Goanna logo


Goanna is the name for the Open Source layout engine as used in the Pale Moon web browser and the FossaMail mail/news client.

What does Goanna stand for?

As the name (a group of carnivorous lizards most common to East Asia and Australia) might suggest, it is a close relative to the Gecko engine which it has forked off of, which in turn has been rooted in the "next generation layout engine" that has been part of the Mozilla group of products for many years. As such, it shares many features with Gecko, although it is not a perfect match in how it behaves or what tags it supports and in what way. Similarly, it provides the base framework for the XUL language specification which will be maintained in Goanna.
Goanna aims to adhere to the existing HTML and CSS specifications closely, including following developments of the HTML5 draft specification where considered sane and desirable.

Version 2.0 of Goanna can be found in Pale Moon 26, rebooting the version number of the engine to something more manageable and clear than a direct product-tied version, and will be updated as the engine is updated, independently of the products used in.

Why the different name?

Mostly to prevent confusion. Gecko has started to be carried by the Mozilla Group as being synonymous with the version of their browser of the same version; from a technical perspective, this isn't really correct to do and blurs the lines between framework/technology and an actual product building on it. Also, the name was changed to no longer be tied to something that is a registered trademark (Gecko is) and our derivative code should not carry it anymore with its own, continued development by independent people unaffiliated with the current trademark owners.

For a while, Gecko was adopted as-is (as a name) with continued independent changes, to provide an indication of its general feature set and capabilities, using sub-version numbers as minor versions while carrying the major version 25, in line with the same (product) numbering scheme used by Mozilla for Gecko. However, it had become increasingly incorrect to do so: it was not a variant of Gecko v25, and never really was. As it evolved, the need for its own name and versioning became more and more apparent, and so Goanna was created as a name for the forked-off layout engine in use.

In addition it created the false impression that the engine, and Pale Moon as a product, would be "an old (and outdated) version of Gecko" or "an old (and outdated) version of Firefox", respectively, neither of which are true.

Where can I find the source?

Goanna does not have a stand-alone source, since it can't be used as a stand-alone library (maybe in the future, though...).
The engine is integrated in the Pale Moon source tree, mainly in the /layout directory of that source tree.

Goanna and the Goanna logo are a trademark ™ of Moonchild Productions.
All rights reserved except where stated. The logo is Copyrighted.