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New Gecko-Based Browser Debuts

A Boston-based group on Monday posted the second post-beta version of a Firefox knock-off browser that promises to start faster and consume fewer PC resources.

The Windows-only K-Meleon 1.01 browser is based on the same Gecko engine as Firefox (and the also-open-source SeaMonkey suite), the product's release notes state. The code base, Mozilla 1.8.0.5, is the same as that used by the most up-to-date Firefox, version 1.5.0.6.

K-Meleon 1.01 includes tabs -- though it dubs them "layers" -- a find bar, auto-complete for URLs typed in the address bar, and new preference dialogs.

Although its developers tout K-Meleon as "an extremely fast, customizable, lightweight browser," in TechWeb's tests, it consumed slightly more memory than Firefox 2.0 Beta 1 when both were loaded with a three-page group of sites (approximately 37MB compared to Firefox's 33MB). It did, however, start faster than Firefox.

The browser has been a work-in-progress for 6 years, and only existed beta last month. The update issued Monday to 1.01 was the browser's first upgrade.

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