Opera for Linux release imminent?
When Norwegian company Opera Software announced that it would switch its trusted Presto engine to Chromium, it caused quite the stir among users.
Some congratulated Opera Software for the move as it improved web standards compatibility and speed among other things.
Others were skeptical, and when the first version of the new Opera browser was launched, it became clear that it would take a long time until it would offer the same functionality as the old version of the Internet browser.
The new Opera was bare bones at first, and while Opera releases new versions regularly, still is when you compare its functionality to the old version.
From a lack of customization options to missing core features such as a proper bookmark manager, offline mode, cookie management, user-agent spoofing or multiple profile support.
While it is possible to get some of those features back by installing browser extensions, others are not yet available and in some cases it is questionable if they ever will be implemented again in the browser.
For Linux users the situation looks dire as there is no version for the operating system available. When the new Opera launched, versions for Windows and Mac systems were released. Opera Software stated that the company wanted to concentrate on getting things right first before a Linux version would be added again.
It has been almost a year and a Linux version has not been released yet. There has been no indicator in this regard as well, no information from Opera Software about a Linux version, or test builds on the company's ftp server.
The most recent Developer version of Opera Software that was released yesterday however hints at a Linux version, and it may mean that a release is imminent.
If you open opera://flags/ in the web browser, you will notice that Linux is listed here next to Windows and Mac. This is the first indicator in the browser that a Linux version is currently being developed, and while it does not provide any information in regards to a release date for that version, it makes it likely that Opera Software is about to release the first version for Linux.
The Linux implementation seems to make progress. While the evidence is there, there is still no official confirmation that a Linux version will be released anytime soon. Still, it may give Linux users hope that Opera Software has not forgotten its promise.
Actually, the reference to Linux has been in the Android version of Opera beta for some time.
Is it just a carry-over from Chromium’s code?
I understand why companies are reluctant to release their software on Linux. Not because the userbase is relatively small, but because when a company releases something that isn’t open-source on Linux, the vocal userbase boycott it and actively push open-source alternatives.
They can’t have their cake and eat it too.
Frankly, there are plenty of browsers for Linux. Opera is in a crowded market and I see no particular advantage to using it.
@Dave: Yes, perhaps some companies are reluctant to release Linux versions due to Linux users’ preference for open-source. However, many companies take advantage of open-source development to accelerate their own R&D: Google uses open-source Chromium as the dev platform for Chrome, for instance. There are a lot of business models which include free-open-source-software. The FOSS teaching platform Moodle relies on about 30 developers who are funded by companies who offer installation-and-support services for the platform, for instance. It’s well known that Netflix minimizes costs by using FOSS. And of course, Opera itself is taking advantage of open-source by using Webkit and the Chromium framework.
Personally, I suspect open-source is on a rising curve, and has been for many years. Fully proprietary software companies will be increasingly challenged — look at sales of Chromebooks, look at Wiki software, look at Apache webservers. I don’t think it’s a matter of “have your cake and eat it too” with Linux and open-source; it’s more a situation in which there’s a large and vibrant ecosystem already outside the proprietary-software fence. The fact that Linux desktop users — a big fat 1% of PCs — prefer it is virtually irrelevant. At least, that’s my guess. I could be wrong.
Personally I think what Google is doing with Android is Open Source’s future.
I am still waiting for the Linux version of Opera Mail, it looks promising and i really want to ditch Thunderbird.
Does anyone know when that is going to be released?
It makes no difference, webkit is already too slow. Open any browser nowadays, you will find it cannot keep up with the bloat and scripts that websites put on the pages unless you have the very top end performace PCs.