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Opera CEO Jon von Tetzchner Answers Your Questions

Roblimo posted more than 8 years ago | from the yes-we-spelled-his-name-right dept.

The Internet 207

Back in 2005 (last week) we sent Opera Software CEO Jon von Tetzchner twelve of your questions. This year (this week), we have his answers. Enjoy!

1) Re:Competing vs Free Open Source Product
by CSMastermind (847625)

Some have suggested that Microsoft should buy the Opera browser. How do you feel about this? If they did, would you plan to continue with work on the browser? Would you ever work for Microsoft?

Jon von Tetzchner:

We have been competing with Microsoft for a long time and I have not felt that they have always fought fairly. I would be disappointed if we were to end up in their hands and I find that very unlikely. I believe a lot of people at Opera would find them selves other work and that would include me.

2) What can we look forward to?
by robyannetta (820243)

I've been pimping Firefox since version 0.7 but have recently moved to Opera because Firefox doesn't natively support some things that Opera does:

local.google.com Native user agent switching
Opera 9's upcoming Acid2 compatibilty
Eye candy and general coolness factors
Can you give us a taste of new, unannounced features we'll see in future versions?

Jon von Tetzchner:

Thanks for using Opera. You have moved from one good browser to another. :)

There is a lot of new things coming in Merlin. We continue focusing on making Opera even smaller and faster, while adding a lot of useful, new features. Some of these features are by request from our user community, so feel free to add your own requests.

A lot of the focus is on improving what we have got. Our users want us to do this and we want to do this. This means that we will continue to focus on making Opera work faster and better with all the sites out there. We will continue to innovate new features that makes your browsing more pleasant. We aim to give you more control over your browsing. The idea is that you should feel the browser has been made for you. This is one of the reasons why we have so many different ways to do the same thing, as people are different and have different ways of working.

We will also work on improving the other parts of the program, such as the mail client, IRC client, RSS, News (nntp), etc. Each of these parts should follow the rule of being small, fast and user friendly.

3) Market growth?
by sheridan3003 (165213)

Do you find that the majority of Opera users are on the IT side of things, and if so how do you plan to get more users who are the "typical user", or only use their computer at work for their assigned tasks? Since IE is embedded when they get their new machine out of the box, how are you introducing Opera to users that probably have a limited understanding that they can have a different browser, or even more than one browser on their machine?

Jon von Tetzchner:

Our goal is to increase our user base significantly. Our user base in general has a higher degree of people which use the Internet extensively. Most of them have tried every other browser before choosing Opera. We consider it very important to focus on keeping our users happy and build from there. There is nothing better than a happy user and we will do what we can to innovate and push the limits to what you can expect in a browser. At the same time we will also try to remove any barriers for new users and make it easy for them to migrate to Opera.

In addition to this we will work on our distribution and marketing, of course, but nothing really beats a happy user that tells his friends and family.

4) Would you sell to Microsoft?
by lilmouse (310335)

Recently someone suggested that MS should simply buy Opera as a web browser for Vista. What do you think of that idea? Would you sell?

Jon von Tetzchner:

I am not interested in selling out to Microsoft. However, if Microsoft is interested in including Opera with Windows, we would be happy to provide them with it. I do believe that would be positive for the web in general.

5) Feature thieves
by tehshen (794722)

Opera has been an innovative browser for some time; it was one of the first to offer popup blocking, tabs (or MDI of some description), sessions, mouse gestures, and so on. However, since then, other browsers have implemented them as well; Firefox has extensions offering mouse gestures and sessions, and popup blocking and tabs are now commonplace. After offering so many features, would you prefer browsers such as Firefox and IE to come up with their own ideas instead of taking them from other browsers, or prefer the sharing of ideas so the web is better off overall?

Jon von Tetzchner:

Although our competitors have opened their eyes to some of our features, many are still only to be found in Opera and we aim to continue adding new ones. I am happy that we are considered the most innovate browser company and that is something we will be working hard to maintain. It is quite flattering that our features are being copied like that and I would prefer us to be in the position of being copied and not the other way around.

6) Google as a search partner?
by furnk (935156)

Can you offer more information on the terms of the recently announced agreement with Google?

What exactly is a "major presence"? Was Google just the obvious choice because of its scope, or is there some flirting going on in the hopes of a more lasting relationship?

Jon von Tetzchner:

Google provides what many people consider to be the best search engine. Our goal is to provide our users with the best solutions available, so Google was a natural choice, although there are other good choices out there.

The latest announcement about our agreement with Google with regards to Opera Mobile and Opera Mini states: "Opera will make Google Search a major part of the browser`s home screen." That means just that. Google search will be easy to find.

Google is an important partner of Opera and we hope to continue our cooperation into the future. Do not read anything more into that. It just means that we will always strive to get good partners for us to provide a strong product and thus increase our market share.

7) One critical thing missing from Opera...
by JaguarSavages (558510)

Better extensions/plugins. Firefox has earned great acclaim for its dynamic extension support. Extensions such as Fasterfox, Adblock, Web Developer, and many others are the sole reason people use Firefox over Opera (or any other browser). I know Opera is working to help unify the Netscape plugin API, but the upcoming version 9 doesn't appear to have anything that can match Firefox's extension capabilities. When will we see Opera support plugin/extensions as powerful as Firefox's?

Jon von Tetzchner:

Opera does have quite extensive extension capabilities today. User Javascipt is one such example. This is something we first used when we made the Bork version of Opera. We have later added this as a user feature and there are already more than 100 scripts available from the developer community. You can find a lot on userjs.org. Many of these script are very powerful.

Our concern with regards to extensions has been security and general usability. We have seen the number of security issues Microsoft has struggled with and many of them have been related to the APIs between the different applications. However, we do see a demand and we do tend to listen to demands from our users.

8) Will Opera ever go Open Source?
by PenguinBoyDave (806137)

I like Opera...in fact, I have stopped using Firefox in favor of Opera for reasons mentioned in someone elses question. Would you ever consider going back to charging for the browser, yet making it Open Source, and offering support for the paid version?

Jon von Tetzchner:

Thanks for choosing Opera. We apprieciate it. :)

We aim to keep Opera free. Our goal is to increase our market share and we have now taken a big step forward by making Opera free without a banner. We have already seen a good increase in downloads and we are adding significant resources to work on Opera in general and on the desktop.

I do not believe that making Opera open source would benefit us all that much. I do not think it has benefitted Netscape much either. I believe that we should work as closely with the community as possible and find ways to enable the community to engage and influence what we do to an even greater extent. I do not think that going open source would make us more efficient.

9) Web developers and Opera "testing"
by bushboy (112290)

I've worked in a few high profile companies in the UK who are all very serious about adhering to web standards, checking all designs in internet explorer, firefox and safari, but I've yet to encounter a company who will ensure that Opera renders page layouts correctly.

What level of market share would you say is required by Opera for web developers to ensure their layouts render correctly ?

Jon von Tetzchner:

IMHO, it is best for web developers to focus on following web standards. This still leaves them with having to code for IE, but most of the time, this will lead to the fastest and best result. I also think that is absolutely necessary as the web evolves from being desktop only to being cross-platform and cross-device.

I believe that web developers should strive to test with as many browsers as possible and that Opera should be part of that as one of the major browsers in the market. Very many sites are already testing with Opera as we do have a significant market share, with between 10 and 15 million active desktop users and more than 20 million mobile deployments so far.

10) Future of free version?
by simetra (155655)

Hi
I love Opera and bought it... several years ago, then a recent upgrade. THEN, you made it free!!!

So, that makes me think, maybe you made the PC version free, and are going to concentrate on the mobile versions, which you probably really make money on. Does this mean that the free PC version will stagnate? Or will future versions be built, with fun new features?

Also... how about a new logo? Or maybe a cross-marketing deal with Oprah?

Jon von Tetzchner:

We are increasing our efforts on the desktop as well as on mobile and other markets. We have big plans for our desktop version, so do not worry, you can expect even more in the future as we are adding programmers to work on the desktop as well as in the core, which benefits all versions of Opera.

No new logo is planned. Our feeling is that the current logo works well and it has been built over years. It is already being used by partners all across the world in promoting the fact that Opera comes with their products.

We have not plans for a cross-marketing deal with Oprah, but maybe it makes sense? :)

11) Bug tracking, developer tools and HTML/CSS/JS
by smurfsurf (892933)

1. Opera Bug Tracking System My experience with Opera's bug tracking system are rather frustrating. I can not check if some bug is already known (describing a bug and creating a test case is time consuming). Also, I reported some things and never ever got any feedback besides an automatic email. I do not know if Opera considers it a bug, if it is not a bug but an error on my side, if someone works on it, if it was fixed, simply nothing comes back. The Opera BTS is a black hole, and since some time now, I do not feel like making the effort to report bugs.

Do you plan to open up the BTS or at least allow the submitter to view the ticket? Or enhance the feedback?

Jon von Tetzchner:

Your feedback is well received. The BTS works very well for internal use, but I can understand that it is not optimal for those that would like to do more than just report an issue. We will discuss this internally and see what we can do. We still want it to be possible for people to register bugs without having to have an account in our system.

2. Developer Tools

How about a DOM Inspector (and a Javascript Debugger)? Firefox's DOM Inspector and XMLHttpRequest Monitor are dearly missing in Opera.

There are some excellent third party tools available (please see nontroppo.org/wiki/WebDevToolbar for a good starting point). We are also actively working on extending built-in solutions and there are some improvements with regards to that in Merlin as well. This is something we take very seriously as more and more people are using Opera to build applications.

3. HTML/CSS/JS

Any word on opacity support? On a Richtext Editing component?

Both are part of Merlin.

12) Norwegian babes
by HonkyLips (654494)

From previous Opera related posts on Slashdot, it has come to my attention that you have some real babes working for you in Norway. Are any of them single and if so, would they be interested in dating a guy who reads slashdot? BTW I use Safari but I can be persuaded to switch...

Jon von Tetzchner:

I must admit to not having total control over who of our employees are currently single and who are not, but I am sure some of our employees are single. However, who they date is clearly up to them.

I believe most people working at Opera read Slashdot either frequently or now and then. We are a very technical bunch.

Happy New Year to everybody at Slashdot! May the new year be very exciting and positive and peaceful!

-- Regards/Vennlig hilsen/Kær kvedja...
Jon S. von Tetzchner
Opera Software

Opera's Vision: www.opera.com/company/vision/

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Tell me (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14385545)

why I care.

Re:Tell me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14385568)

It's Norway, give them some sympathy

Re:Tell me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14386244)

You care because you want to be Jon's love slave.

Serious? Joking? (4, Funny)

JonN (895435) | more than 8 years ago | (#14385567)

"12) Norwegian babes
by HonkyLips (654494)

From previous Opera related posts on Slashdot, it has come to my attention that you have some real babes working for you in Norway. Are any of them single and if so, would they be interested in dating a guy who reads slashdot? BTW I use Safari but I can be persuaded to switch...

Jon von Tetzchner:

I must admit to not having total control over who of our employees are currently single and who are not, but I am sure some of our employees are single. However, who they date is clearly up to them. "

Wow...I'm still trying to figure out if they are both being serious...or if one side isn't holding up their end of the joke

Re:Serious? Joking? (2, Funny)

mudbogger (668451) | more than 8 years ago | (#14385646)

Maybe he really does have control over who they date and is trying to play it off like he doesn't.

Re:Serious? Joking? (2, Interesting)

chaals (842154) | more than 8 years ago | (#14386453)

/me checks contract...

Nope. Gotta do work, expected to turn up from time to time for friday evening drinks unless I don't want to, get invited to parties, but nothing about who I date. Although I am not sure I was the employee in mind when the question was asked... ;)

But hey, what kind of question is it anyway? We work hard here, and we enjoy ourselves. Nobody found the photo of Jon stripping off to go swimming at the staff party, or some of the other fun stuff we do. But we're not for sale. Not as a company if Microsoft or Google or someone waves their millions, not as individuals because someone is prepared to swap from Safari to another browser (<troll>that is better anyway - I can't believe you think we can be taken for granted like that! ;) </troll> )

Re:Serious? Joking? (3, Insightful)

tgd (2822) | more than 8 years ago | (#14385648)

I'm just wondering how that question got submitted to them, but my +5 question asking for Kari's phone number on the Mythbusters interview didn't.

*grumbles*

Re:Serious? Joking? (2, Funny)

Emrikol (21551) | more than 8 years ago | (#14385824)

Really! I was waiting on that myself also.

I guess I will have to make a trip to SF and stalk^H^H^H^Hask her myself.

*goes and gets the windowless van ready*

Re:Serious? Joking? (2, Insightful)

_xeno_ (155264) | more than 8 years ago | (#14385689)

Based on this [opera.com] , it would seem that Jon S. von Tetzchner does indeed have a sense of humor, so I'd guess that this was a strange attempt at some form of a joke. I think he's suggesting that they read Slashdot, so if any were actually interested, they could post here, and that's the joke?

But I could be wrong. I dunno. I really just wanted to post that link.

Re:Serious? Joking? (1)

MrHanky (141717) | more than 8 years ago | (#14385746)

I believe the lack of obviousness on his part is the joke.

Re:Serious? Joking? (1)

ZachPruckowski (918562) | more than 8 years ago | (#14385766)

Language issues perhaps? I mean, it seems like he speaks fine English, but having had a close friend from Germany and a current roommate from China, I can attest to the fact that jokes are the hardest things to translate (I speak minimal German, and no Chinese, they both speak very good English), because they are often rooted in idiom or plays on words. My German teacher said that you always lose something like 13% or so in even the best translations. This may be one of those cases.

Re:Serious? Joking? (1)

jgrahn (181062) | more than 8 years ago | (#14386233)

Language issues perhaps?

Don't think so. I interpret his answer as 70% playing along and 20% not wanting to exploit his coworkers' sexuality for PR purposes.

And there's always the 10% of any CEO who doesn't want his coders to have a life outside work at all ...

Re:Serious? Joking? (3, Insightful)

sstidman (323182) | more than 8 years ago | (#14385981)

You're right, and that's just one of the areas where he blew it. Opera would have been better served to keep their answers somewhat lighthearted instead of so stiff. He didn't really answer some of the questions well, I don't think. He says in a couple of places that they will be improving Opera in Merlin but he does not give any clues at all about what those improvements are. He had a great opportunity to list all the new features, but he didn't bother. His predictable answers seem like fluff written by a marketing stiff.

Re:Serious? Joking? (1)

Kelson (129150) | more than 8 years ago | (#14385985)

I think it's straight-forward dry wit, though it's always easier to pull off in person than in text.

Re:Serious? Joking? (3, Funny)

Simon Brooke (45012) | more than 8 years ago | (#14386542)

From previous Opera related posts on Slashdot, it has come to my attention that you have some real babes working for you in Norway. Are any of them single and if so, would they be interested in dating a guy who reads slashdot?

Last time I was over in Scandinavia (Sweden, actually, but... (much too long ago)) I met a very real babe who worked for Opera (and still does). Sadly, she's married. Even more sadly, happily. If you're reading, you know who you are... and I still wear the T shirt!

Re:Serious? Joking? (2, Insightful)

tacid (731505) | more than 8 years ago | (#14386862)

What's the matter with you /. guys? Can't understand humour without a ;) ending it? Just try using your imagination... Of course Jon von Tetzchner said this with a smile on his face...

However, it's a rather silly question, and not very funny, and I think Jon's rather dry but sarcastic reply fits it perfectly...

(and I am Norwegian, so I'm an expert on all Norwegians' sense of humour...) (if you didn't get the joke there, try inserting a ;) at the end of the line, before the closing parenthesis and compile it with your favourite plain text compiler)

Merlin (4, Informative)

TheJavaGuy (725547) | more than 8 years ago | (#14385577)

There is a lot of new things coming in Merlin. FYI, "Merlin" is the code name for Opera 9, the next major browser release.

Re:Merlin (2, Interesting)

ToasterofDOOM (878240) | more than 8 years ago | (#14385722)

I was really dissapointed as to how he responded to the requests for extensions. I recently switched to opera from firefox, but I really miss some of my extensions, namely foxytunes (best. extension. evar.) among others. It would totally be THE browser if it had a more powerful, open extensions API.

Re:Merlin (1)

Bogtha (906264) | more than 8 years ago | (#14386150)

It would totally be THE browser if it had a more powerful, open extensions API.

What's wrong with what they already have [opera.com] ? I don't see why something like Foxytunes wouldn't be possible. In fact, Plugger, which is listed on that page, seems very similar.

Re:Merlin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14386065)

Both merlins are sexy :)

"Not having total control" (4, Funny)

ettlz (639203) | more than 8 years ago | (#14385579)

I must admit to not having total control over who of our employees are currently single and who are not

Yeah, well just how far does your partial control extend?!

Re:"Not having total control" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14385740)

Yeah, well just how far does your partial control extend?!

About 7 inches.

Re:"Not having total control" (1)

njfuzzy (734116) | more than 8 years ago | (#14385742)

Presumably, he controls who he himself dates... well, to the degree that any of us here do.

Re:"Not having total control" (1)

tnk1 (899206) | more than 8 years ago | (#14385808)

He can order people to hand out their work numbers to people who inquire, but not their home numbers.

Re:"Not having total control" (4, Informative)

OblongPlatypus (233746) | more than 8 years ago | (#14386429)

FWIW, that's an obvious direct translation from a Norwegian expression meaning to not have complete knowledge. He's trying to say he doesn't know whether each and every one of his employees are single or not.

As language pedant and a Norwegian, I find parts of this interview painful reading...

Wait a minute!!! (5, Funny)

ptrangerv8 (644515) | more than 8 years ago | (#14385598)

How come it took him a year to reply to /. ? Aren't we good enough for him, or were all those 'hot Norwegian babes' distracting him?

Re:Wait a minute!!! (1, Funny)

Kelson (129150) | more than 8 years ago | (#14385616)

Yeah, these questions were asked in 2005!

Who Needs Opera... (1)

webword (82711) | more than 8 years ago | (#14385605)

...when the Google Browser [kottke.org] is on the way! ;-)

Re:Who Needs Opera... (1)

Kelson (129150) | more than 8 years ago | (#14385795)

What's really funny is that a few weeks ago, people were citing gbrowser.com as "evidence" of a Google takeover of Opera.

Just goes to show that wild speculation never disappears, it just changes in the details. Hmm, kind of like urban legends. There may be something to that...

Re:Who Needs Opera... (1)

DorkusMasterus (931246) | more than 8 years ago | (#14386056)

Not trying to flamebait, really, but anyone who uses a blog entry from almost a year and a half ago to make ANY kind of point, especially in terms of speculatory vaporware... well.. I don't understand it. Your point is lessened IMHO, instead of bolstered. Now, if you were trying to be funny, then, why support it with an out of date link? Honest, I'm not trying to rip on you, as much as the odd choices in your post.

Re:Who Needs Opera... (1)

webword (82711) | more than 8 years ago | (#14386175)

I just happen to like the references in that blog posting. I haven't seen many other good consolidated overviews of the Google Operating System. In any case, good points!

-1, Troll (-1, Troll)

Spazntwich (208070) | more than 8 years ago | (#14385607)

Did Opera buy out Slashdot?

In less than the past month, we've had 7 stories dedicated to Opera, and plenty more semi-referencing it. Why so much focus on an alternative browser with even less market penetration than Firefox and a smaller chance of long-term survival?

Re:-1, Troll (1)

taskforce (866056) | more than 8 years ago | (#14385643)

Well, if you actually read the content of the stories, you'll see it's becuase Opera continues to innovate despite its marketshare. Opera Mini is perhaps under reported for what it actually is.

Re:-1, Troll (2, Insightful)

JonN (895435) | more than 8 years ago | (#14385651)

Underneath IE and FF you have Opera, which true, doesn't hold that much of the market. However Opera is a potential big player, because mobile internet is becoming more popular (Just look on the headlines today) and Opera is so far one of the best suited browsers for portable hardware.

Re: Why Opera? (5, Informative)

lilmouse (310335) | more than 8 years ago | (#14385699)

"Why so much focus on an alternative browser with even less market penetration than Firefox..."

Maybe for the same reasons we have so much news about Firefox, even tho it's got much less market share then IE. Opera is one of the biggest browsers; they're a company who make money; and they've probably got a bigger market share on mobiles.

Besides, they're not MS :-) So yeah, expect news stories about them!

--LWM

ps - I was very tempted to mod you "overrated" without a Troll...

Re:-1, Troll (1)

toriver (11308) | more than 8 years ago | (#14386276)

In less than the past month, we've had 7 stories dedicated to Opera,

By your reasoning, Microsoft bought Slashdot years ago.

even less market penetration than Firefox and a smaller chance of long-term survival?

Can you run Firefox on a mobile phone? Thought so. And are you arware that Opera have been around for many years and have a healthy economy? What do you put into "long-term survival", then?

Do you also complain when car sites write about Ferraris instead of "market penetration studs" like Toyota or Volvo?

Question that was omitted (3, Funny)

glomph (2644) | more than 8 years ago | (#14385632)

"Tell us, Jon, all Slashdotters need to know: Is it really over when the Fat Lady sings?"

Re:Question that was omitted (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14386055)

Actually in operas it's all over when the fat lady stops signing.

Dupe in the Q&A (3, Insightful)

hal2814 (725639) | more than 8 years ago | (#14385642)

Can't even get through a Q&A without a dupe? Why is question 1 repeated in question 4? I realize they're not exactly the same but the information we get from 1 is the same as what we get from 4 and it should've been pretty obvious that would be the case.

And if that wasn't bad enough... (4, Funny)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 8 years ago | (#14385815)

Yeah, and there's another glaringly obvious flaw in the interview, too. Check it out: Question 4 and Question 1 are almost exactly the same! Why so many dupes?

Re:And if that wasn't bad enough... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14385971)

You've been hired as an editor. Turn up in the office at 10am tomorrow.

Sincerely,
CmdrTaco

Aylar (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14385658)

Google it. Glad you did.

Someone switched because of ACID2???? (4, Insightful)

b7j0c (884562) | more than 8 years ago | (#14385672)

This is just moronic. Its a compliance test.

Re:Someone switched because of ACID2???? (4, Informative)

Kelson (129150) | more than 8 years ago | (#14385951)

It's not even really a compliance test. It's a kick in the pants for browser developers to fill in a bunch of unused corners of the specs (in the hopes that they'll one day be usable).

Passing Acid2 doesn't mean you comply with CSS 2.1, HTML 4.01, or any other spec -- it just means you correctly implement the particular rules that Acid2 tests. It's theoretically possible for browser A to pass 90% of the spec and not pass Acid2, and browser B to pass 85% of the spec including Acid2.

So far Safari, Konqueror, and iCab have passed, and Opera is very close (Opera 9 preview 1 has something like one Acid2 bug left, and they may have fixed it in internal builds by now.) We'll probably see Firefox catching up in 2.0 or 3.0 (I can't remeber which is going to use Gecko 1.9).

There are may reasons to use Opera, but a preview release nearly passing Acid2 isn't one of them.

Re:Someone switched because of ACID2???? (2, Funny)

Threni (635302) | more than 8 years ago | (#14386884)

Yeah, he's dropping Firefox because it doesn't natively support something unimportant that Opera also doesn't support. Oh, and don't forget the all-important eye candy and general coolness.

Looks like the average IQ of both Firefox and Opera users just went up a notch.

Open Source Opera (0, Troll)

everphilski (877346) | more than 8 years ago | (#14385686)

I do not believe that making Opera open source would benefit us all that much. I do not think it has benefitted Netscape much either. I believe that we should work as closely with the community as possible and find ways to enable the community to engage and influence what we do to an even greater extent. I do not think that going open source would make us more efficient.

Wow. Sit back and enjoy a cold one while we watch the Open Source fanboys rip him a new one :)

Re:Open Source Opera (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14385948)

Wow. Sit back and enjoy a cold one

Necrophilia is just plain wrong, dude.

Re:Open Source Opera (3, Insightful)

pHatidic (163975) | more than 8 years ago | (#14385967)

I think Firefox has benefitted much more from its open source style community than from the actual source code being open. However, if the source code weren't open then the community wouldn't have been formed around it. Sort of an interesting paradox.

Re:Open Source Opera (1)

Kelson (129150) | more than 8 years ago | (#14386050)

I do not think it has benefitted Netscape much either.

Actually, he's right about that part, if you look at it from a corporate perspective. Mozilla wasn't able to save Netscape -- the company and brand name -- from Microsoft or from AOL. It was, however, able to spin off a new, successful project from the original Netscape browser.

It's kind of like how comparitively open hardware helped IBM's PC platform win the PC vs. Mac war, but IBM itself lost marketshare to competitors and eventually wrote off its PC manufacturing division.

Benefit to Netscape the Company vs the Browsers (5, Insightful)

Noksagt (69097) | more than 8 years ago | (#14386108)

I do not believe that making Opera open source would benefit us all that much. I do not think it has benefitted Netscape much either.
Wow. Sit back and enjoy a cold one while we watch the Open Source fanboys rip him a new one :)
I am quite a fan boy (plug: donate to F/OSS [northwestern.edu] projects).

But he is right: Mozilla/Firefox probably didn't benefit Netscape. The company.

They open sourced it in 1998. Months later, they were bought by AOL & left to stagnate as a company. Their self-named browser is still unpopular. Fortunantely the open source derivatives aren't.

Netscape-derived browsers would probably be dead were it not for open source. They might have continued to cling at the niche of a few corporate deployments (as it was free, fairly easy to remotely administer, and was not IE), but that's it. There would be fewere fans, fewer promotion, and fewer users. They would not have put out anything like Firefox, which required some minimal level of community.

So open source proved good for users. Possibly good for the internet. It wasn't necessarily good for AOL-Netscape.

Re:Benefit to Netscape the Company vs the Browsers (3, Insightful)

einhverfr (238914) | more than 8 years ago | (#14386749)


But he is right: Mozilla/Firefox probably didn't benefit Netscape. The company.


Who else thinks we wouldn't have a Netscape browser today offered by any company if it wasn't open sourced back in 1998.

What did in Netscape had nothing to do with FOSS. It had to do with Microsoft. This is all relatively well documented in the lawsuit USDoJ v. Microsoft (IANAL, but it is worth reading the findings of fact, etc. and the appellate ruling). By the time Netscape was opened up, it was way too late for the company to build any sort of buisiness around it--- they had a steep uphill battle against the most powerful company in the industry.

This being said, I think it is very likely that it has helped Netscape's successor-in-interest, AOL. So while I think the reply might be technically correct, it isn't really very encompassing.

As for Opera, I don't make judgements about whether their company would be better off open sourcing the browser. Certainly they will need to compete with FOSS versions whether they do or not, and FOSS is competitively a double-edged sword. I am sure that if they wanted to make that transition, they would start by reducing the price to free of their desktop version and build a healthy services business around the product. THen it could be open sourced to Opera's benefit. But they wouldn't say so due to shareholder concerns until they were ready.

Re:Benefit to Netscape the Company vs the Browsers (1)

hackstraw (262471) | more than 8 years ago | (#14386755)

Netscape-derived browsers would probably be dead were it not for open source

FWIW, there are no Netscape derived browsers anymore.

Mozilla was at first a stripped down Netscape, then rewritten. For more than enough info read http://ilias.ca/MozillaNetscapeRelationship.html [ilias.ca] or the specific quote:

"When the Mozilla project began, much of the feedback was that the code itself was too complicated to learn and contribute to. As a result, there was little in contributions from outside Netscape employees. It was decided that it would be best to change the layout engine, which constituted a total rewrite of the code. The new layout (Gecko) was cleaner and much easier to learn, thus contributions would increase. Netscape Communicator was laid to rest, and Mozilla.org had a completely separate product."

"Netscape" browsers were just old repackaged Mozilla browsers that somebody put together because some PHBs remembered when Netscape == browser.

Re:Open Source Opera (1)

Perky_Goth (594327) | more than 8 years ago | (#14386617)

could've been a troll, but it isn't.
i can see that it wouldn't benefit them if their business model is to sell the browser. which isn't actually true for desktop computers.

but free software fanatics couldn't care less, they have a great free browser (well, more than one, really) already and don't care about other browsers. they just want their PC to be actually theirs.

URL Autocomplete (3, Insightful)

31415926535897 (702314) | more than 8 years ago | (#14385691)

Some of these features are by request from our user community, so feel free to add your own requests.

One feature I got hooked on back in the day was auto-URL completion by using Ctrl. So you type in "google" into the address bar, hit Ctrl+Enter, and the url would automagically become http://www.google.com/ [google.com] . Firefox took this a step further and have made Shift+Ctrl+Enter .org, and Shift+Enter .net. Naturally, I habitually did this in Opera when I tried it out, and it would not auto-complete, it would fail and then try .com, and by the time it got around to getting the url right, I could just type it in by hand. I think it would be nice to at least be able to turn this feature on.

The real reason I moved back to Firefox after I tried Opera (and I gave it a good month) was because one day, Gmail just stopped working. On different days, both at work and at home, I could not log back into Gmail no matter what I did (short of reinstalling Opera, because I'm just too lazy to do that). This also happened to a coworker; he switched back too.

Re:URL Autocomplete (1)

SFalcon (809084) | more than 8 years ago | (#14385816)

I also miss the Ctrl-Enter shortcut from other browsers.

In regards to Gmail, I've found that setting Opera to clear the cache upon exit greatly decreases the amount of times it hands at the "loading..." page. I believe it has something to do with how Opera caches the scripts on gmail.com, and this workaround has made it almost never happen anymore.

Re:URL Autocomplete (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14386148)

My problem with gmail under Opera is that it no longer seems to do autocomplete when I'm typing an email address into the "To:" box like it used to. I'm guessing it's related to the scripting not caching something or other, but I have no idea...I miss that feature, though...

Re:URL Autocomplete (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14386821)

I have the same problem.

Re:URL Autocomplete (1)

lowrydr310 (830514) | more than 8 years ago | (#14385817)

The real reason I moved back to Firefox after I tried Opera (and I gave it a good month) was because one day, Gmail just stopped working. On different days, both at work and at home, I could not log back into Gmail no matter what I did (short of reinstalling Opera, because I'm just too lazy to do that). This also happened to a coworker; he switched back too.

Same here. I actually have Opera and Firefox installed on my machine. I *try* to use Opera since it sounds promising, but it always fails on Javascript. Gmail doesn't work correctly all the time. Just yesterday Yahoo! mail wasn't rendering properly - the buttons were overlapping the body text in my email, and none of the button functions worked either. The biggest reason I don't use Opera is because a website my wife needs to use for work won't render properly. Again, it's a javascript error; a js menubar with pulldowns doesn't display properly.

Firefox crashes on me a lot, especially when I have too many tabs open. 9 times out of 10, Firefox 'crashes' when I close it. Instead of closing normally, an error message occurs stating that there was a problem (not sure of the specific wording, but it doesn't close properly). It's normally not a big deal since I'm closing it anyway, but it's still not very tidy.

Re:URL Autocomplete (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14385859)

When using Opera, I don't understand why people type 'www.google.com' and then enter the search after that page loads.

To search for "foobar" using google, I just type this in the URL bar (works for both Firefox and Opera):

g foobar

This is something I configured in Firefox so I'm not sure if Opera does this by default or if it imported this from my Firefox settings.

Also, there's the 'google search' field next to the URL bar but then I'd have to remember another shortcut key.

Re:URL Autocomplete (1)

Kelson (129150) | more than 8 years ago | (#14386252)

I believe the feature ("g foobar") is a default in Opera.

Me, I just use the search box in both.

Re:URL Autocomplete (2, Informative)

Echnin (607099) | more than 8 years ago | (#14386363)

Default behavior. This is also configurable in Opera, but unsupported (google "opsed" for the easy way). Another neat thing about Opera is being able to set nicknames for bookmarks; I have "slash" for this site, "sa" for somethingawful, and several other nicknames. You can also do this with folders; "com" opens up all bookmarks in my webcomics folder. Check it out. The address bar is very useful. One nitpick I had with Firefox the last time I tried it was that opening a new tab didn't immediately register my keys; I'd press ctrl-t, enter the address, press enter, and end up at "shdot.org". Another reason for sticking with Opera for me is that the page zoom feature is so essential that I hate using a browser without it, at least when using it full-screen on a monitor with 1600x1200.

Re:URL Autocomplete (1)

baadger (764884) | more than 8 years ago | (#14386538)

It's default behaviour.

Re:URL Autocomplete (4, Interesting)

Kelson (129150) | more than 8 years ago | (#14386163)

I could not log back into Gmail no matter what I did

I used to have problems with logging into sites on Opera. There was a period of time when I had to log into my.opera.com using Firefox (oh, the irony!). It turns out that Opera's behind-the-scenes cookie management is not always intuitive.

I wrote up my findings [hyperborea.org] last summer, but the basic issue is with cookie permissions. "Treat as specified in Server Manager" seems to ignore any cookies that you haven't explicitly allowed in the Manage Cookies dialog, and some sites require you to accept third-party cookies. From what I can tell, there are situations in which site1.example.com sets a cookie for example.com (so that site2.example.com can read it), but the cookie is interpreted as a third-party cookie, so if you have told Opera to block third-party cookies it'll just ignore the cookie, preventing you from logging in.

Hope this helps

Re:URL Autocomplete (2, Interesting)

aconkling (916504) | more than 8 years ago | (#14386176)

The real reason I moved back to Firefox after I tried Opera (and I gave it a good month) was because one day, Gmail just stopped working. On different days, both at work and at home, I could not log back into Gmail no matter what I did (short of reinstalling Opera, because I'm just too lazy to do that). This also happened to a coworker; he switched back too.
I have an even better idea. If you like Opera, it'd probably be easier to search for your problem [opera.com] rather than customize a different browser. The Opera forums are a great place to find information and to report bugs.

(For what it's worth, I remember hearing about problems with GMail on the first technical preview of Opera 9.)

Re:URL Autocomplete (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14386211)

You should look at the very powerfull nickname feature in Opera! When you bookmark one of your favorite sites, you enter the name of it in the "Nickname" inputbox. Then later you just type alt+F2 and begin to type the name, when you have entered enough letters to make Opera find your site, it immedietly opens it.

Later you must ofcourse map this features to F1.

To enter slashdot: F1+.

KnutM
Norway dude

Re:URL Autocomplete (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14386268)

URL completion can be set up in Opera by going to tools\preferences\advanced then go to shortcuts and keyboard setup.

Click to edit a keyboard setup. Then go to advanced\edit widget. Here you will add the shortcuts for autocomplete

For example you can set the input context/shortcut as "alt+f3" and set the actions as:

Go to line end & Insert, ".org" & Go to line start & Insert, "www." & Go

This will add www and .org to the text typed in the address bar when you hit alt+f3.

Re:URL Autocomplete (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 8 years ago | (#14386465)

Is it THAT MUCH TROUBLE to type in .com? I mean, seriously. I have myself so trained to type in .net, .com, or .org after a URL, I'd save about 1/10 of a second by doing a Shift-Ctrl-Enter chord.

Translation: a queer effect of a browser I got used to doesn't work in Opera. Can you implement, bugtest, QA, and deploy a feature that me and three other people will use?

Re:URL Autocomplete (1)

hackstraw (262471) | more than 8 years ago | (#14386682)


I would guess other browsers are similar, but in Safari, I type usually 1 or 2 characters in my address bar after typing Apple-L to load the location. If its a site I've been to recently or is bookmarked, I'm there. If its a new site, I hit tab and then put the company name in the google search and the first link will usually suffice.

Having to press shift+control+enter takes me about the same time as pressing .org. Having to press shift+enter is about the same as typing .net. Having to remember 1 to 2 characters of an URL ... or not having to remember if .org is shift+control+enter vs shift+enter -- sanity.

Yet another corny "next/last year" joke...... (0)

ShyGuy91284 (701108) | more than 8 years ago | (#14385701)

I expec...... Ok, maybe I didn't expect better. But year jokes (most notibly "Cya next year!") have got to be one of my biggest pet peeves.... Especially when the same person does it every year.......

Re:Yet another corny "next/last year" joke...... (1)

greenegg77 (718749) | more than 8 years ago | (#14386396)

But year jokes (most notibly "Cya next year!") have got to be one of my biggest pet peeves....

Didn't you get pissed off about that last year?

You missed me (1)

FortKnox (169099) | more than 8 years ago | (#14385726)

Do me a fav... go to the question story [slashdot.org] , change to 'highest score first' and you'll find my thread at the top, score:5. I had, what I thought, was a good question. Why was it not asked? It was the first top rated question, yet not included. I really wanted to hear his insight on it.

Re:You missed me (1)

Roblimo (357) | more than 8 years ago | (#14385855)

Grammar and capitalization errors, plus other questions covered essentially the same material.

I follow your journal [slashdot.org] and like it, so please don't think it was anything personal.

- Robin

Re:You missed me (1)

FortKnox (169099) | more than 8 years ago | (#14385904)

Grammar and capitalization errors...
Bah! I'm an engineer, not a novelist! ;)
Didn't take it personally... figured there was a good answer. Thanks for responding.

Re:You missed me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14386260)

Grammar and capitalization errors

No offence, but since when have Slashdot had high standards in this respect?

Re:You missed me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14386440)

Oops, my mistake. Slashdot has high standards when it comes to grammar and spelling [slashdot.org] . I quote:

Strive for correct spelling, grammar and punctuation in your review (and proofread with these in mind) but don't agonize over minutia. (Please run your review through a spell-checker before submitting, though.)

I think I'm in Bizarro World!

AWWW LOOK AT POOR LITTLE FART KNOX! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14385941)

"Why didn't they pick me?! *SNIFF*"

Get over yourself, cockgobbler!

I'm reading this using Opera 8.51 but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14385751)

I'm thinking of going back to Firefox because the damned advertising images on slashdot is frequently a double-image.

It doesn't always happen but Opera needs to fix this bug. Who wants the same advertising image to show up twice on the same page? On other sites, sometimes the duplicate ad image covers up part of the text so you can't even read the article.

If it wasn't for this damned bug, Opera 8.51 would be the best browser I've tried by far on Windows 2000/XP.

Maybe the CEO should spend more time making sure his company improves the quality of their products than doing interviews.

Re:I'm reading this using Opera 8.51 but... (1)

necronom426 (755113) | more than 8 years ago | (#14385965)

I'm currently using 8.51 and have been using various versions of Opera for about 5 years. I have never seen anything like you describe in Slashdot or anywhere else.

Re:I'm reading this using Opera 8.51 but... (1)

SylvesterTheCat (321686) | more than 8 years ago | (#14386085)

I concur with necronom426. I am using Opera 8.5.1 on Debian/SPARC, WinXP, and Debian/x86. I have never seen that behavior.

Re:I'm reading this using Opera 8.51 but... (1)

Kelson (129150) | more than 8 years ago | (#14386226)

I've seen it from time to time. I think it's only Flash ads that have the problem.

Re:I'm reading this using Opera 8.51 but... (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 8 years ago | (#14386023)

Slashdot isn't the only page with double ads.

Re:I'm reading this using Opera 8.51 but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14386156)

Let me chalk up one point for always having used Opera for Slashdot and not having seen this.

That being said, I do see advertisements occasionally float over or under text on a news page, but I can't say that's Opera's fault any more than the guy who wrote the CSS geared for IE.

I've always been very pleased with Opera, and with Nontroppo's Kill button, you can just click and kill any element on the page anyway.

Re:I'm reading this using Opera 8.51 but... (4, Informative)

FromWithin (627720) | more than 8 years ago | (#14386157)

I've seen that happen, but I just block the ads with the built-in filter. I suggest that you do the same:

http://nontroppo.org/wiki/BlockAdvertisements [nontroppo.org]

Woah, smaller and faster (4, Funny)

merc (115854) | more than 8 years ago | (#14385758)

I'm impressed. When is the last time you've heard a product rep. assert that they're trying to make their product smaller?

Re:Woah, smaller and faster (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14385989)

They need to... they must be competitive in the "small and slow" mobile device market.

Re:Woah, smaller and faster (2, Funny)

Kelson (129150) | more than 8 years ago | (#14386002)

When is the last time you've heard a product rep. assert that they're trying to make their product smaller?

Well, the last time I was at a nanotech conference...

Re:Woah, smaller and faster (2, Insightful)

globalar (669767) | more than 8 years ago | (#14386084)

When there is actual competition, not just two companies bouncing off one another. Now that we have three serious browsers again, Microsoft's IE Gorilla has to compete with both a lighter, refined Opera and an infinitely customizable, OS Firefox. I expect this particular emphasis has to do with Opera on the cellphones, which seems to be where they will try to make their stand against IE.

Standard fare responses (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14385775)

I used to use Opera and am glad it continues to exist but these responses are very straight, PR type reponses, more appropriate for their investor relations page than a geek journal. Opera have a great browser and my eternal respect for their stance on software patents but the community aspect seems to be a little artificial, more of a reaction to mozilla than genuine grass roots support. Microsoft could easily create a copycat IE community without sacrificing any of their, corporate err... values.

Calling all Norwegian babes reading slashdot... (1)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 8 years ago | (#14385831)

There are nerds in the US that want to meet you!

But the question is, would you want to meet them?

Opera use in business (3, Interesting)

B Man (51992) | more than 8 years ago | (#14385964)

I have in the past been a sys admin, security admin, network admin, software developer, project manager, integrater, consultant and currently a software tester, so I am pretty well informed on technology.

Thats my background, but whats funny is that in my history, the people who have used and liked opera have been business types. I have one past customer in particular, he uses opera on his primary browsing computer. But he isnt typical in any way, as this customer has been known to be a technological slug. He still does most of his work on a Windows 98 box using all DOS based software. He uses FirstChoice for word processing, a proprietary app for controlling alarm systems, and other long outdated software. Now even though I have updated everyone else in his office to current software, he continues to keep what he says "works". This is why he only uses Opera now. He had at one time many, many problems with his computers (mostly because of old software, virii, and spyware), including Internet Explorer. So he got to a point where pages just wouldn't load, and when they did not for long as popups would take over and he didnt recognize a concept of trusted hosts. So when he asked me to find another solution for him, I had installed and loaded Netscape, and because of his internet habits, it too became unusable. As this was years ago, at the time I had never used opera, but knew of it. I loaded opera and co-learned with him how to use it for basic browsing, and never looked back. With the new wave of usage of Firefox, I had recently installed it to all other office pc's and all users were comfortable and loving it. So I tried to add firefox for him too, and still even with adblock, etc he still couldnt use it. But opera he is so comfortable with he will not change now. He loves it, it does exactly what it is supposed to, and it has never not worked. This is the key for him, that it doesnt just work, but works everytime. And the fact that it shows some ads has never seemed to bother him at all. He just doesnt want to think about how or why or even what works. So with better exposure I'm sure alot more people would use opera over firefox. Not because of this or that feature, but because of stability and reliability. The web browser is your window to the internet, so what need is there for another set of windows underneath, just tabs. ;)

He didn't answer the question! (2, Interesting)

Oldsmobile (930596) | more than 8 years ago | (#14386196)

One critical thing missing from Opera...
by JaguarSavages (558510)

Better extensions/plugins. Firefox has earned great acclaim for its dynamic extension support. Extensions such as Fasterfox, Adblock, Web Developer, and many others are the sole reason people use Firefox over Opera


Hey, whats up with the answer to this question?! He dind't answer it at all! This is the only reasons I don't use Opera, and he basically brushed this question off!

Re:He didn't answer the question! (1)

abigor (540274) | more than 8 years ago | (#14386587)

I know, and it's too bad. I would dump Firefox the slow memory hog in a second if Opera supported easy to use ad-blocking.

Re:He didn't answer the question! (2, Informative)

Aranth Brainfire (905606) | more than 8 years ago | (#14386633)

Jon von Tetzchner:

Opera does have quite extensive extension capabilities today. User Javascipt is one such example. This is something we first used when we made the Bork version of Opera. We have later added this as a user feature and there are already more than 100 scripts available from the developer community. You can find a lot on userjs.org. Many of these script are very powerful.

Our concern with regards to extensions has been security and general usability. We have seen the number of security issues Microsoft has struggled with and many of them have been related to the APIs between the different applications. However, we do see a demand and we do tend to listen to demands from our users.

So, they're looking into it. Might happen, might not, don't know, we're thinking.

Re:He didn't answer the question! (1)

AdamWeeden (678591) | more than 8 years ago | (#14386807)

I agree 100%. Right now there are no browsers I wholeheartedly love, and that pains me. I was, up until recently, a Firefox user for the past 2 years, but the memory leaks/cpu usage finally drove me away. I'm now using Maxthon, but something about having IE as the core makes me feel dirty. I decided to give Opera a shot recently, and simply on not being able to painlessly set up an ad blocker, I have decided it's not currently an option for me. Something spending 20 minutes adding some obscure script or running a program in the background to add a URL to block makes me think that the Opera team takes something I consider high priority and assign it a second class citizenship. I'm tempted to switch back to Firefox (probably 1.0.7 since I've heard that my issues got worse in 1.5) but I think my wife may kill me if I have to say to her again "No don't use %oldbrowser% anymore, I installed %newbrowser%."

John Tesh? (1)

eno2001 (527078) | more than 8 years ago | (#14386212)

He's done more than record a few lame "new age" albums?

XMLHttpRequest Monitor? (1)

Eric Pierce (636318) | more than 8 years ago | (#14386332)

2. Developer Tools

How about a DOM Inspector (and a Javascript Debugger)? Firefox's DOM Inspector and XMLHttpRequest Monitor are dearly missing in Opera.


XMLHttpRequest Monitor? Does anyone know what this is in reference to?

Thanks,
Eric P.

Re:XMLHttpRequest Monitor? (1)

chaim79 (898507) | more than 8 years ago | (#14386432)

I'm not totaly sure since I'm still learning the tech behind it but this sounds like the method that AJAX uses (XMLHTTPRequest + JavaScript + DHTML) for all it's communication.

Re:XMLHttpRequest Monitor? (2, Informative)

Eric Pierce (636318) | more than 8 years ago | (#14386583)

Yep, XMLHttpRequest is the 'X' in AJAX and is the JavaScript object created for passing/receiving data to/from the server from within a webpage.

I was more curious what the 'monitor' part meant. It sounds like some functionality (an extension perhaps) available in Firefox. If so, I want to check it out. I should look up the original thread (where the questions were asked). Maybe there's some insight to be found there.

Eric P.

Testing (3, Interesting)

Simon Brooke (45012) | more than 8 years ago | (#14386576)

One of the reason so few developers test in Opera is because Opera on the whole does standards so well. If you build your site in a standards compliant way, it will work in Opera. Which is how it should be.

A company (and a product) I admire very much. Aside, it's interesting - for such a small country - how many world-class software companies Norway has. I wish we had one half as many here in Scotland.

Bugger! (2, Funny)

ncurtain (937487) | more than 8 years ago | (#14386578)

You never asked him if he'd marry me.

I'd settle for a babe though. (I used to be an hunk now I'm just a lump.)
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