“Your Browser, Your way.” (Allegedly.)
I’ve used a lot of different browsers over the years and I remember writing about the Linux based Pale Moon browser back in 2014, and I liked it. But now Moonchild Productions has released Pale Moon 26.0, the browser’s first big update in two years, and the new build has some really nice new things going for it.
Looks Good And Simple To Use
I like the way Pale Moon looks. It’s colourful, and the home splash screen can be customised to carry whatever news, link buttons, or feeds you want it too. In some ways it’s like having a second desktop, and I found it easy to navigate and work my way round quickly. The new graphics and presentation update have also worked wonders and it’s fast. I also liked the dropdown history button, and the way it’s positioned next to the history bar, so there’s very little fiddling to be done.
Pale Moon has also updated a lot of its internal security features, including adding support for 128 bit Camelia GCM ciphers and the removal of several modules whose security had become hazardous due to the passage of time.
What Makes It Different
Pale Moon now comes with its own browser rendering interface, Goanna. Pretty much every media is supported, and the addition of improved scaling for vector images was a welcome touch. While Pale Moon is originally based on the Gecko Firefox browser engine, the adoption of Goanna marks a definitive split away from the Mozilla browser. That said, Goanna is still fairly similar to Firefox in lots of ways. The biggest difference is the result of the layout engine, and the way it works. Pale Moon has a different set of features to other browsers while remaining easy to use. Thankfully Pale Moon has also struck a close adherence to official web specification and web standards in it implementation and seems not to have compromised, and instead the browser has struck a fine balance between technical advancement, general use, and performance.
It’s surprising how many of even the latest Firefox extensions actually work in Pale Moon. This is partly down to the shared history between the two browsers, but is mostly down to the Firefox extension compatibility present within Pale Moon. That said, the two browsers are, as already stated, not the same, and you’ll have to be aware of the need to check your extensions if you’re coming from Firefox. Not all of them will work, and some of them just won’t be available.
Not that this is an issue in itself, Pale Moon does have its own array of specific extensions and while AdBlock Plus isn’t available, you can use AdBlock Latitude instead, and as far as I can tell it does the same good job as the former.
Dark Side Downsides
Well, there had to be one somewhere. Despite the compatibility mode and the closeness to Firefox and other Gecko based browsers, people who want and need specialised accessibility features or integrated Windows parental control mean that while you may like Pale Moon’s distinctive pretty GUI, it might not be the best option for some. The Goanna move has also reduced the number of languages that Pale Moon can support overall, but that said, it does cover all the main ones, so most people won’t even notice.
It works fine on Windows 10, 8.1, and 7. I didn’t trial it on Vista. It’s also available for Linux and has a low power version for Atom powered processors, which is nice.
Overall, Pale Moon is a fast, easy to use and nice to look at browser that is a real contender for almost anyone looking to get away from Chrome and who fancies a bit of a change from Firefox. And, of course, it’s completely free, and you can get it here, if you want to give it a go.