Pale Moon adopts new Goanna browser engine, fine-tunes interface

Pale moon

Moonchild Productions has unveiled Pale Moon 26.0, the first major update of its Firefox-based browser for Windows and Linux since October 2014.

The new build, also available in 64-bit, sees Pale Moon unveil its own browser rendering engine, Goanna, plus further fine-tune the browser user interface as well as introduce a number of other new features, changes and security improvements.

The move to a brand new rendering engine is part of Pale Moon’s fork away from Firefox, the browser it’s based on, that began before v25 was released. Goanna remains closely related to Firefox’s Gecko engine, but is designed to further differentiate Pale Moon from its one-time parent.

Moonchild warns the move could result in potential compatibility issues with certain websites as well as Firefox browser extensions. It urges users to report problems to itself or site owners in the case of an individual website.

The shift to Goanna also sees Pale Moon reduce the number of languages it supports through included language packs -- the total number remains at over 30, however.

Pale Moon 26 also sees the browser interface updated to fit in better with whichever operating system (and version) it’s running -- and promises to be more compatible with Windows 10.

Other updates include the addition of a dropdown History button next to the Bookmarks button on the main toolbar, while the Library adds a pop-up scope bar when searching to allow users to focus results on history or bookmarks.

The new release also promises updated graphics and media support, including WebP images, properly scaled EXIF-rotated JPEGs and different WebGL texture formats. There’s also improved scaling of vector images among other updates.

Performance tweaks include conservative image decoding, switching the memory allocator to the faster system allocator and better handling of large numbers of open tabs.

Other additions include support for Ruby annotations, various JavaScript improvements, support for CSS media queries, the Ecosia search engine and a separate control preference for scripted content when auto-playing media.

Version 26 is rounded off with numerous security updates, including support for 128-bit Camellia-GCM ciphers, a new advanced, active XSS filter and the removal of several "hazardous" modules including the maintenance service and identity module.

Pale Moon 26.0, Pale Moon x64 26.0, Pale Moon Portable 26.0 and Pale Moon Portable x64 26.0 are all available now as open source, free downloads for PCs running compatible versions of Windows (Vista or later). A version for Linux is also available, as is a low-powered version for Atom processors that’s compatible with Windows XP.

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