Monday, May 24, 2004

Why I won't be using Opera 7.5

I love Opera. It's a great browser, and I've known this for several years now. But I've never used it as my primary browser. Why is that, I ask myself. There are plenty of reasons that I should.

Just look at the emotional part. Opera is a Norwegian company. In fact, their offices are just up river from mine. Opera's CEO is Icelandic. So am I. Opera attempts to challenge Microsoft's awful IE. You gotta love that. But still I don't use their software.

Opera 7.5 is a lot more than a browser. It's also a mail-client, a news-reader and a RSS-reader. The browser part is pretty good, the mail-client is decent, the news-reader is not bad and the RSS-reader is, well, new.


Myself, I use Mac OS 10.3.3. Being a OS X user my options are more limited than win-tel user's are. But still I prefer other software. To make matters worse (for Opera, that is), I prefer to use four applications in place of Opera 7.5. The reason is pretty simple, or so I think after giving the matter some serious thought.


Opera browser vs. Safari - Safari is just better. It's faster, more intuitive, simpler and prettier. And free.

Opera browser vs. Mozilla Firefox - Again, Firefox is a better browser. It's roots go way back and the look and feel is something that just works for me. I've been using browsers since the days of Mosaic, and even though Firefox is a modern browser in every aspect the legacy is still there. It's a bit quirky and still in beta, but as a browser it beats Opera flat out.

Opera mail-client vs. mail.app - Opera Mail is feature-rich. As a matter of fact, the client has everything you'd want and then some more. It's head to head with Entourage feature-wise save the exchange-support in Entourage. But still I prefer the much simpler mail.app. Why is that? Well, I want my mail client to help me achieve some pretty simple tasks:

1. Get mail from mail-server
2. Store mail in a decent way
3. Send mail efficiently
4. Protect me from spam
5. Let me filter my mail
6. Be fast

mail.app does all that for me. As a bonus it's both stable and well integrated with the OS.

Opera news-reader vs. Mozilla Thunderbird- Thunderbird, the sibling of Firefox, is a mail- and news-client. It's a stand alone spin-off of the Mozilla mail-client. And that's the best part about it. It's standalone. Who says that one app has to do everything for you? Is it not a bit megalomaniac to think that your one app can beat a handful of specialized apps? Why is it better to have a go at doing everything half-hearted instead of focusing on doing one thing great? As you probably gathered by now, this is my punchline.

Opera tries to be everything for you in one app. And, IMHO, is beaten by specialized apps in every function. My advice to Mr. Tetzchner and his team is to focus on just developing a great browser. Work hard on creating Opera 8.0 - the best browser on the planet. Make it small, lean and fast. Less is more. If you have to keep you mail-client, newsreader and rss-reader then make them standalone.



and by the way.... your rss-reader does not support importing existing rss-feeds. So I didn't even bother trying it.