Opera is dead!

So the point of yesterday's little escapade was to get the new Opera 28 installed on Slackware so I could see for my self how "well" it worked. Now apparently they use the same sandbox as Chrome (which is no surprise since it basically is just that...) but forgot to SUID the file so the start up failed. Being the nice guy that I am, I'm willing to forgive such incompetence and move on (but not without pointing it out obviously). 

Simple, flexible and powerful

So it took Opera a while to finally release their browser on Linux, 11 major versions to be precise. Which, although disappointing, should mean you have a nice mature version. For me Opera always meant a simple intuitive browser that allows for lots of flexibility and grants you a lot of powerful features. Being a mature version I was expecting something along those lines. Well... it's simple.. and that's about it... They basically removed all the power features (except mouse gestures) and binned all flexibility... I couldn't even move my tab bar to the bottom of the screen or group tabs... better yet I couldn't remove/replace the google search bar from the speed dial. I could change my default search engine... but not on the speed dial. Speaking of which, obviously I want to get all default (facebook, amazone, etc) crap back on the speed dial after I removed it... bugs galore! Yes even youtube sound is out of sync... you're using blink for fuck sakes, not fucking touching it would have been a better job!

Anyway after some digging I found that it was actually possible to enable the "power" features...simply enter the konami code in the settings screen and you have "the power" (fucking hell guys) . I.e. it shows about 3 extra checkboxes on the settings screen: one to remove (but not replace) the speed dial search, some useless junk and one to permanently show the "power" features... riiiight :) And why would one want to be able to change the keyboard shortcuts... Chrome doesn't support it so nobody wants it!


Ok maybe not all feature have been removed, they still have "themes"... which are a fucking joke :) Back in the day you could basically rape any piece of the browser by installing a theme. It would literally be able to change every last button in Opera to look pretty. Nowadays however it just change the background picture of the speed dial... yes that's it... the fucking background picture. Just add a "set as speed dial background"option to the image context menu (yes exactly, like windows has!). 


So any self-respecting browser has something called extensions these days. They're additional features that can be installed on the fly, written by "the community" because the browser doesn't support it out-of-the-box. In other words, Opera is to damn lazy to come up with cool stuff and leave it up to you and me to do it for them. And this is the company that invented: tabbed browsing, tab grouping, mouse gestures, hot click, paste & go, browser mask, turbo mode (yeah they made browsing possible on your old junk Nokia), speed dial, download manager, the magic wand and much more. The fun thing about Opera was that every new version would come with new and innovative feature that improved more or less everything you did on the web and now they're asking you to do it for them. 

Admittedly someone actually managed to do a very nice job of creating a drop-in RSS reader which looks remarkably like the old integrated reader. Unfortunately no-one attempted to do the same for the integrated email client that was in Opera (vesion 7 to 12)...


Yup it's dead... which is unfortunate since that means browser innovation has gone out the window with it. Don't get me wrong, there are plenty OKish browsers out there like Firefox and Chrome but they haven't really improved... since Opera 12. That said the new Opera isn't a crapheap.. it's just not worth my time... And seeing that I'm basically stuck with the "current" browsers I don't see why I should Opera instead of Chrome...


But wait! we have a last minute entry: Vivaldi and there's a reason for that name... apparently the former CEO of Opera has decided to make a browser and I quote: "A browser that is fast, but also a browser that is rich in functionality, highly flexible and puts the user first". Well that sounds like the original Opera vision... let's see! 

Ok so only RPM and DEB downloads, oh well I can convert those.... installs nicely (no SUID issues :)) and starts within a second. So... mouse gestures work (without having to enable the first!)... ctrl+z reopens my last closed tab(s)... although it also does this when I'm editing this blog posted which is sorta annoying :) Aesthetics are rather pleasing... better yet: it's just looks really cool :) No need for themes for now! And this is where the first new neat feature comes in: it colors the active tab and title bar in accordance with the site you're looking at (seems to use the most prominent color in the favicon). Next new feature: speed dial uses your bookmarks... so instead of having to maintain 2 sets of bookmarks (like other browsers), it just uses your bookmarks... finally the speed dial becomes useful. 

It's still in beta (or alpha even) but the basics work really well. There's obviously tons of stuff missing but for a "tech preview 2" it feels really good (almost like that other browser I used to use...). It's generally stable (although I heard someone bitching about a segfault) and it does what it says on the tin: bookmarks (tho modifying is a bit buggy), speed dial, tabs (+grouping), changing the layout... even stuff like youtube and soundcloud work like a charm. 

So far so good, I'm really looking forward to the release that includes the email client so I can move away some completely from that other browser!

deb2tgz 1.0 XZ and slack-desc patch

So I was trying install the new Opera for Linux which unfortunately is offered in Debian package only... deb2tgz to the rescue! Well that failed miserably since the new .deb also allows for XZ data which isn't supported by deb2tgz. So after some scripting (i.e. more or less completely rewriting it) I managed to repackage Opera into .txz. 

Here's the patch for deb2tgz so it support XZ... it also completely repackages the data and adds a nice little slack-desc description file. It's been tested with Opera and Skype (...) and the initial results look promising... that said, let me know if you have any packages that break.

Fun fact: Opera doesn't really start...

XHTML 1.1 valid CSS 3.0 valid JavaScript 1.6 valid Vivaldi valid Os-linux valid Ws-apache valid Php valid Jas valid