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Software Technology

Opera 9 with Widgets and BitTorrent Now Available 385

ZarK writes "Technical Preview 2 of the upcoming Opera 9.0 browser is now available for download. In addition to the general bugfix and rendering improvements there's also new features, like x-platform type widgets, improved content blocking, bittorrent support, thumbnail preview of tabs and more. Improved functionality also comes in the fact that a good lot of the scripts from userscripts.org will now work, advanced settings have improved in opera:config, and more browser customization is available at the opera community. However, some clear indications that this is still an alpha release is the experimental support for NTLM which breaks the proxy functionality for some users, and the fact that widgets are always on top."
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Opera 9 with Widgets and BitTorrent Now Available

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  • by Brother Dysk ( 939885 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @01:31AM (#14667176)
    Finally! A browser with native support for BitTorrent downloading. This is certainly a positive thing, especially given the superb functioning of Opera's download system, at least compared to other browsers. Good move, Opera.
    • by aussie_a ( 778472 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @01:38AM (#14667219) Journal
      I predict that Firefox's numbers will soar even further once it's made illegal for us to download Opera in Australia.
    • Except that it doesn't seem to work :)
    • by saskboy ( 600063 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @01:45AM (#14667256) Homepage Journal
      I agree, I've thought for over a year that the first browser to incorporate native BT downloading into itself, so that someone could just click a link and start downloading a torrent without having to download the client/server program first, would make it big on the web very soon.
      Now if only websites had a way to offer a BT version of their download files, so that they'll never get Slashdotted again...
    • The Opera preview is very nice, and they've done very nice work packaging it up. You can download it just about any way you'd want it.. deb's, rpm's, etc. I like the preview of the tab when you hold your pointer over it. I like the built-in mouse gestures. They've implemented Ctrl-Enter to complete www.***.com's (though Ctrl-Shift-Enter and Shift-Enter don't do .org or .net), Ctrl-T now makes a new tab just like Ctrl-N. My only complaints at this point are the fonts/default interface and the format for
    • by Jozer99 ( 693146 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @02:10AM (#14667371)
      I have been using this all day. This was my first experience with Opera, but I figured it was time to give it a try. Here is what I thought: Ease of use: Still not up to Firefox standards, but about as good as IE7 (I'm not a huge fan of that interface). You can easily change the theme, but some things are frustratingly un-customizable (in Firefox you can drag just about anything anyplace and expect it to do something). Speed: WOW! Even on my dual core 2.8 with 2GB RAM, Opera still renders pages noticably faster than IE or Firefox. Plus, no (or fewer) pesky memory leaks. Also, Opera tended to use about 2/3 of the RAM as Firefox with as many tabs open. How do they do that?!?! Downsides: Opera has a couple downsides. For one, it still doesn't have IE's universal exceptance, I still had to open IE to get to Yahoo! sites (shudder). Plus, I found that Opera had mysterious and quite common rendering errors on CSS heavy pages (as in navigation bars would not show up). This maybe because of the beta status, but it was frustrating. Opera also has much fewer plugins and add-ons available to enhance functionality. This is probably due to the smaller user base and closed source nature of the program. After a day with Opera, I am sad to say that I switched back to Firefox for my main browser. However, Opera will remain on my machine, and I will continue to download new versions to see how things improve.
      • BTW, Opera can use ANY Netscape compatible plugin. So basically if the plugin can be used on Firefox it can be used in Opera. :)
        • Supposedly true, although I tried to set up several plugins that did not work correctly. This includes Quicktime, Flash, and ActiveX.
          • by AKA Panama Jack ( 952804 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @03:02AM (#14667551)
            I have the latest Quicktime and Flash 8 along with Shockwave installed under Opera 9 TP2 without any problems. They work like a charm. So you might want to see what you did wrong during the install. If you use their installers they will automatically install into Opera. If you copy the plugin files from anotehr directory make sure you place them in the program/plugin directory in Opera.

            And I thank GOD that Opera doesn't support ActiveX. ActiveX is one of the most insecure pieces of programming I have ever come across. Using ActiveX is akin to browsing the web and opening email attachments without a firewall or antivirus package installed. An open invitation to disaster.
      • My own disgust at IE led me to Mozilla years ago. I was reluctant to try Firefox at first, but that switch was pleasant. I never really tried Opera though, until recently.

        You see, I'm working on a website that will never be usable in IE. IE is too primitive, and broken. It can't handle xml mime types, and won't even in IE7. It can't do SVG natively, and I don't feel like wrapping all my many SVG widgets in object tags and writing code for a bad Adobe plugin. And besides, people should just plain be discouraged from ever using IE.

        SVG though is important to the website, I suppose I could use something gay like flash or java, but I really wanted this to be a pure site. I thought that it would mean that it was Firefox only. Some friends chided me into trying to make it work with Opera and Konq though...

        And I was shocked. Opera 8 gets alot of the non-interactive SVG right. Better yet, the Opera 9 beta gets alot of it right, period. And the places where it's screwed up? Bad syntax on my part, that Firefox ignores but that Opera is (rightfully) bitchy about. I won't start using Opera 9, but there's no reason why others shouldn't. It kicks ass.

        (And as for Konq, things are looking good. It did the non-interactive SVG really well, and Konqueror 4 looks like it will do just as well as the other two. Still waiting on Safari, but I think it will soon be pretty good itself)

        But for IE, we might never need browser specific hackery at all.
    • by Snaller ( 147050 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @04:52AM (#14667943) Journal
      Why would you ever use that? Surely a standalone client offers more flexiblity? Its just more bloat in a browser.

      (And personally I wouldn't want to use Bittorrent given a choice, because its so slow - but thats a different story)
      • If I get on a well seeded torrent and set the upstream bandwidth to a reasonable level (30KBps), within ten minutes I'll be downloading at the full capacity of my 10mbit cable connection. Not sure how you can call it slow, unless you're after movies or something.
  • by Mrs. Grundy ( 680212 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @01:34AM (#14667191) Homepage
    Well, I've got to admit, my knee-jerk reaction to this was so what. The main browsers are already so intrenched in my habits, from the way I author html to my day-to-day use of the browser that it is unlikely I will care about another application unless it captures a significant share of the market thus forcing me to care about any quirks it may have in behavior and compliance to standards. But after reading the list of features, I find myself thinking I might be interested in some of them. Site-specific prefs are an interesting idea; A torrent client would be handy; the ability to change the default search engine is nice too. It looks like I'll try it out.
    • by piper-noiter ( 772438 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @01:58AM (#14667314) Journal

      For the most part if your code is up to standards it looks fine in opera. 90% of the time it renders like Mozilla. Opera is not making the designers job harder. It's closer than most to passing the Acid 2 test.

      I'm already trying it out. Full of more great stuff, as one expects. They smoothed out a lot of the features they added in Preview 1 and added so much more.

      I heard reports of problems with upgrading so I did a clean install and spent the afternoon adding my custom buttons and changing my search options. (I no longer have to use 3rd party tools to change them)

      Between custom buttons, panels, and widgets I think Opera can now easily do anything a Firefox extension can do.

  • by CyricZ ( 887944 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @01:36AM (#14667203)
    Now that Opera has removed the ads from their browser, and added these other features, it has become a real competitor to Firefox.

    The Firefox developers will really have to step up to the plate with the upcoming Firefox 2.0 release if they want to retain the marketshare they currently have. Firefox will have to show some pretty serious speed improvements, and far better memory management. It can't leak memory at the rate which the current 1.5 releases do.

    • Already there (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Nichotin ( 794369 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @01:43AM (#14667245)
      Opera has been a worthy competitor for a long time, but what keeps amusing me is that they pack 10032894208492 features, and a pony, into the browser, and it still does not feel bloated (not compared to some apps, that have two features and a eye candy interface which makes your eyes fall out).
      Don't like using one program for browsing, mail, and bittorrent? Then don't. Just use the browsing capabilities, and the rest of the features will be sufficiently hid away.
    • Most of us are concerned with IE losing marketshare, not so much who picks up the pieces.

      If Opera is someday 90%, and Firefox still with only 8%... this is good for Firefox. Opera encourages website developers to write correct xhtml and javascript, which Firefox handles just fine.
  • Of course (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ctrl+Alt+De1337 ( 837964 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @01:39AM (#14667220) Homepage
    "However, some clear indications that this is still an alpha release is..."

    Nightmarish grammar aside, the biggest clear indication that this is not final is the "Opera 9 Technology Preview 2" title on the linked page. Also, there is the fact that it is Opera labs, not the main site. Contrary to what the title would lead you to believe, this is just an open beta.

    The big splash is the widgets. I am of the opinion though that the widget concept is being overdone completely. Now, you can have start.com widgets running in your Opera browser with widgets on your OS with widgets (either OS X Tiger's dashboard/Windows Vista Beta Sidebar or via third-party stuff a la Konfabulator/Superkaramba/Object Desktop). Enough alreay. How many different ways do I need to get my local weather forecast?
  • I give it an A+. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by CyricZ ( 887944 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @01:41AM (#14667233)
    I've been using the FreeBSD release today, and my gosh, does it ever fly! It doesn't feel as responsive as Konqueror, but it still is a fantastic browser.

    The email client is vastly improved, and it feels much quicker than in previous releases. It was quite quick at listing my 1800 MB mailbox, and it's now possible to scroll through the entries at a rapid pace without delay.

    The opera:config feature is quite nice, and presented very well. It's far nicer to view than the comparable about:config capabilities of Firefox, yet just as easy to locate and modify preferences.

    Overall, this release is an improvement over the last, while still retaining the small size and high responsiveness that Opera is known for. I give it an A+.

  • Not needed yet... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Afecks ( 899057 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @01:46AM (#14667261)
    This really won't matter until all BT clients support web-seeding, that is, seeding peers via HTTP without the need for a dedicated client doing the seeding. Then every website, even those hosted on shared servers, will be able to easily provide torrents to their vistors and in turn their vistors will already support BT without extra software to install. AFAIK only BitTornado supports it and I really dislike that client. This is a crucial step for BT to really prove itself to be useful for more legitimate purposes.
  • by deunan_k ( 637851 ) <knute AT deunan DOT com> on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @01:47AM (#14667266) Homepage

    In reference to the previous ver 8, the CEO promises to swim from Norway to USA, with a brief stopover for mom's hot coffee in Iceland. That is, if the download reaches 1,000,000 in 4 days..

    Apparently it did! I remembered downloading a copy, in a bid to see such sport, but alas..

    Press Release [opera.com]

    Previously, it was reported that the attempt failed due to various reasons, including physical condition. Let's hope he's is fitter this time around.

    Yeah, no malfunctioning support raft.

    Swim Attempt Report [opera.com]

    Sincere regards to Opera Team..

    -PS Crazy stunts like these are really fun!
  • A darn good job. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bogaboga ( 793279 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @01:49AM (#14667274)
    I thank Opera for a darn good job. I find the [Opera] browser very very good. In fact, better than any browser out there. But wonder why it is still not that popular.

    As a programmer, I also wonder how they designed the engine to be soooo fast, that even makers of other browsers cannot figure out how to replicate what makes Opera fast, into their browsers. Can anyone enlighten me?

    • Firefox has a huge amount of marketing and hype behind it. That's why it's more popular that Opera. Now, these days many people are beginning to run into problems with Firefox, namely due to its poor memory management. People are beginning to question the validity of the hype, and many are switching to alternative browsers like Opera, Konqueror, Safari and OmniWeb. As long as these alternative browsers keep innovating at the pace they have been lately, Firefox may not be able to keep up.

      As for others replic
  • P2P v2.0 (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DonZorro ( 452879 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @01:52AM (#14667284)
    This could change the perception and add a new twist to the RIAA lawsuits against P2P users...simply because P2P would now be given credit for helping all kinds of content providers overcome their bandwidth problems.

    Think...seeding/leeching CNN homepage
  • by citizenc ( 60589 ) <cary@nOSpAm.glidedesign.ca> on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @02:01AM (#14667330) Journal
    Question: why has Opera managed to incorporate Bittorrent support into their browser, yet the only torrent plugins for Firefox are in a horrendous state of pre-development? WTF is going on here?
    • Question: why has Opera managed to incorporate Bittorrent support into their browser, yet the only torrent plugins for Firefox are in a horrendous state of pre-development? WTF is going on here?

      Is it possible that someone at Opera--a company with money, resources, time, and managerial direction--simply stated, "we'd like to have Bittorrent support in our next release. I don't care of getting it to work properly is boring and not nearly as sexy as designing clever widgets, or that there already exist exte

    • All the features firefox has were in opera before they were in firefox. Why would this be any different?
  • by ayden ( 126539 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @02:09AM (#14667367) Homepage Journal
    I just tried it and the results look very good next to the reference image.

    http://www.webstandards.org/act/acid2/test.html [webstandards.org]
  • by arrrrg ( 902404 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @02:21AM (#14667411)
    I tried this out today, and I'm sold. After seeing stats on how Opera is significantly faster than Firefox in almost every category, I finally decided to check it out. While I miss one or two extensions (Bugmenot and Forecast Firefox), I can do without these. Other than that, the built-in mouse gestures, keyboard + location bar shortcuts, ad block, torrents, better download manager, fast forward (hit the button or press ctrl-x and automatically go to the next page of google search results, next part of any article, ...), and so on means that out of the box it is a firefox killer, and much faster to boot.
  • back/forward (Score:2, Interesting)

    by newr00tic ( 471568 )
    I can't even imagine how Firefox users can stand the inferior back/forward navigation buttons, and how much delay they present.

    With Opera, (pre 9.x, even,) you just click back, and the previous page jumps right up; fully rendered and ready. --With Firefox, you have to wait, and get to listen to the processor throttling up, as if this was Java 1.2 on Win95..

    Firef*cks be gone..
  • by jeff_schiller ( 877821 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @03:10AM (#14667581) Homepage

    I am loving the SVG implementation [codedread.com] in the Opera 9 Previews, I update information on my blog. TP2 includes several fixes to the SVG implementation over TP1 and TP1 was a HUGE leap from Opera 8.x. Opera now covers more SVG functionality than Firefox 1.5 does, and is faster on my PC.

    Opera is the new native SVG implementation to beat.

    • Sigh. If only Opera would render MathML native, I'd use it. What's a mathematically-inclined geek who wants both pretty math (MathML) and graphs and stuff (SVG) to do?
  • Why I love Opera (Score:3, Informative)

    by linuxguy ( 98493 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @03:18AM (#14667596) Homepage
    1. It is fast. Very fast. Firefox is dog slow in comparison. At least on my Linux system.
    2. It is lean, very lean. 4.7MB and tonnes of features. How do these people do it?
    3. It is easy on memory. Firefox has bad memory leak problems. Earlier today Firefox was taking up 300MB+ on my system. I close all tabs and it did not free any memory. Enough is enough. This is the primary reason I am ditching Firefox.
    4. The keyboard shortcuts are sane and there are lots of them.
    5. It is more standards compliant than Firefox.
    6. It now works with maps.google.com.
    7. Did I already mention that it was fast?

  • Cookie control? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by nfarrell ( 127850 )
    After quickly looking through v9 I can't see how you can set the default lifetime for cookies to the current session. Sure, there's a nice interface for viewing current cookies, but for me this is a showstopper. Too many sites use cookies to operate, and I'm happy to have them track me for a few minutes, but not between sessions.

    Still, competition is good, and this is certainly good competition.
  • Additional links (Score:5, Informative)

    by zxSpectrum ( 129457 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @03:54AM (#14667730) Homepage Journal

    Here are some additional links with more information and screenshots, so you won't have to wade through all of the Opera forums to find them:

    • Re:Additional links (Score:3, Informative)

      by puke76 ( 775195 )
      Lets not forget the Kiosk feature [opera.com], giving you command line switches to lock down the browser for an internet cafe or kiosk. Firefox is extremely difficult to lock down in this way, and requests for similar features have been turned down by the developers.
  • by Elitist_Phoenix ( 808424 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @03:55AM (#14667737)
    This was released yesterday, you could have gotten it from snapshot.opera.com This is also when I submitted the story using the new browser wth links to the change log. Though it seems you only get stories posted by Scuttlemonkey if you have a paypal account.

    2006-02-07 13:35:26 New Opera Preview Out (Index,Software) (rejected)
  • I downloaded the stable Opera 8.5 a few days ago, and I have to say (as a current Firefox on Windows user) that Opera has an awful lot going for it. It's fast and seems a lot less bloated and quirky than Firefox, plus I've been finding a few features I really like.

    But the one issue that kind of blows it for me is the page zooming. I happen to be one of the many people who due to eyesight issues often increase the browser's text size. One thing I love about Firefox over IE is that it has an easy hot key t

  • I wonder if they have added the relativly simple config option, that when you close tab N, it moves focus to tab N-1 - apparently there have been some sort of political movenment against adding this open - the mind boggles.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @04:41AM (#14667907)

    Been using this now and tried to find all the hidden goodies, and here's my few tips. Note that all shortcuts mentioned are only tested on Windows:

    • Right-click in a search field and select "Create search" to define a new search with a shortcut. The shortcut can now be used at the address bar just like "g define:slashdotted" can.
    • You can press "F2" and type "slashdot" and you will go to http://slashdot.org/ [slashdot.org]
    • CTRL-B is a keyboard shortuct for Paste & go
    • F12 gives you a Quick Preferences menu
    • Tools-> Preferences-> Advanced-> Shortcuts-> Mouse setup-> Edit-> Application will give you the mouse gestures. I changed "GestureUp" to this: "Enter fullscreen & view address bar, 2 | leave fullscreen & Go" , changed "GestureDown, GestureUp" to "Wand" and added "GestureLeft, GestureRigth" to be "Stop"
    • On any page, hit "." (dot) to get a non-intrusive search on the page
    • Right-click on the page and try the "Block Content.." function, it's very nicely implemented
    • You can create your own buttons [nontroppo.org]
    • Create your own Widgets [opera.com] using HTML, CSS, JavaScript, SVG and AJAX, and they _should_ work on all platforms the TP2 is available on.
    • I like Tools-> Preferences-> General-> '[ ]Show close button on each tab' to make the interface less cluttered, and rather use my middle-button to close tabs.

    Hm.. well that's what I've found so far :)
  • Something that's not mentioned is the new UI for the "content blocker". Click somewhere on a page and select "Content blocker..." from the context menu, then all HTML elements on the page is faded besides those that are blockable and you can click on to block/unblock (it's a toggle). If you want more flexibility, you can, while in that "blocker" mode, click on the "Details" button on the toolbar to customize the wildcard matching as you wish. When you're done, just click OK and the matching elements will be
  • by ceeam ( 39911 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @07:42AM (#14668415)
    Check it out dudes - amongst widgets they include bash.org reader (by Opera!). Can you imagine this in MSIE or even FF? What's next? - out-of-the-box porn grabber? Those guys are cool, I guess... (And they know how to program effectively).

The only thing worse than X Windows: (X Windows) - X