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Celebrating The Big O

By Andy Sim - on 05 Mar 2010, 6:34pm

I adore Opera.

By the way, this isn't a blog post expounding the beauty of lyrical librettos or the wonders of The Marriage of Figaro. I am referring to Opera, the underdog's browser. Sure, it might not fire up as swiftly as Google's Chrome tenderfoot and it might not enjoy as much love as Mozilla's foxy browser. Still, I have my reasons for standing by the Presto powered platform.

Years ago, I was guilty of making the jump from Internet Explorer (IE 6) to Opera 9 without giving much thought to the rest in the browser league. First impressions were, wow, this thing is going to change the way I navigate the web. More importantly, Opera offered features which Microsoft could only dream about. Aspects such as tabbed browsing, mouse gestures, crash recovery, and more importantly, the duplicate tab function. I never looked back since.

Today, Opera has grown into their 10.50 instalment. Indeed, they've since improved and worked upon the various attributes I've listed above. With 10.50, developers have also made tweaks to its Carakan JavaScript engine as well as added support for HTML5 elements, aka the Flash killer.

On the upside, Opera has reaped profits from Microsoft's recent skirmish with the EU Commission as well. Based on various news sources, Opera Software claims it has seen a three-fold increase in downloads ever since Microsoft rolled out the "ballot screen" to European folks running Windows. If you're unaware, the web browser ballot allows Windows users to select their default browser of choice, instead of having to rely on a force-fed IE. That's one up for democracy. For the record, these spike in Opera downloads were most prevalent in Spain, Belgium, France, Poland and the UK, according to Rolf Assev, Chief Strategy Officer for Opera.

I am not claiming Opera is perfect. For some time, Chrome appears to be more Facebook-friendly than IE or Opera, based on a shard or two of personal experiences. However, most of the aforementioned issues seem to have evaporated with Opera's latest iteration on the PHP and MySQL laden site. I can only hope that stays. That said, I'd like to leave you with a symbolic quote from Austrian conductor Franz Schalk. "Every theater is an insane asylum, but an opera theater is the ward for the incurables".

Incurable, I am. Have a spiffy weekend.


Andy Sim

Andy Sim / Former Senior Tech Writer

Andy is a self-made geek with a penchant for good music and a hearty pint. His domain includes swanky TVs, notebooks and networking gizmos.