Pale Moon Browser as a Firefox Alternative

Dissatisfied with the new Australis user interface in Firefox 29, I began researching alternative web browsers. While the native KDE browsers, Rekonq and Konqueror, show much promise, I found that a number of websites I commonly use did not behave as well as expected. QupZilla was better in this regard, but did not integrate well into KDE. I do not like the Chrome user interface either. I have not tried Opera, as I understand it is now based on Chromium.

Over the years I have played a bit with different browsers, but always came back to Firefox. The primary reason was plugins. There are several plugins that add functions that I really like. I sorely miss them in other browsers.

My solution: Pale Moon. This is a fork of Firefox that is retaining the old user interface.

Pale moon seems to work fairly well. I have not yet got all my favourite plugins installed, nor used it exclusively for a good period of time. But so far, so good. Time will tell.

One known bug for Pale Moon running in KDE is a crash when a drop down list is used. For example holding the mouse on the back button for the drop down list to appear can crash Pale Moon. From what I have read this seems to be associated with the gtk appearance settings. The work around is:
System Settings > Application Appearance > GTK and change “Select a GTK2 Theme” to anything other than “oxygen-gtk.” Not my first choice for a solution as it undoes so much of what Netrunner has done, but hopefully the real fix will be forthcoming soon.

Now I have to wonder, given Blue Systems development of Firefox-KDE, if perhaps a Pale-Moon-KDE spin would be possible. Perhaps Blue System’s work on the KDE intergration of Firefox might help with a solution to solve the bug referred to above.

The new Australis user interface does not seem to be in the spirit of KDE. KDE is renowned for its configuration capabilities. Firefox seems to be removing the options to configure their browser. Perhaps a Pale-Moon-KDE package would be a better fit with Netrunner going forward than Firefox-KDE is.

For those using Netrunner Rolling, Pale Moon in in the AUR. There are both binary and source packages. I am not sure if it is in the standard (Ubuntu/Debian) repositories.

I am curious as to what others think of Pale Moon. How is it working for you? Do you prefer its traditional user interface over the new Firefox Australis user interface?

Could there be enough demand that Blue Systems might consider a Pale-Moon-KDE spin? Or even allocate some developer resources in their direction?

Hi drbellerive, thanks for suggesting the idea, I personally never heard of Pale Moon, so here is a quick answer:
Trying to keep a browser because of an old user interface is an uphill battle that can’t be won nor makes sense to devote much time and resources IMO (each opinion is valid and may vary of course).
Since FF29 can be skinned and even a plugin added to retain old user interface look, the problem seems minimal.
Also IMO the new userinterface blends in well with the added plugins and customizations of Firefox-KDE shipped with Netrunner, so with the instant-load feature implemented it starts in virtual 0 time, we are likely to keep going with the official version and add kde support and value to that.

Of course anyone may install “Pale Moon” or whatever they like themselves, but retaining a browser variant ISO for Pale Moon or Chrome or anything else is dragging away resources IMO better spent on other things.

Hi starbuck,

Thank you for your reply and for all the work you do making Netrunner.

The Classic Theme Restorer for FF29 unfortunately does not fully restore the classic interface. I spent many hours trying to configure FF29, only to give up in frustration. CTR does a lot of things well, but it is clear that it is limited by the underlying changes in FF29.

There has been considerable criticism of the Australis user interface, and perhaps future versions of Firefox will allow better UI customization and tools such as the Classic Theme Restorer will improve.

From my understanding, Pale Moon is based on FF24 ESR, but at some point will become independent of Firefox. I do hope that they will have success. I have been delighted with Pale Moon, and it is running all the plugins and extensions I have become fond of. There is only one problem I have found; Pale Moon and the oxygen-gtk GTK2 theme do not get along. Any other GTK2 theme seems to work fine. So I run Pale Moon using the QtCurve theme with the command: GTK2_RC_FILES=/usr/share/themes/QtCurve/gtk-2.0/gtkrc palemoon.

Perhaps too Konqueror will continue to improve and become a viable alternative. It has a great UI, and much potential.

Thanks again for Netrunner. I used Netrunner for quite a while in the past, but became frustrated with the limited packages available in the underlying Ubuntu system. I moved to Manjaro for the abundance of packages in the AUR. I much prefer the look of Netrunner over Manjaro KDE and with Netrunner Rolling I have the best of both worlds. Thank you!

Any chance have Firefox-Qt instead of patching horrible GTk+ ? I know it quite abandoned, but for KDE users have Qt browser will be very nice.

Maybe someone will think about it again when Plasma5 hits the streets…

With the change from QtWebKit to QtWebEngine it will be interesting to see what happens in the QT browser space. QtWebEngine is based on Chromium and hence, Blink. Qupzilla and Otter Browser have already announced they will be moving to QtWebEngine.