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Dec
14

Opera 10 thoughts

by Richard Ibbotson

Opera started as an early version of open source development on GNU/Linux. At that time there wasn’t a business model or an international community working away on a complete operating system – just a few souls who were interested in where all of this could go…

In the earlier days of open source desktop development, a discussion broke out amongst some developers about the fact that the GNU/Linux version of Netscape was crashing a lot. This was from people who had long ago realised that Internet Explorer was not an option due to Microsoft’s lack of interest in W3C compliance. It was thought that some other browser should be produced. This was at a time when the KDE 2 desktop hadn’t really come into use, but people were using early versions of it. In the present day we find that the GNU/Linux and BSD desktops are so sophisticated that they leave the MS Windows and Macintosh desktops well behind. The desktop that we know has more than a few web browsers and email applications and many more applications which allow the user to do just about anything.

Opera started as an early version of open source development on GNU/Linux. At that time there wasn’t a business model or an international community working away on a complete operating system – just a few souls who were interested in where all of this could go to. As of Opera 4 to 6, it began to be a sophisticated and reliable web browser. Opera 10 offers so much to the end user that it might take you a few days to work the whole thing out. A long time ago a review would revolve around the question of whether or not you could install Opera. Of course, the version of Opera 10 that was tested on Debian Squeeze installed fine and worked perfectly. As it did on other desktop machines and netbooks and laptops. It was not tested on a mobile phone, but the reviewer has used previous versions of Opera and various mobile phones to good effect. A newer addition is Opera Turbo, which can dynamically replace online graphics with low-resolution versions to speed up browsing on slow connections such as shared Wi-Fi networks or mobile phones on a poor network. It can be enabled manually or set to start up automatically when Opera detects a slow link.

opera_home_page

Opera is still the only browser to offer mouse gestures, so you can navigate with dragging motions rather than having to click on small buttons. It also offers native support for BitTorrent downloads and ‘widgets’: mini-applications similar to Windows gadgets. Opera Link makes it easy to synchronise your bookmarks and history between multiple computers. The built-in mail application in Opera probably isn’t greatly known about, but it’s one of the best mail apps out there, providing some worthwhile competition for Kmail and Evolution. Opera mail is fast, lightweight and reliable; use it anywhere on any device. Finally, themed skins, which download in seconds after a single click, improve the appearance of a functional and well-made browser.

With so much to offer, you might be wondering why Opera hasn’t been more successful. It’s partly due to a lack of user awareness in that Opera Software is a small Norwegian company which simply doesn’t grab mainstream attention in the way Google or Apple can. Opera 10 is definitely one of the better web browsers out there. It’s had its down periods on the way through to its present form, but now you can do just about anything with it.
Richard Ibbotson

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    • http://sebsauvage.net/ sebsauvage

      Opera is a wonderful browser, fast, compliant, full features and innovative (Opera Unite is a great idea).
      It deserves far more market share than it has.

      Still, I stick to Firefox because of addons (ScrapBook, AdBlockPlus, TamperData, etc.). That’s the *only* point that prevents me to switch to Opera.

      I think Opera partially missed the spot when it chose to close addon development possibility. Now it’s restored, but it’s too late.

    • Ron F.

      I think Opera looks great and for the most part works great on my Ubuntu machines. I find however that Flash video takes considerably more resources to run than in other browsers such as Firefox, Chrome, and Epiphany. I don’t know why it is, but Flash video that is smooth in Firefox, usually drops frames in Opera – and I am using the same plugin in both cases!

      Also, AdBlock Plus works a little better in Firefox than the ad blocking capability in Opera.

      After using Opera 10 for several weeks, I have gone back to Firefox.

    • http://yuane.info tesarn

      I like opera very much, but it’s not opensource.

    • tdiddy

      I feel the same way as sebsauvage… I love opera but the what’s keeping me away from it is addons like adblock. Actually it’s pretty much adblock that’s keeping me from switching.

      I’ve been an Opera fan since the early days, pre-Firefox.

    • sims

      I think there is an add-on for mouse gestures in Firefox.

      “Opera started as an early version of open source development on GNU/Linux.”

      I’d like to see some proof. As far as I remember, Opera is not FOSS and only recently removed ads.

      It is a slick fast good browser – probably the best. I test for it, but I’d rather use FOSS.

    • Bill

      I use Opera every day. I love it’s web features and use it as a quick torrent downloader. I tried it’s mail function, but it doesn’t support html mail (out/composition) and it uses proprietary contacts and mail data files. If it was more standards based mail wise, i’d use it. As for the browser part, i’ll switch to FF if it ever becomes as awesome as Opera – but only because i hate that Opera is closed source. Also, customizable backgrounds and the speed dial have kept me pleased more than the folks at Mozilla will ever know.

    • http://rockiger.com Marco

      Opera is my main browser since years. But sometimes I use Firefox because of it’s extension.

    • Victor

      Firefox offers mouse gestures via an addon. Just like pretty much all the features that Opera offers and 100 times more.

    • Rich

      I started using Opera about two months ago when FireFox started crashing my computer at times. Since then I haven’t looked back. I particularly enjoy using the built-in IRC support – very nice!

      Now I’m converting family members. :)