Opera Releases First Opera 12 Snapshot - gHacks Tech News

Opera Releases First Opera 12 Snapshot

It has been eight days since the release of Opera 11.50, called Swordfish. In that time the new browser version was downloaded more than 32 million times. While that pales with download rates of Firefox and Google Chrome, it is still an astonishing feat for a web browser that is neglected by the majority of paper and online press. Opera 11.50 was actually the most successful Opera release ever, as Oleg points out over at the Opera Desktop Team blog.

The developers, always good for a surprise, managed to build a first Opera 12 snapshot about a week after the last Opera stable release.

Interested users and web developers can download the latest snapshot right from the Opera website. Oleg notes that Opera considers this a pre-alpha release which means that you should not upgrade just yet. It is thankfully though very easy to install a second Opera version on the computer system.

Just click on Options on the first installation page and select a different install path to install Opera 12 into a different directory on your system.

opera 12 next

You can switch to a stand-alone installation after you have changed the install path.

opera12

The release includes "important2 bug fixes and some polishing.

opera 12 screenshot

You wont find any new features in this early release, but Opera seems to be already working on new features which will be included in future snapshots of the new browser.

Interested users can take a look at the detailed changelog at the Opera Desktop Team blog. Fixes include some crash issues and freezes, as well as other bugs and unintended behavior.

Downloads are offered directly on the blog as well, as usual for all supported operating systems.

It is good to see that Opera has stepped up their game significantly over the past years. It feels as if the company is non-stop working on new browser versions. Especially communication with the public is excellent, something that both Mozilla and Chrome lack dearly, especially when it comes to snapshot releases (yes Mozilla publishes information but I never quite understood where and when news were posted, and when not).

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Comments

  1. Dan said on July 7, 2011 at 5:17 pm
    Reply

    Opera should look into fixing the problems found in the latest WBGP from Tom’s Hardware (http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/opera-firefox-chrome,2976.html). There was a time when Opera was the king of browser showdowns. Unfortunately, the competition has made great strides and long-time Opera users like myself have moved on.

    1. Joseph said on July 8, 2011 at 7:04 am
      Reply

      Dan, I’m glad you said it. I’ve been using Opera since the days you had to pay for it, but I’m going to be moving on in a few days myself. I switched to Linux from Windows about a year ago and,. as bad as the memory problems are on Windows, Opera’s Linux memory usage problem is even worse (about twice the memory use for the same tabs!). Opera has chased Google by engaging in a benchmark race while the fans egg them on. Next it started chasing Firefox by implementing a plug-in system it didn’t need and users didn’t want. Meanwhile, while it looks like they’ve made some progress on the fact that Opera doesn’t like to release memory, the problem that’s been around since about version 10 is still largely present in 11.5. The zealot fan moderators delete any posts about the memory issue on Opera’s forums – someone is sure to intentionally post a rude comment in the thread so the moderator has the excuse to lock or delete the entire thread. Mention it in another thread and your post gets deleted. I even got a vaguely threatening message from a moderator, and someone else told me when some people complained that a previously banned user who led the anti-memory-bug brigade was back under a different name, they themselves got banned. Opera’s bug tracker is “secret”, so there’s no acknowledgement from Opera that they even concede a bug exists. That’s why I laughed when this article talked about Opera’s “communication with the public”. They don’t acknowledge bugs, don’t explain to the public how their memory management works, let volunteers police their forums and haven’t commented on any of the Tom’s browser battles or blog entries about Opera issues. In fact, one blog was started just because people found it too hostile to attempt to discuss the issues they were having with Opera on the company’s forum.

      I opened an instance of Opera with no tabs open but 12 pages configured for the “speed dial”. Apparently Opera loads all of their data in, because starting up an otherwise empty browser under Linux grabbed 380MB of memory! While Opera is finally releasing some memory on tab close now (only took two years), I was still able to create a situation where I had no tabs open yet 500MB of memory was in use without any speed dial entries. It’s ridiculous.

      Opera is spending so much time trying to be Chrome or Firefox they’ve stopped being Opera. They’ve gone from being the innovation leader to trying to chase the other guys. They introduced many great features like Opera Unite that have stagnated while they added plugins or battled benchmarks. Their Sync function still doesn’t work with large numbers of bookmarks, a problem they refused to acknowledge, but instead implemented a “feature” that prevents you from creating the same bookmark in different folders. People weren’t happy about this but no way has been given to turn it off. You can still copy and paste bookmarks in the bookmark manager, so it really serves no purpose other than to discourage large sets of bookmarks. Autocompletion (adding .com, .net. .edu) to URLs stopped working several versions ago when they made the URL field able to do searches to work like Chrome – even though Opera already had a search dialog so it wasn’t necessary. Again, despite complaints, they made no statement about why they did it, whether it was a bug or a new “feature”, or gave folks a way to revert to the old behavior. Again, after going multiple versions with no change, we assume it’s a “feature” and won’t be fixed. Heh, I just checked now and I don’t see the auto-completion option in the settings anymore… that’s how Opera “communicates” about feature changes. :-(

      I could go on and on. Opera really is the least in touch with the public in my mind. Their once amazing innovation has stagnated and promising new features are withering on the vine. I’m going to miss it, but I’ve been researching how to add a lot of Opera’s functionality to Firefox. I’ll always be a fan of the saying “Firefox has extensions; Opera has features” though. :-) It’ll be a refreshing change to use a browser where things are going on out in the open: development plans, changes, bugs and where users have a say in what happens. If the old Opera ever comes back, I’ll be willing to give them another try.

      1. Dan said on July 8, 2011 at 1:01 pm
        Reply

        @Joseph

        Thanks for pointing those out. I was a relative newcomer then, since I only started using Opera when it became “free” at v5 (with ads of course). Opera’s innovations was hit-or-miss. The Speed Dial was great, bittorrent was a waste. I didn’t even know they no longer autocomplete urls. Maybe it’s a ploy to monetize the mistype by forcing a web search (I assume they get referrals for searches).

        But I still like the browser and use it once in awhile.

    2. Gub said on July 8, 2011 at 9:47 am
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      @Dan, you write that:

      “Opera should look into fixing the problems found in the latest WBGP from Tom’s Hardware”

      Why? I see no reason why they should jump and chase after every single artificial benchmark that shows up.

  2. SubgeniusD said on July 7, 2011 at 6:37 pm
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    @Dan – Thanks for the link – I would visit Tom’s more often if gHacks wasn’t so hard to keep up with -lol.

    Didn’t explore the Tom’s analysis much but this thread commenter captures my opinion perfectly:

    thartist 07/07/2011 7:47 AM
    Damn, Opera has it’s flaws but it’s nonetheless the one that does one thing best: browsing.

  3. Dave said on July 8, 2011 at 2:49 pm
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    I tried 11.5 but had to give up. Sites such as http://www.argos.co.uk and http://www.halfords.com have customer reviews of items but Opera won’t display them. The BT speed tester at speedtester.bt.com is just a blank page. I’ve tried toggling all the site options within Opera (such as turning on all the JavaScript options, turning off the content blocking) but still I end up looking at web pages with chunks of content missing.
    (Or maybe I just need to switch ISP and shop somewhere else)

    1. Gub said on July 8, 2011 at 5:56 pm
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      The reviews at argos.co.uk and halfords.com show up just fine in Opera 11.5.

      I looked up two random products:

      http://www.argos.co.uk/static/Product/partNumber/5296015.htm
      http://reviews.halfords.com/4028/791681/reviews.htm

      They look exactly the same in Opera 11.5 as in other browsers.

      Sounds like something is messed up on your end, rather than there being real problems with Opera.

      1. DiggerP said on September 20, 2011 at 5:14 am
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        “Sounds like something is messed up on your end, rather than there being real problems with Opera.”
        Exactly – I just tried those links too and no problem at all.

        People complain about memory use of Opera – I find that Firefox and Chrome are the memory hogs ,not Opera.
        I usually have Opera on standby (minimized) if not using -It uses a lot less memory than either one of the others in the same state.
        As for the name ,I don’t give a r.a. what a browser is called ,so long as it does its job well ;)

  4. Dwb654 said on July 28, 2011 at 6:46 pm
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    I tried Opera and was pleasantly surprised, it is an excellent browser and I don’t understand why it has such a small market share. It has tons of features, fast browsing etc.
    This might sound crazy but I think the Number ONE thing Opera could do increase it’s market share is change the name! the name “Opera” for a cool browser is kind of odd in western countries and I think that’s why it doesn’t do so well. Firefox and Chrome both opted for fast sounding names.

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