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Opera 10 beta 1, released today, has expandable tabs -- drag a bar beneath the tabs and they become thumbnails. The browser is also much faster, easily beating Firefox 3.0.10 in speed, and giving Microsoft's Internet Explorer 8 a run for its money.  (Source: DailyTech)

The browser's only glaring weakness is its handling of Javascript/Flash blocking. Unlike Firefox's NoScript, blocking Javascript in Opera 10 remains an all or nothing affair. If you block Javascript, you block ads often, but you'll also block content, as seen here on  (Source: DailyTech)
A test drive of Opera 10 shows it to be shaping up to be a very impressive release

Though still young in the development cycle, Opera 10, which hit the web today in beta 1 form, is shaping up to be a potentially must-have release for Windows, OS X, and Linux users alike.  The smoking fast browser packs some great innovations and puts older competitors, like Firefox 3 on notice.

First of all, the new browser uses advanced compression technology to deliver better performance on low bandwidth connections like public Wi-Fi, dial-up, or throttled connections.  Secondly, the browser is compatible with the highest current web standards.  Built on the Opera Presto 2.2 engine, it scores a perfect 100/100 on the Acid3 compatibility test.  The new engine adds Web Fonts support, RGBA/HSLA color, SVG improvements, and more.

Where the browser truly shines is its speed.  It loads pages extremely fast.  DailyTech took it for a spin on a Fedora 10 desktop installation, to try some page loads. loaded in 1.2 seconds in Opera 10 beta 1, versus approximately 2.2 seconds in Firefox 3.0.10.  Likewise, (via CNN) had first and second load speeds of 4 seconds and 1 seconds in Opera, versus 11 seconds and 9 seconds in Firefox.  It may not sound like much, but like Internet Explorer 8, the difference over Firefox's latest build is noticeable -- and Opera 10 even appears to surpass IE 8 in load speeds.

One improved feature of the release is Speed Dial, an exclusive Opera feature which allows you to see and pick from your favorite sites when opening a new tab.  Refined, it now supports up to 25 favorites, and the ability to set custom backgrounds.  Opera 10 also adds nicer integration with web mail clients like Gmail.

Another highlight-reel addition is the ability to resize your tabs.  By dragging a bar beneath the tabs downwards, the tabs become tiny thumbnail screenshots of the page.  While primarily a graphical effect, it certainly adds "wow" factor to the browser, and gives it a decidedly next generation feel.  The effect resembles the "Windows Peek" feature in the upcoming Windows 7.

Other additions include an impressive inline spell checker.  Also, if you want a lightweight email client, akin to Microsoft Outlook or Mozilla Thunderbird, Opera sports a refined version of Opera Mail.  And for developers, the new browser packs a new and improved version of Opera Dragonfly.  The new version includes tools to edit the DOM and inspect HTTP headers of pages you're debugging.

The only real disappointment here is security/ad-blocking.  While popup blocking is a breeze, it'd be nice to see a bit more selective JavaScript and Flash blocking, along the lines of NoScript.  Currently it’s easy to block scripts on a site, but blocking via the menus is an all or nothing affair, making it impractical for sights that use JavaScript for content you actually want.

While the official release of Opera 10 may be some time away, the browser is already shaping up impressively.  Ultra-fast and packing a great set of features, the browser definitely will lure away some Firefox users, and maybe even a few Safari or IE 8 users.  It’s definitely worth a download, if only to take it for a quick test ride.

Update 1:
There is a good way to block ads after-all, that's actually been around since Opera 9.  To access it, right click anywhere on a page that doesn't have linked content.  Then select "Block Content" then proceed to click on all content you want block (ads) and finally click "Done" on the top of the page.  White space will appear for a bit, but reloads will fix this.  Also you can use .ini filters to further block ad content.

Also, Mozilla currently is beta testing Firefox 3.5, which is expected to deliver substantial speed improvements.  Expect an upcoming article to look at speed between all the browsers' latest betas or releases.

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I always liked Opera...
By Bender 123 on 6/3/2009 2:08:47 PM , Rating: 5
I always liked the Opera Browser, but it will have to be something truly special to drive me from Chrome...As I type this in an IE 6 window at the old job...(sigh...)

I just think Opera has fallen so far off the pace of human consciousness, that it will be near impossible to overcome Firefox/IE. Chrome can overcome because of Google, but what/who will push Opera?

RE: I always liked Opera...
By Luticus on 6/3/09, Rating: -1
RE: I always liked Opera...
By cyriene on 6/3/2009 2:35:43 PM , Rating: 3
Mozilla whined too...

RE: I always liked Opera...
By Luticus on 6/3/09, Rating: -1
RE: I always liked Opera...
By invidious on 6/3/2009 3:04:02 PM , Rating: 5
Yes unfortunately Opera suffered from the "my friend who is a real wiz with computers says that firefox is the best browser" issue. Misinformation and a general lack of awareness has hindered its market growth.

Personally I think Opera is the better browser. I like not having to install addons, the looks, the low memory footprint, and of course the speed.

RE: I always liked Opera...
By Luticus on 6/3/2009 3:29:39 PM , Rating: 3
I also prefer Opera to Firefox. On my Debian machine Firefox seemed a bit unstable, even when I loaded the 3.0 release. YouTube seemed to crash a bit, don't know if it was just my machine or a bad install or what but I can say that Opera works fine.

RE: I always liked Opera...
By stmok on 6/3/2009 8:06:39 PM , Rating: 3
(1) It isn't you.
(2) It isn't Debian.
(3) It isn't your machine.

Its because there are odd issues when you have Firefox 3.0.x with Adobe Flash. In that combination, Firefox seems to crap itself under certain situations. (I removed Flash, and noticed everything is solid.)

I've only used Opera 9.6 on slower Linux boxes (Celeron "Tualatin" 1.2Ghz and 1.4Ghz), but there is a noticeable difference with Youtube.

Opera is smoother in playback compared to Firefox. Firefox starts off smooth, but then after a bit, it gets jerky. This corresponds with the occasional "100% CPU usage" spikes. I don't see that issue with Opera. (Even though CPU usage remains about 90% during playback).

This is with Debian Stable, Ubuntu 9.04 (command line install), Vector Linux, Arch Linux, etc.

Then again, Adobe Flash just sucks in Linux. Damn you Adobe! Damn you! The world longs for the day to rid ourselves of this nonsense! HTML v5...

Currently, I just use DownloadHelper Extension in Firefox to download the flash videos. Playing it back on VLC or MPlayer uses 2/3rds less CPU.

RE: I always liked Opera...
By Luticus on 6/4/2009 8:53:41 AM , Rating: 2
I really like Opera in Linux, the only reason I even bothered to try it out was because Firefox kept bombing every time I'd go visit YouTube. I will say that I'm really glad I did try it though, now it's one of the first things I download and install on any 'nix machine I set up.

I'm also wondering how Chrome will run on 'nix.

Also, I'm really glad it's not me, my machine, or Debian though. I was starting to wonder if I had something incorrectly configured.

Download/playback is a good solution but for me it's just too much work to go through in order to watch stupid videos with guys lighting their junk on fire or doing other stupid things. I think the show Jackass get's its clips of people doing stupid things from YouTube, or maybe collegehumor... who knows.

RE: I always liked Opera...
By grant2 on 6/3/2009 4:30:34 PM , Rating: 4
Amen to that. Firefox has a marketing army of dedicated nerds to get it out there.

Opera's just struggling on its own... the REAL underdog. (despite, imho, being the best of the bunch)

RE: I always liked Opera...
By FaceMaster on 6/3/2009 10:02:44 PM , Rating: 2
Well, I don't really care that much about which browser I use. They all feel about the same to me, but I'm more familiar with firefox now and it seems to work well, with the exception of the 100% cpu problem once every blue moon. I'm slightly more familiar to the little quirks you get with firefox, and I end up doing things on other browsers that end up not doing what I want them to do because of my familiarity with firefox.

It's a browser, it views web pages. After 10000 different versions I think they're all becoming pretty polished by now. I don't care about supporting the under dog, I just want something I can get used to. Much like Windows XP. And anybody who says that I should care, or that I'm a noob, can just keep it to themselves, since I'm happy the way I am.

RE: I always liked Opera...
By quiksilvr on 6/3/2009 10:54:26 PM , Rating: 2
It may have the edge on speed and memory, but it doesn't have the edge on add-ons and extensions. That's what makes Firefox great; you can make it your own. I have been using Chrome 2.0 Beta (is it really a Beta? its more stable and faster than the official one) and use that for its sheer speed and low memory, but when I need my add-ons and extensions (Adblock Plus, DownloadHelper, DownThemAll), I use Firefox 3.

And Firefox 3 really cut down on its memory usage when compared to Firefox 2 and I can't wait until Firefox 4 comes out and makes another amazing jump.

RE: I always liked Opera...
By Oregonian2 on 6/3/2009 4:36:18 PM , Rating: 3
I love firefox because of the plugins. They are plentiful and many are wonderful.

For example, I can go to any of many dozen major food-related websites and can "extract" a recipe (including photo) by clicking ONE button (on a plugin generated toolbar), and then I can export it to my MasterCook recipe program equally instantaneously. So incredibly useful. And that's just one example.

RE: I always liked Opera...
By kkwst2 on 6/3/2009 5:36:20 PM , Rating: 2
I use a (seemingly) similar program for managing research publication citations, called Zotero. It far exceeds commercial alternatives like Reference Manager. If I could only get my colleagues to switch, I would completely get rid of Reference Manager.

It's styles database is actually far more accurate and current than the commercial products.

This and XMarks keep me on Firefox, though XMarks has now been ported to other browsers.

RE: I always liked Opera...
By tdawg on 6/3/2009 5:49:23 PM , Rating: 3
Yeah, I can't live without the AdBlock extension for Firefox.

RE: I always liked Opera...
By tdawg on 6/3/2009 5:50:34 PM , Rating: 3
Forgot to add, GreaseMonkey is great too. I don't think that's available on any of the other browsers, but I could be wrong. The extensions are what keep me coming back to Firefox. If not for them, I would probably be a Chrome user most of the time.

RE: I always liked Opera...
By Luticus on 6/4/2009 9:03:45 AM , Rating: 2
For me, I never got the whole plug-in argument. I think people are trying to make browsers into something there not. Personally I want a browser to quickly open (NO LOADING TIME), show me the webpage I want (without cluttering up my screen space with 9,000 tool bars), support tabs, download stuff, be secure, and maybe have an FTP client built in.

I guess I can see the customization side of it, because I’m always a fan of customization. It’s just in my opinion, and I’m obviously speaking only about my own preference here… anything more than the aforementioned in a browser, is too much.

RE: I always liked Opera...
By MScrip on 6/4/2009 6:56:52 PM , Rating: 2
None of the addons I use have toolbars cluttering the screen. They work their magic behind the scenes... doing things that I want them to do.

RE: I always liked Opera...
By Oregonian2 on 6/6/2009 3:15:34 AM , Rating: 2
Exactly, one can pick and choose only the ones one likes (out of a huge selection).

RE: I always liked Opera...
By poundsmack on 6/3/2009 4:39:52 PM , Rating: 1
I agree. I have always liked Opera to the likes of FireFox. I think XKCD sums up FireFox perfectly,

RE: I always liked Opera...
By sprockkets on 6/4/2009 12:00:34 AM , Rating: 2
Just remember that when FF was gaining traction, stealing all of Opera's features like pop up blocking and tabs, Opera costed money or was ad supported. They made it free to as not to fade into obscurity.

I like Opera, but being able to use FF in Windows and Linux and perhaps elsewhere is why I stick with it. Oh, wait, I can do that with Opera too. I use Opera on Linux for speed or when I'm sick of how FF misbehaves.

RE: I always liked Opera...
By icanhascpu on 6/4/2009 6:42:43 AM , Rating: 1
I like not having to install addons, the looks, the low memory footprint, and of course the speed.

Choice isnt a burden.

Who says you HAVE to install addons? Opera is great for an all-in-one package, but all in one means you have to reply on the single way Opera does things instead of getting to choose from several ways and deciding on what way is best for you.

Ive used Opera for years, and it seems to like to do strange things with some websites, just refusing to render them correctly and all I can do is either reinstall Opera or use another browser. I hope 10 changes alot.

By William Gaatjes on 6/5/2009 12:06:58 PM , Rating: 2
I don't want to support the EU vs. MS garbage at all, nor do I support companies that whine and try to win via legal action.

Got IE8 on my Win PC's...

You do realise that microsoft has used in the past uses far worse court tactics don't you ?

RE: I always liked Opera...
By cyriene on 6/3/2009 4:02:48 PM , Rating: 4
I don't know that Opera could ever overcome IE/FF but that won't keep me from using it. IE8 is ok but could never be my full time browser. And I still don't like FF much. I have Opera customized just the way I like it and it performs very well and quickly. Plus it is very stable. I usually have over 60 tabs open and it doesn't crash! The tab management is supperior to IE/FF hands down.

I don't have much experience with Chrome, but I use too much Google stuff as it is. I don't feel like I need to use anymore.

RE: I always liked Opera...
By Smilin on 6/3/2009 4:45:05 PM , Rating: 2
Can you crash a tab without taking down the whole browser like in IE8? (I'm told this is a feature of IE8 but I've never had it crash yet so I don't know).

RE: I always liked Opera...
By Belard on 6/4/2009 12:02:55 AM , Rating: 2
When FF 2.x came out and I wanted to stop using IE... I couldn't. I found myself using IE. I simply do not like FF... but It is a very good Browser, but I don't like its personality.

I then re-tried Opera at that time and I was able to drop IE - 2 years ago.

For those with Windows OS (including Vista) - Try the LIX 1.5 skin... very nice. Opera 10 has improved the looks as well.

RE: I always liked Opera...
By Griswold on 6/3/2009 4:39:38 PM , Rating: 5
Chrome? Holy cow, chrome blows donkey nuts! Dont get me wrong, chromium is good, thats why I sometimes use Iron - its like chrome without all the google spyware plus the ability to block ads.

RE: I always liked Opera...
By Bender 123 on 6/3/2009 4:59:36 PM , Rating: 2
Indeed, but its stable, fast and clean. You could debate browsers all day and never come to a consensus...Coke vs Pepsi.

Non techies like IE because its "there"
Techies will debate the others, depending on their preferences...

RE: I always liked Opera...
By inighthawki on 6/3/2009 6:46:38 PM , Rating: 2
It really all boils down to what the person has been using, and like you said, their preferences. I've used firefox for years and don't plan on switching simply because the transition would require dealing with some new stuff. Why switch if you're perfectly satisfied with what you have? I have nothing against opera chrome or even IE, but I won't use them simply because i use firefox and all of my plugins are here.

RE: I always liked Opera...
By thartist on 6/3/2009 8:59:37 PM , Rating: 2
me too, but Opera has fallen especially out of users' world. IT IS NO LONGER DEVELOPING TOWARDS USERS, BUT AGAIN OTHER BROWSERS.

Non-Opera users are asking for some features that would make them switch -or come BACK- but developers don't care at the slightest.

They are blindly adding new features and 'innovation' that are taking them very high into the point of "i'm a genius but nobody likes me". And then they get jumpy about their user share and bark at everything. Not my fault.

Ok, flame.
or enlighten me.

RE: I always liked Opera...
By Belard on 6/3/2009 11:57:32 PM , Rating: 2
I love Opera. I've used it on and on since before 2000. But when they drop the ads and decided to compete against Firefox, I've been using Opera for almost 2 years. There is only 1 or 2 sites I Must use IE (6), not including MS updates.

I recommend Opera to everyone. Its easy, fast, full featured (many for years) like zoom and its text find functions are unmatched. The spellchecker is a good and important addition.

As I type this, I have just downloaded Opera10b... The new feature set looks great. I don't usually run beta software but I have to try this out!

RE: I always liked Opera...
By bupkus on 6/4/2009 12:42:30 AM , Rating: 2
Chrome can overcome because of Google, but what/who will push Opera?

Don't know, let's ask Wolfram Alpha.

RE: I always liked Opera...
By Bender 123 on 6/5/2009 9:28:53 AM , Rating: 2
For a laugh ask it if its Skynet...Or if its better than Google.

RE: I always liked Opera...
By captchaos2 on 6/5/2009 5:12:26 PM , Rating: 2
Isn't Nintendo helping to push Opera on all of their Wii consoles?

"There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere." -- Isaac Asimov

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