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Opera Browser Usage and Support Forum

This 46 message thread spans 2 pages: 46 ( [1] 2 > >     
Mozilla vs Opera
the others don't count

 3:04 pm on Oct 21, 2002 (gmt 0)

I'm use Opera mostly but am considering Mozilla. They seem pretty much identical when it comes to the features I need (including XML parsing and rendering).

Which do you use and why?



 3:19 pm on Oct 21, 2002 (gmt 0)

On Windows, Opera because of speed, security and that nifty search form and Super Search. But speed is the main thing.

I am impressed with Mozilla too but Opera is my default.


 3:27 pm on Oct 21, 2002 (gmt 0)

I also prefer Opera for the speed. Not only at wich speed it renders the pages, but also at wich speed I can jump at the preferences and toggle between different status.

When you analyse some pages, it's a big time saver.


 3:38 pm on Oct 21, 2002 (gmt 0)

Hey Macguru,
I assume that you mean you did an informal test for speed between the two?


 3:52 pm on Oct 21, 2002 (gmt 0)

I prefer Opera most for the "surf speed" and reduced system resource usage. The lower resources (memory, cpu load) that Opera requires means you can open 4-5 times as many pages as you can with IE or Moz.

In Opera, all you have to do is shift-click the link into a new window or shift-control-click to open the link in the background. That keeps everything nice and separate in it's own window. Those windows become buttons on Operas "window bar". Using that system, holds your starting page as an anchor page you can come back to time and time again. After you finish reading the sub-links that took you off the page, you never have to back button - you just close the window and presto, you are back where you started. You control the speed and direction of your surfing - not the random links on a page.

Where this works great is for search engine surfing. I just shift-control-click down a search results page on good looking listings. That causes the links to load the pages in windows underneath the main one. So, as you are clicking the likely results, they start loading in the background. No more waiting. Then you just control-tab through the pages that have loaded.

That's where the real speed of Opera is at : surf speed. You can surf rings around other browsers - even those with tabbed window systems like Moz and the IE addons. There is nothing like it in the entire browser world.

When you read in the foreground and hit a link you want to take, you can just shift-control-click it and continuing reading while the link loads in the background. Because of that ability to background load links you click, I feel I can do more info surfing with Opera on a 56k line that other browsers can do with dsl or faster.


 5:04 pm on Oct 21, 2002 (gmt 0)

I use Mozilla because:

  1. I do a lot of my work behind a corporate firewall. Opera cannot store my proxy username and password [opera.com]. The result: for each new server that I am contacting, I have to type in my username and password. This makes it hell to go to any page that has, for example, ads on it, where I have to type this stuff in over and over again. For example, when I visit CNET [cnet.com], I have to type in this combination 12 times when using Opera!
  2. I had to pay for Opera, and I got Mozilla for free. This is important, since I run 5 machines, one of which is a Mac and one a Linux box.
  3. Opera doesn't fully support the DOM (yet)
  4. I like Mozilla's web development tools (script debugger, DOM inspecter).
One caveat: I have the benfit of working on pretty fast systems with maxxed out RAM, so I don't have the performance problems that others have reported with Mozilla. Nor is Opera significantly faster on any of my systems.

Another caveat: My attachment to Mozilla also has a weird, non-logical emotional factor ... I just like the Mozilla organization, and the goals it espouses.

That said, as a developer I did buy a some copies of Opera, and I have great hopes for Opera 7 and its promised DOM implementation. I hope they don't charge too much for the upgrade.


 6:45 pm on Oct 21, 2002 (gmt 0)

lorax wrote :

>I assume that you mean you did an informal test for speed between the two?

The older the box, the more difference you notice. I dont think anyone would notice any difference between the 2 on new PC puchased in the last year.

On my older AMD K6-2 (a four year old PC) page rendering is about 30 % faster on Opera for complex pages.


 7:06 pm on Oct 21, 2002 (gmt 0)

I use Mozilla... Why? (in no particular order...)

1) I'm 15 - I don't really want to pay for an Opera licence for all of my PCs... and I find ads annoying.
2) I have been using it for quite a while now - I just have grown used to it
3) I guess I'm odd, but I like tweaking Moz's preference files o_O
4) mozdev! :p

Uhh... Probably some more which I can't think of now...


 7:33 pm on Oct 21, 2002 (gmt 0)

Brett's got a good point about memory resource usage.

A friend of mine has an ancient PC with only 32 MB of RAM. Runs Opera with multiple windows just fine. Amazing.


 7:59 pm on Oct 21, 2002 (gmt 0)

The reason for my post is that I surf much like Brett noted. The ability to open and then scan multiple pages is critical to my day - it's my morning routine.

I'm not worried about speed - unless the difference is really noticeable even on a relatively new box.

Thanks all for your input.


 8:41 pm on Oct 21, 2002 (gmt 0)

I use Mozilla. I've tried Opera a few times but plan on sticking with Mozilla. My reasons:

1. Mozilla is free (as in speech). I try to use only software for which the source is available under license that preserve the user's freedoms.

2. Mozilla has very good support for XHTML/CSS standards. The last Opera I tried rendered CSS incorrectly on several sites I tested it on.

3. I tend to have dozens of browser windows open at any given time. When I tried Opera last this wasn't supported. It had some sort of goofy multi-document interface in which you could open lots of pages simultaneously but they windows were all constrained within a parent window. (Apparently, some people like this limited-to-one-at-time interface as Mozilla recently added a tabbed view that does the same thing)


 9:12 pm on Oct 21, 2002 (gmt 0)

[With Opera] you could open lots of pages simultaneously but they windows were all constrained within a parent window.

You can choose either mode - many documents all within one window or separate windows for each. The option is under Preferences > Windows.

Once I made a short adaptation to the multi-document interface, I really liked it. I tend to have many apps open at once, as well as many web pages. I find it very helpful to have all the open web pages accessible in one tab on the taskbar, rather than each one claiming its own taskbar turf.

[edited by: tedster at 10:10 pm (utc) on Oct. 21, 2002]


 9:21 pm on Oct 21, 2002 (gmt 0)

I like tabbed browsing too, though it's not uncommon for me to open two or three Galeon windows with several tabs in each. Any more, that hardly seems to be a reason to pick a browser, though. They all have tabs available if you want them.

For saving taskbar space - I don't know if Windows has an equivalent, but Gnome's 'pannels', which are more-or-less analogous to a taskbar in Windows, will let you set a prefference to have multiple windows for the same app colapsed into a single entry. If you click one of the colapsed apps' buttons, it expands into a list of windows for that app.


 10:05 pm on Oct 21, 2002 (gmt 0)

I use Opera against Mozilla due to low system resources usage. With 233 MHz and 32 MB of RAM machine, and connecting using another memory hogging AOL software, i'd rather watch tv than wait for mozilla to launch.

Hope that Opera 7.0 comes out early for its 6.0 version does not support DOM fully.


 10:33 pm on Oct 21, 2002 (gmt 0)

Netscape Free? A counter opinion:

I do not believe mozilla and IE are free. They are - in a word - slaveware.

Look at how many people are still using the inferior and obsolete Netscape v4. Why? It's slaveware. Netscape locked people into use a product via many means. The email client, the composer, the what's related search, and other proprietary elements all contributed to locking in users to that product far longer than legitimate.

That same philosophy has carried over to Mozilla. The proprietary source code viewer, the composer, the email client and the other litany of proprietary aspects again are locking in users.

You have to ask why? After all, the browser has been vaulted as open source. Isn't it suppose to be a browser for and by the users and exemplary of all things good? Not so fast.

The open source aspects of Netscape have been widely over sold and trumped up. Why did Netscape chairman Jim Barksdale opened up the software source code in the first place? Was it to better the product, reward the internet community? No, it was the last act of a sinking ship in an attempt to screw Microsoft. This was not an act out over love for open source and the movement - it was an act of spite. It was not an act intended to give us a better product, but a simple scorched earth policy.

If you'd been in Barkdales office the day he made the decision, you could almost here the echoes of that famous Gates and Case phone call [pub.umich.edu] when Gates asked the direct question: This is your lucky day, how much do I have to pay you to screw Netscape?

How well has open source worked out four and one half years later [wp.netscape.com]? We finally have a stable, but in perpetual beta state program. It has it's oddball interface with proprietary formatted files that only a hand full in the world can work on that dissuades user changes at every turn.

Where are all the easily modified aspects that are inherent in other open source projects? The source code is so large, complicated and oddball that there a few programmers in the world that can compile it - let alone those understand the system enough to modify it. Four and a half years later and we have two or three other products based upon the source code. With all the complications, I can't help but think that this in not open source software but rather Obfuscationware.

Where are the archives of thousands of skin changes, side panels, or toolbars to rival Winamp and other open format programs? With an open source program or open source system, those extras and upgrades should flow like water from every graphics designer on the web.

The program was not designed to be modified by the general public or programming community like other open source software. It was designed to give Netscape plausible deniably, to milk the open source community for all the free labor it could in an effort to screw microsoft. At the same time, it was designed with all these proprietary or oddball file formats to keep the power in Netscape/AOL's hands. Like NN4, it was designed to lock people in for years to come.


 12:45 am on Oct 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

Ah, c'mon Brett, tell us how you really feel! ;)

I don't know enough to argue for, or against, Mozilla. It strikes me as counter-intuitive. I can buy into the desire to spite M$ but to risk the whole company just to do so - I'm not so sure. I would be more likely to believe it was an act of desperation. But I'm no market analyst either.


 3:22 am on Oct 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

I guess I was expecting more from mozilla. Something that was easy to use and system friendly. I never expected it to do things like, walk on your windows registery, place files in multiple system directories, and use proprietary (but documented) configuration files.

When they said they were starting from scratch with a rewrite, I expected most of the problems from the Netscape design to be corrected. However, most of them carried over into nn7/moz. One surf through your nn7 directory and you'll see the messiest directory and file system this side of a microsoft product. From a programmers standpoint, it's just absurd what it's become.

I think that right there is a good share of the reason that AOL has yet to want any part of Netscape as it's default browser.


 4:16 am on Oct 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

OK, I will grant Brett that Netscape released the source to Mozilla for all the wrong reasons. I will also grant that Netscape-AOL-Time-Warner-whoever-else go to significant lengths to keep users from realizing the potential benefits of the leading open-source browser. They pour lots of money into it, largely, in my biased view, to maintain de facto control of development, then try to put the brakes on adoption of Mozilla by the masses instead of NN6/7, which as far as I can see add nothing but branding and often don't work as well as the version of Mozilla you would have gotten if you downloaded it the same day. The "perpetual beta" in which Moz exists strikes me as an NN marketing tool to scare users into *not* using Moz - I've been happily using it for two years, since back when its version numbers were M#, # was an integer. I think "beta" in this case is a state of mind, not a state of usability.

I also think that Mozilla is too big and bloated. The skins are universally horrible, it takes forever to start up, and it has lots of non-optional extra functionality I don't want, need, or use. But it does have a rendering engine I like, Gecko, with good support for CSS and the DOM. I wish they'd throw out skins, throw out the messaging app, basically throw out everything that Galeon doesn't do. (Then add a spell checker for form textareas. :)) Phoenix might be a step in the right direction, but frankly I'll be suprised if it doesn't just turn into Mozilla's slightly-less-bloated little sister.

However, despite all that, I'm glad mozilla is out there. Even with all its faults, I sincerely prefer using Mozilla over IE on my Win2k machine at work. And even though the corporate behemoth that gave it a spiteful birth isn't all that sure it wants to see Mozilla grow up as an open-source project, users still get something out of it: K-meleon, Galeon, Chimera, etc. The browsers that take the good bit of Moz and put it in a better package.

That's the power of open source, even for the poor guy who can't compile 'hello world' for himself. For all the wrong reasons, Netscape gave us Mozilla, and paid a whole bunch of talented people to work on it. Yes, their payroll influences the development in some adverse ways, but already there are forks to address *my* complaints. No matter what Netscape-AOL-Time-Warner does, they can't take back the gift they've given us. And if it isn't a perfect gift, and they only gave it in hopes of hurting IE, still, we have it, and it's a good starting point. I'm glad we have Konqueror, too, and I certainly haven't given up on Konqueror ever becoming a better browser to use than Moz, but on the whole I think we're better off with Mozilla out there than we were without it.

In short, yes, they are trying to keep controll. Yes, they are having enough success that they are at least slowing down the development of the code they gave us. But no, we wouldn't be better off if they had never given the gift. My desktop is a much nicer place to browse the web than it was three years ago, because I have Galeon, because we have Mozilla. And since I like Galeon better than Konqueror, it's even a nicer place than it would have been if Mozilla hadn't been released as obfuscated but open source.


 7:13 am on Oct 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

Just a couple of things to add...

Opera is an amazing browser in terms of speed, CPU/Memory load and intuitive features.

Despite all of that, though, it STILL has incomplete support for the DOM. When I say incomplete I mean that some standard (and very frequently used) Javascript/CSS/DOM will simply not work in Opera.

I've been waiting for them to correct this since 6.0 and it still hasn't been done, which kinda amazes me :-)

The same goes for Netscape/Mozilla. Ever since 6.x there are serious bugs in the way it handles DHTML. I expected them to be corrected in 7.0 but, somehow, they weren't.

I find more bugs in NS/Moz and more lacking support in Opera all the time.

What I want to know is how you can have the resources to hire devolpment teams that large and that good and still have such simple and obvious problems?


 1:39 pm on Oct 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

> I guess I was expecting more from mozilla.

I totally agree with you here. I'd go so far as to say that I expect more from ALL of the browsers. Add-on features aside, if they would at least support the DOM Level 2 HTML fully as well as CSS2 and XML 1 (both as a parser and a rendering agent). Is this so much to ask?

The ideal tool for me is one that correctly views everything that follows the guidelines and has excellent window and bookmark control. Beyond that, I could care less.


 5:05 pm on Oct 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

I surf on an older Laptop PII 233 with 64 MB RAM. It's a pain using Mozilla. It completely non responsive. That's way I use Opera. It's a great browser. I can have 40+ pages open at the same time w/o problems! I like the keyboard shortcuts and "Quick preferences" (F12) best.

But if you're a "mouse person", don't worry: Opera's most gestures are one of true innovations seen in browsers. I also like the small download size (I'm on dial-up), the great developers (check out opera.linux newsgroup) and the Opera community.

But I am also glad that there's Mozilla. The Mozilla movement helps to move towards a more standard compliant web. If a site works in Mozilla, it'll probably work in Opera (with some DOM exceptions).


 5:20 pm on Oct 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

I have no great insight only personal preference.

I use opera and moz both but moz is my favourite. Why, it just does what I need, how I need it done. I always know where to look for things. I am just more comfortable with it. I have always loved netscape so it only makes sense.

All of the cpu's I use are fairly new and ram is maxed so I notice no speed differences. I don't much like browser arguments so I just use what works best for my surfing style.


 11:31 pm on Oct 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

Brett's "open in background" argument:
Edit -> Preferences -> Tabbed Browsing -> Load links in background

Luma's "Quick preferences" argument:
Install the prefbar plugin, F8 then opens a toolbar to switch on/off: Fonts, Colors, Images, JS, Popups, Cookies, change the UserAgent, etc.

Luma's "mouse gestures" argument:
The Optimoz plugin. (Yes, I acknowledge that having that stuff built in is easier than plugins - but the number of great availible plugins just shows one of the advantages of the open source model)

DeskMod has 22 Mozilla skins availible, Dmoz lists 165 sidebars, even having stopped accepting new entries months ago.
If you use QuickLaunch, Moz starts up fast enough, although admittedly probably still a bit slower than IE. Opening new windows is also not as fast as tabbed browsing is much faster.
I don't care how messy the Mozilla directory might be.

The only thing I dislike about Moz is the non-native interface, especially not being able to put toolbars next to each other. K-Meleon (uses Mozilla's engine with an IE-like interface) enables me to do this, but K-Meleon's development has unfortunately been very slooooow.

What I dislike about Opera has been already mentioned: ads, DOM support.

Supposedly unique Moz features: DOM inspector, Carat browsing (F7 places a carat on the page as in a word processor), typeahead find (enter first couple of letters of a link to select it), detailled JS error messages in the JS console, Site Navigation Bar (if defined by author, links to next, previous, top page of the site, different chapters, etc), prefetching (see other thread on pros and cons of that), "view selection source".


 11:38 pm on Oct 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

Windows > primarily Opera, after years of rubbish with NN. Though i still have a version of IE, and NN on call.

Linux, Opera for browsing and Mozilla for dealing with mail.

Though as a favorite, Opera, is by far, its customisability is second to none, and its so easy to teach others, in which they gain a very quick level of comfortability with it, to the point that most of my family and friends, now use it, once they get their heads round the fact that sites, do not open parse properly in opera, becuase the programmer/designer, wasn't following the standards.


 11:53 pm on Oct 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

I'd never used Opera until I found the various endorsements about it on Webmaster World. Wish I'd known about it long before now. Brilliant - runs rings around IE & Netscape.


 12:30 am on Oct 23, 2002 (gmt 0)

You know, everyone can easily find 30 and more good reasons to use Opera [tntluoma.com]. ;)

During my last quick check with Mozilla, I liked the DOM inspector, LINK toolbar, form input field label support, view source for selection. But it took me some time to find out how to turn images off (it's on the Privacy&Security tab, no kidding!) and Mozilla just crashed on me. That reminds me of Opera's "Continue browsing where I was last time", reloading all web pages of the previous session on start-up.

A beta version of Opera 7 will be released very soon (maybe even this month). I hope it will address the current shortcomings, regarding DOM and LINK toolbar.


 12:32 am on Oct 23, 2002 (gmt 0)


It's not just the fault of programmers and designers. You can write perfect, validating code and Opera will still fail to do anything with it. As mentioned, it doesn't fully support the DOM. Also, there is no workaround. The support simply isn't there.

If they were to correct these issues it would be the perfect browser. As it is, it's just another program that, after years of devolpment, hasn't got the basics down.

At least with NS/Moz there are workarounds for the bugs if you want to waste your time writing a bunch of extra code.

I'm for MS alternatives in a big way but, for the time being, there simply aren't any if you want a browser that is capable of rendering the latest versions of web standards reliably.


 2:02 am on Oct 23, 2002 (gmt 0)

> I have no great insight only personal preference.

Preference counts equally as much if not more. As professionals, we tend to gravitate toward tools that we feel "comfortable with". For a mason, it's his favorite trowel, for us, a favorite application. There's a reason we feel this way and it's different for each person. As I noted, the functionality of Opera appeals to me. For others, the functionality of Moz suits them. It really is a personal choice and that's more important for how we conduct business than the politics of the browsers.

Re: messy file tree. It's sort of akin to walking into someone elses house. If it's a mess, it doesn't speak well of their organizational skills or how they conduct themselves in general.


 4:25 am on Oct 23, 2002 (gmt 0)

But it took me some time to find out how to turn images off (it's on the Privacy&Security tab, no kidding!)

For some of us, that makes sense. The reason I turn them off or restrict them to the same server I'm visiting is so that DoubleClick and their ilk don't get any data about me. Ergo it is a privacy setting, and belongs in 'Privacy and Security'. I'm not saying that there aren't other reasons to want to set that preference that would lead to other categorizations, but that one makes sense to me. Where the heck else am I supposed to find it?


 4:56 am on Oct 23, 2002 (gmt 0)

That same philosophy has carried over to Mozilla. The proprietary source code viewer, the composer, the email client and the other litany of proprietary aspects again are locking in users.

As for the source code viewer - the new philosphy is that it has to work on a wide variety of platforms - it can't launch notepad.exe on a Mac for example. Who uses the composer? And I kind of like the email client. You can't get the klez virus just from viewing an email.

Why did Netscape chairman Jim Barksdale opened up the software source code in the first place? Was it to better the product, reward the internet community? No, it was the last act of a sinking ship in an attempt to screw Microsoft. This was not an act out over love for open source and the movement - it was an act of spite.

Hold on, If your ship is sunk, but you still have 'something worthwhile', well... I guess the alternative is to format the hard drive with the source code on it. What was Barksdale's alternative?

All that left aside, I used Opera for about 1 1/2 years and thought it was great. And I kind of kept up to date with the new Mozilla updates, just to see what was going on, but I still maintained Opera as the default browser. Here's what I really like about Mozilla:

1) Basic rendering, DHTML, etc, are the best I've seen - It renders as I expect it to.
2) Even though it's slow to start up, once it's there, it's just as fast as Opera.
3) Tabbed browsing, even though the buttons in Opera allow the same thing, seems a lot easier.
4) It doesn't crash on me like Opera does.
5) I like the email client. (Really!)
6) Yeah, there's all that stuff you can put in prefs.js - No average Joe will be able to do that, but I can, and I love it.

Here's why I finally switched AWAY FROM Opera.
1) It crashed a lot for no apparent reason. (WIN2K, 6.0)
2) The longer I kept the browser open, the larger the memory footprint it was using - checking in Task Manager. It would become huge, larger even than Mozilla, which tells me that there are some memory leak problems. It would not release memory used until you closed the browser.
3) Not really a good email client.
4) I've never figured out where the cookies are. (I'm sure someone will tell me)
5) Seems to be about $29 more expensive than Mozilla. ;)
6) DHTML and advanced CSS is not supported. They'll tell you that on their website.

And the final rant.... (even though I'm not ranting, just giving an opinion)

No kidding about that. I love it that both of the two can block popups, stuff like that. I'm suspicious of MSIE in more ways than one.

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