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O4 has html 4.0, css2, early xml, wml, emascript (java script) 1.3, new ui tools, new email client, and bunches of little tweaks to existing features.
The best thing about Opera is it uses MDI document windows. You can open 1 or 100 web pages - no problem and they don't clutter up your task bar. Opera is the fastest browser on the market in terms of page rendering and loading. When you combine that with shift-click and shift-control-click new window loading, Opera can real world out surf anything available (by 30 to 50%). It is the main reason I use it exclusively.
The down side? Costs $40usd. It also may display pages from some of the more restricitive sites that are writen in MSHTML and non-standard. Mostly it isn't a huge problem. Opera has addressed any problems with all the major sites. Java is handled by Sun's own Java 1.3 Plugin - so you get 100% compatability there. Some plugins are still a bit weird like shockwave takes a bit to get going, but others like the adobe pdf viewer are plug-and-go. You can even use some of your existing netscape plugins right out of the netscape directory.
Which leads me to question. Do you think something like a 'screenshot exchange' forum would work?
The way I envision it, users could request a screen shot of a page. Users would have to contribute 2 screen shots for other requests before they could request one themselves. We would upload screen shots right here through the board. I could do the Opera shots :-)
I think I might give this a try.
Road Warrior tip: A piece or two of duct tape put on the corner of a laptop makes it look like it's worthless and that the case is cracked --not at all attractive to a thief.
For me though, that is all I like about Opera. I like the extras that MS added to IE4, especially the page transitions and hover effects.
Sure, I hate the bugs and security holes in IE, but I didn't find Opera 3.5 to be perfect and that was not free either! I think Opera needs to move in the direction that Eudora and WebFerret and Go!Zilla have taken and become advertiser sponsored. People can register to remove the ads, or can use it for free with the ads paying for the development costs.
Using this model, I believe the use of Opera would sky-rocket and it would really take its place on the map. At the moment it is still less than 1% on most of my logs for my test sites.
Opera just admitted they'd sold 1.5 million copies to date. Most of the better stats put Opera at between 1.7% to 2.4% of the market. I think that will grow. The biggest problem is the new UA string is configurable to look like IE/NN. "Opera" is still in the various strings, but I'm sure log filters won't see it unless they just look for Opera.
Now that O is getting ready for the first Beta 4 for Linux, Mac, Epoc, and BeOs, this should greatly enhance Opera's appeal. Linux users are looking hard for something to replace crash happy Netscape for Linux.
The main thing that has helped Opera over the last year is that many previously loyal NN users finally quit in disgust and rather than sell out to MSIE, they shelled out for Opera.
Handled right, Opera will soon surpass Netscape which shot itself in something far more terminal than the foot with its lack of CSS support. (in two years of development they never had time to support CSS1?) They are frantically trying to win wide support for the impending NN6 but even that serves only to remind the entire world that NN5 never even made it to release.
I'm not sure yet how Opera will really fare with the Linux / OpenSource fans ... its too commercial for many of the diehards. Mind you, I think the hacked and cracked copies will be very successful in the Linux camp.