Ifeel that the Opera web browser is one of the most underappreciatedsoftware applications. Internet Explorer and Firefox frequentlyappear in news headlines. Opera only has the occasional worthymentioning buried in obscured articles. This is a sad truth because Opera is an exceptional web browser. Long before Mozilla’s Firefox, Opera features included: tab browsing, an integrated rss aggregator, IRC, mail client and session manager. Forget about Internet Explorer, Microsoft is just starting to include these features in their latest version and it’s still in beta. So why is it that there hasn’t been wide acceptance of Opera. I think money had a lot to do with it. Prior to version 8.0, Opera was available in two versions, a paid version or a free ad supported version. They were identical in every way but the ad supported version had an ad banner. However, that is not the case now. Once Opera was free for all, there was an explosion in the number of webusers downloading it.
So,what is so special about Opera? Well, it is packed with features and I mean packed. Firefox requires extensions to gain features whichcome standard with Opera. In Opera, users can drag and drop tabs(this feature was just added to Firefox in version 1.5+), view tabthumbnail by hovering the mouse over a tab, session manager, download manager and side panel. Opera is highly customizable, though it may involve editing user’s files. These files are located in the profile folder. It’s easy to add search engine shortcuts; the feature is very similar to the search keyword function in Firefox. Opera sports a one click clear private data feature, which was copied by Mozilla in Firefox 1.5+. Opera has astounding security and privacy features. Users can set preference for individual webpages. For instances, I often visit Daily Rotations webpage. I chose to allow popups and only accept cookies from the original website. And, I can do it for any website. I have never seen such granular control in any other web browser.
The latest stable version is Opera 8.54, but Opera 9.0 beta is available for download and testing. New features included in Opera 9.0 are improved support for BitTorrent, widgets and content blocking (Adblock). It is impossible to summarize all the latest additions toOpera. I highly recommend Opera and encourage you to take it for a drive.