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Pale Moon 26 running on Windows 10
|Initial release||October 4, 2009|
|Stable release||28.1.0 (20 September 2018) [±]|
|Operating system||Windows 7 or later, Linux (unofficial build for macOS and contributed builds for various platforms)|
|Available in||18 languages|
Pale Moon is an open-source web browser with an emphasis on customizability; its motto is "Your browser, Your way". There are official releases for Microsoft Windows and Linux, an unofficial build for macOS, and contributed builds for various platforms.
Pale Moon is a fork of Firefox with substantial divergence. The main differences are the user interface, add-on support, and running in single-process mode. Pale Moon retains the highly customizable user interface of the Firefox version 4–28 era. It also continues to support some types of add-ons that are no longer supported by Firefox.
Pale Moon has diverged from Firefox in a number of ways:
Version 26.5 was the final official release to support Windows XP. There are some unofficial projects to build newer versions for XP. Version 27.9 was the final official release to support Windows Vista.
Pale Moon's source code is released under the Mozilla Public License 2.0 except for parts relating to branding. To ensure quality, redistribution of officially branded Pale Moon binaries is only permissible under specific circumstances. The name and logo are trademarked by the project founder and cannot be used without his prior permission.
M.C. Straver is the project founder and lead developer. Straver's first official release of Pale Moon, in 2009, was a rebuild of Firefox 3.5.2 with tweaked compiler settings. Eventually the scope of the project grew, and version 24 became a true fork of Firefox 24 ESR. Starting with version 25, Pale Moon uses a completely independent versioning scheme.
In 2017, Straver began the Unified XUL Platform (UXP) project. UXP is a fork of Firefox 52 ESR with significant modifications to be a platform for creating any number of XUL-based applications. To demonstrate and refine UXP, Straver used it to create a new browser, Basilisk.
Pale Moon 28, released in August 2018, was the first version built on UXP, thereby providing improved support for web standards and video. This is also the first version that will have official macOS releases.
Pale Moon for Android was a distinct development effort that is no longer maintained. First released in 2014, Straver announced the following year that it would likely be abandoned due to lack of community involvement. The final release was 25.9.6.
FossaMail is an email client created by Straver. It is a fork of Mozilla Thunderbird using the layout engine of Pale Moon. Straver ended official support of it in 2017, though he still maintains it for his own personal use and shares these updates via FTP.
Straver has downplayed the role of benchmark tests, stating that they "can't be used to draw hard (or regularly even any) conclusions. Plain and simple: they are an indication, nothing more. They serve well if you compare closely related siblings (e.g. Firefox and Iceweasel) or different builds of the exact same browser, to get a relative performance difference between the two on the limited subset of what is actually tested, but that's about as far as it goes."
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