5 Ideological Reasons Why You Should Try Opera

opera logo   5 Ideological Reasons Why You Should Try OperaOpera is one of the oldest browsers that are still being used today under their original name (with the other notable browser being Internet Explorer). However, not a lot of people have tried Opera or even heard much about Opera as the browser has always watched from far away as Internet Explorer, then Firefox, and now Google Chrome are taking the stage of Internet prominence.

However, is that relatively small amount of attention deserved? Not really, and here are five reasons why you should at least try the browser.

Standards Support

opera standards   5 Ideological Reasons Why You Should Try Opera
Out of all the browsers that have existed (yes, including Chrome and Firefox), Opera has always been the one browser to stick with the standards 100% of the time and implement them correctly. Firefox stood for standards but it didn’t have 100% support (Acid3 test scores of 93/100, anyone?) but it still gained traction because the standards support was plenty better than Internet Explorer.

As far as Chrome is concerned, it does support standards, yet it’s also implementing its own Chrome technologies such as SPDY (an HTTP replacement which Google is using on all of its services but virtually no other site uses) that hasn’t been available in other browsers (Firefox 13 will be the first browser to support it besides Chrome) or Native Client. While I do admit that Opera is sometimes slow to come out with full support of new standards, but when it does it’s done right.

Innovation

opera innovation tabs   5 Ideological Reasons Why You Should Try Opera
Opera has been a great, innovative product throughout the years. From developing Opera Unite services where the browser could even be used as a makeshift web server to a built-in mail client to Opera Turbo to other useful features like Tab Stacking (which is still one of my favorite tab organization features across all browsers), Opera’s developers over in Norway keep things continually interesting. Almost all of these features are very useful for everyday users, so why not use a browser where such innovative features are regularly cranked out?

Speed

While Chrome is currently king of the hill when it comes to speed benchmark tests, Opera isn’t far behind. Opera has generally been a speedy browser (despite its clunky interface in past years), and a recent overhaul of the rending and JavaScript engines have kept the browser quite competitive in that regard. Plus we’re now in an era where any speed differences can be counted in milliseconds, so even if the speed of the browser doubles, you won’t notice that much of a change. I certainly don’t expect Opera to slow down in any future release.

Customization

opera customization   5 Ideological Reasons Why You Should Try Opera
Customization has always been Firefox’s home court with its massive library of extensions, but in terms of out-of-the-box customization, Opera easily bests Firefox. You can literally do so much to tweak Opera with just its default settings and features that you could spend hours perfecting how it looks and behaves. Basically anything in Opera can be changed, moved, and so forth, from buttons to tabs to menus. Oh, and then Opera also offers extensions.

Security and Underdog Status

Last but not least, Opera has a good reputation for being a very secure browser. Not only is it solid from a security perspective, but it is also less susceptible to attacks as its an underdog browser. However, just because its an underdog does not mean that it lacks any security features. Speaking of which, it’s always good for the Internet ecosystem if people use an underdog browser. That way there is always a greater need for standards-compliant sites and competition between browsers will continue to run high. Because we remember what happened when Internet Explorer had 95% market share, right?

Conclusion

To summarize, Opera is a very worthy browser that everyone should try out (right now). It continually gets praise from those in the know for what it can do, yet its overall market share doesn’t really change. If you try Opera and its not for you, then that’s fine. But I’m sure there are plenty of people who’d love Opera but they currently don’t use it because they stay with the big dogs.

Have you tried Opera? What did you like or not like about it? What is important to you when shopping around in the browser market? Let us know in the comments!

The comments were closed because the article is more than 180 days old.

If you have any questions related to what's mentioned in the article or need help with any computer issue, ask it on MakeUseOf Answers—We and our community will be more than happy to help.

63 Comments -

advertarticle

1 Ideological Reason Why You Should NOT Try Opera

Closed Source

harry

yes it’s closed source, but it’s the best closed source browser that is not far behind from firefox/chrome (if it is) … and I don’t consider chrome closed source since it is based on open source chromium, which is pretty much the same thing

anon

Chrome is closed source. Google have not released all the code to developers. It’s also spyware, no other word for it.

Danny Stieben

It’s half and half, really. Chrome is basically the open source Chromium project, but includes some closed source extras from Google.

Danny Stieben

I agree that I’m not too fond of it being closed source, but if I had to choose any closed source browser, it would be Opera without question.

Reý Aetar

what benifit is normal users getting from the source????? its just same as others for an average user

Danny Stieben

It’s helpful to regular users indirectly. They probably won’t download the source themselves, but others can and then identify issues that will get fixed. With closed source, only the employees can look at the code.

CDWarden

Opera is an excellent and attractive browser, but doesn’t work for me for two major reasons:
1. No Xmarks compatibility
2. Copying out of a browser window only copies in plain text format. (I copy/paste into evernote for sites that I want to reference later, but don’t want to clutter my bookmarks)

Danny Stieben

Is the Xmarks extension for Opera still as useless as when it first came out? Darn…maybe the LastPass peeps are looking at how they can incorporate it into the LastPass extension and therefore haven’t worked on it yet.

As for the copying, I didn’t know that!

Scutterman

I use Opera at work during breaks so I don’t have to log out of various work accounts. I must say that I want to like it. I’ve only had to install one extension (remembering form field values) and I like the customizability. However it seems very slow and buggy to me. On Windows 7 I get a constant busy / loading blue circle mouse pointer, it seems to take sites a while to load (especially twitter, it just loads my feed’s background and not the tweet I want to view) and overall is very annoying. The only reason I continue to use it is because Chrome, amusingly enough, seems to have a display bug with Google Reader.

Danny Stieben

I can’t say that I have the same issues as you, Scutterman. I hope that you can get those issues sorted out!

Scutterman

I don’t see much chance of solving those issues. The loading one, which is easily the most annoying, doesn’t seem to be featured anywhere else online, let along solved. I’ll try a re-install when I get a chance though.

Woomera

im an old fan of Opera but when i started using firefox few years back and got the feeling of using extensions i never looked back.
opera never really supported the extension system even now! most of the extensions they have are either buggy or not working at all.
if you compare browser’s barebone then yes opera comes first but when you look at the extensions then opera has no chance.
why extensions so important? i personally cant imagine browsing w/o Lastpass!

Colin

Opera has a Lastpass app. I use it regularly.

Kristian

Most people I talk to who have heard of Opera tried it years ago when the freeware version had flashing banner ads in the toolbar and would never try it again.

Danny Stieben

I feel so young after reading that, because I don’t remember those days at all.

Paul B.

I was an Opera user from way back before it was free. It was my top browser by a long shot. But an incompatibility with the proxy server I connect through at my office makes it unusable. First, I need to enter my username and password for each of the 5-10 servers that I may connect to at any given time. Every other browser under the sun works perfectly fine and uses my windows credentials to connect to the server.

Then memory usage starts to creep up to the point where it literally takes all available system resources and begins to hog as much CPU as possible, rendering my PC completely useless. I have tried disabling all plugins, and even launching the browser without opening a single tab. It sits in the tray, minimized, and I can watch the memory allocation climb into the gigabytes, without fail, every single time.

I have reported this bug in detail quite a few times over the last 5 years and have tried every major release since then, but it never seems to get fixed.

I’m not the only one with this issue either…
http://my.opera.com/desktopteam/blog/2012/02/16/thursday-11-62-snapshot#comment82557722

I need the ability to sync bookmarks between home and the office, so it’s Google Chrome all the way for me.

Danny Stieben

I’m sorry to hear that. I did notice that Opera does take a good bite out of RAM, but it’s actually a good amount better in Opera 12, whenever it will be released.

Dels

using Opera since 2001 (no firefox or chrome yet) and still my main browser today, what i think really useful was saved browsing sessions, trash bin, integrated RSS & mail client, tab stacking, and many more

but for web development mainly using firefox with firebug or chrome due to many user of those

Danny Stieben

I still like the trash can and tab stacking features a LOT. One of the things I hate about Chrome is that there are very few tab management features, and I don’t like the extensions for it either.

ecd4a4d35dce1b96560e85a8ce64f578

Those are 2 of my favorite out-of-the-box features.

anon

TrashCcan has now gone with Opera 12, another, lets face it, stupid decision by the Opera developers. It’s been replaced with a lacklustre little downwards arrow that I hardly even noticed.

Danny Stieben

It still lets you restore previously closed tabs, though, right?

iStoopKid

I use Opera when my speeds get throttled and my connection is moving as slow as dial-up. They had me sold when I could right click and block unnecessary content on webpages without needing to install any addons. It’s the default browser on my old linux machines

Miroslav

I use Opera as my primary browser for good 10 years now, and I am a satisfied user.

itlconsulting

For SSL tests Opera is the only browser to support TLS 1.1 and 1.2. These are not as popular yet but much better standards.

Danny Stieben

That’s a cool tidbit! Thanks itlconsulting!

Karl

I really like Opera, except when I have to print. Usually I get blank pages with the URL in the footer. To get around this I copy and paste the URL into IE and print from there. Also, if the Opera developers are tuned in, a nice feature would be an indicator on the tabs showing which are producing audio.

Danny Stieben

Does any other browser show from which tab(s) audio is coming from?

achyut reddy

Chrome has an addon for it i think. but just because other browsers dont have that doesn’t mean opera shouldn’t.

Karl

I really like Opera, except when I have to print. Usually I get blank pages with the URL in the footer. To get around this I copy and paste the URL into IE and print from there. Also, if the Opera developers are tuned in, a nice feature would be an indicator on the tabs showing which are producing audio.

KYH

Reasons why Opera isn’t popular these days:

1. Relatively steep learning curve – It’s configuration is much different from other mainstream browsers, preventing beginners to use or others to switch. And since the help files are only in English, other non-English monolingual learners will definitely stay away from it.

2. Lack of support in Asian countries – The Opera community has not gone deeply through Asian users. Since Asians have the greatest population in the world, this made the browser population throughout the world decreases.

3. Not “cooperating” with other browsers – Unlike Fx and chrome, which have many configurations and extensions shared, Opera has its unique style of extensions. Most of them do not include features from Fx and chrome’s extensions or vice versa.
(e.g. Xmarks)

Anyway, I still think Opera as one of the best browsers because it is just like a holy place in the Internet world.

Danny Stieben

I can see your reasoning for the first two points. As for extensions, I thought Opera had a somewhat similar approach to how Google Chrome implements them.

Petyo123

This is my favorite browser for last 7 years .Distinguish behavior and nice interface .I can’t accept that this is underdog at all .Let’s look behind -every innovation is Opera ‘s team achievement : tabs ,built in mail service ,Opera unite etc .There is ,though one flaw : large RAM consumption .

Danny Stieben

That RAM consumption is slowly being tackled by the team. Rejoice!

ecd4a4d35dce1b96560e85a8ce64f578

RAM is cheap nowadays, but I have to agree that it isn’t fun when opera is using more RAM than Crysis 2…

anon

RAM consumption isn’t limited to Opera, Firefox uses vast amounts of it too.

Danny Stieben

It used to in past releases, but the more recent releases have actually tried to work on that issue, and it’s definitely better now than what it used to be.

Chris Hoffman

Careful, word is that Facebook is planning on buying Opera — Opera could change a lot real soon. Too bad, it’s always been an innovator, although it’s really unfortunate that it’s closed source.

Jeanne Thelwell

This is my big concern. I’ve used Opera since I was a paid user years ago, although it is no longer my main browser. I was horrified to find out that Facebook is trying to buy it and, let’s face it, Zuckerberg can make them an offer they can’t reasonably refuse. I will certainly support it until the day it becomes Netscape to Facebook’s AOL.

Danny Stieben

Oh I remember AOL’s browser that used the Trident engine…I loved and hated it at the same time.

Danny Stieben

How long ago was this? Last I heard, Google and Facebook weren’t even giving Opera a bit of attention when they were designing their webpages. Although I’d be sad for Opera’s future, it’d still be a really interesting move.

Chris Hoffman

The rumors about it started just a few days ago. Hard to say if it will happen, but Facebook has on a buying binge recently.

Limerick

My personal opinion is that a promotional article masquerading as a an ethical or moral solution to a dilemma is unethical.
Secondly, I have used Opera, I find it wanting and not on the same par as the marketing hyperbole would have one somewhat misleadingly believe.
I also dislike the very unethical user information capture built into it, that it is tied to the apron strings of Google, and that the coding is as closed as a herring’s butthole.

Danny Stieben

What dilemma? And this article serves to stir people’s thoughts and to show how Opera is different from the last time most people looked at it, which was probably a decade ago.

Limerick

Master Stieben- I congratulate you on your zeal and mature communication skills.
Not wanting to waste time on semantics and splitting hairs- your article is titled “Ideological reasons…” in which Ideology overlaps the fields of Ethics and Morality. I shall elucidate:
Using (http://www.thefreedictionary.com/) definition:
“The body of ideas reflecting the social needs and aspirations of an individual, group, class, or culture.
2. A set of doctrines or beliefs that form the basis of a political, economic, or other system…”

Thus if one was to construct an argument that is headed and therefore motivated by an Ideological rational- it must follow that the argument be debated in terms of appropriate ideological rhetoric.
Ergo, as ideology concerns itself with “the social needs and aspirations”- morality and ethics are very clearly fundamental as the argue the validity of aspiration or need- as this lies within the realm of the subjective human NOT not objective- that is, it cannot be empirically argued the case for or against, unlike eg: “why Opera has better ping performance than competitors” or “how much water is required by Dutch tulip farmers to grow a crop of tulips in season of 2010″.

I am not sure if you are a native English speaker- but the term “Ideology” has very strong social-science/polticial connotations. eg- “the ideology behind German state welfare systems”

Maybe the word you are looking for is “Ideation”- as in the forming of ideas?

Secondly, you do not refer to any time period- that appears to be an unstated assumption on your part.

I am referring to Opera 12.00 Beta 1 (Build 1387), and Opera 11.62- which are, correct me if I am wrong, are the most recent if not latest builds.
Of course Beta has glitches- even the latest Adobe Flash Beta does not always like Youtube.
But the inability to add customizations as per Firefox-Navigator-Seamonkey through access to source code is what does and eventually will make Opera the Apple as opposed to the plethora of Android apps.

I agree Opera is a good product, has many good features including ease of use and accessibility to those less computer literate, and often overlooked product, when many will complacently rely on useless and hacker’s delight IE.
But I disagree that one can argue for it’s use IDEOLOGICALLY as those who disagree can justly critique the validity of an ideological argument by stating the case that the ideological reasons are unsound morally- as opera uses closed source code system and there has been much discussion of its tracking use- hence morality and ethics return as valid pillars when debating issues of privacy and issues of profit motivation.

Very good work Master Steiben, your communications skills are well above your age average. Are you planning a degree in law?

Kurosaki Ichigo

Go Home! Opera sucks

Hadama

I started using Opera years ago when I was a student. I found it real easy to do research from my browser as Opera had an inbuilt note pad and the ability to save multiple browser sessions for future reference. A real big help when you’re conducting research. However, as it stands now I don’t rate Opera as high as I used to. I’ve found it to be quite slow when browsing and start up times are even slower than IE. And Opera turbo forget it, it hasn’t improved browsing speeds for me.

I’ve got the following browsers installed on my PC; Chrome, Firefox, IE, and Maxthon. I’ve used all for a significant amount of time. I used to be a big Chrome fan but I’ve gone back to Firefox because I really believe in Mozilla and what they are trying to do with the web. I like the idea that Mozilla is a not for profit organisation and has its user best interests at heart. I think you’d find Google is all about maximising profits and not about the end user.

The browser that has really surprised me is Maxthon. I’ve personally found Maxthon browser to be even faster than Chrome and that’s saying something! Maxthon has a number of cool features such as Maxthon Skynotes, Speed dial (Maxthon was the first browser to implement this and not Opera), and Split Screen. All this and I didn’t even have to download an add on. If you haven’t given it a try do so because I think you’ll be surprised.

Danny Stieben

Surprisingly I haven’t tried Maxthon yet, but I guess it’s about time I should!

purity matters

built in adblocking?

NO

#FAIL

it is annoying maintaining a blocklist via loopback proxy

Danny Stieben

No browser (except supposedly IE) has built-in ad blocking. Firefox, Chrome, and Opera all have viable adblock extensions for use.

anon

exactly, no browser has an adlbocker built in as standard. What a staggeringly stupid post.

Jon Smith

I wonder what Opera would be like if Facebook buys it

Danny Stieben

I have the same thoughts. And another question: how many people would use it? I’m sure they would have a big marketing push for it just like Google did for Chrome.

anon

that essentially is it’s problem isn’t it, the lack of any kind of advertising push behind it.

Danny Stieben

I don’t know about other people, but I do blame a good portion of Opera’s lack of adoption to do much less advertising. Firefox grew mainly because Google was pushing it. Now Chrome is growing rapidly because Google is pushing it. Does any site push Opera? Not that I know of.

Jaswinder Singh

opera is good ,best, great, excellent browser, i have no words to describe it. I am using it from 5 yrs, and it is the first browser in which i open the first site when i bought my computer(i downloaded it through my mobile). One thing that people say that chrome and firefox are faster than opera, but i am on a slow internet , i always feel the opera is faster than the both.

Ashwin Divakaran

Opera rules!!!!

ecd4a4d35dce1b96560e85a8ce64f578

I only use firefox when I need a certain addon, opera still is my favorite browser.

venkatp16

Opera is very nice and also has good features…

doodler

I like Opera, it was my favourite browser for a long time and it’s still my second favourite. However its shortcomings really make it unacceptable for me for anything other than a secondary browser.

It’s lack of extensions, or in general just poorly done. Thats a given. Secondly my PC just crashed with a BSOD, no idea why, but when I rebooted all my Opera tabs were gone. Yes, all the tabs I’d had open for the last week or so, all my work, gone. Unrecoverable. If that was Firefox the tabs are recoverable, always. It must have some of backup system in operation in the event of crashes. But not Opera.

Lastly it frequently crashes or is just plain buggy and the developers seem utterly deaf to the pleas of it’s users. Features that have been requested, begged for for even for years and well known bugs just get ignored. Sad to say it, but Firefox takes top browser honours for me.

Antikapitalista

The main problem with Opera is that Opera Software is so arrogant.
It is still not possible to switch off the annoying “tab sticking” — more than 20 months after it was foisted upon us!
Form autocompletion is another showcase of Opera’s stubborn arrogance — one that has been shocking ever single newbie user for over a decade! They invent all sorts of nonsensical arguments to “reason” why it ought not to be implemented!

Reý Aetar

it does everything without probs