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Monday, August 08, 2005

Goodbye Firefox, hello Opera!

You may have noticed the little Opera advert over on the right. It's there because I've switched from Firefox to Opera, and my internet experience is considerably better for it :-).

Now, I've been using Firefox since summer 2003, when it was Firebird 0.6.1, and back then it was simply the best browser around - much better than IE - and I'd been using it ever since.

However, this spring, Asa Dotzler, Mozilla's Q&A chief, made a series of slurs against the Opera web browser. As these went on (becoming more and more unfair), I decided to give Opera a spin to see if what he was saying was true. I was sure I'd try and it leave it.

Well, I installed and started Opera and I've never opened Firefox again. The difference in the quality of the code is simply stunning, but that's the difference between hobbyists (open source/free software) and professionals (proprietary software). You get what you pay for, I guess.

I must say, I don't miss Firefox's constant security alerts, which inevitable mean downloading the whole 4.7MB file and then re-installing. Nor do I miss the gigantic memory leak, which lead to versions since 1.0 crashing every few days (Opera runs for weeks between restarts). The memory leak also caused my 256MB system to page and hence thrash its disk horribly - I really don't miss that, and nor does my harddrive!

Opera is also better designed. Blake Ross might be a whizz programmer but he his only, what, 20, and that shows. Firefox has much better design choices than Mozilla, but Opera is better again. I can drag and drop tabs, force everything to open in one window, it remembers what tabs I had open between sessions... all without having to install a myriad of extensions, many of which were rather flaky. Those are, btw, all things Ross and Ben Goodger chose not to implement, despite heavy pressure to do so in the Mozillazine forums (a place I quickly bored of when it was clear the developers had no intentions of listening to our pleas). Yet Opera also has preferences that are, if anything, easier to navigate and understand.

Firefox is undoubtedly "hip", "trendy" and "cool". But let's get one thing straight: it's also crap.

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Comments:
Good for you ... I totally agree with you, also.
 
Great to hear someone else has discovered what I consider to be the best piece of software on the planet :)

But I wouldn't go as far as calling Firefox crap - not only because that's bound to get the fanboys frothing at the mouth, but because FF is also a good piece of software, and I'd much rather have people using FF than IE... Opera works for me (apparently for you as well) and I'd encourage anyone to give it a try, but don't uninstall FF just yet, it does come in handy and, depending on your personal needs and preferences, it might be the better browser for you.

Use both, compare, use whichever one you prefer more than the other one... but don't switch back to IE ;)
 
I prefer Opera myself, but as long as people don't use MSIE, I don't care. (Well unless they come up with a working version (as in supports standards and don't ignore web devs and web users))

http://my.opera.com/nicomen/journal/7
 
I totally agree. As the others have said though, don't uninstall Firefox just yet. A few sites actively block Opera and a few use outdated browser sniffing scripts that send Opera flawed code, resulting in a flawed page. Hopefully people will, like you, realize how good Opera really is,and stop the terrible browser discrimination. I'm watching waiting gleefully for the day!
 
Although I'm a Mac user I do agree on one point: FF is not as great as many people pretend it is...! Maybe it's not crap, but it's not the Holy Grail either...

I switched to Opera about 2 weeks ago and as much as I like it, I hate to say that it is as buggy as a shabby old carpet...! :(

Maybe this only concerns the Mac version...but considering all the problems described in the official Opera forums I kind of doubt it...
 
Well, Opera is very stable on Windows ... more stable than is FF, certainly here.
 
No program is perfect. IE isn't, Firefox isn't and Opera isn't. I just so happen to agree a lot more with the design of Opera than Firefox. It is like comparing humans. One is a forgotten and ignored son of a rich magnate. Spoiled to the core materially but yearning for love. The other is raised in a sort of anarcho-syndicalist commune or something. Split personality disorder looms, and frequent changes appear. The last one is brought up in a nucleus family. Set values, goals to achieve, no straying from the narrow path. Yet not perfect. They all have their merits and faults, and they are not alike.
 
"considering all the problems described in the official Opera forums"

Considering that you'll find lots of problems described in any forum for any piece of software you can't really judge Opera by posts in a forum.

You'll find complaints and problems in Mozilla forums too. And Safari. And OminWeb. And so on.
 
I think I'll say, Congratulations! :D
 
Just my personal experience, Opera has been rock solid on Windows since I first started using it at 3.x, but the Linux and Mac versions have taken time to shake down. The first Linux version was 5, and the first I felt I comfortable using was maybe 7.0 or 7.5. 8.0 on Linux is as stable as the Windows version. The Mac versions also seemed pretty unstable for a while, but seem to be settling down in the 8.x series.

(Disclaimer: I use Firefox 60-70% of the time on Windows and Linux and Safari 95% of the time on Mac OS. Make of that what you will.)
 
I believe this post has been linked to in the Opera forums and on an Opera blog - now we need it to go on some Firefox sites to get the opposite point of view :-).

I must just say though: I believe people should use whatever works for them, even if it's IE. Just be sure to try different things.
 
Dan,

Which Opera blog linked to it?
 
Some of Firefox's code might be shoddy, but you don't really have the basis for a fair comparison unless Opera Software just hired you.

Fair points against Firefox are:
- The update system.
- Single window mode.
- Drag/drop tabs.

All of the above are implemented/improved in the next version, which hopefully we'll see sometime in the next millenium.

Your comments about Asa seem a bit silly though. I'm not sure if I can find any cases where something he claimed was factually incorrect or wrong. Wording things to have a little jab at others is what adults with a sense of humour do.
 
I completely agree with you Dan. I don't understand what all the fuss is about with Firefox. A good browser, but Opera is just years ahead. :)

David
 
I do not agree with you a bit.

it is my 10th year on the net.
have seen and used, lynx, mosaic, netscape, internet explorer, opera, mozilla and firefox.

opera was always a fringe player, will remain so. I am not happy with the plugin architecture and its extensionbility. I agree it was the first compact standard compliant browser.

maybe you should compare it with niche product like safari on Mac

we all knew Netscape was killed by AOL for Microsoft.

the mozilla team in its new avataar, is doing a good job, after few iterations of firefox, Micrsoft will wakeup to find a formiddable competitor.

i am regularly using firefox, thunderbird on windows and linux.

if you see your stats or any other stats, opera is not in top 3 browser.
 
I agree with most of your sentiments - but that slur against open-source software was uncalled for. Propietary software isn't _always_ better than open-source, is that what you're implying? Look at the beta of OpenOffice 2. It's absolutely brilliant, and works like a dream on my 256MB 1.2GHz laptop.

I do like and prefer Firefox, but I use Opera when Firefox gives up on me. I do admit that Firefox isn't perfect, and is rather slow.

I would prefer people to switch away from MSIE, however, and that is why I have Opera + Firefox + StopIE links on my blog.
 
> Propietary software isn't _always_ better than open-source, is that what you're implying? Look at the beta of OpenOffice 2. It's absolutely brilliant, and works like a dream on my 256MB 1.2GHz laptop. <

Yeah, and it also started out as proprietary software (StarOffice).
 
moeffju: Yes, and look at how much it's improved since then.
 
opera is fast and u can load 30-40 tabbed sites and it will still be fast, responive but with firefox even 10-15 seems to slow it down
 
Addendum
~~~~~~~~
August 30
four days after i wrote the comment on your blog(+ article on my blog), opera gave free registration code for opera on its anniversary for one full day.

September 20
It became official, opera will be giving adfree version as free,

This is one more instance, i was able to guage the trend/event before it was even apparent.

FYI I do not have any insider info, may be it was more intuition and reading some firefox bashing, which lead to the prediction :))

let the goodguys, be on the same side

senthil nayagam
 
Opera rocks. I'm forced to use FF for some apps, like FCKE editor... but Opera for everything else!
 
Whoa, it sounds like somebody has a 'tude. But it sounds like you're a middle-aged guy who remembers the good ol' days of his youth but wonders why modern youngsters are such slacker commies.

But you guys are probably a bit right about OpenOffice. A collaboration between free and proprietary software is probably in everyone's best interest. Take OSes, Windows is easy to use, but sucks. Unices are great, but have a tremendous learning curve. Then enters MacOS X, based on free operating systems, but enhanced to be easy to use. The best of both worlds with having Picard assimilated.
 
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