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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RE: Comment by Kroc
by Gadget on Fri 5th Jun 2009 14:38 UTC in reply to "Comment by Kroc"
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kroc, I think you are taking some hits on your reviews of Opera 10. I saw the headline on the front page on Wednesday and read your addendum:

As an apology to the community for the reckless and inadequate review I will be doing it again, properly, taking into consideration your fine comments.

Thus, I decided to wait for your followup, thinking there was no actual review at that point. Today, I read your second review and felt you pretty much had your mind made up at your first glance at the UI. After reading through the comments on this review I went back to the Wednesday entry and found you actually did post a review on Wednesday. I read through it and found it pretty much like the one you posted on Thursday. I didn't see where you went deeper or were more balanced in your approach. You just seemed to harp more on the UI. Therefore, I would have to say the hits you are taking are pretty much deserved.

I admit Opera is an aquired taste, at least in my opinion. I've been using it since the late nineties when Netscape ran aground and I couldn't bear to use IE. I had tried Opera before, but couldn't bring myself to break up with Netscape. When I could no longer stomach Netscape and purposed to give Opera a month, I never looked back.

As I began to delve the layers of functionality that comprise Opera, I realized that Opera, at its core is built to browse the way you want to. There are so many ways to change its appearance, rearrange the UI components, or how to do something that it is very bewildering to many. You said, "A browser should be transparent, a thin veneer between me and the web page. Not a clown honking his horn in my face." If I want a browser with a clown honking his horn in my face, Bill Gates has accomodated me! Sorry, couldn't resist. Who are you to declare what a browser should be? That's would be like me saying, "All bicycles should be a traditional, single speed with pedal brakes. There should be no hand brakes, gear changers, flashy lights, water bottles, bike computers or handlebar streamers. A bicycle should be a thin transparent veneer between me and the road." Liberty is a great thing, even for personal browser tastes.

Perhaps Opera's plethora of customizations, are a turnoff to many. Furthermore, that lack of extensibility is an abomination to FF users. And I can see where the default UI might be abhorrent to Mac snobs, not that I'm call you a Mac snob, but you did choose to obsess about how the UI did not look just like every other Mac app. Seems to me, before Macs became so cool many Mac users took pride on being different and not following the PC herd. But they can't take an app that doesn't look like all the others.

However, I would like to postulate that if you will dedicate yourself to customize Opera to a point that it suits you and then give it a fair shake and use it for an extended period of time, from that point on you will have a much different view of it. You still may choose to use something else, but I bet you will appreciate it for what it is and the elegance at which it delivers so much functionality is so small a package.

Edited 2009-06-05 14:39 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by Kroc
by Kroc on Fri 5th Jun 2009 14:59 in reply to "RE: Comment by Kroc"
Kroc Member since:

It’s already clear that I can’t win, whatever I do; the community is however right. In all fairness I should be far more fair. I don’t give any software a free ride—you will never see a positive review from me unless that software convinces me to switch to it permanently on the basis of few day’s use (Such software does exist, Firefox 0.93 convinced me to switch from IE almost instantly).

The layout of buttons is not a problem, I don’t need to customise them. The default skin is simply a barrier to me using the app regularly, and even beyond the toolbar, the dialogues are badly designed, and I can’t rearrange them.

I looked at Opera hard and I gave my reason for not liking it. That’s a valid reason. Just because other people would rather I chose a different 'valid' reason because they don’t agree with the reason I chose, it doesn’t make my choice invalid.

People either want me to love Opera, or dislike it on a basis that they can agree upon. I can’t win with that. The default out-of-the-box design on Firefox is simply better than Opera’s and nobody seems willing to accept that. it *must* be about functionality instead of looks or somehow it’s not a valid complaint. Looks matter. A lot. If looks didn’t matter then companies simply wouldn’t even bother wasting their time spending the money they do on ads.

Opera’s history of Netscape-like skins is no longer good enough I think. That’s what the article was about.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[3]: Comment by Kroc
by Gadget on Fri 5th Jun 2009 15:16 in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by Kroc"
Gadget Member since:

Then your review should have been titled "Opera's Failure at UI Design" or "Why I Hate Opera" and not billed as a more in-depth review over your first attempt.

You have just as much a right to your own opinion as the rest of us. Lots of people buy cars just because they like the way they look and care nothing about other deficiencies. Others care more for functionality. It's where your priorities are. Think how cool it would be to have the Fedex guy come to a screeching halt in a Ferrari in front of your house with your latest order from Amazon, just a few hours after it was shipped. Sure he got there fast and in style, but now he has to go back to the Fedex distribution center to get another package. Having a truck to carry more packages takes priority over speed and appearance.

If the browser appearance matters to you, fine. But don't criticize the functionality just to validate your opinion of the appearance. And I agree you can't win in the comments on your review, your review sealed that outcome. Put out a balanced review on multiple platforms and people will be more accepting of constructive criticisms.

Edited 2009-06-05 15:18 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[3]: Comment by Kroc
by spiderman on Fri 5th Jun 2009 15:18 in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by Kroc"
spiderman Member since:

I believe there is no winner and no looser. Your opinion is perfectly acceptable to most people. They just have another opinion and you have to accept that, too. So long as your opinion is not that Opera should include a virus to destroy everything that you don't like it is perfectly OK.

Edited 2009-06-05 15:19 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[3]: Comment by Kroc
by Dave_K on Fri 5th Jun 2009 19:48 in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by Kroc"
Dave_K Member since:

The default out-of-the-box design on Firefox is simply better than Opera’s and nobody seems willing to accept that.

No, that's your opinion, not a fact. Other people are under no obligation to agree with your personal taste, any more than you are under an obligation to like Opera's look.

it *must* be about functionality instead of looks or somehow it’s not a valid complaint.

Many people here care more about function than form and are obviously going to see your complaints as vapid, especially when most issues with the look are easily changed.

I think if you'd posted a similar review of Ubuntu, dismissing it because the default theme is too brown, while glossing over any new and interesting features in the software, you'd get a similar response from Ubuntu fans. People simply expect more when an article is touted as a review.

Opera’s history of Netscape-like skins is no longer good enough I think. That’s what the article was about.

Maybe you should have made that more obvious? I don't think you'd have received as much criticism if you'd made it clear that you were just posting an opinion piece on the new Opera skin, rather than an actual review of the application. You could have left out the shallow glance at it's functionality completely and purely concentrated on the default aesthetics.

Reply Parent Score: 4