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Rocky outcrop at sunset, Approx 27°56'15"S 119°38'17"E

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Why Opera?


A while ago I visited a web site that described the latest security flaw (long since fixed) in Internet Explorer. They even had a demonstration link I could click. When I clicked it, various windows flashed up on the screen, ending up at an open Command Prompt window which had just executed the "dir" command! That was horrifying. It could so easily have been "del /s c:\*.*" and wiped out my hard drive. Just from clicking a link on a web page!

I knew then that Internet Explorer just wasn't suitable for browsing the 'net. That particular fault may have been fixed, but I wanted a browser I could trust. For me, Opera is that browser.

Some other reasons why I use Opera:

I haven't mentioned Opera's revolutionary email-client/newsreader. This addition has tended to polarise Opera devotees and new-comers alike! Either you like it or you hate it. I do like it. It does need some work, though. If you try Opera the browser, give the email a try, but you may prefer to stick with whatever email program you're already using.


Why Not Opera?

I can't think of anything! Seriously, there used to be two major objections to Opera: ads and money. As of 2005-09-20 Opera is ad and cost free. No ads, no need to pay a cent!

If you'd still like to contribute financially, then get yourself some Premium Support. Otherwise, just use the built-in Google search facility, as Google pay Opera a few cents every time you use it.

Cost Analysis

I paid AUD$50 in December 2002 for my copy. That's still going today (May 2005), and most likely for the next year or two until version 9. Spread that out over the likely four years that $50 is going to last. Four years = 192(4×48) working weeks = 960 working days = 7680 working hours. Opera costs me $50÷7680 = $0.0065/hr.

Here's another way of looking at it. I can earn $50 doing an hour's work. I would need to work for less than half a second ($0.0065÷$50/hr×60min×60sec) every day for four years to pay for Opera. Or, rather than working, my use of Opera simply needs to save me less than half a second of work each day to pay for itself.

That could be time not waiting for a bigger browser update to download, or not dealing with pop-ups, or not cleaning up after spyware/malware, or not searching for and installing a multitude of extensions, or not waiting for non-integrated email and newsreader applications to start, or not needing to manually categorise and manage my emails (compared to other email applications).

Web Site Problems

Objectively, this is the biggest reason to not use Opera - the web sites that fail to work correctly when viewed with Opera. As a professional programmer, and as someone who's spent ten years doing web work on-and-off, I can say that even if Opera fixed all their bugs, most sites that currently fail would continue to fail. That's because the problem with most sites is with the site itself, not Opera. I've written about this at great length on my Opera compatibility pages.

If you're considering not using Opera because of this issue, then the best thing you can do is continue to use Opera. The only thing that will make more web sites pay any attention to Opera is if they get more visitors using Opera. Using a different browser is just giving web sites the message that they can continue to ignore Opera.

Opera Software are doing what they can to alleviate the problem. The first tool is a file called "ua.ini", which provides per-site browser identification settings. Simply changing the name Opera gives to web sites to identify itself is often all that's needed to make the site work. The ua.ini files makes it automatic. See my page Faking Browser IDs for more information.

The second tool is User Javascript, which runs a set of Javascript programs on every page you visit. Scripts can be written to modify web pages to make them work as intended, all automatically. I have a few such scripts on my User Javascript page, plus some links to other script collections.


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