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Opera Settles $12.75m Lawsuit, But with Whom?

CmdrTaco posted more than 10 years ago | from the wouldn't-you-like-to-know dept.

Businesses 357

An anonymous reader writes "According to a press release from Opera Software ASA, they have settled legal claims with an international corporation resulting in payment to Opera of net USD 12.75 million. The interesting bit is that the international corporation is unknown. Dagbladet speculates that Microsoft is paying up. They reason it has something to do with this."

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Great (4, Interesting)

Karamchand (607798) | more than 10 years ago | (#9182532)

..because even if they don't get enough paying customers they have more money again to continue developing the browser with the world's best user interface!

Re:Great (5, Interesting)

bhtooefr (649901) | more than 10 years ago | (#9182560)

I can't tell if you're being sarcastic or serious. It really does have a good user interface (7.50 got better - it's an acquired taste if you used 7.23, but it's easier for someone who didn't use Opera before), but paying customers do seem to be a bit rare (I tune out the Google ads, myself).

Re:Great (2, Interesting)

acidvoid (603114) | more than 10 years ago | (#9183004)

Yep, it is great.
good software deserves to be rewarded, I have a Windows licence and a Linux licence. Will probably soon add a Mac licence also.
It's quick, has lots of good features, and the interface (in 7.5) has finaly been cleaned up.
The email (which I don't use anymore) was a little strange in the past, but clever: you have a database of emails with a bunch of views on this database -> instead of a bunch of folders with emails in them.


Re:Great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9182565)

You mean they're contributing to the Firefox components now? Wonder what new features they're going to introduce?

Re:Great (2, Interesting)

barzok (26681) | more than 10 years ago | (#9182614)

I've tried Opera on a few occasions. Tried being the operative word. I just could not get past the UI. It was crazy. Too many things going on, too many menu items, things placed in completely non-obvious locations. I wanted to like Opera, I even switched to it for a couple months while I waited for Mozilla to stabilize in the pre-0.9 days, but the UI and some of the other features were deal breakers for me.

Asa [] summed up a lot of the feelings I had in a couple of his blog posts. Granted, he's likely to be somewhat Gecko-biased, but he raises very valid points.

Re:Great (1)

MtViewGuy (197597) | more than 10 years ago | (#9182680)

Actually, on most of today's faster machines, I prefer Mozilla 1.6 (and newer) because it properly renders web pages correctly in the vast majority of cases. I've had some trouble with Opera being unable to render some web pages correctly, especially complicated ones like

Re:Great (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9182728) redirects to:

Gee, MSN again. Wonder what's up there?

Re:Great (1)

pracz (779590) | more than 10 years ago | (#9182810)

Even if i prefer Mozilla Firefox/Mozilla too, i would warn you that the site you refer to is not valid HTML! I think that rendering engines should be compared only on valid code...

cheers ;)

Re:Great (1)

MtViewGuy (197597) | more than 10 years ago | (#9182973)

I would kind of agree with you, but you do have to remember that ESPN's web page is one of THE most popular sites on the Internet in the USA. As such, if you can't read that web page correctly that can cause problems for many users.

The fact I can properly read with Mozilla 1.6 shows that the developers of Mozilla are willing to accommodate the wishes of the majority of Internet users.

Re:Great (3, Insightful)

Liselle (684663) | more than 10 years ago | (#9182878)

An interesting read, but not exactly an objective review. He's whinging about something trivial that's part of getting accustomed to a new browser. The browser takes getting used to, and it not for everyone, but it's very customizable.

On the blog post you linked to, there's a comment about 1/3 of the way down by someone named "sas", doing a possible "review" of Firefox in the same manner that Opera was treated. I thought it was pretty on-target (and funny), especially the parts about the extentions. ;)

Re:Great (2, Interesting)

Crizp (216129) | more than 10 years ago | (#9182907)

Opera had one thing I liked: the mouse movement based back/left and other actions... press the left key, move the mouse up and then to the left and the browser hits 'back'. It's great, at least when you're mousing around the page anyways. We all know keyboard shortcuts are best, right?

Re:Great (1)

pracz (779590) | more than 10 years ago | (#9182996)

I think you should try Mozilla Firefox with the Mouse Gestures plugin. You'll be surprised!

Re:Great (1)

Crizp (216129) | more than 10 years ago | (#9183109)

Man, I remember skimming a line about some mouse gesture something for firefox somewhere sometime not long ago, and was actually looking for it now, loaded but forgot it in another desktop :)

Thanks, and to the second reply too.

Re:Great (1)

AllUsernamesAreGone (688381) | more than 10 years ago | (#9183031)

What, you mean like Mozilla mouse gestures [] (which supports 44, at last count, of Mozilla's navigation, navigation, zoom and control functions)?

Re:Great (4, Informative)

Tiram (650450) | more than 10 years ago | (#9183049)

If you find the Opera UI cluttered, simply remove those elements you don't need. My Opera UI has four buttons and a status field, and shows the time and my browser ID -- that's it. Practically anything can be removed simply by right-clicking and choosing "Remove from toolbar", or by choosing "Customize toolbars". Even my mother can do it. If you still think it's cluttered, hit "F11" and surf with keyboard shortcuts in full-screen mode. Let's see anything Gecko-based do that!

Re:Great (4, Insightful)

barzok (26681) | more than 10 years ago | (#9183129)

Opera is the first browser I've used where the default toolbar/menu configuration was cumbersome. That's a sign. I shouldn't have to customize the hell out of it upon install just to make it usable.
If you still think it's cluttered, hit "F11" and surf with keyboard shortcuts in full-screen mode. Let's see anything Gecko-based do that!
Firefox seems to be doing it just fine right now. Mozilla seems to be doing it too.

Re:Great (3, Insightful)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 10 years ago | (#9183053)

I don't use the mail or IRC client so I disabled them in the Preferences. I use Opera 7.50.

Too many things going on

It has just one more menu than Firefox (the standard Windows menu), the average menu size is maybe 3-4 items larger than Firefox's, and I have only 5 buttons in the toolbar (back, forward, refresh/stop [in same button], home, wand). 1 search field, 1 address field.

Can't say anything is in non-obvious places either. I mean, how hard can it be to find the proper menu option when you only have 3 non-standard menus at an average length of maybe 12 items? (I consider File, Edit, Window, Bookmark, Help to all be very standardized or straight forward with the regular options).

Re:Great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9183064)

I agree. I always thought Opera's initial popularity was garnered from it being a tiny, "lean and mean" browser, whereas now it's just a big bloated hodgepodge full of unnecessary "stuff" (and who really uses those features anyhow?) Ironic that the once "tiny browser" is now crammed with more crap than IE or Netscape.

I've run several versions of Opera since day one, and while I commend the programmer and cheer on the "little guys" in the browser market, I just could not fathom paying for it (or should I say the bloat that comes with it), particularly now with the likes of Mozilla Firefox and such.

I think Opera should step back from the bloat, release an updated minimalist version (as it once was back in the day), and sell it online for $5. Will that happen? Probably not. Will alot of people pay for Opera in it's current state? Probably not.

Re:Great (2, Informative)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 10 years ago | (#9183157)

"lean and mean" browser

Firefox is called the "lean, mean browsing machine". Opera has just called it "the fastest browser on earth", and they still rank very well there, although I haven't compared with a stop watch...

After disabling the Mail & IRC to transform it from something like the Mozilla suite to Firefox, I actually enjoy and regularly use most of its features and can't complain about bloat. It's still just a 3 MB download too, if you don't include the entire Java package. :-) This is much smaller than Firefox, and it also lacks all the XUL junk I don't care for really.

Re:Great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9182618)

Agreed, and I am using it right now, but it still doesn't handle javascript worth crap....

Re:Great (4, Funny)

Sheepdot (211478) | more than 10 years ago | (#9182780) opposed to the browser (internet explorer) with no paying customers but a streamlined interface.

So streamlined and easy to use that it installs all sorts of fun tools without any of those silly, annoying, installation confirmation steps.

Re:Great (0)

HD Webdev (247266) | more than 10 years ago | (#9182932)

..because even if they don't get enough paying customers they have more money again to continue developing the browser with the world's best user interface!

They won't continue getting paying customers by doing stupid stuff like charging extra for people with dual-boot systems.

That happened to me. I purchased Opera because it saved me a lot of time at work (groupmarks, tabbed browsing). Then, when I couldn't get the serial code I purchased working on the Linux partition, they informed me that I'd have to pay extra to get a Linux serial number.

In light of that experience, and especially now that Mozilla has both of those features, I don't recommend Opera to anyone.

If the Opera people can't be extra nice to the (maybe) 1% of people who actually buy it instead of leaving it with ads or entering a serial number found on the internet, they don't have their priorities straight..

Re:Great (1)

phats garage (760661) | more than 10 years ago | (#9182937)

I'm happy also.

Its very important to me that I have a safe browser to use when I run windows. Why Microsoft can't drill down and work on the safety of their OS and hire wizards like the Opera developers for the browser is beyond me.

The disadvantages of throwing everything into the OS is clear, complexity of tightly coupled systems removes from modular development recommendations that are central to safe programming practices. Why Microsoft is afraid of competition at the browser level is mystifying at the very least.

Thee Tenors? (3, Funny)

dominick (550229) | more than 10 years ago | (#9182538)

I believe it's a settlement with the three tenors. Hardy har har!

Re:Thee Tenors? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9182574)

Three tenners? That's 30!

Re:Thee Tenors? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9182721)

No, it's with the family of man who invented the word opera.

No, it's a settlement with Oprah Winfrey (3, Funny)

AtariAmarok (451306) | more than 10 years ago | (#9182897)

No, it's a settlement with Oprah Winfrey. If the googol guys can sue Google....

*Lame joke alert* (0, Funny)

foidulus (743482) | more than 10 years ago | (#9182541)

Maybe it is the random that the phantom of the Opera demanded!
This has been a test of the lame joke broadcast system, this is only a test, in the event of a real lame joke, Cowboy Neal's name would have been mentioned, thank you for your time.

Re:*Lame joke alert* (1)

kryptkpr (180196) | more than 10 years ago | (#9182740)

random? you mean ransom right? Preview.. then Preview again.

Microsoft? (5, Informative)

Liselle (684663) | more than 10 years ago | (#9182549)

I'm an Opera zealot if there ever was one. The issue with MSN was absolutely infuriating. For those who didn't RTFA: sent a different style sheet to any browser that specifically identified itself as Opera. The style sheet had less content, and broke the layout of the page. It was one of the most asinine things I've ever seen, because it could only have been done intentionally.

I am also suspicious of Microsoft, but I doubt it has anything to do with the MSN debacle. All they did was just send a poorly-rendered page. It's underhanded, but most websites don't comply with W3C spec anyway. I suppose it's possible that Microsoft paid Opera to make it go away, but there's little proof.

Re:Microsoft? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9182590)

Always a conspiracy - I wonder if anyone mailed MS to say the style sheet used has a bug in it, instead of 'opera isnt working with MSN'.

Assuming it isn't a conspiracy against Opera by MS, then its likely the former would have found its way to a tech who'd fix it, for the latter, you'd get the canned response about testing and not responsible for 3rd party products etc.

Re:Microsoft? (3, Interesting)

makomk (752139) | more than 10 years ago | (#9182670)

I've read the analysis. I doubt that Microsoft had a good reason to shift all the content 30 pixels to the left for Opera. The only reasons I can think of are:
  • There was a bug in early versions of Opera which this worked around. Officialy, there wasn't; do you believe them? I do.
  • They wanted to make their website look broken in Opera

Re:Microsoft? (4, Interesting)

N3WBI3 (595976) | more than 10 years ago | (#9182683)

Well I cant say I sent one (I use mozilla) but the really odd part is if you fed the style sheet from IE to opera (or changed operara to answer IE) the page worked perfectly!

Is this proof? no.

Re:Microsoft? (1, Informative)

L3on (610722) | more than 10 years ago | (#9182645)

I believe there is a way to make opera be recognized as IE. I stopped using opera about 6 months ago when I found mozilla phoenix/firebird/firefox. Anyhow, I'm assuming this would solve that problem.

Re:Microsoft? (2, Informative)

Liselle (684663) | more than 10 years ago | (#9182699)

I believe there is a way to make opera be recognized as IE.
Yeah, there is. It's under File->Quick Preferences, Identify as blah. Has Opera, IE, and three flavors of Mozilla. Even two shortcuts: Ctrl-alt-I for IE and Ctrl-alt-O for Opera. Easier than falling out of bed, and less painful.

You'd be wrong (4, Interesting)

Chuck Chunder (21021) | more than 10 years ago | (#9182710)

Opera always has the word "Opera" in it UA string no matter what it identifies as.
The masquerading is only intended to allow Opera to work with sites that don't know about Opera (ie foolishly test for only IE or Netscape and throw an "unsupported" browser otherwise). It isn't intended to hide the fact it's Opera for sites that know about it.

Re:You'd be wrong (3, Informative)

nine-times (778537) | more than 10 years ago | (#9182788)

But wasn't part of the whole scandal that the MSN page rendered properly in Opera if Opera identified itself as IE?

No (4, Interesting)

Chuck Chunder (21021) | more than 10 years ago | (#9182900)

As the link clearly shows [] .
Using Operas "IE" identity (the ones with MSIE in them) Opera got sent Opera specific stylesheets.
When they changed Opera to Oprah they got the MS IE stylesheet. Thus the site was specifically looking for the word "Opera" in the UA string before sending the screwed up style sheet.

Re:Microsoft? (1)

ptaff (165113) | more than 10 years ago | (#9182660)

a different style sheet to any browser that specifically identified itself as Opera. The style sheet had less content, and broke the layout of the page

I guess they wanted to know how it feels to be forced into writing a different stylesheet like we all have to do to bypass the numerous layout bugs in MSIE. They didn't even do it right. Try with a clean W3-compliant source to begin with, next time, boys!

Re:Microsoft? (3, Insightful)

dave420 (699308) | more than 10 years ago | (#9182768)

It could have been an honest mistake, as anyone who works with CSS and various browsers on a daily basis would tell you. It's certainly not uncommon for different CSS files to be sent to different browsers, and it's not uncommon for certain style sheets to break their intended browsers.

I understand why people jump at microsoft every chance they get, but to pull accusations out of thin air is pretty mad :)

Re:Microsoft? (4, Interesting)

Liselle (684663) | more than 10 years ago | (#9182832)

It could have been an honest mistake. They say never to attribute to malice what can be adequately explained by stupidity, of course. But some of us remember a few years ago when MSN blocked all non-IE browsers [] from accessing their site, and even went so far as to redirect people to a page telling them to download their goat-kissing IE browser so it would render properly.

In this case, I'm calling malice. :P

Re:Microsoft? (2)

Ilgaz (86384) | more than 10 years ago | (#9182836)

If you read the article, Opera itself PROVED its indeed targeting Opera only via using open source wget.

Ever wonder how MS got that big? Start to wonder...

Re:Microsoft? (5, Informative)

RedSteve (690399) | more than 10 years ago | (#9182941)

Read the article (or at least the google cached article), and you will see that Opera's research showed that MSN was feeding opera a debilitated style sheet that had list items falling off the left edge of the screen. The code in question is

ul {
margin: -2px 0px 0px -30px;

The research further showed that if you fed this same sheet to MSIE, it behaved exactly the same way -- that is, it fell off the left side of the page. Further, anyone who has ever done anything with style sheets would never feed that -30px declaration and expect anything productive to be done with it. That MSN fed it to someone else's browser but not theirs is suspicious at least.

Re:Microsoft? (1)

StormyMonday (163372) | more than 10 years ago | (#9182950)

Uhh, dude? The pros test their code before it goes live.

Probability of this being an accident is zilch.

Re:Microsoft? Bork! (1)

Sidlon (103096) | more than 10 years ago | (#9182890)

It should be noted, that Opera's initial response to MS's clear disregard for web standards was perhaps the funniest move ever by a tech company.

Just ask the Swedish Chef [] ...

Re:Microsoft? Bork! (3, Interesting)

JediTrainer (314273) | more than 10 years ago | (#9182939)

Hehe. I had the pleasure of being the author of the JavaScript code they used to do that.

They contacted me a few days before asking permission to use it, but I had no idea what they had been planning. Imagine my surprise! :)

Re:Microsoft? (1)

LO0G (606364) | more than 10 years ago | (#9182908)

Last I had heard, MSN was serving a different style sheet to attempt to work around bugs in Opera 6 (at least that was the conclusion the last time that this came up on /.).

People tried looking at the offending pages with Opera6 and they looked fine, but with Opera 7 they looked like crap.

The guess was that the Opera guys fixed the bugs in Opera 7, and all of a sudden the "bug fixes" became obvious.

It wasn't malicious, it was an honest attempt to make MSN look less than crappy with Opera 6.

The only thing the MSN guys did wrong was not testing with Opera 7 before it was released.

Re:Microsoft? (1, Interesting)

SvendTofte (686053) | more than 10 years ago | (#9182931)

Opera's reasoning for believing that MS deliberatly sent a *mangled* stylesheet to the *new* (v. 7 at the time) Opera browser is quite simply stunning.

Of course, since Håkon isn't exactly MS pro, it comes as no great surprise either.

Reading Howcome's page, there is one perfectly believeble view on the whole affair, that Howcome deliberatly leaves out, in order to make MSN look bad. How very fitting for him.

The simple point that Howcome forgets to leave out, is that, while Opera 7 (note the seven), does get "stupid" content (let's say it was designed for retarded browsers), the key point is, that Opera 6 gets the FULL content (I tested this, when this story first came out)! Thus, it's clear, that it's merely a really badly coded browser sniffer on MSN's part. Nothing to do with "evil intentions". Just shitty code, that forgets about future versions of browsers.

I wrote howcome on the issue. His reply? I'm paraphrasing, but basicly, "it was not important"...

(Note that I am an Opera user too, but this extreme fanboyism I see from some Opera users is scary. Crying murder, because you get served a special page is just weird. Especially When there's no such thing)

Re:Microsoft? (3, Insightful)

somethinghollow (530478) | more than 10 years ago | (#9182938)

I've been debating this issue in my head for a long time. I even had a discussion with some tech journalist somewhere about it. But, basically, I don't see anything wrong with Microsoft blocking out whatever browser it choses. Here is my reasoning (at risk of someone telling me how my reasoning sucks by totally misconstruing it):

Lets pretend I run a club. While my club might be a really great, there are other clubs in the city, and they are really great, also.

I'm a bit of an elitest, so I only want people to come in that dress a certain way. So, I get my bouncers to stand outside and only let in the really attractive women in really nice cloths and guys that I think they might want hanging around them.

Well, it turns out that may be a good portion of the people that show up at my club, but I am still turning people away. These people go to other clubs since they can't get in mine.

Now, lets pretend that the pretty people don't spend as much money once they get past the door (some don't even get past the lobby), and the not-pretty people spend a good deal of money. My profits decline rapidly. I end up losing money in the end, but since I'm rich, I keep the place open. Other clubs are racking up dough.

Since I got tired of running my analogy about 1/2 way through, the quality of the analogy declined, but I'm sure everyone gets the point. If I am Bill Gates, and clubs are Internet Portals, and my club is, and other clubs are other Internet Portals, and the bouncers are User Agent Detecting Scripts the point comes to light.

It's bad business to lock out people; but it is their business, and, assuming they aren't breaking any anti-discriminatory laws, they should be able to run it however they want. Sure you have a right to get pissed at them. But you also have a right to go somewhere else and tell everyone how shitty my bouncers are and how this other club does as good of a job anyway and has a better DJ. Make flyers and print stickers. Really stick it to me. You might even be able to convince some of the pretty people to start coming to the other club. You may even want to open your own club.

I'll admit that I'm ignoring that they have a monopoly and give out their browser home page set to If that is your complaint, don't bother replying. Otherwise, this is how I see it: A poor business decision.

Re:Microsoft? (5, Insightful)

curator_thew (778098) | more than 10 years ago | (#9183123)

Nice attempt at reasoning, but _arbitrary_ restrictions relating to sale/use of your product are viewed as discriminatory. I say _arbitrary_ because you can discriminate on objective reasons, even if they are "my nightclub is about stylish people, so we only let in those well dressed and with good attitude".

Secondly, it's more severe when the discrimination relates to a competitive product, and even more so when you are a dominant company. When you're building a large content service on the one hand, and owning a viewing technology on the other hand, and in both cases you have a dominant market share: then arbitrary restraints on competitors are pretty serious issues that regulators will tackle.

I note also that recent Microsoft has been doing a _lot_ of out of court settlements, it seems as though they want to pay off problems. Equally, the large anti-trust rulings mean that Microsoft is skating on thin-ice and has the scrutiny of the regulators who would use such activities as future evidence in antitrust actions.

Better to reach a settlement which involves a confidentiality clause in which the supposed activities won't in the future be disclosed or used in any regulatory action.

Wise commercial move Microsoft!

Re:Microsoft? (1)

mks113 (208282) | more than 10 years ago | (#9182959)

$quote =~ s/For those who didn't RTFA/For those who couldn't RTFA/

Thanks slashdot.

Re:Microsoft Borked (1)

SkjeggApe (649721) | more than 10 years ago | (#9182963)

One of the funniest things about this whole issue was when Opera released a version of their browser that "translated" the MSN page into "Sveedish Chef" (bork, bork), just to show that two could play the "alternate versions of content" game.

Here's their press release about it: []

Re:Microsoft? (1)

levik (52444) | more than 10 years ago | (#9183148)

Actually after reading the article again, I realized that there was no ill intention against Opera per se on MSN's part.

If you look at the names of their css files, it becomes clear that they categorize browsers as IE for windows (presumably there is also a mac version), Netscape 6/7/Mozilla, and everything else.

The "everything else" stylesheet was arguably broken, but it was by no means targeted at Opera alone. In the article, the Opera people "prove" that it is by changing their UA string from containging Opera to Oprah. However, this proves nothing.

Assuming you are implementing a browser detection script based on the UA string, the way you used to find a Netscape browser is by looking for strings that contain "Mozilla" but do not contain "MSIE". This is because Internet Explorer has "Mozilla" in it's UA string.

The same is true of detecting explorer today. Most browsers today have "MSIE" somwhere in their UA string. Opera has not 1 but 2 instances of "MSIE" - it pretends to be explorer 5.5 and 6 simultaneously! Assuming Microsoft said we want to send the IE6 stylesheet only to Explorer, but not browsers PRETENDING to be explorer, they would have had to look for "MSIE" and specifically exclude other browsers known to pretend to be IE6. Opera is one of them, but there may be more.

Their proof is meaningless specifically because there is no "Oprah" browser - this means that any detection mechanism that they encountered treated "Oprah" UA as IE6. I cannot think of any other MSIE-pretenders off the top of my head, but if there are known ones out there, I am sure MSN would have sent these browsers the "generic" stylesheet as well.

Obligatory google cache (5, Informative)

Randar the Lava Liza (562063) | more than 10 years ago | (#9182571)

Why is it the most interesting link is always /.'d first? Ah well, here's the "something to do with this" link cache [] .

Re:Obligatory google cache (1)

Ubi_NL (313657) | more than 10 years ago | (#9182841)

And, of course, the follow-up []

Bort! Bort! (1)

shrapnull (780217) | more than 10 years ago | (#9182861)

Opera is a class act. Their sense of humor in this whole thing kept it interesting. BORT! [] They're the perfect example that you don't have to be "free" to compete with Microsoft. Plus they make a better product.

Anything to do with browser technology... (2, Insightful)

manavendra (688020) | more than 10 years ago | (#9182572)

...and you can bet your last dollar you'd hear Microsoft has something to do with - and quite sadly it usually ends up on the wrong side - patent infrigements, monopolistic policies, etc..

Microsoft may be wrong but..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9183098)

Even if Microsoft did do it on purpose is that really wrong?

Microsoft is a for profit company, they are not a public anything. They owe nobody anything. What if Google and Opera had a falling out. It would be well within Google's right to write code to specifically lock out users of that product. That is just how business works. If I run a garage I can blatantly refuse to work on your car if you drive a Ford because I do not like the company. You can do absolutely nothing about it as all as business in the US is considered private and has no legal responsibility to the public in term of who it will serve (Other then handicap people)

I agree it was dick of Microsoft to do but why should they have to adhere to laws other company do not.

Bitch and moan all you want and in the end realize that this is about the same as Microsoft suing Epson for designing a printer that will only have full functionality on a Mac. It is stupid and chilidish and I an disguted that Opera has resorted to legal mans to raise funds. They are now as low as SCO in my book.

Hemmelig millionforlik? (-1, Offtopic)

zarniwhoop (698439) | more than 10 years ago | (#9182579)

Gid indeværende anlæg ud nemlig funktionsdygtig

Re:Hemmelig millionforlik? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9182622)


Re:Hemmelig millionforlik? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9182705)

bork! bork! bork!

Light on the content aren't we? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9182582)

Here's Opera's press page [] .

Nary a word about it.

But hey, don't let that stop you from flaming Microsoft.

Re:Light on the content aren't we? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9182651)

Looks like the Opera president just bought himself a whole handful of OPERA stock just before the news hit the wires here.

And they say SCO is gaming the stock market.

makes sense (3, Insightful)

sofar (317980) | more than 10 years ago | (#9182723)

Microsoft has a lot to lose and taking down opera (or being caught doing something that looks like that) would seriously hurt their current EU legal status (monopolizing a competitor on the browser market). I'm sure microsoft will have settled this on very strict terms with Opera.

Opera however can use the funds to publicise itself FAIR wihtout slandering M$. That would be the wiser choice.

Re:makes sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9182739)

If it's a legal case, regardless of whether they settled out of court, the names of all parties must be open for review.

Maybe open courts isn't how the system works in Norway?

Way too funny (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9182607)

Am I the only who has that German article come up completely out of wack in Mozzila?

Re:Way too funny (0)

graaah (739607) | more than 10 years ago | (#9182687)

german? :-|

Re:Way too funny (1)

zeroclip (700917) | more than 10 years ago | (#9182869)

It's Not german! and it works just fine in FireFox! :)

$12 million? (1)

Swamii (594522) | more than 10 years ago | (#9182612)

$12.5 million for rendering a page poorly? Come on guys that's stretching it a bit.

Slashdotted - pay up (5, Funny)

GatorMan (70959) | more than 10 years ago | (#9182616)

In related news, OSDN/Slashdot to pay 'cost of loss' for the disrepectful way in which, after posting a link to Opera's site, the server melted in less than 8 comments.

Re:Slashdotted - pay up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9182686)

Indeed, I wouldn't expect something under to be slashdotted that fast... Maybe now with the extra money they can buy some servers as well...

Re:Slashdotted - pay up (1)

Lostie (772712) | more than 10 years ago | (#9182694)

It's a good thing that Opera make web browsers rather than web servers then ;)

More information is needed... (5, Insightful)

WordODD (706788) | more than 10 years ago | (#9182621)

I really enjoy the Opera interface, but I am a FireFox diehard as many other people here are, so I wonder why Opera? Why not FireFox, or one of the others, Mozilla, etc. etc.? I'm sure its Slashdotly correct to assume that MS and the MSN website issue are the reason for this money but perhaps its something much less sinister. Mod me down if you want but I think putting something like this on the front page is just spreading unnessecary FUD.

Re:More information is needed... (3, Interesting)

rborek (563153) | more than 10 years ago | (#9183001)

I use both Opera and Firefox. The one thing Opera has going for it is that it has a better caching system - going forwards and backwards. See Bug 38486 [] for information on this. Firefox (and Mozilla) are dog slow when going forwards or backwards, because it reloads the entire page and re-parses everything. Opera is instantaneous. Even IE is faster.

That said, I hate Opera's handling of history and typed-in links - it's slow, they show up in alphabetical order (if you type in part of a URL - otherwise I think it's random) and it's a FIFO system (so it's not based on last-visited or number of times visited or anything like that). Opera also seems to have more problems rendering content, and actually crashes more often than any of the Firefox nightlies.

Re:More information is needed... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9183106)

I've tried to use FireFox, but it doesn't seem to work well with anything connected with Microsoft. We use Outlook for mail at work. When I try to use FireFox to read my Outlook mail from home, the pages don't display correctly and a few key features don't work. An accident? I think not.

Re:More information is needed... (2, Flamebait)

hkmwbz (531650) | more than 10 years ago | (#9183133)

Why Opera? Small (both footprint and download), fast, works on lower-end systems, real Small Screen Rendering [] as seen on mobile devices, the M2 email client, which is rather unique, built in... No need to download countless extensions to mimic features that are already there when you install Opera. Integration between those features, instead of some random unrelated extensions doing their own thing and adding clutter to the UI. Then again, with Firefox you can do just about anything by installing extensions, and the interface is a lot cleaner by default. Why Opera? If Opera does what you need, then use Opera. If not, use something else.

"I'm sure its Slashdotly correct to assume that MS and the MSN website issue are the reason for this money but perhaps its something much less sinister."

Yeah, I'm sure any company would be willing to hand out several million dollars just to keep someone quiet and not go to court. And this company is one which is not a customer or partner of Opera, it's got nothing to do with patents or anything like that. So it is probably a competitor. But who has done bad things to Opera anyway? The Mozilla Project surely cannot pay this kind of money. AOL? The ones who took over Netscape when IE had already won the browser war anyway?

For chrissakes, this is Slashdot. Someone submits an interesting story about a newspaper speculating about Microsoft doing evil again. Big deal. It's not like Microsoft has a good reputation to uphold here on Slashdot anyway.

If it's something much less sinister, why would they be willing to pay this kind of money for it? And not only that, what much less sinister company could afford it?

So yeah, again, this is Slashdot. We like to bash MS. Why? Because, quite frankly, they deserve to be bashed. And they keep proving that again and again. It's an OSS site. It reports on bad things and rumors about Microsoft. It always has. If that bothers you, then perhaps Slashdot is not the site for you?

After all, there are plenty of pro-MS zombies out there running sites that spread FUD on behalf of MS. Why aren't you out there bashing Paul Thurrott's FUD against Apple? SCO's FUD against FOSS? The numerous journalists who are nothing but kiss-asses for Microsoft?

Slashdot is an OSS community site which happens to post about interesting stories and rumors affecting nerds and geeks everywhere. You may not like it, but then perhaps Thurrott's Win SuperSite is more down your alley...

Great... (1, Insightful)

Bishop, Martin (695163) | more than 10 years ago | (#9182653)

Now that they have a hefty some of money, maybe Opera should realise their browser would be a lot better if they just open source it.

Re:Great... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9182720)

GPL is all. Must drink cool-ade.
Resistance is futile.

Re:Great... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9182970)

maybe Opera should realise their browser would be a lot better if they just open source it.

Why? Please provide evidence. In the likely event that you have no evidence, please provide anecdotes. In the event that you have no anecdotes, please at least provide some sort of theory or argument to support your claim.

If you want an open source browser, use Mozilla or FireFox. If there are features in Opera which they lack, well, they're open source, so you can add them!

Is There.. (-1, Redundant)

StacyWebb (780561) | more than 10 years ago | (#9182656)

an english version of the Danish is horrible..I guess it's Danish...

Re:Is There.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9182709)

Actually it's probably Norwegian since Opera is an Norwegian company.

Re:Is There.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9182758)

Actually its in norwegian - which by the way looks a lot like danish, only horrible spelled...


Re:Is There.. (1)

Hansu (234247) | more than 10 years ago | (#9182814)

And since Opera Software is a Norwegian company, I doubt they'd make a press release only in danish :-)

It's Norwegian, here's the article. (3, Informative)

kunudo (773239) | more than 10 years ago | (#9183007)

Secret settlement

An american company has to pay the equivalent of one years profits to web-browser company Opera.

credit: JAN THORESEN@dagbladet

( Opera Software has gained a nice chunk of cash after settling a case in american courts. According to a notice to investors the company sent out today,
the company has agreed to pay Opera 89 million kroner ($1 = ~6.8 NOK)

The company is not a customer of Opera Software.

- We have presented a list of facts about a company, and we have reached an agreement with said company to handle this out of court. It is also a part of the settlement that we do not disclose the name of this company, says technical director at Opera, Håkon Wium Lie.

- Is this settlement over the WAP browser or the regular Web browser?

- This is not a matter of piracy or patents. We do not surrender any rights with this settlement, and we will of course concentrate on continuing to produce good products, says Lie.

Last years revenue for Opera was 78 million NOK, almost the size of this settlement.

- But we have bigger ambitions for next year, says Lie.

Has previously accused Microsoft is not aware of which company this settlement is with. However, it is known that Opera has accused Microsoft since 2001 of intentionally blocking users of opera from using their web services, including, by sending a special broken version to users accessing their websites using Opera.

On his private webpages, Lie details what happens when is accessed using Opera. Among other things, the CSS breaks the page, and so does weird use of HTML. When accessing the page with Opera, using a fake useragent, it looks normal. The "mistake" has been corrected after Opera pointed it out to microsoft.

Somewhat direct translation. Enjoy.

SCO (0, Troll)

randomErr (172078) | more than 10 years ago | (#9182689)

I think SCO was threating legal action and they smacked them down like the dogs they are. Just my opinion.

Re:SCO (1)

spektr (466069) | more than 10 years ago | (#9182735)

I don't think so. SCO only sues to generate news. We didn't read anything about SCO and Opera before, hence it wasn't SCO who paid.

Re:SCO (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9182922)

No need to reply to his post. He was just karma-whoring by throwing SCO into the discussion.

And in related news... (5, Informative)

Sheepdot (211478) | more than 10 years ago | (#9182719)

... slashdot pays a few million to an unknown company with apologies for driving their bandwidth to the ground.

Full text (sorry, no pictures):

Why doesn't MSN work with Opera?
[Update Feb 7: After this page had been referenced by Cnet, The Register and Slashdot, MSN changed their setup so that Opera7 no longer receives the distorted style sheet. Opera6, however, still does]

Microsoft and MSN have a history of trying to stop people from using the Opera browser. When trying to access using the Opera browser, there are two visible problems. First, for the user it looks like Opera has a serious flaw so that many lines are partially hidden. Second, the page shows less content than users of Microsoft's Internet Explorer (MSIE) see.

The purpose of this page is to document, in technical terms, what is going on. Did the Opera programmers make grave mistakes? Or is it something wrong on the MSN site? If so, is the Opera browser targeted specifically? (Executive summary: no, yes, yes)

To analyze the problem, the first step is to download the files as they are served to the browsers. When requesting a page, the browser sends along a "User-Agent" string which makes it possible for the server to identify which make and version the browser is. Here are the User-Agent strings used by the three browsers (when running on Windows XP) in this test:

Browser User-Agent string
Opera 7.0 Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; MSIE 5.5; Windows NT 5.1) Opera 7.0 [en]
MSIE 6.0 Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.1)
Netscape 7.01 Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US; rv:1.0.2) Gecko/20021120 Netscape/7.01

When downloading pages, browsers sometimes modify the content before saving the pages to disk. For comparison purposes it is therefore important to use another to fetch the files. In this test "wget" was used. The table below shows the files fetched by "wget" when told to identify as Opera7, MSIE and Netscape 7.01, respectively. The test was run around 2PM Oslo time on Feb 5, 2003.

Files Bytes Command used to fetch file
opera7.html 39436 wget --user-agent="Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; MSIE 5.5; Windows NT 5.1) Opera 7.0 [en]" --output-document opera7.html
msie6.html 37253 wget --user-agent="Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.1)" --output-document msie6.html
ns7.html 37379 wget --user-agent="Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US; rv:1.0.2) Gecko/20021120 Netscape/7.01" --output-document ns7.html

As can be seen in the table above, each browser is sent different HTML files. If you open the files in your browser of choice, you will see that that the file sent to Opera7 has less content in (although it is bigger) than the version sent to the Microsoft and Netscape browsers.

To understand why there are differences, we need to peek inside the HTML files. This part of the analysis is quite time-consuming, but by now we have some experience. It turns out that MSN sends different style sheets to the different browsers. This can be seen in the first LINK element of each of the three files. The style sheets are:

Browser File Bytesize Command used to fetch file
Opera 7.0 site.css 521 wget --user-agent="Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; MSIE 5.5; Windows NT 5.1) Opera 7.0 [en]" --output-document site.css
MSIE 6.0 site-win-ie6.css 2036 wget --user-agent="Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.1)" --output-document site-win-ie6.css
Netscape 7.01 site-all-nav6.css 1926 wget --user-agent="Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US; rv:1.0.2) Gecko/20021120 Netscape/7.01" --output-document site-all-nav6.css

As can be seen in the table above, Opera7 receives a style sheet which is very different from the Microsoft and Netscape browsers. Looking inside the style sheet sent to Opera7 we find this fragment:

ul {
margin: -2px 0px 0px -30px;
The culprit is in the "-30px" value set on the margin property. This value instructs Opera7 to move list elements 30 pixels to the left of its parent. That is, Opera7 is explicitly instructed to move content off the side of its container thus creating the impression that there is something wrong with Opera7.

Is this just an accident or is Opera specifically targeted by MSN?
To test this, the User-Agent filed was changed slightly -- from "Opera" to "Oprah". Since there is no "Oprah" browser on the market, one assumes that MSN has not created special versions for it. Here is what the "Oprah" browser got back:

Files Bytesize Command
oprah7.html 37263 wget --user-agent="Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; MSIE 5.5; Windows NT 5.1) Oprah 7.0 [en]" --output-document oprah7.html

Looking into this 37k file, we find a reference to the same style sheet as MSIE6 receives. Just to make sure the server does not modify this style sheet before sending it to the browsers, we fetch the style sheet with the "Oprah" browser:

Browser File Bytesize Command used to fetch file
Oprah oprah-site.css 2036 wget --user-agent="Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; MSIE 5.5; Windows NT 5.1) Oprah 7.0 [en]" --output-document oprah-site.css

The resulting file is identical to the one MSIE6 receives. Therefore, MSN looks for "Opera" in the User-Agent string and purposely sends Opera7 a style sheet which distort pages.

Shouldn't Opera learn to deal with imperfect pages?
Very few of the pages on the web follow W3C's specifications. The Opera engineers spend a lot of time making sure the browser can handle pages that are not written according to the standards. However, Opera7 handles the HTML pages sent to it similar to other browser, including Microsoft's own MSIE. That is, when you feed the page meant for Opera7 to MSIE6 it shows the same distortions as Opera7. Here is a screenshot:

[Screenshot stripped]

Click on the image to see the full size. Notice that lines are cut and that large white areas make the page look dull.

Isn't this just a problem with the newly released Opera7?
You mean, perhaps MSN had to write special versions of the page for the older Opera6? No. Opera6 handles the pages sent to MSIE6 just fine. Here is a screenshot:

[Screenshot stripped]

Thus, there is no technical reason for MSN's behavior.

Did MSN do this to compensate for a bug in a previous version of Opera?
No, there is no such bug in previous versions of Opera.

Do you really expect MSN to make special versions for Opera?
We encourage and expect major sites to test their pages with many different browsers, including Opera. If a page looks distorted in some browsers, there is probably something wrong with the page. It is possible to write pages that work in all popular browsers.

In the case of MSN, however, there is no need to create a special version for Opera. The HTML page which is sent to MSIE6 works fine in Opera7:

howcome Feb 5, 2003 (updated Feb 7, Feb 11, and Feb 20, 2003)

more links (1)

grusapa (756151) | more than 10 years ago | (#9182724) rtikkel&id=97D7699C-E40D-042A-58AA70FC9F31DE52 they are in norway.. but it whith ms.. who else can it be??

Simple trick to kill Opera (0, Funny)

vijaya_chandra (618284) | more than 10 years ago | (#9182729)

MS might not be able to kill opera but OSDN get


Just get /.ed every alternate day
they'd end up paying their yearly profits for the monthly internet bill

Re:Simple trick to kill Opera (1)

vijaya_chandra (618284) | more than 10 years ago | (#9182754)

:s/OSDN get/OSDN can

Dont Forget! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9182789)

The $3,000 per hour in legal fees! Once again Bill gets Micro$hafted!

Secret User Agent Man (3, Informative)

falsemover (190073) | more than 10 years ago | (#9182797)

This isn't new. Morally nebulous web site owners around the world configure their sites to check the user agent and if they detect a search engine like Google, they send a page that will 'spamdex' the Google search results; a page that with keyword laden or otherwise garbage to the user but optimized for search. The temptation to corrupt the fair process of serving the same info to everyone is irrisistable, especially when there is money to be made from a well ranked mortgage/gambling/casino/hi risk loan/no credit card refused type site. Hypocritically, this appears to work in reverse for vendors like Microsoft. Although they don't like users spamdexing their search engines based on user agent discrimination; they are more than happy to serve the same flavor of evil to help sqash a competitor in their marketplace.

Translated Text from (5, Informative)

hyfe (641811) | more than 10 years ago | (#9182820)

Translating properly is hard.. but I'll give it a try just for the heck of it :)

Headline: Secret Million-settlement

Picturetext: MSN: This is how the broken MSN looked like.

Ingress: An american company must pay one year of earnings(one year of opera's earning that is, the sentence was unclear in norwegian too) to Opera software. Why is a secret.

( Opera software has just reached a settlement in a legal dispute with an american company. According to a stockmarket note issued today, the compensation given to Opera was 89 millions.

The company was not one of Operas existing customers.

- We have presented a few fact against this company. We agreed to avoid taking this court. A part of the bargain is not telling which company this is, says technical manager Håkon Wium Lie in Opera software to

- Is this about the mobilephone reader or the pc-version?

- This issue is not a pirating or patent issue. In the settlement we do not give away any rights concering our products, and we shall continue making good products, says Lie.

It was after a substantial amound of documentation was sent over to the american company that the settlement came to be. As a consequence, this will not come before the court.

Last year Opera made 78 million kroners (about 10 million dollars). This settlement therefor equals one year of revenues.

- However, this year our ambitions are far greater, claims Lie.

Accusing Microsoft doesn't know which company entered the settlement with Opera. It is however formerly known that since 2001 Microsoft have been blocking out Opera customers on purpose from their net pagers.

On his private webpages Wium Lie have in detalj explained what happens when a user enters the netpage with Opera.

He has documented that MSN sends a seperate version of their pages that looks worse on Opera and Netscape. On these pages, the page looks broken and weird. Among other things, part of the content is being placed outside the margin. MSN fixed the error after being by Opera, however older version still have trouble.

Read also: 'ditch Internet Explorer'

Re:Translated Text from (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9183045)

In the settlement we do not give away any rights concering our products, and we shall continue making good products, says Lie.

Anyone else have trouble trusting that guy?

Quick and dirty translation of the article (4, Informative)

venomix (87217) | more than 10 years ago | (#9182859)

Here's a quick translation of the norwiegan article. I'm Swedish so nor my english or my norwiegan is perfect, but you should get the picture.

Secret millon-dollar settlement

An american company will pay about a years revnue to Opera Software. The reason is secret.

Opera software has recieved a sum of money after entering a settlement with an american company. According to a press release that Opera send out today, the settlement has given the company a compensation of 89 million norwiegian kroner (NOK).

The company is not one of operas existing customers.

- We have laid forth some facts against a company. We have agreed not to take this to court. It's also a part of the settlement that we
don't tell which the involved company is, says the technical director Håkon Wium Lie of Opera software to

- Is this about the cellphone browser or the
pc browser?

- It's not about piracy or patents. We don't give
up any rights in the settlement and we will
continue to deliver good products, Lie says.

It was efter sending a large amount of documents to the american company that the settlement was reached. Thereby this issue won't go to court.

Last year Opera made of profit of 78 million NOK. The settlement thereby brings in a years profit to Opera.

- Although this year we have widely larger ambitions, says Lie.
The rest is just about the old msn/opera issue.

Link from The Register (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9182887)

Contains no more info, but in english so Americans can read it too.. l/ []

Re:Link from The Register (1)

ydrol (626558) | more than 10 years ago | (#9182961)

Contains no more info, but in english so Americans can read it too.. l/

And other English reading people (After all it is

Note Capitals - despite best efforts :)


Block out MSIE (3, Interesting)

ValourX (677178) | more than 10 years ago | (#9183065)

To retailiate, here's some PHP code to block or redirect MSIE users, if you're interested:
if ($ie!="true") {
if (strpos($HTTP_USER_AGENT,$agent) == true) {
header("Location: http://" . $_SERVER['HTTP_HOST']. dirname($_SERVER['PHP_SELF']). "/" ."msie.php");
To implement:

1. Place this at the top of your web pages and make sure they all have the .PHP extention.

2. Create a file called msie.php and provide links to and and explain why they are seeing this page.

3. Pass the ?msie=true setting to all of your internal links so that the code is bypassed for MSIE users.

4. Use an if statement to direct MSIE users to a different style sheet if you wish to give them a watered-down version of your site.

An example of a site that blocks MSIE [] .

Have fun.


Another interesting article (5, Informative)

The Wannabe King (745989) | more than 10 years ago | (#9183139)

This aritcle [] is from a source that is far more reliable than Dagbladet, which is a tabloid newspaper of the worst sort. It's in Norwegian and says much the same as the Dagbladet article, but adds some paragraphs at the end (in bold) that are quite interesting. Translation follows:

[ is interviewing Håkon Wium Lie from Opera] reverses the question and asks whether Opera and Microsoft have had any contact on the coding of MSN. This ordinary question should give Lie no reason to be silent, but he refuses to answer.

He only says cryptically: "Microsoft has fixed a lot, but there are still some versions of Opera that won't work".

When asks "Can we expect that this is solved in the near future?", Lie says that he "unfortunately cannot comment on this."

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