The first thing you notice about K-Meleon is how quickly it installs (without reboot) and loads. The start-up time is less important than the speed at which it displays pages, which varies. It gives you the text to read before attempting to render ads, but not consistently. It also moves the layout around as it discovers the size of graphics.

In testing on the Web, K-Meleon was usually slower than both Internet Explorer and Navigator, despite its lack of features. This suggests that even the rendering engine Gecko isn't really ready for prime time, still containing debugging code which also makes it quite hungry for RAM.

However, it was quite robust, certainly less crash-prone than Navigator or Mozilla. Like IE, you can run it more than once at the same time.

The author claims to have produced K-Meleon in 24 hours, using lots of code from Mozilla and the GTK libraries. If this is true, it shows the strength of open-source software: modularity and standards-compliance.

It's a bit hard to distinguish K-Meleon's minimalist style from the bits which just haven't been done yet. There are no right-click menus, no cut-and-paste, no save. In short, it's early days for K-Meleon, though this release could still be useful to view isolated HTML documents, due to its fast start. It makes only one Registry entry and doesn't try to make itself the default browser. Cheers for that.


Price: Free

Supplier: Christophe Thibault

URL: www.kmeleon.org

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