It’s been a long time coming but here we are. I prouldy used Opera for many years. Since the released the 7.11 so almost ten years now. The cute little red panda still was a bird when i discovered tabs (not totally true but i’m too ashamed to admit i used an IE overlay). In ten years i discovered so many features more or less popular/exotic. I nearly tweaked all its ini files to mold it to my desires. A real good browser, multiplatform and always on par with all those new web standards. It has always been in advance on its time.
When Firefox came to eat IE marketshares, Microsoft started to change their update plan on a five years basis. But it wasn’t really an healthy ecosystem. Firefox only ate marketshare of an old tool only used by ignorance by people not knowing what’s Internet and the web. Firefox only gain shares with geeks and geeks installing it on Madame Michu’s computer (Madame Michu is a french cliché about non-tech savy lambda person) on the promise of a “Safe Internet with less viruses”. It wasn’t a conscious choice. How to be conscious about a tool you even ignore it’s a tool (no, firefox|ie isn’t Internet).
Then came khtml which started on unices before evolving into webkit who will soon be the “alternative web engine” who could become the defacto engine thanks to Google the ad’s king and Apple the sheep’s king. Failure isn’t an option. The marketing power and the the increase in tech saviness helped and webkit started to mimic microsoft strategy of pushing webdev to adopt webkit only syntax on css properties. To cut a long story short, we have a market with three big actors now : Gecko the red panda web engine, Webkit the pokeball engine and safari engine, Trident the elder’s choice. Ho ! But i wanted to talk about Opera ! This is exactly Opera’s story since… ever. He always failed to gain traction. He always fall in the abyss of forgotten softwares. He has a very strong community. Strong but small. Why ? What’s wrong with him ? It’s licence ? Yes it’s not opensource. So what ? IE isn’t opensource nor Chrome nor Safari ! It’s a real concern but not for the masses. Incompatibles websites are mainly malformed website or evil-doing website (thanks UserAgent spoofing). This browser is as good for Madame Michu than any other : it’s default interface is quite similar to every other browser. The underlying complexity is well hidden.
Well stop dithering, I’m leaving Opera’s user base. I still like it but since it’s 12th revision i got some crashes. It also displays a pointless toolbar with a menu button i don’t care about. And it crashes like never it did ! I may come back later when this will be fixed…
I’m now on the mosaic killer’s side. And frankly, an opensource browser is good thing. And with a few addon it became usable. Pentadactyl is a complete UX overhaul which makes you keyboard the new firefox commander. It’s well thought. You add a little bit of Ghostery to remove a lot of crap and you also put an adblock plus because we are not kidding anymore. And to top it all i added a slick toolbar to control Grooveshark from the pentadactyl’s toolbar. And there i have an enjoying experience now.
I don’t know how much time i’ll spend far from my big red O…
You have probably noticed how i increased the size of the blogposts and the frequency to release them. Next I’ll probably sing the vim’s virtues (teaser teaser). Have fun and beware the photon rush !
PS 2017 : Not long after i left Opera they dropped their inhouse presto engine to adopt chrome’s one. It’s quite sad. If only they had opensourced it. I used firefox with pentadactyl (then vimperator) for five years until they dropped their old addon api.