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Jon von Tetzchner, Opera's founder and former CEO spoke to The Register

  • Originally posted by Frenzie:

    Originally posted by Tradeofjane:

    to say that this wasn't a management decision to reduce cost is simply untrue.

    Well, why would Bruce lie? πŸ™‚ Saying it came from engineering logically means it came from the management within engineering, but not from the company's overarching management. That makes his statement unnecessarily and perhaps misleadingly pedantic. (more)

    Bruce works in the Developer Relations Department at Opera, which is responsible for creating and nurturing the developer community while leveraging the total community resources towards the software vendor's goals. He also works in the the Web Standards Department at Opera Software, which explains why he's in favor of using Chromium. He's also wrong about this being an engineering-led decision as even he states that Opera made the decision rather than paying engineers to maintain feature parity with other rendering engines. Engineers aren't going to lead on a decision to put themselves out of a job. The move to piggybacking off of Chromium was a decision made by management, NOT engineering, in order to avoid paying to develop their own engine by using one that was already available and being worked on for free.

  • @rafaelluik

    Why would current Opera employees had more credibility than former?
    You really expect that Bruce, Haavard or CEO in some interview... gonna publicly say "well, we f***ed up"... ?
    I don't remember when application (exclude OS) disappointed so many users, and caused so many negative critics and comments all over the Net.

    And of top of that, communication from Opera side could be summarized in "we dong give a sh*t about users opinion".
    Bruce and Blazej tried to fix that last summer, after first (or second) wave of disappointment.
    But it's all left on attempt.

  • Originally posted by vux777:

    And of top of that, communication from Opera side could be summarized in "we dong give a sh*t about users opinion".
    Bruce and Blazej tried to fix that last summer, after first (or second) wave of disappointment.
    But it's all left on attempt.

    You call it "fix", I would call it damage control spin.

    You can't fix things with bla, bla, bla.
    Neither can you put somebody off for ever, not even the most naive.

  • Originally posted by Frenzie:

    Originally posted by missingno:

    Originally posted by rafaelluik:

    Are Opera 15, 16, 17, 18, 19 and 20 illusions?

    Why don't you ask some Linux users?

    Bravo!

    So Linux users don't know that Opera 15+ exists? I didn't know they were so uninformed.

    Originally posted by vux777:

    Why would current Opera employees had more credibility than former?

    Why would the former have more credibility?? Please, why did you even care to write this?

    Originally posted by vux777:

    You really expect that Bruce, Haavard or CEO in some interview... gonna publicly say "well, we f***ed up"... ?

    But did they fu**** up? I suspect we won't see the number of users going down in the next quarters. Also, there's a long-term benefit of the switch that's worth the current situation.

    Originally posted by vux777:

    I don't remember when application (exclude OS) disappointed so many users, and caused so many negative critics and comments all over the Net.

    Are them all valid criticism? No. Bookmarks and Link are valid criticism IMO. Just shouting "it's a Chrome clone" or "I don't want to use extension for X" them move to another browser where you'll need to add a lot more extensions to add features to make it Opera-like are not.

    And the "critics" you mention that just yesterday didn't give a shit about Opera and its features and are clearly users of other browsers (easily discoverable by past articles / social media profiles)? Haha...

    Originally posted by vux777:

    And of top of that, communication from Opera side could be summarized in "we dong give a sh*t about users opinion".

    How so? Because a couple of users miss X then they should bring the browser to an insane level of features to be maintained again (and without even completely integrating the Chromium code / finishing to build the "solid foundation")? How is it going in suggesting features to Mozilla/Google/Microsoft/Apple teams?

  • Originally posted by Frenzie:

    Originally posted by rafaelluik:

    There are a couple of threads created by one-time posters and recently created accounts with rants that don't cite a single feature that they miss.

    Oh really.

    This forum, right?

    Let's make a quick tally based on topic titles.

    bookmarks
    bookmarks
    skins/appearance
    bookmarks
    bookmarks
    Link
    "disgruntled" -> non-descriptive title, but the content clearly says RSS, bookmarks, mail
    Linux
    bookmarks
    Menu bar
    That was just within the first twenty topics or so, and the others didn't relate to missing features (unless you count YouTube in HD as a missing feature). Feel free to continue the exercise by yourself.

    Not a single feature mentioned. πŸ™‚

    You might want to tread the rest of my post. I said there's valid feedback also. You exaggerated bookmarks, among the threads there are other things. The point: they're already bringing bookmarks back but they also have other stuff to do. And it's obvious M2 won't come back. And it's obvious the Linux version will come. And it's obvious a menu bar would be the most useless feature to be implemented. Skinning doesn't fit as something that should be prioritized right now if implemented at all (BTW in that thread the user doesn't cite *what* he uses from the Appearance dialog and the subject quickly diverted to default search engine option, "it's a Chrome clone" and vague statements, and a person mentioned he wanted to personalize the size of the UI because of his hi-def display, well Opera is already working in providing proper HiDPI support).

  • Originally posted by rafaelluik:

    Why would the former have more credibility?? Please, why did you even care to write this?

    Discussing with you is like discussing with religious fanatic.... God did it

  • Originally posted by vux777:

    Originally posted by rafaelluik:

    Why would the former have more credibility?? Please, why did you even care to write this?

    Discussing with you is like discussing with religious fanatic.... God did it

    The same could be said for you. Just sayin. :p

  • Originally posted by rafaelluik:

    So Linux users don't know that Opera 15+ exists?

    At least some of them. As approximatly 5 billion people on earth don't know that Opera exists. Give or take one billion. -.-

  • Originally posted by missingno:

    Originally posted by rafaelluik:

    So Linux users don't know that Opera 15+ exists?

    At least some of them. As approximatly 5 billion people on earth don't know that Opera exists. Give or take one billion. -.-

    Hahaha

  • Another interview with Jon von Tetzchner, which appeared today in the German magazine c't'.

    It contains some information about the changes at the company, and the switch to Opera 15.

    It is in German, so you may need to use a web translator.

    Interesting Detail: Opera 12 is said to contain an Easter Egg, a symbolic farewell letter to von Tetzchner from the developers.

    Anyone knows how to make it visible?

  • Originally posted by Sawo:

    Anyone knows how to make it visible?

    from the screenshot it looks like you need to set up mail and enable tab thumbnails.

    Edit: to be exact, the image is located in the standard_skin.zip as thumbnails/mail.png. Most interestingly the writing looks like the name actually reads "Jon S. von Tetzcher" though it could be my imagination as the resultion is really not that high πŸ˜‰

  • That would be very cool if someone could reveal what was in that Easter egg. πŸ™‚

  • Originally posted by rafaelluik:

    2. "Just to put an end to these rumors once and for all: The same people are still working on the desktop browser. Some of us have been here for more than 10 years. The difference, perhaps, is that we have more people now than we used to. That's how we can do proper integration on all platforms. We actually have the resources to do a properly integrated user interface now.

    Well, if the same talented developers that created what Opera once was are still there, PLUS, they now have even more people helping them out, then why is it taking them so very long to incorporate something as basic as Bookmarks, especially knowing this is driving many long-time users away, and I can't imagine newbies checking it out, being willing to use a browser they can't use & manage bookmarks, to aid in their browsing & work?

    Finally, why must it be so intolerable to you & some of the others, that posters may simply not agree with your take on things, whether you are fine without Bookmarks or not, etc? Most people here are discussing the many issues involved in the changes at Opera, yet unless one conforms with your views, they are worthy of scorn, disrespect, and ridicule? Perhaps you should read the Forum's purpose & guidelines, along with the rest of the mega-posting crew here, for you all violate the letter & spirit of this forum more than anyone else..... And perhaps looking up the word: "discussion" may be enlightening, as well....

  • Originally posted by leushino:

    That would be very cool if someone could reveal what was in that Easter egg. πŸ™‚

  • Originally posted by Sawo:

    Another interview with Jon von Tetzchner, which appeared today in the German magazine c't'.

    It contains some information about the changes at the company, and the switch to Opera 15.
    ...

    I also noticed he said, he wanted to take MyOpera over but they did not allow.
    This definately means - they will not release Presto/Caracan code so that his new start-up could use it...
    This is the most sad part of the interview...
    😞

  • Originally posted by Sawo:

    Another interview with Jon von Tetzchner, which appeared today in the German magazine c't'.

    It contains some information about the changes at the company, and the switch to Opera 15.

    It is in German, so you may need to use a web translator.

    Google translate isn't so bad:

    Jon von Tetzchner was co-founder and CEO until early 2010 the Norwegian company Opera Software, which develops the same browser. Mid-2012, he retired from the strife of his company, which since then drives a significantly different course. With Vivaldi.net now reports from Tetzchner back from his Icelandic home. The first goal of startups: building an online community with blogs, forums and mail services, offering the users of the soon closing service My Opera a new home.

    In an interview with c't tells of Tetzchner of his plans with Vivaldi and keep his opinions about the new Opera strategy is not behind the mountain.

    c't: you have left about two and a half years ago Opera. What did you do in the meantime?

    Jon von Tetzchner: I have a little invested in startups, about ten companies, most in Iceland. I founded a startup center in Seltjarnarnes in Reykjavik, where I lived as a child. Here now work 18 companies - the Startup Center was full in a week.

    Then I asked myself: Do I want to now only work as a consultant? After a while I thought: No, I must be doing something yourself. In a way, I served the Opera idea by hiring My Opera. I thought for some time, it would be interesting to start a community: a difficult competition, a crazy idea - okay, let's do it.

    c't: Is Vivaldi.net planned as a pure My-Opera-clone? It's a bold idea of ??building a community in the age of Facebook ...

    of Tetzchner: We think a lot about innovations. We have compiled a comprehensive starter kit, but it will definitely be more. We still are but in an early stage. We have launched a month ago.

    From Tetzchners Vivaldi.net to the My Opera community, which is closed in three weeks, which give a new home.
    We focus not so obvious to attract users. I think there is room for a site like this. We have always tried in Opera, to be the good guys, and so it is with Vivaldi. There are many former Opera-people, also a few Icelanders. We are a small team, about 20 people, more than half of technicians. The money comes from me, there are no other investors.

    c't: Where is the business model?

    of Tetzchner: We have experience with affiliate deals in Opera, something in the way we could make at Vivaldi. I think there are some ways to make money, without sacrificing the user. We try to focus on privacy and security: It's all encrypted, we play no advertising in the mails. We host in Iceland, only for the delivery of the websites we use Content Delivery Networks.
    "There are some ways to earn money without having it at the expense of users."

    We did not want to spy on our users. Check out our EULA at times, sure, I'm actually proud of. It is not so full of legalese as usual. We try to give the company a human face - as we have done in Opera, and I hope we can do it again here. We want to build something for geeks, make a group of happy people who demand a lot - the target group are the Opera-users.

    c't: How big is the My Opera community?

    of Tetzchner: There are, I believe, registered more than 10 million, but the number of active participants is much smaller. There were over 35 million visitors per month - I do not understand why Opera closes.

    That said, I understand it already, because I know the people who run the company now: look at the revenue and expenditure of My Opera separately, and there was never at Opera efforts to make money - it was something that what we did for our users. But the community has played a central role in building operators, since people all came through word of mouth.

    c't: Have you spoken with Opera on the acquisition of My Opera? The founders of Fast Mail've got you down even bought back.

    of Tetzchner: One can, I think, to say that the relationship is not optimal. I have a few people over concerns that I would like to take over the community, but they did not give me.

    Up to and including version 12 Opera was packed with functions, features and configuration options.

    Opera 15 had the flashing engine not much to add except a nice user interface with "Discovery" and "Stash".

    c't: What browser do you use anyway?

    of Tetzchner: Still Opera 12

    c't: Am I doing even occasionally, but he is aging fast ...

    of Tetzchner: Yes, it's a bit like a burning ship - at some point you have to stop the machine. The interesting thing is: Of the approximately 330 million Opera users still use the 300 million Opera 12

    c't: That would not bode well for Opera's move to WebKit.

    of Tetzchner: It was the wrong move. It has apparently taken the decision at the beginning of 2010, when I stopped - at least you heard back then on to invest in the development team. You have people no longer replaced, who have left, gradually the code was less competitive. And we all know that you have to give everything when you compete against Google, Apple and Mozilla.
    "A lot of smart people have left Opera."

    c't: Many Opera users were shocked when they saw Opera 15.

    of Tetzchner: We could have said: Okay, let's take WebKit, we use our resources to build a great UI. But in reality, there were the people for not, because the had ceased or been fired.

    A lot of smart people have left Opera. When I stopped, about 750 people worked at Opera. Now while there are more, but over 300 people have since ceased, especially from the core team. The focus is now more on advertising and on the financial side, not in the products - and Opera was a product company.

    c't: Did you then actually voluntarily ceased as CEO?

    of Tetzchner: It was my decision, but it was a long, long struggle preceded, and I was really exhausted. I hoped with Lars Boilesen there would be continuity, because he had worked as my Head of Sales, but I should find out quickly that this would not be so.

    The investors wanted the company in a different direction when I draw - rather in the holding of the financial market is right, instead of trying to make the end user happy. I have seven years fought against, to sell the company or to neglect the desktop browser.

    I left the company in a very good condition. We had doubled our user base of 50 to 100 million and continued to grow, even without new features. I left the company with 100 million U.S. dollars in the bank. This money is spent obviously, because they had a new round of financing. You have company bought, which is expensive.

    The financial market seems to be very happy with how the company is run. I am sad when I see what has happened with my company. It goes completely in the opposite direction from the one where I was going. This change in direction was the reason that I no more than a kind of spirit was standing in the background and Opera in 2012 finally left. Then perhaps accelerated the development, but the real break was already done.

    Sentimental farewell gesture: As a kind of Easter Egg developers smuggled in Opera 12 a letter to her retired founder of the company a.

    c't: Do you feel that you have destroyed your life's work?

    of Tetzchner: I think Opera could have achieved much more. For 2013, we had 500 million users as the target. Had we continued on our way, we would have, I think, done. The two features that have been added since my departure, are Discovery and Stash. On the other hand a lot of things have disappeared.

    And Coast, the new tablet browser, I see myself more as a cool prototypes. Previously, we have implemented projects such as Turbo or Unite, which was a major innovation. Unite matches the direction in which the Internet developed more peer-to-peer, not everything in the cloud.
    "When you're in an area pioneer, one comes in a very good position when one catches up after a while the trend."

    c't: Unite was, I believe, the first thing that Opera has adjusted after your departure. I always had the impression that the users have not understood then what you could do with it.

    of Tetzchner: I had the idea that we can improve further Unite - that was only version 1.0. Peer-to-Peer is now a big trend, as the Internet of Things. We have started doing in 2005. That was very early, as much of what we did.

    We started with mobile browsers in 1999. At that time, people said that mobile browsers do not make sense, one should take WAP. I believe that if one is a pioneer in a field and continue working on it, you get into a very good position when one catches up after a while the trend. Therefore we need long-term investments.

    Now Opera invested more in the purchase of other companies - as Skyfire, what ever did not make sense to me. Of course I'm sad that she threw away Unite, but I'm also sad that she threw away bookmarks and a lot of other things that use the people.

  • Thank you, Krake.

    Bing's take on it was much MUCH worse! πŸ™‚

  • Originally posted by Krake:

    Originally posted by Sawo:

    Another interview with Jon von, which appeared today in the German magazine c't'.

    It contains some information about the changes at the company, and the switch to Opera 15.

    It is in German, so you may need to use a web translator.

    Google translate isn't so bad

    This is the most interesting and substantial of the interviews with Tetzchner that I've seen posted here. People canβ€”and some people here willβ€”question the accuracy of Tetzchner's assertions and the validity of his judgements, but I'm inclined to believe him. And what he has to say here is rather damning and confirms some of my suspicions.

  • Originally posted by Krake:

    Originally posted by leushino:

    That would be very cool if someone could reveal what was in that Easter egg. πŸ™‚

    Very cool. Thanks. πŸ™‚

  • I'm waiting for the gang to blast Tetzchner for having complaints, criticizing the developers' & execs' decisions, etc.....
    He must be wrong, he doesn't know what he's talking about, airing his complaints simply isn't constructive, he's just a troll, and his comments shouldn't even be seen in this forum.....

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