Linked by Kroc Camen on Thu 4th Jun 2009 22:34 UTC
Opera Software Opera have announced the release of Opera 10 beta. New engine, new features, but I'm more concerned about where Opera 10 fits into Opera's history, and certainly their future. Opera have never made any massive strides in marketshare and is Opera 10 really going to change any of that? Read More to find out.
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hear hear. finally a sane voice in this madness.

i never commented on osnews but the number of clueless comments regarding this "review" is so astounding i bit the bullet and signed-up to answer. (see? member since today)

opera is not and never was a "first listening album". its real virtues show up only after months of proper usage and not 2 hours of "research" for a "review".

i was a hardcore firefox user but as a web programmer i have always flirted with opera in the past. it is only after i had to use it (on my sharp zaurus, as everything else crawled) that i came to appreciate it's true powers, of which small system resources and speed is but the tip of the iceberg. actually, my main browser is opera on openbsd in linux emulation (as there is no native build sadly). it is still waaaay faster than the native firefox on my eeepc 701.

it has shortcomings, every software does, but none of them is a showstopper. for example, it can't do socks for my ssh tunnels (use a proxy program), it has no proxy autodetection (i have never used that, but ask your network guy for the .pac address and you are set).

but how "too many features" became a shortcoming i will never know. especially when a "bloated" opera installation (10MB) is still half of a vanilla firefox installation (20MB, both windows xp numbers) that still needs rummaging around the internet for plugins that need restarting the browser for "basic comfortable use". you dont like the built-in torrent client? dont use it. i never have.

or how the preferences menu is a "mess" when firefox has its preferences under different menu on different platforms and where "network settings" became "advanced" camping on the same tab with "offline storage". totally related.

this article as generic review, as its title suggests fails on so many levels i am surprised it got published. half of the article is a critique of the default skin of a beta product designed by a proper designer, still the author believes he can do better. fascinating. even so, dont like it? use a different one. i dont like it either, but you know, i got one from them internets. i happen to very much dislike the new default firefox look (no, it is not "simply better") but that is not my first criterium to judge it, as i can easily change that. opera's interface is so flexible and easy to tailor to your needs (drag and drop ui changes, keyboard shortcut editor, mouse gesture editor) it makes the baby jesus smile.

then the other half is a collection of urban myths combined with hearsay. i am using opera with gmail since 9.5, and if the author had done any research at all, he would know that the glitches in most of the google products (and others) are actually their fault and not opera's as the software authors have to depend on certain major browser bugs making complying browsers unsupported and more often than not resolving to sloppy user agent filtering because they don't test on other browsers.

the plugin (which firefox calls by a different name in every release, now being "add-ons") argument is getting really old as well. i find them way overrated. i was a plugin junkie myself but i realised i need plugins mostly for development (firebug and a good html validator) and while dragonfly is getting better all the time i still use firefox as well when i develop.

of course there is no word about opera's unique features, like the per site preferences that is so logical and well done, one can only ask, why the others dont copy that one? while e.g. in firefox and it's plugins one is required to manually add every site on various black- and whitelists for every single feature, opera handles blocked elements, cookie settings, user css, popup settings, user javascript, encodings etc etc in one single window for the relevant website... engineering at its best.

or the search shortcuts directly from the addressbar so actually one doesn't need a search bar at all. simply brilliant. when all you have is 800x480 you fight for every pixel with the browser and in my case opera hardly manifests itself on my screen at all. all i have is the tabs and the content.

or the "password manager" (wand) that actually saves the state of all the fields in the given form so certain sites where a login form is not just user/password work perfectly.

these, and some others i did not write about are the real features that set opera apart from its competition. a pitty the "reviewer" will never meet them in person.

as browsers are becoming more and more our daily bread and butter, obviously there's a lot of emotions involved. but it's not rocket science that only an oldtime opera user using the old versions can truly review what is really new in a new version and how it compares to the old ones. not someone who looking at the default skin cringes and fires up photoshop to fill the blacks with gray.

i am sorry Kroc (as i read your answers how you "can't win", there is nothing to win), but if you think my answer is rough, i am not giving you a free ride either. your review, if titled misleadingly, as some suggest, still falls very short, and contains remarks about (unresearched) functionality and "feeling" based numbers of speed. it is neither a design review nor a functionality one. it is a meagre opinion piece presented as a review. put in on your blog but keep it out of osnews.

(btw. i still find opera's desing better than firefox's monstrous green arrow thingy together with the no-one is really sure what it is favicon container; and while i dont do UI design, i do typograhpy so i am not totally aesthetic-blind)

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