Archive for July, 2005

Opera version mix-up

July 29, 2005 1 comment

There appears to be some confusion about the latest preview version number.

Opera released a couple of weeks ago version 8.02 Technical Preview (TP) 1 with BitTorrent support, it then released yesterday version 8.02 final without BitTorrent support.

However, today it released a second Technical Preview version that includes the 8.02 security enhancements and BitTorrent support, but Opera named it version 8.10 Technical Preview 2.

As it turns out, the first Technical Preview that contained BitTorrent should have been named version 8.1 Technical Preview 1 — not 8.02 TP, according to some in Opera.

Categories: Uncategorized

Opera to stop spoofing User Agent as IE

July 29, 2005 23 comments

In a step that should move Opera to a higher position on the browser usage statistics charts, Opera will change the default browser User Agent (UA) to identify itself as Opera – no more as Internet Explorer (IE).

Typically when the browser requests a webpage, it sends along with the request the browser User Agent. The User Agent contains the identification of the browser, usually the browser name and version (e.g. IE 6, Firefox, Opera 8.02, etc).

This is how many sites gather their statistics on browser usage.

For most sites Opera comes in very low on this usage list (not on Opera Watch though, more than 60% of the visitors use the Opera browser – no surprise there).

One of the reasons why these statistics show Opera with a lower browser usage than it should be is because the User Agent can be easily spoofed.

By default, Opera spoofs its User Agent and identifies itself as IE. Now granted Opera doesn’t have a large user base like IE and Firefox. Opera has between 10 and 15 million active users.

Opera identifies itself as IE, by default, because there are some sites that specifically lookout for the Opera browser, and supply it with broken HTML code for the webpage. To counter this, Opera identifies itself as IE.

Though I most say there are a lot less sites now that actively block Opera than in the past. Firefox, no doubt, helped raise more awareness for alternative browsers to those ignorant webmasters.

As a result of the spoofing, many sites undercount Opera users, making these statistics somewhat useless.

Now, however, Opera is moving in another direction with this regard. It will identify itself as Opera, by default, no longer will Opera pretend to be IE.

For those sites that still block out the Opera browser, Opera still has the ability to spoof the User Agent on a per site basis.

In Opera 8, Opera introduced a feature that allows users to report sites that don’t work properly in Opera (Firefox just copied this idea from Opera to its own browser).

Under some circumstances, Opera will spoof the User Agent for those sites to correct the problem.

Though I’m not sure why this change had to be done in a preview version.

Preview versions generally contain features that require testing, and aren’t ready to be included in a stable release.

The people who download preview and beta versions of the Opera browser most likely are aware of the default User Agent setting and change it to Opera. So what does Opera accomplish by introducing it in this preview version? They should have included this with the stable release of yesterday, version 8.02 final.

I was preparing to write about this very subject a couple of weeks ago, but it seems like Opera preempted me.

Opera looses out by not identifying as its true self.

If Opera were to identify as Opera, by default, less webmasters would target the Opera browser. We don’t see much targeting with the Firefox browser.

Opera has got to show up in a prominent place on these browser usage statistics to force webmasters to include Opera in their plans.

I hope this important change will have a positive effect on Opera. And I definitely expect to see Opera climb up in the browser statistics lists.

Kudos to Opera.

Categories: Desktop

Opera 8.1 Technical Preview released

July 29, 2005 3 comments

Opera released today a second technical preview version of its browser with BitTorrent support, version 8.10.

The preview is available for the Windows, Unix/Linux, and Mac platforms.

In this preview version Opera has improved its support for BitTorrent in the browser.

In addition Opera now identifies itself by default as Opera in the browser UserAgent (More on this in a future post).

Thanks to dantesoft for the heads up.

Categories: Desktop

Opera in Business 2.0 Magazine

July 28, 2005 3 comments

Business 2.0 Magazine is running an interview with Opera CEO Jon von Tetzchner in this month’s issue.

The interview is available online for subscribers of the magazine only. But thanks to one of the reporters employees at Business 2.0 — here is a snippet of the interview.

Om [Business 2.0]: That’s not much [Opera’s sales], given that Firefox has seen 67 million downloads in its first year and now claims mare than 8 percent of the desktop market, while you’re stuck at 1 percent.Jon: People have been laughing at us for a long time. We have been there from the days of Mosaic. When Netscape came along, people thought it was all over for us. Then there was Microsoft. So we are used to it. Firefox is getting a lot of publicity, but our business hasn’t stopped growing. We’ve grown from two employees to more than 200. To me, that’s pretty good.

Categories: Opera in the Media

Security updates force Opera to release version 8.02

July 28, 2005 6 comments

Opera released an update to its Opera 8 browser, version 8.02.

In this new version Opera fixed multiple security holes as well some minor browser improvements including better support for AJAX.

These security vulnerabilities were discovered by Secunia Research and were made public today — the same time an update was made available by Opera.

This version doesn’t contain BitTorrent support; Opera felt it needs more testing before it adds BitTorrent support to a stable release of Opera. A few weeks ago Opera released a Technical Preview version of the Opera browser that contains BitTorrent support.

ChangelogDownload 8.02.

Categories: Desktop, Security

Opera CEO on Podcast

July 27, 2005 1 comment

TWiT released a podcast containing an interview with Opera’s CEO, Jon von Tetzchner.

The interview lasted for a little over 15 minutes (it starts at about the 65 minute mark on the podcast).

Among the topics discussed were Microsoft’s anti-competitive practices towards the Opera browser, Firefox’s effect on the Opera browser, Opera’s mobile market, and what’s in store for the future browser.

He didn’t really want to discuss future features that are planned for the browser because of fears that Opera’s competitors might implement it first.

Categories: Interviews

Opera 8.02 final unofficially released

July 27, 2005 1 comment

Opera version 8.02 final has been unofficially released today.

Following the release of Opera 8.02 Technical Preview 1 a couple weeks ago, Opera has released today the 8.02 final on its FTP directory. Opera has not made any official announcement regarding these releases at this time.

The official changelog for Opera 8.02 will be posted here, when it’s made official.

This version doesn’t contain the BitTorrent support; Opera felt it needs more testing before it adds BitTorrent support to a stable release of Opera.

Note: At this moment there seems to be a problem with Opera’s FTP directory — so you may have to wait a bit.

Categories: Desktop