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I was also wondering about Opera. I've seen that a lot of people here use it. Is it any good? What are the pros and cons? Would this be a good one for the situation mentioned above?
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An email account doesn't care what email program you use. Although I'm a Windows user, I refuse to use either Outlook or Internet Explorer due to security holes and the potential for virus infections. Netscape and Opera both offer built in email programs that work well. Eudora is a popular stand alone email program. ALL offer much better security. Anti-virus software has gotten quite effective in recent years but I prefer to avoid catching one rather then relying on a program to fix one...
Opera 5.02 is loaded on my machine, recent versions seem very nice. But as a Netscape user for many years, I haven't taken the time to make the switch. It's on my to do list.
As for Opera:
Security - in it's history, Opera has never suffered a major security problem. Compare that to over 150 for IE and 125 for NN.
Fast - I find it the fastest "real world" surfing browser hands down. Pure page load speed is a touch faster than IE on most things. It is in the day-to-day surf usage where it will shine.
Standards compliant - important for site authors. html 4, css2, js 1.3, Sun Java, Latest Flash.
Multi-windows - Opera uses an MDI interface where all pages are kept within the main window. This takes ie/nn users a bit of getting use to. Once you do, and you learn to open 1-100 webpages simultaneously via "shift-click", it speeds up surfing like nothing you've ever experienced. (I have 40 pages from Webmasterworld open right now).
Configuration - no other browser comes close to Opera's deep preferences.
Size: 15meg on disk compared to nn or ie's 15/25 meg downloads.
Mouse gestures: really speed up navigation.
Support: an army of passionate users [searchengineworld.com] help out all over the place.
Lastly, the biggest reason to use it? It's not Microsoft, and it's not Netscape.
Takes a bit of learning after you've been with another browser for awhile. The interface is different from any other browser out there. Some love it instantly, others have to warm up to it.
Compatibility: Works with 99% of the sites out there. The only ones that it wont, are those that explicitly deny access to Opera based on the User agent (such as MSN owned prosperities). There are a few banks that also restrict usage to IE. Invariably, you will find one site in your bookmark list that Opera wont work with.
Tweaking: to run Opera effectively full time, it will take a bit tweaking with the various options to keep things smooth.
Quality: although the latest builds are extremely stable, Opera Software has a history of putting out buggy software. Often calling beta quality code production code. You are ok if you stay away from anything with the word beta on it or a .0x release.
I use Opera as my general number one browser these days...but I'd recommend having a choice...I also like Netscape for downloads...and some idiots build sites that are IE only