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ritchb, I found a site somehwhere last night, (looked at so many I've forgotten where), but it says that Opera doesn't support background images for the pseudo classes, which a:hover is :(
however I would be interested to see your workaround and will post any more info if I find it...
It's not a big deal that it doesn't appear in Opera, it doesn't affect anything, it's just a vanity thing!
For this particular site, our graphics guys have used subtle gradients which move into a static colour, which in turn blends with their chosen background. Our marketing guys - in their infinite wisdom - decided that they wanted to use four individual frames in the site, meaning we had to splice the gradiated images in different places for each frame.
Rather than use unnecessary slices and bloating the code, we used the correct hex code in some parts of the page. On all our Linux test boxes, this colour didn't render properly, so we tried tiling a 2x2 pixel image for the background instead, which resolved the problem on everything but Opera.
The workaround?...just to create multiple stylesheets for each frame, using a different background colour and tiled background image in each. Opera users see a background which doesn't quite match the sliced images, but everyone else is okay.
Not sure that makes a whole lot of sense and makes things a whole lot more complicated that should be the case. It's being rebuilt from scratch as of Monday, so a different approach might be a good idea...