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Opera user base grows despite ‘end’ of browser war

Developer nears completion of Linux, BeOS, Mac, EPOC32, cellphone versions

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Facts are getting in the way of Microsoft's claim that there is not a market for browsers. Opera, the Norwegian browser that sells for $35 after a 30-day free trial, has established itself as the contender, according to research company BrowserWatch. The latest figures show Internet Explorer with 43.7 per cent, Navigator with 35.4 per cent and Opera with 9.46 per cent (which Opera claims has now climbed to 10.2 per cent). The data are derived from visitors to BrowserWatch, who are mostly developers, Web site designers, journos and browser nuts. In the latest reported period Opera was used by 7076 visitors, which indicates a reasonable sample size. Other news from Opera, apart from its recent release of the beta for BeOS (it's 1.38MB), is that a version for Psion/EPOC32 is about 80 per cent complete and should be next. This is likely to be followed by a Mac version (now around 70 per cent complete, after a false start). A Linux version (about 35 per cent done) has a side-development in the form of a separate text-only small and fast browser that supports JavaScript and is said to be suitable for use in mobile phones. It also works with Windows, and is a candidate to replace Lynx. Opera won't be tied to a release date yet. Jon von Tetzchner, Opera's CEO, said that tests show that Opera for Linux, which is based on the new QT2.0 by Troll Tech, is faster than Netscape. Free/Net/BSD versions are expected to follow. Opera has managed to negotiate the opera.com name at last (it was operasoftware.com), which should make it easier to find. ®

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