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Comparing Firefox 3 With Opera 9.5 On Linux 489

Posted by Soulskill
from the and-in-this-corner dept.
Joe Barr writes "Mayank Sharma has two recent stories on Linux.com; one evaluating the performance of Firefox 3, and the second comparing it to Opera 9.5. Which is better? For most people, it's probably more a matter of familiarity or personal preference, but these stories provide hard performance data to consider as well. Sharma notes, 'In terms of rendering JavaScript, Firefox 3 had the edge over Opera 9.5 in the SunSpider JavaScript Benchmark, which has an error range between +/-0.8% to +/-11.3% depending on the type of test. In the JavScript Engine speed test, Opera 9.5 scores over its peers when it comes to error handling, DOM, and AJAX.'" Slashdot shares a corporate overlord with Linux.com.
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Comparing Firefox 3 With Opera 9.5 On Linux

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 21, 2008 @12:14AM (#23882227)

    I was using Lynx!

  • by ricegf (1059658) on Saturday June 21, 2008 @12:17AM (#23882241) Journal
    With four (count'em, four) good browsers competing for user attention, the evil days of monopoly and stagnation are ending at last. The light of the standards-based Internet is dawning, and "works best with Internet Explorer" is becoming the odd anachronism it deserves to be.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jlarocco (851450)

      To the best of my knowledge there's never been a monopoly on Linux/UNIX web browsers. I think at one point Mozilla dominated, but it's never been like Windows.

      Also: KHTML, Opera, and Firefox/Gecko are only three. Unless you're including ones based on those and/or text only browsers?

  • Opea is awesome! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I've used Opera for more than two and half years on Windows and Linux. It is hands down the best browser and the most useful cross platform program available, for a variety of reasons.

    9.5 is fine, once you move the New Tab button back to its rightful place on the LEFT!

  • by themushroom (197365) on Saturday June 21, 2008 @12:23AM (#23882271) Homepage

    The real challenge/merit is whether Opera 9.5 is accepted by webpages as being able to display all the content correctly, rather than insisting a component isn't there and demanding its download only to be told it's still not there.

    That's my complaint about the last version or two of Opera (and I've been using it since 3.5), that I wind up having to break out IE or FF for some pages because just being adherent to the HTML 4 standard isn't enough of a claim anymore.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by CrashNBrn (1143981)
      Set Browser ID to: Identify as Opera
      RightClick, Edit Site Preferences
      [Network] Tab:
      Browser Identification:
      MASK as FireFox | MASK as Internet Explorer

      Which is different than just "Identify as..."
      • by Vectronic (1221470) on Saturday June 21, 2008 @01:52AM (#23882677)

        Just remember to switch it back when you don't need the option anymore, otherwise you are contributing to the various Browser Market Share/User Share statistics with wrong info.

        I try to avoid using that, because then when some web admin looks at the logs, he'll see a slanted perspective of how many users are using which web browser, and just continuing the problem - "meh, not enough Opera users to really bother fixing it"

        • by Fjandr (66656) on Saturday June 21, 2008 @02:22AM (#23882775) Homepage Journal

          You can enable it on a per-site basis.

          Honestly, if a site is designed to tell you that it won't allow use of a browser that can render it perfectly, it is one developed by people who obviously didn't even bother to test the functionality of the site under those other browsers. Developers who are that lazy aren't going to look at weblogs and give a damn about removing meaningless browser restrictions.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Yfrwlf (998822)
            Everyone needs to complain to the corp that runs the site when they find silly pages like that. Something like...

            "My browser is fully capable of displaying your content, but I am unable to do so due to your restricted access. Please tell your overlords to consider using web standards, and checking compatibility at www.w3.org, so that users of all browsers and OSes will have access."

            Except replace "overloards" with whatever term best fits depending on your mood and the site, like monkeys, poopfaces, or
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Bogtha (906264)

            Developers who are that lazy aren't going to look at weblogs and give a damn about removing meaningless browser restrictions.

            No, I have honestly seen people argue that it's not worth supporting anything but Internet Explorer because all of their users use Internet Explorer, when the reason all of their users use Internet Explorer is because the site in question is Internet Explorer-only by design or has massive bugs in other browsers. It's less about a lazy attitude and more about a stupid, head-in-t

      • Can this be set per-site? I know I can do the user-agent per-site, at least, in Konqueror.

  • I've never had the chance to use opera, but I'd consider switching if I knew it would load Gmail properly. ARgh! Firefox 3 STILL requires you to occasionally delete all cookies, cache, forms, etc. for gmail to load proper.

    And don't tell me "all you have to do is select 'clear private data' and it loads fine." Sure that works for 2 or 3 days max, then you gmail starts screwing up again. "Just clear your private data" is a temporary fix AT BEST. It's really annoying to have to wait while all my sites re-

    • by solanum (80810)

      I've used Gmail (and Google Calendar and reader etc) with Firefox on Linux for some years and never ever had a problem that required what you describe. Perhaps you want to be a bit more specific about the problem or post some links to other reports like it. Otherwise......

    • by Koiu Lpoi (632570)

      You know, I have a feeling it's "on your end". I can't offer a solution, but I can offer my own anecdotal evidence. I've been using GMail daily (and often several times daily) since the early betas of the service. I have never once had to delete cookies or cache to make GMail load - it's loaded every time for me, just fine.

      Now, my mother (50+ computer luddite) uses GMail as well, and gets the problem "You know, it doesn't come up, and I have to go back and click it again, but usually I have to type in 'gmai

    • I'm not sure what you mean by "proper" but ive never had any problems with GMail on Opera.

      (waits for FireFox to load)

      Ok, so the only differences I found were:

      Opera just has the [Loading...] box, whereas FireFox has the username@gmail.com with a progress bar...

      second, the (select all / none / etc) appears above the [Archive/Report Spam/Delete] buttons at the bottom of the page, but Opera has it underneath like it is at the top of the email list...

      FF3 Vs. Opera 9.51

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by NobodyElse (1111905)
      If you're using Windows, and curious about Opera, I'd suggest either OperaUSB ( http://www.opera-usb.com/ [opera-usb.com] ) or Portable Opera ( http://www.kejut.com/operaportable [kejut.com] ). Both are portable versions of Opera, and as portable software they leave no trace on the host system, something that can be very convenient for testing a piece of software. Furthermore, I don't know what you're talking about with Gmail problem, either Opera rendering issues OR Firefox 'clear private data' issues. I've used both Opera and Fir
    • Re:load gmail! (Score:5, Informative)

      by at_slashdot (674436) on Saturday June 21, 2008 @12:54AM (#23882415)

      Opera loads old version of GMail and that works fine, if you want the new version you need to navigate to this link: https://mail.google.com/mail/?nocheckbrowser [google.com] (which also works fine in Opera)

    • by omeomi (675045)
      ARgh! Firefox 3 STILL requires you to occasionally delete all cookies, cache, forms, etc. for gmail to load proper.

      What are you talking about? I've been using Gmail with Firefox for years without ever having a problem that sounds even remotely like what you're describing...
    • Gmail specifically targets browsers -- it "compiles" different versions of the page (and the javascript) from the original Java source in a different way for each supported browser, and then the proper "compiled" version is selected based on user-agent.

      Given that, unless Opera is explicitly targeted by Google, good luck. Despite Safari being more or less supported, I believe Konqueror does best when identifying as Firefox... weird.

  • Easy. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Just Some Guy (3352)

    They're similarly capable, but Firefox is FOSS. Win.

    • Re:Easy. (Score:5, Informative)

      by Koiu Lpoi (632570) <koiulpoi.gmail@com> on Saturday June 21, 2008 @12:50AM (#23882395)

      Frankly, with as many features Firefox has copied from Opera, it'd better be good. Don't get me wrong here, I love FF, but there's no denying that some of their "latest greatest" features are ripped straight from Opera.

      If Opera was FOSS, the Firefox team wouldn't have had to write nearly as much code. (insert smiley for people who will inevitably think this is completely serious)

      • "copying" (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        You're implying that Firefox is somehow inferior to Opera (or that their devs are somehow inferior to Opera's devs) because they "copied" features from them. I'm really tired of that sentiment.

        If fridge manufacturer A came up with this revolutionary technology ("not only can it make ice, it can make iced COFFEE!" or some other stupid idea like that), and if fridge manufacturer B likes the idea and puts it into their own fridges (let's put patents aside for the moment), is it still inferior?

        This applies not

    • Opera loads faster, GUI is more responsive, many people don't care about the license... for them Opera is a better choice.

      • by aussie_a (778472)

        Most people also don't care about security. I do, so I use Firefox with NoScript.

        • Re:Easy. (Score:5, Informative)

          by at_slashdot (674436) on Saturday June 21, 2008 @01:53AM (#23882681)

          Opera can disable scripts per page or globally, and you don't need a plugin to do that.

          • by aussie_a (778472)

            Can you tell me how or link to a page that does? Last time I asked I was recommended I use some proxy software which was anything but as easy as NoScript.

      • True. Very True.
        Opera 9.5 is the fastest browser i have seen.
        Firefox has features, but speed belongs to Opera.
        Plus Opera never crashes.
        Firefox 3.0 crashed two times in two days,

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Lisandro (799651)

      They're similarly capable, but Firefox is FOSS

      So? Opera has been free (as in beer) for a long time now, and the guys developing it actually made an excellent work of porting it to several OSs/architectures; it works as good and snappy on Windows, Linux and MacOS. It's small, very fast, rock stable and packed with a lot of useful features (a.k.a, not bloat). FF3 is very nice on its own too, yes, but the more competition the merrier. What's not to like?

      People dissing Opera because it's not FOSS are missing on

  • by kestasjk (933987) on Saturday June 21, 2008 @12:57AM (#23882427) Homepage

    The first thing you notice when you launch Opera 9.5 is that it occupies less desktop real estate than Firefox 3, with less toolbar space and smaller borders, giving you more room to view pages.
    The thing I like about Firefox is how changeable it is: Screenshot [imagevenue.com]

    I've been organizing the bars like that since I started using FF, and I find it makes for much better use of that space than just a gray, blank area.
    • by Airw0lf (795770) on Saturday June 21, 2008 @01:07AM (#23882475)

      The thing I like about Firefox is how changeable it is: Screenshot I've been organizing the bars like that since I started using FF, and I find it makes for much better use of that space than just a gray, blank area.
      Opera's interface is every bit as customisable if not more so. Right click on any toolbar and click "Customize." The "Toolbars" tab will let you play with which toolbars you want to show, and where you want them. The "Buttons" tab will allow you to place just about any button anywhere you want. Finally, you can even make your own buttons. See the Opera wiki for more information: http://operawiki.info/CustomButtons [operawiki.info]
      • by Dun Malg (230075)

        Opera's interface is every bit as customisable if not more so.
        False. I challenge you to put a "back" button next to the Help menu on the menu bar, then. You can do it in IE. You can do it in Firefox. Opera forces that space after Help to be waste.
        • by SilentChasm (998689) on Saturday June 21, 2008 @03:53AM (#23883023)

          Opera's interface is every bit as customisable if not more so.
          False. I challenge you to put a "back" button next to the Help menu on the menu bar, then. You can do it in IE. You can do it in Firefox. Opera forces that space after Help to be waste.
          Here it is:Screenshot [imagevenue.com] :P

          There's a back button, forward button and an addressbar next to help. Not technically what you said but close enough that it shouldn't matter. Probably technically cheating aswell as it's not the 'real' menu bar.

          You're right that you can't put stuff in the menu bar in Opera though, and you should be able to. It is a waste of screen space. In order to make that screenshot (without manipulation), I used the custom buttons page on http://operawiki.info/CustomButtons [operawiki.info] to add each of those menu items to the "Main Bar" (after clearing it), then I added the back button and decided to go a step further and add the address bar and forward. I had already used the toggle menu bar custom button to hide the actual "Menu Bar" (I normally don't have a menu bar even, the panel is enough).

          If you look closely I have the entire main menu as a button in the tab bar (labeled "Menu" with a black arrow next to it). If I click that I'll get a menu with all the main menu bar items in it. Over on the right I have a view button which will display the "view bar" where I've hidden the menu toggle button.

          I could have combined everything on the menu into the tab bar instead but it wouldn't have looked like the main menu colorwise. I could have everything in one bar like the great-grandparent has in their firefox screenshot. Less than their screenshot even if I put everything in the tab bar instead of a seperate one.

          Also there is a panel toggle on the left of the screen. I typically don't use the main menu except for the File-> Import/Export menu options so hiding the entire thing makes sense since all bookmarks, history, widgets, mail and newsfeeds are available in the side panel and most settings are accessible via keyboard the shortcuts F12+none, ctrl, shift.

          If you really want to get bitchy about wasted space you could put all the menu options, the addressbar and everything normally in a toolbar into a custom panel and get rid of every bar (even the tab bar if you want) and just have the panel toggle at the edge of the screen. Hide it when you don't need it. You can't get much less wasted space unless you changed the theme for your desktop to use less space for the window decorations (I think that would be going a little far). The entire window would be space for the page except for the small scrollbar on one side and the panel toggle on the other (not necessary with keyboard shortcuts).
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Tangent128 (1112197)
      You can set up Opera that way, but it involves a lot of obscure setting-tweaking for the menu-bar-on-one-line effect.

      So I have to grant a small point to Firefox for UI configurability. I still prefer Opera's look overall, though.

      Tip for you to save more space, though- get rid of the Google bar and just set up a search shortcut.
      • by Dun Malg (230075)

        Tip for you to save more space, though- get rid of the Google bar and just set up a search shortcut.
        That wouldn't "save space", as there'd still be just the one bar before and after. Getting rid of the google search box would only "make more room". He has plenty of room for the search box, and made no claims of needing any additional room. Your suggestion is pointless.
    • So is Opera.

      I've gotten used to Opera's changeability so much that I can't stand using a browser where the tabs are on top. The bottom is a _much_ better place for the tab bar. Opera lets me do that. Firefox doesn't.

      • by Airw0lf (795770)

        I've gotten used to Opera's changeability so much that I can't stand using a browser where the tabs are on top. The bottom is a _much_ better place for the tab bar. Opera lets me do that. Firefox doesn't.
        In fact when I installed FF 2.0 I had play around userChrome.css to change the tab placement! (After spending som time googling.) In Opera you can do this in a few button clicks.
    • by Vectronic (1221470) on Saturday June 21, 2008 @01:10AM (#23882511)

      Excluding the Menu Bar (Opera uses the standard/forced top one) Opera can do that aswell, you can drag/drop any button/checkbox/dropdown/etc to any other bar (excluding the main side panel buttons)

      You can also quicky drag a webpage, or an image onto a toolbar, to create a temporary "favorite" of sorts... its not particularily useful, but ive used it, mainly so i dont accidentally close the tab.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by c2thunes (1268146)
        Try Alt-F11. Toggles the menubar in Opera.
      • by kestasjk (933987)
        At lot of people think I said "Firefox can do this, Opera can't", but I didn't. (I think 8/10 of the replies remind me Opera can do this too)
    • by aussie_a (778472)

      I have mine almost exactly the same (forward/back, reload and stop are on the left of the location bar with home removed completely while I have kept my bookmarks bar below it). I sometimes forget this isn't the default GUI for Firefox.

    • The thing I like about Firefox is how changeable it is:
      Screenshot [imagevenue.com]

      I've been organizing the bars like that since I started using FF, and I find it makes for much better use of that space than just a gray, blank area.

      Agreed, I hate wasted screen real estate:
      http://www.dotancohen.com/images/examples/firefox.png [dotancohen.com]

      Notice that the File | Edit menu has been collapsed into a single root menu on the right (My language goes from right to left, sorry). The Google search box is gone (I can google directly from the aweso^W location bar) and the tabs are on the side. Perfect for making use of this widescreen monitor's unusual geometry, which means that half the horizontal space usually goes to waste yet there is never enough vertica

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      You should look into Personalize Menu, or if someone has updated it for FF3, "Tiny Menu".

      Both of these collapse that large list of menu entries into one icon that then has File Edit View etc as submenus.

      Personalize Menu even lets you configure the menu so you can put the things you actually use where you'll get to them easily.

  • The SunSpider bencharks reveal that the 64bit IE vs 32bit IE is 18.7% faster in Vista 64. I'm willing to bet the ratio is the same with XP 64bit too.

    Anyone know when there will be a 64bit Flash plugin?

  • Pretty good (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Eil (82413) on Saturday June 21, 2008 @01:36AM (#23882607) Homepage Journal

    I gave Opera 9.5 a whirl last week and was highly impressed. It's packed with nice features (Where do you think Firefox and IE get most of their ideas?) but still pretty fast and light. Other versions of Opera never did much for me, but this is the first proprietary application that I've run across in a long time that I would seriously consider using on a daily basis. The only areas where it's really lacking are modularity (extensions, instead of everything being built-in to the browser) and of course the fact that it's not free software.

  • by bogaboga (793279) on Saturday June 21, 2008 @01:45AM (#23882649)
    In Firefox, my priority is not speed. I am happy with the status quo. While I love the new product, I was dismayed and disappointed to say the least when I was locked out of my favorite sites which support the Firefox 2.0 series, but do not support Firefox 3.0! I had to re-install the earlier version, which I had to "dig" out of the Mozilla site.

    The fact that most of my extensions are un-installable in the latest version did not help matters.

    This made me wonder...Why haven't the coders ported these extensions to Firefox 3.0 if it has been in development for a long time?

    I also thought I would be in position to play live CNN streams but I was wrong! Firefox plays the commercial OK but will display a balck screen with sound when it comes to the actual content! Not good enough.

    • by BZ (40346)

      Did you let your favorite site authors know that they're driving away business by restricting he browsers people can use to access their sites?

    • by Bogtha (906264) on Saturday June 21, 2008 @06:01AM (#23883489)

      Why haven't the coders ported these extensions to Firefox 3.0 if it has been in development for a long time?

      That's an elephant in the room that nobody seems to want to talk about. If you are praising extensions, then apparently it's a huge advantage Firefox has over other browsers, but if you are complaining about extensions, then they are all third-party developers that have nothing to do with Firefox. It's a win-win for Mozilla - all of the credit, none of the blame.

      This is never more apparent than when a new major version of Firefox is released. Mozilla break compatibility and wash their hands of the mess, and if the extensions you use aren't maintained any more, then, well, tough.

  • I didn't see anything about the one JavaScript feature I use more than anything else in Firefox: the ability to turn it off selectively (via the noScript extension, so one could argue that it isn't in Firefox at all, of course). Useful as JavaScript is, the way it is used to sneak adverts and other unwanted stuff on to your browser can sometimes make a website useless - at least to me.

    I wouldn't be on the Web at all without it. I wonder how many depend on it the same way.

  • I run both Opera and FireFox however Opera never FEELS faster to me. Perhaps it is the default settings, or perhaps the sites I go to Gmail, Gcal, Slashdot, etc, all feel a lot faster in FireFox.

    Also, FireFox feels easier to use.

    And then, FireFox has all of the plugins I now love, and can't get rid of.

    Opera is doing good, but they need to focus on their target markets needs over their speed or standards compliance.

  • mis-match (Score:5, Interesting)

    by luckymutt (996573) on Saturday June 21, 2008 @02:18AM (#23882759)
    From TFA:

    But Opera 9.5 is no less revolutionary than Firefox, matching its open source rival feature for feature,

    That should be:

    But Firefox is no less revolutionary than Opera, matching its proprietary rival feature for feature

    Do we really need to break out the list of things that Opera developed that are now taken for granted by other browsers?
  • by Jerry Smith (806480) on Saturday June 21, 2008 @02:26AM (#23882789) Homepage Journal
    Ibook 500 mHz, 320 ram so it was quite a nice machine SEVEN years ago.

    Yet Opera 6.5 runs GOOD, whether Firefox 3 won't run or just takes ages to start. Only/main advantage of FF is that it's customisable, with all the addons to 'improve the browsing-experience'.

    I really appreciate OSS but at the moment Opera is the best browser for my older machines. My 2 cents.

  • by actionbastard (1206160) on Saturday June 21, 2008 @02:54AM (#23882859)
    about this release is the huge bug with the network home folders not working [mozilla.org]. I mean, come on guys, is it really that hard to test something like this in a Lin/Mac/Win environment that exists in virtually all of the corporate/academic world to see if this works. Granted the javascript performance is two to three times faster than v2, but if you release it in a state where I can't deploy it because you missed a bug in some library, it's a really hard sell to the PHB if the new whiz-bang version is fuxored.
  • by pbaer (833011) on Saturday June 21, 2008 @10:14AM (#23884577)
    I've been an Opera fan since they took out the ads. Anyways Opera 9.5 with flash on linux plays youtube videos somewhat stuttery and if a tab with a flash video is left open for a few hours the browser mem leaks and begins hogging all the CPU. I'm pretty disappointed because before this Opera has never mem leaked, never crashed, it was an extremely stable browser. One time I accidentally opened 100+ tabs simultaneously, and it did fine.

    And yes I will be filing a bug report.

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