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  • If the product is free to you, you are the product.

    +1. A hard, foundational truth for today's Internet era. TANSTAAFL.

  • Lately I've been seriously tempted to stop using Opera, now that my favorite features are no longer there (fast forward, click and drag, ease of bookmark use, creating sessions, etc). Is it possible that Opera has been inflitrated by competitor agents and they undermined Opera? For all the paranoid hunters, this is a joke.

  • ... Is it possible that Opera has been inflitrated by competitor agents and they undermined Opera? ...

    It's less possible than the possibility that your posts are being made by an agent for a competitor product, dissing and mocking Opera's efforts. That is, both possibilities are unlikely in the extreme.

    The nature of "free" browsers that aren't simply charitable labors-of-love is that they still have to pay their makers' bills, whether by renting out preferred placements or (in some cases) marketing user data. Regardless, it means getting the browser adopted in ever-larger numbers by the vast 'gray' masses of users out there. Those users most often are not techno-users, focused on using browsers as working tools... they're primarily appliance users focused on using a browser for entertainment or something equivalent. Their numbers are also dominated by the mobile-user crowd, whose culture is heavily colored by the less-is-more, as long as it's bright and flashy, perspective. The end result, felt in all the newer browser designs made by the bigger design houses is that configurability and settings-depth are steadily diminishing across the board with each new release. A cursory look into even Firefox forum comments will quickly reveal a growing history of techno-users complaining that their browser is evolving away from their control/configurability needs toward a Chromish-facade-appeal.

    My own belief is that this mass-user targeting is inevitable with free software. As @lando242 has noted, if it's free, the user is the product... the money has to be made somewhere, and the greatest money is made from appealing to the greatest number of users. At the end of the day, the only way to avoid it is to be willing to pay directly (and pay well) for a quality product that appeals to one's class of user - and over time letting competition establish a viable niche for that kind of product. But that's not what we see today, nor do I expect it until or if something major goes "bang" with the current free-paradigm and which acts to alienate large numbers of users.

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