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Introducing "Ask Opera"

December 20, 2006

At last night’s Opera User meetup in Baltimore, we discussed how we could make Opera, the company, more open and transparent. This has been one of my big goals with blogging about Opera, and encouraging other Opera employees to blog too.

In the latest Tim’s Opera Bits issue, Tim solicited questions from his readers about Opera, which he will answer in the next issue. I like the idea so much, that I’m stealing it from him.

So without further ado, I introduce to you a new feature I’ll call “Ask Opera”.

The goal with Ask Opera is to get your questions about anything-Opera answered. You could ask about the desktop browser, Opera Mini, Opera Mobile, strategy, Opera Community, and whatever else is on your mind.

I’ll forward these questions to various individuals in the company (not PR), and get real answers. I’ll try to have each question answered by the one who is most knowledgeable in that subject. No one in the company is off limits, even the CEO (I hope he’s okay with it, I didn’t speak to him about this yet).

If Ask Opera takes off and does well, I hope to solicit a new set of questions every few weeks.

Please post your questions in the comments below.

Let’s get this off to a kicking start!

Edit: Don’t forget there’s a forum for your desktop wish list. I don’t think we’ll get anywhere if the Ask Opera feature becomes another form of a wish list.

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. December 20, 2006 at 4:48 pm

    Do parents in Norway really leave strollers w/babies outside of shops while they go in? How odd is that the level of safety is probably the same there as in the US (who really would be walking by that both wants a baby and is willing to take someone elses?), but the percieved level of safety is so different?

    …and how does this apply when thinking about browser security? lol. I’m kidding.

  2. SF
    December 20, 2006 at 4:49 pm

    So when can we see it?:)

  3. Aldo
    December 20, 2006 at 4:50 pm

    Right now, Opera’s desktop browser is attempting to do many things. In addition to rendering web pages, the desktop browser is also an email client, Widget platform, and RSS reader.

    While basic RSS support may be a necessity for modern browsers, the inclusion of an email client and Widget capability appear to be mostly a distraction. There are plenty of better email clients (that are free) and also better Widget implementations (that are free). Why is development time being spent on these features?

    (Note that Opera’s “Widget world cup” has yielded a pretty disappointing harvest–mostly little games and rinky-dink distractions. Considering that widgets are already standard on the Mac, and are soon to be in Windows, there’s little reason to have them in Opera as well.)

  4. jeff
    December 20, 2006 at 5:00 pm

    2 questions. will opera ever consider changing the browsers name?

    second, is there a possibility opera will make a umd or download (free or paid) for the psp

  5. December 20, 2006 at 5:03 pm

    ..but seriously folks:

    How is Opera doing? I notice a ton of job openings in many different sites- new device/mobile announcements are coming out all the time, the curious can even check the stock exchange, so clearly things are going well for Opera ASA. How comfortable are you with where the products are? What deserves the brundt of effort, what are you most happy with…What’s the focal point for Opera in for 2007?

    Basically- I’m looking for something like a 2006 reflection and a New Year’s resolution from Opera for 2007.

  6. December 20, 2006 at 5:22 pm

    We had Opera 7.54, 8.54… Odd question: will be there 9.54 to be consistent? 🙂

  7. December 20, 2006 at 5:30 pm

    How guys and girls in Opera Software read e-mails? How many of them use beutiful Opera Mail (M2) client?
    How guys and girls in Opera Software read neews feeds? How many of them use Opera for this task?

  8. Ryan
    December 20, 2006 at 5:31 pm

    Great idea! 😀

    I guess my first question could be a bit more rhetorical than just asking about Opera in general, but I think I have some good points to bring up.

    On the last poll on Opera Watch, most people chose the option to have Opera more configurable than it is right now over the other options. However, I’m not really sure if these people knew how to were not familiar with the configuration options Opera currently has. If this is the case, would it be better for Opera to have a simpler interface in that regard? The preferences dialog is very cluttered right now (as was suggested in a forum topic that I cannot find right now) and many have no idea that opera:config exists. Do you think it would be smart to integrate the two somehow and lay out the options in a way that more people can find/understand them?

    My second question is about Opera’s strategy, concerning integration between Opera on devices and the desktop. I saw from your video interview with Opera’s CEO that Opera plans to have a synching service available in the future between all the browsers. Do you have any more information when we can see this or about the service in general? (I know you probably do, but if you can tell us more about it, that would be nice. 😀 ) I think it’s a great idea to introduce people to Opera’s other platforms than the one’s they currently use and would help bring more people into the community.

    Hopefully you can answer some of my questions and I hope I’m not being too nitpicky. Thanks for the opportunity. 🙂

  9. December 20, 2006 at 5:44 pm

    +1 on Ryans question about the Mobile/Desktop integration.

  10. December 20, 2006 at 5:46 pm

    The only thing which bothers me about Opera at the moment: How difficult is it really to implement a GTK based interface?

    I’d really love to see Opera integrating perfectly into my desktop environment.

  11. December 20, 2006 at 5:48 pm

    I just remembered another question: Will Opera (desktop browser) ever become Open Source?

    (Sorry for the doubled posting.)

  12. Farhan
    December 20, 2006 at 6:04 pm

    Awsome,

    Is there any chance of categories for rss feeds ? that’s the only thing i find lacking and for which i have to use feedemon. I still do use 10-15 feeds in opera and it’s excellent but it get’s unmanagable if it’s more then 20-30 feeds.

    Also would love to have a Stop Updating feeds button, instead of having to press Stop Button several times.

    That’s it 🙂

  13. Ryan
    December 20, 2006 at 6:05 pm

    @ Mathias,

    About Opera going Open Source, here is a story that was recently released on Opera Watch that Opera probably won’t do so. 🙂

    http://operawatch.com/news/2006/10/why-opera-isnt-planning-on-going-open-source.html

  14. tamster
    December 20, 2006 at 6:36 pm

    +1 to Farhan’s question – categories (folders) are really needed

  15. Tropos
    December 20, 2006 at 6:50 pm

    When can we expect GPG support for M2?

  16. December 20, 2006 at 7:13 pm

    It may be that I have never been able to find it, but why is there no button to empty the trash? I always have to go to Mail and then right click.
    Thanks

  17. Bill
    December 20, 2006 at 7:19 pm

    M2 – when will it be given the resources needed to make it the premier mail/new/feed client it has the potential to be. It seems that other than enhancing imap to make it more usable with the mini variants the product has pretty much stayed stagnant over the last couple of years.

    Also, why is the bug reporting system closed to those who make submittals?

  18. December 20, 2006 at 11:30 pm

    When we will see new good repository for User JavaScripts?
    userjs.org is very dead for a long time.

  19. December 20, 2006 at 11:49 pm

    Y’all should be aware that you’re unlikely to get answers to questions about future releases or plans. We just don’t disclose that information.

  20. Ryan
    December 20, 2006 at 11:59 pm

    I figured that. Guess I’ll have to wait and see about my questions. 😀

  21. December 21, 2006 at 2:48 am

    Are there still developers assigned to the Chat client? A few years ago, there were hints that it would be expanded to include logging and Jabber support, but we have not seen any developments on it since about v7.5

  22. Sundiver
    December 21, 2006 at 4:23 am

    I currently have Opera Mobile for S60 and, while I love it for its stability and very good page rendering, I like some features of Nokia’s S60 3rd Edition browser better (“mouse”, minimap, etc.)… I end up using them both! 🙂 When will Opera Mobile 9.0 be launched and what new features will be included?

  23. Blah
    December 21, 2006 at 7:45 am

    Is there any particular reason for deciding to store each received RSS/mail item into a separate file in Opera 9, which for many people equates 50.000-150.000 new files yearly, and which in turn does some of the worst possible things to one’s file system? What was the reasoning behind that decision?

    I’m still on 8.54 for that reason, and will likely continue using it because I don’t fancy installing a new, standalone feed reader. Quick searching the Opera forums shows that I’m not alone in this (the majority of the people aren’t aware of what’s going on, though).

  24. Blah
    December 21, 2006 at 7:47 am

    Pay no attention to 8.51, I just found out that I forgot to update the user agent string in APS (since Opera 8 doesn’t have NTLM support)…

  25. EC
    December 21, 2006 at 9:25 am

    Will Opera include an IM client within the browser? Something that you can configure with any (standards-compliant) Instant Messaging protocol? Similar to their email, chat (IRC) clients, it would make sense to incorporate this type of client, I would presume.

  26. Paul
    December 21, 2006 at 10:22 am

    I’m interested in a bit more information about the forthcoming Nintendo Wii browser – for instance, why the delays with it? I’m surprised it won’t be fully ready until next spring. Also, why is it going to be charged for (from July) when the desktop version is free and most people expect things like that to be free. Is it Nintendo or Opera who have pushed for it not to be free? It seems a shame. Anything else you have to say about it will be appreciated, although of course I realise I’ll be able to see a demo version of it tomorrow for myself when it’s released!

    Not much else to ask – I love Opera so I haven’t got any ‘gripes’ to raise or anything really!

  27. December 21, 2006 at 5:27 pm

    »@ Mathias,

    About Opera going Open Source, here is a story that was recently released on Opera Watch that Opera probably won’t do so.«

    Thanks for the link.

  28. Hmm
    December 21, 2006 at 5:35 pm

    @ Aldo

    > the inclusion of an email client and Widget
    > capability appear to be mostly a distraction.

    The e-mail client has been there for more than ten years, and widgets are just web pages and so make sense in a browser.

    > There are plenty of better email clients (that
    > are free) and also better Widget
    > implementations (that are free).

    Better? That is a matter of opinion.

    > Considering that widgets are already standard
    > on the Mac, and are soon to be in Windows,
    > there’s little reason to have them in Opera as
    > well.

    Can you use those widgets anywhere? On your phone too? On your Wii? 😉

  29. December 21, 2006 at 5:50 pm

    Y’all should be aware that you’re unlikely to get answers to questions about future releases or plans. We just don’t disclose that information.

    Looks like I have to go on with my inofficial Roadmap ;-). I got a quite good match for Opera9.1.

    For Opera mobile I expect Opera9 core will be introduced in March/April next year for the major platforms (Windows mobile/PPC, S60 etc) with lots of improvements (Widgets!!!). The same time I expect the first trials with synchronizing profiles between desktop and mobile (probably via my.opera.com).

  30. December 21, 2006 at 7:21 pm

    ResearchWizard, I don’t know if you have seen widgets running on a phone. We have done a couple of demos… (Like Tim says, we generally don’t discuss dates etc. I have it even easier, because I generally avoid finding out about them 🙂 ).

  31. Ryan
    December 21, 2006 at 9:26 pm

    Gah, I think I need to change my college major to computer science just so I can work for Opera. I want to know more about what’s going on over there. (Although civil engineering might be helpful to get more cell phone, maybe even WiMAX, towers up……) 😀

    Oh, and chaals, I like the browser version you are using. When’s it coming out? 😛

  32. December 22, 2006 at 3:09 am

    Well, all I really want to know about is Opera 10. I can’t stop thinking about it… The anticipation is almost as bad as when I was dreaming of an Opera 7 beta… 😉

    Of course, since I’m not likely to get any tidbits about the next major release, I’ll simply ask this: Is a development project planned to create a cross-platform menu API for the desktop browser? Right now, as I’m sure you are aware, you get a context menu when you right-click on a bookmark in the Bookmarks menu in the Linux version (screenshot). In the Windows version, however, nothing happens when you right-click on a bookmark in the menu. For some strange reason there are a lot of people who want to manage their bookmarks by right-clicking in the Bookmarks menu (such as add new, rename, and delete bookmarks).

    And a big thank you for doing this for us (assuming no one tells you to cut it out). I just hope that you didn’t bite off more than you can chew with this…

  33. December 22, 2006 at 8:35 am

    Have you ever thought about making other Internet related programs like a VoIP or an instant messenger program?

  34. December 22, 2006 at 2:44 pm

    Hi Charles,
    I really appreciate your comment. I haven’t seen Opera on a phone (except on a WM2003SE MDA compact which is more PDA than phone). I own a good old Nokia 6210 not even capable of Java.

    Although I’m not watching the development of Opera mobile for phones too much, it is pretty easy to see on the download page that the newest version is 8.65 which is not capable of normal Widgets. But long before Widgets have been publicly mentioned there has been Opera Platform and there was (and is?) some information and a demo on the Opera pages. I have read pretty often that Widgets will run on mobile devices and it makes perfect sense thinking of Widgets being the incarnation of Opera Platform.

    For the dates etc it seems obvious that even Opera developers don’t know about them. WIR as usual (When Its Ready). But all the publicly available information in the interviews and comments of Opera employees and following the development of Opera and other browsers makes the strategy, features and timeline emerge in my head. Normally I use this knowledge only to answer questions, but with my Opera blog I often deliver the information just to get it out of my head.

    I’m sure the day will come I’ll be completely wrong because I don’t have insider information. And it would be less than half that challenging if the information would be easy available.

    Christian

    PS: You are completly destroying my prediction that there will be Opera9.5 by using Opera10 🙂 Well, I still believe there will be a 9.5.

  35. Jon-Thomas
    December 22, 2006 at 3:30 pm

    Hi. I have a technical problem with opera email. I have set Opera up to download my email from an imap server, but I am not able to delete emails. I found others having the same problem on the Opera forums, but no answer there, except for downgrading which I don’t want to do. Would you be kind to forward this to someone working with imap on the email client (Windows, desktop platform)? Cheers 🙂
    Jon-Thomas

  36. neanderlander
    December 23, 2006 at 12:59 pm

    Open up Opera ( and i don’t mean the source) by letting parts of Opera interact with external sources and services. make opera less filesystem based, more connected. Some illustrations to explain the idea:

    Use cases:
    i have a webserver that keeps track of everything i do (it uses RDF/XML and it’s auto detects a lot of context so i don’t have to do much myself, kinda cool actually).
    When using Opera, i’d like to use the ‘copy to note’ function. Opera could send the ‘note’ to my server and wait for it’s response. That response in my case is some tagging options and some projects i’m working on. Opera then let’s me interact with the response and sends the result back to my server.
    When i open the ‘notes’ panel, opera should/could retrieve a list from my webserver.

    Same principle could be used for my address books, email, etc.

    Also: let opera export it’s settings to an online server so i can simply download and install opera wherever i am and use my cfg. It would maybe also make it possible to share settings across platforms.

    Also: let opera archive to a webserver. It keeps opera files small and few while still having complete archives available.

  37. December 25, 2006 at 1:08 pm

    @Jon-Thomas: Please see my reply in that thread.

    @Ryan: We have plenty of positions available: http://www.opera.com/company/jobs/.

  38. December 26, 2006 at 11:52 am

    I have two fundamental questions:

    1. Is development of M2 discontinued? You gave up to only-the-browser people? There were no updates from a long time. M2 is superior but there is need to improve it further, there are still many ideas for very useful improvements, even truly revolutionary enhancements. There’s plenty more on the Wishlist.

    2. Opera has a tremendous number of very handy little features and made a great effort to integrate them simlessly, in non-intrusive way into default configuration – that’s Opera’s major competitive advantage. However most users know only a little fraction of the features. Many people (often refusing to use Opera) think Opera Suite is just about integrated mail client, chat and RSS and know nothing about all the handy tiny features. Lastly, I’ve heard a lot of people who claim they’ve used Opera and it doesn’t contain anything special over other browsers.
    As shown above – Opera’s tremendous potential is wasted because users do not know what is so great about Opera even when they try using it.

    My question is: Are you going to do anything about that – create an easy way people can learn how to efficiently use Opera?
    Based on my long-time users observations I strongly believe Opera should much more actively help user discover its handy features.
    For start look at my post – e.g. Tips panel doesn’t sound bad, neither intrusive, does it? I have more smooth ideas in this subject, if you’re interested.

  39. December 26, 2006 at 7:07 pm

    When will the M2 Mail/News/RSS client get some attention, my feelings are, that nothing has changed much since Opera 7, and it’s in need of some desperate work to bring it upto scratch, for example being able to catagorise RSS and Newsgroups, and other ways to manage large amounts of news sources. It’s unfortunate, but if you use Opera as a www/mail/news client, things can tend to get VERY slow, much better M2 multi-tasking is required, as locks are very common 😦

  40. December 29, 2006 at 5:18 am

    Daniel, please accept comment I send a moment ago.
    I know for English-languaged people it’s smaller problem, because they can download English classic installer, but for Polish users and of all other languages this is a problem.

    Also, I wanted to point out in the post that the stategic choice of MSI installer as default might not be good even for English-languaged people – they have to look for so called “classic installer”, if they want to install 2 Operas or more. It’s counter-intuitive.

    (please do not accept the comment you are reading right now of course)

  41. December 29, 2006 at 8:46 am

    Question not related to browser, but Opera service.
    What the point of outdated OperaMail service? ( operamail.com )
    And it still propose “premium” accounts with “25 MB of space” for $29.99 a year! Hmmm…

  42. December 29, 2006 at 2:43 pm

    A third question, about a crucial issue – do you realize and intend to fix the problem that there is no way for easy upgrade of multiple Opera installations?

    The only installer with non-English Opera is of MSI-kind. It has a huge bug. Only during first installation there is a choice to Upgrade or select New Installation. Upon next run of MSI installer, after one installation completed, there is only choice to Repair or Remove last installation of Opera – there is no way to choose Upgrade another installation.

  43. December 31, 2006 at 2:16 pm

    When will operamail.com and portal.opera.com be updated?

  44. January 5, 2007 at 5:57 am

    Ok let’s try this again… Sorry bout that…. Anyway does opera plan anytime in the near future to release a version of opera mobile for the new samsung A-707 sync? if not is there a version for another phone that would possibly be compatible with the sync…. Thanks

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