Feeds

With version 4 shipped, Opera aims for expansion

Air supply looking healthy...

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Business security measures using SSL

The release of the Opera 4 browser by Opera Software of Norway is a significant event because it is the first browser to do a decent job with cascading style sheets (which describe how documents are presented on screens). Those who have come to grief with Netscape's or Microsoft's efforts with CSS might care to try Opera.

It's hardly surprising that Opera has succeeded where others have failed, since Opera CTO Håkon Wium Lie proposed the CSS concept in 1994 when he was at CERN with Brit Tim Berners-Lee. Previously he had been at the MIT Media Lab. After the Web project at CERN concluded, he worked for W3C in France. Last year he produced the second edition of his co-authored Addison-Wesley book on CSS. Lie told The Register that he went to Opera in order to do a proper implementation of CSS, having been disappointed with what Navigator and IE had done. The result is available for all to see, with a 30-day free trial (it's $39 thereafter, with discounts for multiple copies and an educational discount of around 50 per cent).

An amusing option allows users to decide whether they wish the Opera browser to be identified as Mozilla, IE or Opera, which may fool those nasty would-be-browser-specific Web pages. Opera does appear to be closer to the official specs than other browsers, so this will be a useful feature to test non-standard pages. At last Opera has implemented the latest Java implementation, so that there is an option to download this at installation time, in order to achieve a simpler installation.

Opera had a bit of a hangup about the code fitting on a 1.44Mb floppy, but has fortunately overcome this and added essential features like a proper mail client. Unicode is being worked on at the moment. It is unfortunate that no formal speed trials against rival browsers seem to have been performed by an independent lab, but users will form their own impressions about its speed.

Opera Software is an unusual company in that it follows a social ethic - for example to make the browser available in minority European languages like Breton and Gaelic as part of its accessibility programme - and is considering moves towards implementing speech commands.

As a consequence, business aspects of the privately held company have taken a back seat while the browser was under major development. It must now be regarded as a serious contender for any browser user. With the release of Opera 4, which requires a further payment by all but the most recent purchasers of the last version of Opera 3, the revenue is likely to increase and Opera could experience more black ink in its accounts. At present, the company employs some 50 people. Ten million Norwegian Kroner were raised recently to make it possible to get more.

More than 1.5 million people use Opera, and this is likely to increase rapidly as a result of OEM deals with Ericsson and Psion. Mass awareness has been increased by it being included on the cover CDs of trade mags, but in view of it small size, downloading is likely to be the main method of distribution. As to proof that Opera has arrived, IDG has done Opera Browser for Dummies. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
'Windows 9' LEAK: Microsoft's playing catchup with Linux
Multiple desktops and live tiles in restored Start button star in new vids
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
iOS 8 release: WebGL now runs everywhere. Hurrah for 3D graphics!
HTML 5's pretty neat ... when your browser supports it
Mathematica hits the Web
Wolfram embraces the cloud, promies private cloud cut of its number-cruncher
NHS grows a NoSQL backbone and rips out its Oracle Spine
Open source? In the government? Ha ha! What, wait ...?
Google extends app refund window to two hours
You now have 120 minutes to finish that game instead of 15
Intel: Hey, enterprises, drop everything and DO HADOOP
Big Data analytics projected to run on more servers than any other app
SUSE Linux owner Attachmate gobbled by Micro Focus for $2.3bn
Merger will lead to mainframe and COBOL powerhouse
iOS 8 Healthkit gets a bug SO Apple KILLS it. That's real healthcare!
Not fit for purpose on day of launch, says Cupertino
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.