Wednesday, October 5, 2016

pale moon, ftw

Over the past few weeks, I've gotten the open source Pale Moon web browser installed on my Linux systems. I haven't seen any reason for not keeping it as my primary web browser.

I'm finding Pale Moon to be faster than Firefox and Chromium. The configuration options suit me quite well. I have not encountered problems at any websites, so far.

I'm using Pale Moon with only two add-ons: Xmarks, for syncing my bookmarks, and uBlock Origin, for ad-blocking.

Pale Moon's default search engine is DuckDuckGo, which is my preferred search engine. Excellent choice. I can use DuckDuckGo !bang codes if I really want to use other search engines; for example, !g if I want to "Google it." (Meh. Instead of using Google, I'd rather go with StartPage, which can be easily accessed via DuckDuckGo using the !s !bang code.) (See for more info about DDG !bang codes.)

I've seen only a few things that I don't like, but none of them qualify as "show-stoppers," in my book. The biggest drawback is that Pale Moon has not been made available in the main repos of any of the distros I use, so I've had to go outside the repos for installation and updates. This has not turned out to be much of a problem; pminstaller, downloaded from the Pale Moon website, works great. That's what I'm using for installation and updates in Debian-based systems, including Ubuntu, as well as in openSUSE. For Arch, I grabbed Pale Moon from AUR, and I've used yaourt to keep it updated.

After downloading pminstaller, I've extracted the tarball to my home directory; I enter the pminstaller directory and run the script from there. In the Debian-based systems, the script prompts for the sudo password, so I had to make sure that the /etc/sudoers file was appropriately configured. Here's a look at Pale Moon for Linux Installer v0.2.2:

Pale Moon's devs prefer to ship the browser with a default set-up that includes a menu bar, tabs placed next to web page content (instead of at or near the top of the browser), a location bar as well as a search bar, and a status bar along the bottom.

To give myself more space in the content window, I get rid of the menu bar and the status bar. The status bar options allow me to "Show status in" a pop-up at the bottom-left corner of the window; I set it to display for only 10 seconds before disappearing.

An option in the Preferences allows me to move the tabs to the top.

I prefer not to have both a location bar and a search bar; I'm too used to Chromium's Omnibar set-up, I guess, which combines both functions. The search bar in Pale Moon can easily be removed by opening up the the Toolbar Layout and dragging the search bar into the Customize Toolbar window. This works much the same as removing items from the toolbar in Firefox.

The location bar works fine for searching, for the most part; in situations where it doesn't, I can go directly to DuckDuckGo in another tab, or even use !ddg right there in the location bar to search with DuckDuckGo.

Tabs in Pale Moon aren't quite as cool as in Chromium, and you can't do all the stuff you can do with Tab Mix Plus in Firefox, but about the only problem I have with the way Pale Moon's tabs work is that I see no way to open a tab next to the current tab, unless it's "related" to the current tab. No biggie. Anyway, here's a shot of the tabs options in Pale Moon:

Pale Moon is, of course, also available for Windows and Mac, for those poor, unfortunate souls who use versions of those operating systems. :)

Pale Moon as I have it set up in Arch:

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