A night with the Opera

by Giles Turnbull

The latest version of Opera for Mac is (almost) as fast and as fun to use as the version I used to use years ago when I was still on a Windows box. That must have been Opera 3 or 4, I think; since then, all the Mac versions I've tried have run like molasses and been about as useful for browsing the web.

No more. Opera 8 is mostly as speedy as any of my (many) other browsers, and after a few hours of use it's left me giggling like a little kid - not because it's "Wow! This is so much better than anything else!" - but because it takes me back to the old days.

It's a bit like seeing an old friend who you've not seen for years, and sitting down over some good food, only to find you both get along better than ever before.

Like OmniWeb, Opera is a very different beast from the typical consumer browser. There's a lot of additional functionality inside that, quite frankly, I have no interest in even trying out: a mail client, aggregator, even a little notes-and-snippets database. It really tries hard to please.

Thankfully it's very configurable, which makes it easy to switch all this extra stuff off; or at least keep it out of sight if it can't be switched off.

I'm not suggesting you make Opera 8 your default browser; I certainly won't be doing that. Safari, Camino and Firefox make better browsers on the Mac, I think. I'm just saying I'm pleased to see this version live up to my (possibly rose-tinted) memories of versions past. And that's a good thing.

Oh, and while I'm on browsers again: Camino 0.9a2 rocks.

Tried Opera yet?