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Internet Security Threat Report 2014

When Opera unveiled its special Swedish Chef Edition, an unfortunate (for the press) side-effect was forcibly brought home to The Register. You see, just around that time we were running an ad that seemed to stop Opera displaying properly. And it was, oh dear, a Microsoft ad.

You see the unfortunate nature of the side-effect. People write about Microsoft breaking Opera, then get pointed at because their own site's breaking Opera. So we fixed that one quicker than is usually the case.

Then it broke again, not a Microsoft ad this time thank goodness, but we fixed that. And then it broke again, and again. And it's broken right now. In as far as you can say it's broken at all, of course.

The effect of this breakage, which certain Opera 7 users can see by checking out one of our wireless sections, is to send the horizontal margin haywire, making the page tricky to read, as well as weird-looking. But this effect is only exhibited if Opera is set to identify itself as IE; if it claims to be Opera or Mozilla, then the page is fine.

So there's your fix, and maybe it has a certain poetic justice to it - but why does it happen? Aha - in declaring itself as IE, Opera also retains the word "Opera" in its identification. What is therefore happening with these particular ads is that the sniffer used to detect browser type is finding two browsers and happily serving two ads at once, thus busting the margins.

Whose fault is this? Opera's, because its software is claiming to be something it isn't? Yours, O Opera user, because if you had the courage of your convictions you'd stop pretending to sites that you were using IE? Opera's again, because the default setting is to pretend to be IE? Or the people whose sniffer code keeps checking for browser types when it's already found one?

All of the above, no doubt. Our increasingly put-upon and truculent techies raise their heads from their Debian long enough to say (not very politely, either) that Opera should stop saying it's something it's not. We, moderate as always, favour Opera at least changing the default setting to the truth. But getting everybody to change their sniffer code, or to dump it entirely and use something more elegant instead, just because Opera's fibbing does not seem to us a particularly viable option.

Whatever. Attention, Opera users. Ctrl+Alt+O. There, that didn't hurt, did it? Leave it like that, and on those odd occasions you find a site that seems not to like you, Ctrl+Alt+I. If that seems to work, moan to the site, not us. Register breaks Opera? Hah - Opera breaks Register that's our story and we're sticking to it. ®

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