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Opera 10

I saw the news that the alpha of Opera 10 was released. Among the hype was that Opera 10 was pixel perfect and scored 100 out of 100 on the Acid 3 test. Intrigued, I grabbed the .deb, installed, and gave it a test spin. Unfortunately, even though it scores 100/100, and is pixel perfect, the rendering is not smooth. Per the qualifications to pass the Acid 3 test:

To pass the test, a browser must use its default settings, the animation has to be smooth, the score has to end on 100/100, and the final page has to look exactly, pixel for pixel, like this reference rendering.

Grab a copy, and see if it is smooth for you. It certainly isn't for me. It pauses briefly between 18 and 26. This might be splitting hairs- whatever. However, I have to say that I'm incredibly impressed with the browser overall. It's incredibly fast rendering pages, it finally comes with an auto-update feature including daily snapshots, rewritten regular expression engine adding more speed, enhanced mail features, better transparency support for widgets on Linux/Unix, and a number of other features. Of course, Opera is among the standards-compliant web browsers.

It might be proprietary software, but in my opinion, it's ahead of Mozilla Firefox in terms of speed and features. What impresses me the most, however, is the size of the binary. It's considerably smaller than Firefox, yet it boasts better stability, better features and faster rendering. I haven't looked at the code base for either of them, but I would really like to see some of this code goodness make it into Firefox. Maybe Firefox should do a code cleanup for a major release?

{ 13 } Comments

  1. ethana2 | December 6, 2008 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    Firefox 3 was a bit of a code cleanup, was it not?
    The speed advantages you mentioned over firefox will disappear with firefox 3.1, due to greasemonkey. I'm glad Opera is a decent browser, I'm still of the opinion that Microsoft should buy them and replace Trident with Presto.. but I'm mostly a gecko/webkit man.

    I just hope FF3.1 aces ACID3..

  2. Aaron | December 6, 2008 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    I guess Firefox 3 was a bit of a cleanup. I'd still like to know, though, how the Opera devs can get a web browser, mail user agent, and chat in a single binary smaller than just a web browser in Firefox.

  3. foo | December 6, 2008 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    Obligatory comment:


    why do you hate freedom?

  4. Will Smith | December 6, 2008 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    I would contend with you that using/supporting a standard compliant browser is a simple way to further and build freedom. No boo or hiss necessary.

  5. Vadim P. | December 6, 2008 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    I'd like to see Opera integrate with my overall desktop more. Then I'll consider looking at it again.

  6. Matt | December 6, 2008 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    Opera 10 does not render the Acid animation smoothly for me either. Its nice to finally see an in-line spell checker in Opera.

    While all the nice new features and improvements are welcomed, i love Opera for its GUI... its just so sweet!

  7. Arpad Borsos | December 7, 2008 at 1:50 am | Permalink

    I think those Acid3 performance tests were written to run smoothly on a "recent macbook pro" as reference.
    Well Firefox 3 was a little clean up on the reflow engine side. It still has a lot of ugly outparam usage on the inside. There were a few attempts to automatically rewrite that but they seem to have failed. I don't know the current status.

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us '0 which is not a hashcash value.

  8. Alexander Jones | December 8, 2008 at 4:56 am | Permalink

    I guess one reason it's smaller is because Opera uses Qt, rather than bundling its own UI toolkit (XUL)?

  9. Jeff | December 9, 2008 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    I've always had a tiny little special place in my heart for Opera. I first tried it back when you had to have an ad banner or purchase it, and I was excited when they decided to give it out for free. I've used Firefox before it was Firefox (Phoenix), and Mozilla before that. (and I used Netscape before that)

    Opera (I believe it was version 8) was ahead of Firefox in features. Unfortunately for Opera, when Firefox 2 came out it had most of the features that I was interested in that Opera already had. Unfortunately, I no longer remember what those features are, but I think they had something to do with tabs and/or browsing sessions.

    Opera 9 had speed dial and some other nice features. Google Chrome has something similar. Firefox has a plug-in which seems to be very slow that works like speed dial.

    I'm sure that Opera 10 is very nice. I should really go check out their release notes. I'm sticking with Firefox. Firefox has a couple of plug-ins that I just can't seem to give up. Oh, and I like Firefox. It's generally fast enough (except when something in one tab hangs and then the whole app is useless until the hang goes away, or when too many tabs are loading and the app hangs). One question though, wasn't Firefox supposed to be a light-weight version of Mozilla?

    From what I can see, all of the major players in the browser market come up with new features, and all the others copy them. I hope that Firefox can see tabs that work like and are separated like Chrome tabs are.

    One other thing -- Opera never seemed to look as nice in Linux as it does in Mac/Windows. I haven't tried any recent versions of Opera on Linux, so this may have changed.

  10. Jason | December 10, 2008 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    It might be proprietary software, but in my opinion, it’s ahead of Mozilla Firefox in terms of speed and features.

    It might be proprietary software, but in my opinion, OSX is ahead of Linux in terms of ease-of-use for the beginners, and raw underlying power for more knowledgeable individuals.

    I remember how anti-Mac you were at Ubuntu CoLoCo meetup you came out here for ;). It's just funny, if you consider turnabout to be fair play.

    Just as an aside, no, I don't care to backup/enforce/elaborate on my point. I'm more jabbing you for being a vehement FL/OSS supporter, and then shoving it aside whenever you can find a silver lining in the evil proprietary cloud.

  11. Aaron | December 11, 2008 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    Heh. You're kind of missing the point of the post. It's not that I run Opera, or any other proprietary product- I don't. I was more interested in the technical aspects of Opera. It's faster than Firefox. It's smaller that Firefox. It's more standards compliant than Firefox. It bundles more than Firefox. So, the question is then, not should everyone run Opera, but what can Firefox learn from it? My last sentence sums it up:

    I haven’t looked at the code base for either of them, but I would really like to see some of this code goodness make it into Firefox.

    No, I'm not running Opera- I'm sticking to Firefox. No, I'm not "shoving [FL/OSS] aside whenever I can find a silver lining in the evil proprietary cloud." I'm merely drawing a conclusion that this proprietary app brings to the table a lot that our FL/OSS equivalent can learn.

    Try again. 🙂

  12. Jason | December 12, 2008 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    Indeed, you're right, I stepped out on a limb of assumption. And it just cracked and I fell to my death.

    Shame on you Aaron. You know, with killing me and all :<.

  13. ronc | December 16, 2008 at 5:20 am | Permalink

    What happened to Opera being an Ubuntu parter?
    Ubuntu had Opera 9.26, then removed it from the repository.

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