntuzilla.

The one thing to be aware of is that there's a growing number of sites that claim not to be able to handle Seamonkey, and demand Firefox. Seamonkey 2.53.3 is set to show compatibility with Firefox 60, but that's now old enough that more sites are objecting unless they see Firefox levels at at least 68.0.  Most sites are satisfied if they see "Firefox 68.0" and you can do that with making one or more entries in about:config (either global or site-specific).  It's not so much that sites *can't* handle Seamonkey, by making use of features that Firefox 78 has and Seamonkey 2.53.3 does not, so much as site operators that don't want users to run browsers that they deem to be "old" or "insecure" or just "not Firefox" (the latter for purposes of user support).

9/4/2020 7:18:00 PM
I started using internet apps first in OS/2 then Win, now mostly Win. Linux has never presented it self as the solution to any problem I have.

I use the suite for most everything and FF sites where SM doesn't work.

I have had Pale Moon linked to Fossa, but am not currently using them.

The composer works.  I have over a hundred filters.  I don't know what "old" or "supported" has to do with anything.

Since Netscape 1.0 I have never "installed" any Netscape derivative using anything but ZIP distros. The suite has never offered or tried to "update" for me.  FF offers and I just tell it no.  I add newer versions alongside the previous and if I decide I like the newer better I delete the older. Yes, I know to be aware of bookmark issues.

9/4/2020 11:56:48 PM
If all you want is to stop FF updating, look at

I had the reverse problem in a previous job, I wanted to be able to install FF updates (the automatic ones there had several deficiencies) so I had to find out how they had disabled them and reverse it.

They had set something up in the Policies which I had to remove again. Looking at my notes from back then,

-  defaults\pref\local-settings.js contained a pointer (filename) to a file mozilla.cfg
-  this mozilla.cfg had a large number of really irritating settings.

Bottom line, do a search on: firefox local-settings.js mozilla.cfg and you will see how to change defaults. This is normally used for company-wide policies.
9/5/2020 11:54:10 AM
Nowadays there is no a perfect browser. I use Epic, Tor, FF, Brave, Vivaldi, Opera and Chrome too.
9/5/2020 12:28:06 PM
Which one do you use the most? I still use SM the most. Firefox is my back up if problems. IE and Chrome are very rare.
9/5/2020 5:54:45 PM
None of that really works for me... I don't use Windows, and the Linux version is completely different. I don't mind FF downloading the update, I just CANNOT have it install it until I"m ready - and FF has changed how to disable auto-install several times now, with each time being completely different. If they changed again and I was at a critical point - I could lose my job - at least making for a VERY bad day.
9/6/2020 3:09:32 PM
Use a Linux distribution like Ubuntu that provides a Firefox version with no update setting in preferences at all.

When the Software Updater offers an update, just remove the check mark from the checkbox.

OS: Ubuntu Linux 18.04LTS - Gnome Desktop
9/6/2020 3:51:18 PM
If you download firefox as a tar and put it in /usr/local, you can then change the owner of that folder to something different from the user you normally use with firefox. So for example set up a user called firefox and then:

chown -R firefox:users /usr/local/firefox

This prevents firefox from updating itself when you are not logged in as firefox.

You need to link the executable into /usr/local/bin

ln -s /usr/local/firefox/firefox /usr/local/bin/firefox
9/7/2020 3:55:30 AM
I'm using Ubuntu 18.04LTS, and have been using Ubuntu since 2010. The version of Firefox is what came with the distro, and when I bought this new system, the first thing I did was literally crash and trash W10, so I could repartition and reformat the drive and install Ubuntu (I think 16.04LTS) along with the distro FF version.  It's been quite a few years I've fought with Firefox over the autoinstall... it created some headaches when I was taking classes.
9/7/2020 4:13:57 PM
Interesting idea. I've only got a couple of different users set up (various levels of security - one for usage and one for maintenance/repairs, besides actual security software), and I wonder how the install I have now would work if I set up a new low-level user and just changed the ownership of FF..  That way it would help to isolate the browser from everything else and create another layer of security. We do have a skilled hacker in the area (he used to get into our router through the cable, turn on the wireless and removed all security from it, and was probably using it for games - huge downloads of data - but our local 'finest', like usual, refused to do anything about it).
9/7/2020 4:27:30 PM
I also got sick and tired of all of the updates that kept coming from Firefox and each time something else got "broken" (by that I mean add-ons that stopped working because they were no longer being maintained and no longer compatible with the latest Firefox updates).

I have Pale Moon, but it doesn't support the Widevine DRM plug in that allows me to watch Netflix (and it also doesn't have nearly the add-on support that Firefox has).

For me the best solution was Firefox ESR.  It only gets a major update about once a year, otherwise it's just security fixes that get back ported.  Much less disruptive.

Jaime A. Cruz
9/8/2020 10:41:01 AM
(Thread closed)