The Opera Browser
December 10, 2000 10:57 PM   Subscribe

The Opera Browser is now ad-supported freeware. What does this mean for Internet Explorer and Netscape?
posted by milnak (23 comments total)

 
Uh, it means nothing.
posted by fleener at 11:11 PM on December 10, 2000


ack! I'm using opera to post this, and I noticed my keystroke code is showing up, so I just checked the user-agent string, and this is how it is reported:

User Agent: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 5.0; Windows NT 5.0) Opera 5.0 [en]

See that MSIE 5.0? My browser sniffer script thinks it is IE (Blogger does too, which is why the editing interface is sort of messed up). Why did they do that?
posted by mathowie at 11:20 PM on December 10, 2000


There's also K-Meleon 0.2.1
posted by gluechunk at 11:27 PM on December 10, 2000


User Agent: ... many sites have goofy browser detection which assumes if you're not running either Netscape 4+, or IE4+, that your browser is out of date and you shouldn't be browsing (nzoom.com for example). I guess others have similarly tailored content by browser that Opera might be excluded from - so Opera lies.

I think the user agent string is in a drop-down menu (in O4.12).

(posted from Opera 4.12 - dang it's fast)
posted by holloway at 12:24 AM on December 11, 2000


Matt, you can change the user-agent-string that the browser sends to a website.

Go to File...Preferences...Connections....Browser Identification. It's got whatever you could possibly want there.

BTW, I think that this version of Opera is great. (can you say 'ram-saviour'?)
posted by kchristidis at 4:48 AM on December 11, 2000


"Uh, it means nothing"
Dammit, Fleener! You beat me to it. Yes, I think we can safely say it means nothing, not only to MS and Nutscrape, but to the millions of internet users the world round who don't use Opera and never will.
posted by Outlawyr at 5:48 AM on December 11, 2000


kchristidis, you're right. I've used Opera in the past but wasn't that impressed...

but this version is definitely hot.


posted by lagado at 5:49 AM on December 11, 2000


but the spell checker doesn't work anymore...dammit
posted by lagado at 5:52 AM on December 11, 2000


Its free now! Yayyy. I've always been happy with Opera, but even though it is more standards compliant than other browsers, a lot of things look like crap or don't work properly.... but its small and fast. Just look at the download: 2Mb without Java, 9Mb with Java (as opposed to Netscape 6, clocking in at 25Mb!)
posted by tallman at 6:08 AM on December 11, 2000


I like the idea of Opera being lean and mean, but I just plain prefer IE 5. I'll most likely grab a copy of this new manifestation of Opera if for no other reason than you can never have too many browsers.
posted by ethmar at 6:29 AM on December 11, 2000


Stick with the new crappy version of Netscape or bug-ridden, unsecure IE 5. I'll stick with Opera, thanks!
posted by Mr. skullhead at 8:59 AM on December 11, 2000


See that MSIE 5.0? ... Why did they do that?

For the same reason that IE has always reported itself as "Mozilla" (Netscape): compatibility. Opera is probably closer to IE 5 than to Netscape 4 in standards/behavior, so that's the appropriate string to send, since if they just admitted they were Opera, none of the browser-detection code would work.

bug-ridden, unsecure IE 5

Bug ridden? Huh? Why's that? IE 5.5 has a couple of annoying bugs, but that's all fixed in SP1. And I don't know about any particular insecurities. But maybe I'm sticking my head in this tasty MS sand.
posted by daveadams at 9:43 AM on December 11, 2000


Bleh, I had to search through my archives to find it, but here goes, webreference.com's review and analysis of MSIE 5.5 for Windows. This is from back in August, but unless MS has come out with patches, it seems like most issues are still quite relevant.
posted by Dreama at 11:18 AM on December 11, 2000


Eh, i've yet to see any good reason to upgrade from Opera 3.6*
posted by sonofsamiam at 12:02 PM on December 11, 2000


I checked out Opera for Windows and Opera for Linux this weekend and I've gotta say they are both unbelievably fast. Unfortunately, I ran into problems running some Java apps, like flickery streaming video and graphics that don't line up the way they're supposed to. But it's so fast, startup and browsing, even on Linux. I can't wait to see what the future holds for Opera.
posted by jaz at 12:56 PM on December 11, 2000


Umm... unless I'm missing something here, Opera is now free because they're embedding a banner ad in it.

I think Opera just killed themselves. Anyone sufficiently interested (and knowledgeable) to bother switching from one of the "standard" web browsers is probably also going to be unhappy with the waste of screen space.

-Mars
posted by Mars Saxman at 1:07 PM on December 11, 2000


This is from back in August, but unless MS has come out with patches, it seems like most issues are still quite relevant.

Well, as I mentioned, MS has released a Service Pack for IE 5.5. There may be bugs in standard support, as the review you pointed to made a big deal of. All browsers have those kinds of bugs, and although they're worth a comparative study, they aren't nearly as important as functionality issues. After all, Lynx is a great browser--lightning fast. It doesn't exactly follow all the standards. (Not really a good example, I know, I know.)
posted by daveadams at 1:18 PM on December 11, 2000


Oh, I neglected to mention: Service Pack 1 for IE 5.5 does indeed fix the major functionality issues.
posted by daveadams at 1:20 PM on December 11, 2000


I'm personally quite happy with IE5.5 with SP1. That's not to say it's perfect, just that there are few issues that I notice with it. (The biggest one -- downloads closing the parent window -- has been fixed.)

Opera 5 is slick -- I love the speed. The biggest complaint I had was the MDI. Still, I stuck with IE for daily browsing, sue me ...

Opera still allows you to purchase an ad-free version. If anything, this Eudora-model Opera should help them. I don't think it will really affect the greater IE-satisfied market, though.
posted by dhartung at 3:55 PM on December 11, 2000


I think Opera just killed themselves. Anyone sufficiently interested (and knowledgeable) to bother switching from one of the "standard" web browsers is probably also going to be unhappy with the waste of screen space.

Mars, on the screen space question, in theory you're right. Admittedly I'm running 1280 x 1024 but it took me a while to even notice the ad-bar up there. It takes the place of the usual Netscape and IE "throbber".

I guess I'm so used to ignoring banner ads so maybe your point is true in the long run anyway.
posted by lagado at 3:57 PM on December 11, 2000


The biggest complaint I had was the MDI

yes, agreed. but as with all MDI (multiple document interface) apps I use I just maximize the document I'm looking at. When you do that, you can access the other docs from a sort of task bar thing. Being able to quickly snap between browser views this way (as opposed to launching more and more browser windows) is actually pretty good once you get used to it and fast.
posted by lagado at 4:03 PM on December 11, 2000


I hate that the interface doesn't seem to be easily customizable. The order of the back button, stop button, and refresh buttons are different than IE or netscape, and I can't figure out how to change their order. I have both major browsers configured exactly the same, so I can use them quickly without having to think about which button I'm hitting. It's a bummer if Opera doesn't let you do that.
posted by mathowie at 6:05 PM on December 11, 2000


Actually it does, sorta. Having been a long time, part-time Opera user, it was more evident in previous versions, but anyway... the buttons are completely definable in the Opera\Buttons directory. The two 'themes' are Default and DefSmall, and each directory contains the .gif files for the icons, and a text file buttons.ini which specifies what buttons, graphics, and order they appear in.

You'll have to manually hanker with it yourself though. No its not very accessible, etc. etc., but there you go. It's probably a feature lower down on their list of Todo's.
posted by aki at 11:26 PM on December 11, 2000


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