Feeds

Opera beta burns Chrome for top spot

Gets Porn Mode, too

Security for virtualized datacentres

Opera unleashed a beta version of its browser this morning, and 10.5 claims the lead over Google Chrome and Apple's Safari in the Javascript stakes. The speed improvement is down to a new Carakan ECMAScript engine.

The Rolls Royce of browsers has long been the innovation lab for the rest of the industry, with rivals touting features first seen on Opera as their own "inventions" years later. It's maintained an emphasis on usability (with extreme customisation made easy) and performance - without getting bloated along the way. But Opera has lagged rivals in scripting performance, and this has become increasingly important as complex web applications, such as Google Docs, become more widely used.

A pre-Alpha circulated before Xmas. Some sites testing this gave Opera almost a half second advantage of the current leader, Google's Chrome.

It's around 2.5 times faster than Opera 10.2, or seven times faster than the current 10.1 release. The major change in Carakan is a move from a stack to a register based architecture. Carakan will also compile scripts down into native code. (For a detailed and interesting overview of the scripting engine see Jen Lindstrom's blog post.)

In two other areas, Opera has held an embarrassing large historical lead over its main rivals and laggards, Firefox and IE: memory footprint and caching. In 10.5 the caching engine has been rewritten, with opera:cache giving a new and very detailed browsable view of the cache.

A whole heap of non-functioning niceties are missing, but this is a beta.

Colour me in

10.5 alpha with a translucent skin

Opera 10.5 also sees big changes with GUIs. The Windows version gains a spooky new translucent Glass look in Vista and Windows 7. It's more deeply integrated into the UI, so hovering the mouse over the Opera icon on the taskbar brings up previews for each page.

The Windows taskbar now shows page previews [click to enlarge]

Using a transparent theme doesn't make it easier to use

For Mac users, 10.5 will go Cocoa. Not all the features are yet available for Mac testers, but it already looks a little more native.

Because 10.5 dispenses with the Qt toolkit, it won't require a faff around grabbing the libraries - which can happen. It will use Gtk where Gnome is the desktop. The pulsating, ever-growing brain that's used to be KDE isn't yet supported. Mac and Linux milestones will lag behind the Opera version, the company says, to get new features tested on Windows first.

The other major feature is Porn Mode, here called a "Private Tab" or "Private Window". Wipe your feet on the way out. ®

* You can spend weeks downloading conflicting Firefox add-ons, or a few minutes at this chap's blog, to appreciate the many ways in which you can bend Opera to your will. Well worth a look if you're on a Netbook or still on a 1024x768 display - where every pixel counts.

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
'Windows 9' LEAK: Microsoft's playing catchup with Linux
Multiple desktops and live tiles in restored Start button star in new vids
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
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
Mozilla shutters Labs, tells nobody it's been dead for five months
Staffer's blog reveals all as projects languish on GitHub
SUSE Linux owner Attachmate gobbled by Micro Focus for $2.3bn
Merger will lead to mainframe and COBOL powerhouse
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
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL
Discussing the vulnerabilities inherent in Wi-Fi networks, and how using TLS/SSL for your entire site will assure security.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.