Open letter

  • Hello,

    Not sure if I'm placing this in the right place, anyway here it is.

    I must be one of the oldest Opera browser users around :), and until now a very happy one. I'm using Opera in desktop and mobile for probably more than 15 years.
    I might fit in a small percentage of users, but Opera always had ways that were simply better, and many times they were first (or at least among mainstream browsers).
    From tabs, convenient page zoom (also I'm weird but linking zoom setting to sites doesn't make sense), history search, dictionary and translate with context menu, hide or show images as it should be implemented, "goto web address" before others, great page save implementation, sessions, customization (even if sometimes a bit confusing) ... and many others.

    With recent shift in Opera development, all (or close to that) Opera's advantages are gone. I'm sure benchmark tests run faster now and by using the same Chrome rendering engine, site compatibility is better, but I wonder why not just use Chrome? As it is now Chrome seems a more complete browser. Opera became just like the rest... but worse :(.

    I'm still using the "classic" version of Opera and is still OK, but I fear the way it was abandoned will make me shift to Chrome (and I don't like Chrome or any other browser - they can be even annoying - like per example Chrome thinks it's smarter than me by closing itself when I close the last tab - again I might be weird - but that's just stupid.

    I wish the best luck to Opera company and to all the people working there, but without proper differentiation I also fear that the days (or years) of the company are counted. I know the recent financial results were good, but once the amazing mobile growth stops compensating the Opera mobile share bleeding, problems will arise. I hope I'm wrong, but the last time I wrote something like this it was to Nokia even before the iPod was born... and we know what happened.... Well I do hope I'm wrong this time.... Even better, make Opera great again.

    Maybe I'm just selfish, but I want my great opera browser back. Regards.

  • Hello,

    I must say, I agree with you. I also have been using Opera for more than 15 years, since back in the Paid or Banner ad versions. And like you, I was mostly happy. There were a few sites that just didn't play well with Opera, but mostly it did things better, faster, easier, sooner, and Opera had some unique features that I really liked.
    So I resisted the new versions & (again like you) I'm still using the "classic" version of Opera. But it's having more & more problems with more & more sites, so I've also installed the new Opera. It's pretty, and pretty fast, but I'm trying to figure out if I must move off of Opera Presto, what advantages does the new Opera offer?

  • I believe I started using Opera in 1999 (if memory serves). I think the first version I used was in the 3.6X series. So this is a similar time period to you. I even bought 5 licenses. 3 on Windows (one for me, one for my father and one as a gift for a friend). I also later bought a license for Linux and one for Mac.

    All of this is long before I became an employee (in 2009). I tell you this so you understand my loyalty to Opera is not just because they are my employer. I was already a big fan.

    Yes, the new Opera is very different from the older versions and there are certainly plenty of things I miss. However site compatibility issues mean that Presto-based Opera would no longer be viable for me, so I can certainly understand your thoughts with regards to dropping it and selecting something else.

    If you are looking for a replacement, a Chromium-based browser does seem like a good idea. Chromium has cutting edge standards support and the speed advantage. I disagree however that you should pick Chrome and not even consider the new Opera. Here are some of the things that I personally feel make Opera better than Chrome and indeed other modern browsers

    • The best Speed Dial implementation
    • The best HiDPI support of any major browser on Linux (Chrome looks awful and Firefox does not auto-detect the correct scaling)
    • Activation order tab cycling options (Chrome does not have this)
    • Keyboard shortcuts are customisable (Chrome does not have this)
    • Large tab previews that allow you to check on a tab without switching
    • Extensions in the store are reviewed for security and other issues (by humans, unlike Chrome)
    • Built in mouse and rocker gestures
    • Single key shortcuts
    • Upcoming feature - Bookmark (collections) sharing
    • Upcoming feature - Tab menu (Great in full screen and works with Tab Preview)

    Now you may or may not care about the features I selected but I think it shows that there are differentiators. We are clearly not a straight clone or I couldn't provide such a list.

    I would also add that of the other Chromium based derivatives, Opera is the only one who tracks the Chromium versions in a timely manor. Check the Chromium version in stable Chrome, then check it in stable Opera. You will find they match. Do the same trick with one of the other browsers based on Chromium. It is often shocking how far behind they are and you have to wonder if they have actually back-ported all the security fixes. My suspicion is that many of them have not, as it isn't always trivial.

    Finally it is worth noting that Opera is actually making direct contributions to Chromium, Blink and V8. We are not just taking and repackaging Chromium. We are helping to improve it for everyone, while producing a nice and distinct UI for our own user base.

    My final advice would be to give it a fair shot and test it against the competition. If it really isn't for you, so be it but don't just dismiss it out of hand because it is not the old Opera, otherwise you might as well dismiss all of the options and stick with Opera 12.

    P.S. "Would I use Opera if I didn't work here?" Yes, definitely!

  • @ruario great post. Thanks for the information.

  • I think there is a point you are missing :

    Opera didn't need differentiators. Opera was different, from the ground up. Not only that, but it was also for different people.

    I hate Chrome-Fx-IE-Safari, because they are a "one size fit all". Or maybe a "one size fit most". But I'm different, and I don't fit.
    Maybe I have only one arm, and I want one key shortcuts. Or I'm blind, and I want connection with a screen reader. Or I can only read standing up in front of my fridge. Or I'm still running win98.
    Opera was for the differents, for the outcasts.
    It was so versatile, but also, installable everywhere.

    Now, Opera shifted its paradigm. Now, I can't install Opera on my Android 2.3 device, or my Linux 32b desktop. I'm not blaming anyone, those changes make sense, and you (all) are doing a wonderful job given this market/ressources/time/money/politics.

    But when I look around, I weep, because there is no alternative. Nothing for the differents, the outcasts. All I can see is some browsers, with a bit of differentiators. Yes Opera is still the best browser around today, but it's sad considering what is possible and what was.

    I'm crossing my fingers (and my toes) and waiting for Vivaldi and Otter. But my hopes are not that up : it doesn't make a sens to do a browser that is different in this global market. And I weep.

  • I think there is a point you are missing :

    Actually, I think you are the one who is missing the point. Opera is a company that needs to show a profit to its shareholders. You are a non-paying user of one of their products. The former browser never attracted more than 3% of users worldwide and while it may have been the darling of "different people" (as you termed it... not I), it needed to do something different. By rewriting the browser the developers are able to make it more compatible with the majority of websites rather than constantly trying to maintain the old browser. The new browser just keeps getting better and better.

    Vivaldi is a joke. Hardly anyone goes there anymore and it's being over-run by spammers, particularly evident in the blogs. Otter is useless and will remain so. There is no way a couple of coders are going to be able to make a modern browser that will be able to keep up with Opera, Chrome and Firefox. But if dreaming is what floats your boat, then good luck to you.

    1. I will remain polite.
    2. 3% of 2B is 60M. I would love to have a software that 60M persons use.
    3. Read my post again.
    4. I wasn't talking about Opera the company.
    5. I wasn't talking about Vivaldi the social network.
    6. Otter is faaaaar from useless, and is already an usable browser. It helps not coding the core.

    Next time, try to have the right infos before commenting.

  • Chrome, Opera, Internet Explorer, Safari and Firefox are made by very well paid developers; Otter is made by a small group, I don't see any future for Otter.

  • I know all about Vivaldi the social network. I was one of the first members there and remained so for six months until it became apparent it was little more than a useless forum set up by a disgruntled former CEO (LOL). It's filled with spammers (worse than here actually).

    2 billion users? Of the desktop browser? :lol: Please provide substantial proof of that statement.

    Next time, try and read MY response... carefully.

    As for Otter... play with it if you like. It's pretty much a useless attempt by a couple of coders that will undoubtedly go nowhere... fast.

  • Vivaldi has said they will be producing a product of some kind in the future - given the number of former Opera employees there speculation has been that it will be a browser ... but they haven't confirmed or denied that. We'll see.

  • Yeah... I know. But if you follow this logically - why is it that von Tetzchner has not been criticized for the delay in anything (ANYTHING) whereas Opera which has come out with an entirely new browser written from the ground up and has updated that browser on a regular basis receives nothing but criticism from the small crowd of complainers? Jon is dealing with smoke and mirrors and in so doing he maintains members of his new forum (which is now coming up on a year old). A full year has gone by and has Vivaldi increased in membership? What I saw when I left it in the late spring was SPAM blogs and very little activity in the forum section. Like the so-called Otter browser, it will amount to nothing of substance. Chrome is not sitting still. Firefox is moving forward all the time. Even IE is looking more promising. And a couple of coders think they're going to be able to compete? That's just silly.

  • Now you're expecting too much. Opera has a browser, but a large number of people want a Presto clone. Vivaldi has ... well, nothing. There are people there (and here, from what I've seen) disappointed that Vivaldi is taking so long; but as they haven't even confirmed that they are making a browser it is harder to be critical of them.

    Put another way ... Opera is famous for "When it's ready". The Presto fans look at any post-15 version and say "This wasn't ready." They can accept that Vivaldi wasn't ready as a reason for why it isn't there. Or at least, that's how it looks to me.

  • This is my take: Jon isn't going to risk his small fortune on employing a group of former Opera engineers to develop yet another browser (i.e. a Presto clone). There wouldn't be enough interest to make it a viable contender and he would never be able to muster enough financial support to make it worthwhile. Even at its height, Presto was only used by a relatively small group of users worldwide. Have you looked at MS's new numbers? Currently they are rated as the second most valuable company in the world right after Apple. They had a phenomenal last quarter and things are looking very good for them with the imminent release of Windows 10. There is talk of a new IE browser that will integrate many of the features of IE Modern and IE desktop but time will tell. The new Firefox is also a beautiful piece of engineering and given the number of people who write for this open-source browser, it will only get better. It's easy to dismiss von Tetzchner and those few geeks trying to write the Otter browser since there would be practically no support from a user base and certainly very limited financial support. It's not going to happen (in my opinion) and no doubt this is why Jon has remained silent for months on end. I'm not trying to be negative... I'm a realist.

  • It's another century, people's wants have changed/developed, technical environment has changed, concepts shifted.
    However good Opera Presto was/has been/might be, the river's flown and reincarnating the once revolutionary product by a brand new.. erm.. brand might miss the target. Miss it altogether maybe...

    Well, another case is making a good browser for those "old timers" in the sense them holding to (or being unable to afford other than) their old/outdated hard/software etc...

    I can sorta speculate that the new era we now've entered could be introducing the concepts of more diversification in the programming environment - and maybe a bit more standardisation at the same time: like some lego elements - a certain core browser, highly compatible - up to universally - plug-ins and extensions, it may be that separate standalone applications for bookmarking and stuff...

  • Were the Vivaldi guys trying to write a browser? I seem to have missed that-- not a surprise because I'm only over thataway occasionally.

  • No, Michael, not as a group effort although a few of its members (i.e. ersi, Frenzie, et al) were helping with the Otter browser. There was some noise early on (rumors, really) that Jon would come up with a Presto follow-up but it appears that little in that regard has materialized. All he said early on was that there would be some surprises for us as a group. Some took that to mean a new browser. Vivaldi was first mentioned in this thread by cqoicebordel as follows: "I'm crossing my fingers (and my toes) and waiting for Vivaldi and Otter." I never introduced Vivaldi but simply followed up on his bringing it up as a possible savior of sorts. Hardly. When I last ventured over there, it appeared pretty much dead with the exception of the same few posters and the same spammers.

  • I haven't poked the Otter to see what it'll do-- if anything. Fact is, I dumped Opera after they went post-12 and dumped the community-- only back here now out of curiosity as much as anything.

    Chrome, Firefox, PaleMoon (not used much) and IE when I absolutely have to-- pretty much in that order here.

    I'm putting a bit more into the blog over by Wordpress-- maybe I'll make something out of it. The blog at Vivaldi-- not so much. I doubt that it's worth it to keep that open much longer. 2liv3--- I don't know how that place stays open. DnD shows some life, we're keeping it going.

  • Good to see you're still around. Take care.

  • P.S. "Would I use Opera if I didn't work here?" Yes, definitely!

    Can you confirm what you said, @ruario ?

  • Given that he now works "there", I don't know if he'd still say that. Then again, Vivaldi is still in the "Preview" stage. so perhaps he does. I'm actually a tester on both, and Opera is still my default browser where applicable. Well that may be stretching things ... there is no Vivaldi for Android yet, so the fact Opera is unstable on my Intel-based 2-in-1 (tablet with attachable keyboard, can be used like a laptop) and I therefore use Firefox for Android is really not germane on the whole Opera vs. Vivaldi thing. But I am posting this from Firefox, as it were.

Log in to reply
 

Looks like your connection to Opera forums was lost, please wait while we try to reconnect.