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Opera Open Source

Opera Picks Up Webkit Engine 314

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the proprietary-software-dies dept.
New submitter nthitz writes "Opera has announced that they will be dropping their rendering engine Presto, in favor of Webkit. This knocks the number of major rendering engines down to three. Opera will also be adopting the Chromium V8 Javascript engine. The news coincides with their announcement of 300 million users. '300 million marks the first lap, but the race goes on,' says Lars Boilesen, CEO of Opera Software. 'On the final stretch up to 300 million users, we have experienced the fastest acceleration in user growth we have ever seen. Now, we are shifting into the next gear to claim a bigger piece of the pie in the smartphone market.'" They've already submitted patches to improve multi-column layouts even.
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Opera Picks Up Webkit Engine

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @09:52AM (#42882677)

    I download their browser from time to time, but only to see if it's the best. It never is, and I never use it again. Am I part of that 300 million?

  • by cpicon92 (1157705) <kristianpicon@gmail.com> on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @09:57AM (#42882723)

    We don't need multiple rendering engines, we just need one standards compliant one

    Ideally, yes that's true. In practice, this would result in the one becoming a defacto standard, and whomever controls the one controls the standard. We are already kind of seeing this with WebKit. Competition is never a bad thing.

  • by Dr. Spork (142693) on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @10:00AM (#42882759)
    The Presto rendering engine had some pretty decent performance, and was often the fastest among the graphical browsers. If it's being abandoned, wouldn't it be nice if it were made available as open source? Webkit isn't the right tool for every occasion. I hate to see something so good just die.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @10:04AM (#42882793)

    It's the natural end point of any "free" market. I don't understand why people have such a hard time understanding this.

  • by tibit (1762298) on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @10:22AM (#42883029)

    Sorry, there no such thing as "excelling" at compression "especially" with Opera Turbo. The browser has zero control over compression, it can request plain old gzip compression from the server, and the server may or may not oblige. That's all that's available without a dedicated server. Opera Turbo is a system where the browser basically hijacks you connection and routes it over an Opera-controlled server. It's that server that then obtains the website content for you and compresses it. It's the only way technically to accomplish that, at the price of essentially giving yourself a man-in-the-middle attack. It's not very funny. The only thing their browser is really excellent at is IIRC browsing porn or generally image galleries with lots of image content. They were excellent at it even in their humble beginning days, where it was ad sponsored free or ad-free paid for -- you basically needed Opera to browse porn over a modem connection on a low-end machine (486DX2 w/Windows 95). With the switch to webkit, they lose whatever technical advantages they might have had.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @10:23AM (#42883031)

    The point is, when implementations are free, why do we need paper standards at all?

    A standards organization is made up of industry members who are stakeholders and other interested parties. It's a democracy, which is why standards are always so slow in coming. An implementation is necessarily owned and managed by a much smaller group; democracy-styled software development management doesn't work.

    The system we have now where we have standards organizations which are sufficiently careful and methodical and multiple implementations with one or more also acting as testbeds is serving us well. It just happens that WebKit an implementation with many benefits and so is eating the lunches of the others, but let's not jump to the false conclusion that a single open-or-otherwise implementation would serve us just as well.

  • Re:Monoculture (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LO0G (606364) on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @10:33AM (#42883155)

    How exactly does this work? If we had a monoculture (like we had with IE6), people code to the monoculture, standards be damned. If WebKit implements a standard badly, no amount of complaining by Microsoft and Mozilla will cause the WebKit folks to change their browser rendering to be compliant. And just like what happened with IE6, web developers will ignore the standard in favor of the WebKit implementation. We're ALREADY seeing this happen - webkit has sufficient market share that sites don't bother building standards compliant version of their mobile site, they just write for webkit and consider their work done.

    History has shown that if you have a monoculture, standards are irrelevant - the only thing that matters is the one implementation.

  • by xaxa (988988) on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @10:58AM (#42883473)

    Sorry, there no such thing as "excelling" at compression "especially" with Opera Turbo. The browser has zero control over compression, it can request plain old gzip compression from the server, and the server may or may not oblige. That's all that's available without a dedicated server. Opera Turbo is a system where the browser basically hijacks you connection and routes it over an Opera-controlled server.

    So the first part of your comment was irrelevant, except to note in passing that Opera has always had good HTTP compression support, and other features to speed up page loading (e.g. not loading images, or loading them selectively).

    It's hardly hijacking if they they tell you what they're doing, and you have to click a button to enable it:
    When Opera Turbo is enabled, webpages are compressed via Opera's servers so that they use much less data than the originals. This means that there is less to download, so you can see your webpages more quickly.

    Enabling Opera Turbo is as simple as clicking the Opera Turbo icon at the bottom-left of the Opera browser window. When you are on a fast connection again and Opera Turbo is not needed, the Opera browser will automatically disable it.
    http://www.opera.com/browser/turbo/ [opera.com]

  • by silviuc (676999) on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @11:19AM (#42883703) Homepage
    Their control is accepted by all developers, if indeed that is the case. The minute they turn rotten, is the minute they lose "control". See the OpenOffice - > LibreOffice case.
  • by v1 (525388) on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @11:24AM (#42883765) Homepage Journal

    pera Turbo is a system where the browser basically hijacks you connection and routes it over an Opera-controlled server. It's that server that then obtains the website content for you and compresses it. It's the only way technically to accomplish that, at the price of essentially giving yourself a man-in-the-middle attack. It's not very funny

    And when you live in a small village in africa and an hour of smartphone use could cost a day's pay, you get mighty thankful for that compression. These aren't the sorts of people that do online banking and are worried about MitM. Many of them are very happy to exchange email with friends and relatives in another village, and text compresses very nicely.

    Just because it's not the right feature for you doesn't mean there isn't a significant sized group that really appreciates it.

  • by Matthew Raymond (2631275) on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @11:37AM (#42883901)

    The W3C requires at least two implementations of a standard before it can become a Recommendation. Thus, Google needs at least one ally with its own independent browser implementation to push standards through to Recommendation status. Of the five major browser vendors (Microsoft, Google, Apple, Mozilla and Opera), three of them (Google, Apple and Opera) are now all using a single rendering engine: Webkit. Apple may have a separate JavaScript engine, but it's a fierce competitor of Google, as is Microsoft. This leaves only Opera and Mozilla as potential standards partners, and Opera just went Webkit/V8. So, basically, Mozilla becomes Google's de facto ally for Web standards. (As if they weren't already, considering WebRTC.)

    Congratulations, Mozilla. Your continued Google funding is assured.

  • by eennaarbrak (1089393) on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @12:07PM (#42884319)

    The only thing their browser is really excellent at is IIRC browsing porn or generally image galleries with lots of image content.

    BS. I have a limited data plan, and I use Opera to reduce the amount of $$$ I pay. And it works extremely well. So what if my data routes through a server? It goes through various central points anyway. I know Opera can see my surfing habits, and adapt my surfing behaviour accordingly.

    Privacy is important, but it is ridiculous to assert that it is the only thing to take into consideration.

  • by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968&gmail,com> on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @05:30PM (#42888205) Journal

    Sadly they've let it go to shit the past several releases, probably because they knew they were walking away from it. my oldest was a die HARD Opera user, he wouldn't touch a system without Opera and used to carry Opera portable on a stick so he wouldn't have to use anything else but even he is trying various browsers because he says Opera gets slower and buggier with each release.

    If they are gonna abandon presto I really wish they'd open up the code, who knows what good could be made of an open presto engine. After all Mozilla rose from the ashes of netscape, maybe with it open devs could make presto so good opera would end up switching back.

    Of course all this is ignoring the rotting elephant in the room which the EU and DoJ really REALLY needs to investigate, and that is Apple's ability to influence the market with their monopolistic practices. Before some Applelite chimes in with "Apple isn't a monopoly" bullshit, total bullshit, look up the wording. it says you do NOT need 100% of the market, you don't even have to own the majority of the market, just that you have the power to assert undue influence and you would be hard pressed to find anybody that says Apple doesn't seriously influence the markets. From the prices of books to whether the web will run on an open format like Theora VS a locked down H.264 ALL of the major calls about the web made in the last couple of years has been made with iPhone in mind.

    Do you think Opera would be ditching presto if it could run on the iPhone? Do you think we'd be forced to run HTML V5 before its ready or use a patent troll format like H.264 if iPhone users could choose between that and Flash and WebM and Drac and Theora? No if the company of St Steve of Cupertino says "it is thus" then that is what it is gonna be, no choices in the matter. And I think they need to be investigated as NO company should have that power, I was against MSFT using IE to gain control and I'm against Apple using iPhone/iPad to gain more control. No matter what device or OS you use the web should be about choice, not some corp laying down the law.

IF I HAD A MINE SHAFT, I don't think I would just abandon it. There's got to be a better way. -- Jack Handley, The New Mexican, 1988.

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