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back to article Opera: Firefox tab sets? We've had 'em for years

Mozilla recently unveiled a fresh Firefox interface designed to better organize open tabs, and as this "Tab Sets" prototype — née Tab Candy — works its way into the Firefox 4 beta, Opera would like you to know that it's been offering something similar for ages. "There has been a lot of focus on grouping of tabs in browsers …

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Heart

There's much to like about Opera

It's fast. Looks nice. Mouse gestures built in. Pretty nice mail client. Friendly user community. Etc, etc, etc...

But... the damn thing simply won't play ball with my employer's proxy configuration.

It's been a well known issue for years, and Firefox and Chrome manage to do it the Microsoft-approved way quite nicely, but getting Opera to work in what seems to be a fairly common corporate environment too has, apparently, never been a priority for Opera Software ASA.

If they'd fixed it, I'd most likely be running Opera as my primary browser, both at work (Windows) and at home (Linux).

But instead I've been using Firefox and, until KDE 4, Konqueror. Though Chrome is looking better and better these days.

Opera Mini has been my browser of choice on my Series 40 Nokia phone for years, but even that is no more, as my new Symbian touch phone comes with its own, perfectly serviceable, browser.

I've always liked Opera, both the browser and the company. But apart from other browser vendors nicking their good ideas, they're just not of much use to me. Sadly.

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Opera is the real browser UI innovator

Opera has been on top of the browser UI game for years. Tabs anyone?

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FAIL

What do you call...

...the prize for fourth place?

"Four years later, in 1994, BookLink Technologies featured tabbed windows in its InternetWorks browser. That same year, a text editor called UltraEdit also appeared with a modern multi-row tabbed interface. The tabbed interface approach was then followed by the Internet Explorer shell NetCaptor in 1997. These were followed by a number of others like IBrowse in 1999, and Opera in 2000 (with the release of version 4 - although a MDI interface was supported before then), MultiZilla in April 2001 (an extension for the Mozilla Application Suite[7]), Mozilla 0.9.5 in October 2001, Phoenix 0.3 (now Mozilla Firefox) in October 2002, Konqueror 3.1 in January 2003, and Safari in 2003."

Get your facts right mate! ;)

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FAIL

Yeah

Millions of people used NetCaptor and IBrowse.

Not.

Sounds like the usual Open Theft oops, Open Source crowd covering up their lack of ideas.

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Flame

Opera really is a good browser

I know there's a lot of Opera haters on the El Reg forums sometimes - but it really has the best feature-to-bloat ratio of all the browsers available. Tons of useful features - Speed Dial alone is worth the install - and it's pretty lightweight and fast. I don't get why people don't like it.

Flame, for the inevitable downvotes and criticism I'm about to receive...

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I haven't met...

...anyone that thinks Opera is terrible, just that it's not for them. Instead, people hate Opera fans that invade every comment topic to do with web browsers telling everyone the One Path To True Happiness.

(no, I'm not suggesting you are a part of said group)

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Unhappy

I don't hate Opera . . .

. . . it just doesn't have the features that I want/need.

My issue with the Opera fanbois is that, when I explain the features that I enjoy in Firefox, they smugly say "Opera has those!" and fail to understand that Opera either *doesn't* have them or doesn't implement them as well. As a result, my apathy towards Opera turns into a hatred for Opera by association with its "advocates."

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@ Phil Rigby

Sorry, Opera just doesn't do what I want, and what I want is primarily "NoScript"-like functionality and blocking of content in an easy pointy-clicky way, plus various other small customisations. For its faults, Firefox makes this sort of thing pretty easy.

Opera's UI could do with some improvement. I can find the settings to allow me to *speak* to it (or maybe it speaks to me? I didn't look that hard!) but can I find the option to tell Opera to pretend to be IE8? It seems to be sorted on a site-by-site basis which, I guess, is more logical than a one-size-fits-all but hardly intuitive.

Speed dial? That's the first thing I hide. With Firefox I type "ama" for Amazon, "reg" for here, "mai" for Yahoo mail, and so on. The suggestions pop up and, usually, what I'm looking for is right there ready. Couldn't be simpler...

Fast is only relevant if you go to sites with appalling (ab)use of JavaScript. In my experience, the slow part of a web page is almost always fetching the bits, especially sites like El Reg and YouTube that scatter content across servers (more DNS requests initially, and you can't benefit from Keep-Alive).

.

Opera isn't a *bad* browser, it's just not for me.

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Heart

Love Opera

But married to NoScript and AdBlock.

And don't tell me Opera does the same thing; it doesn't.

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Anonymous Coward

The recommendation is to use multiple servers

The theory is that DNS lookups and throwing up an HTTP session are fairly cheap activities, whilst browsers are rarely willing to concurrently download more than 2 files from any given server, which means the page load is stuck waiting hours for images if they are all on the same server as the scripts etc.

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Agree that Opera's a nice browser

but I only use it for testing (hey, at least I test to make sure stuff works in Opera, eh? I support Opera better than I support MSIE, mostly because it's so well behaved it's not hard to do so). My only problem with it is that it's not FOSS.

Religious reasons in other words :)

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@ Ed Deckard

Hey - look at our downvotes for stating reasoned answers why Opera is not our chosen browser. Probably fanbois who think NoScript is built into Opera, who clearly don't understand NoScript is a itty bitty bit more than just "Block JavaScript on this site".

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@ heyrick

The funny part is, I really sincerely do prefer Opera. I just can't do without those two little plugins. If Opera offered an equivalent functionality I'd go back to it in an instant.

(Minor quibble with your post: I think "fanbois" with an i is applied to Apple fans; admittedly some of the Opera fans seemingly share their mindset, unfortunately.)

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WTF?

Huh?

"people hate Opera fans that invade every comment topic to do with web browsers telling everyone the One Path To True Happiness"

Uh, you are aware that you are describing FIREFOX fans here, right? Opera fans are a minority, whereas Firefox fans are plentifuyl, vocal, and obnoxious.

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@ Ed Deckard

"I think "fanbois" with an i is applied to Apple fans"

Really? Oh...

I recall that Avril Lavigne song ("Skater boi") and just sorta figured it was some sort of attempt at being trendy. Or does every word with an "i" in it now have to have an oligatory Apple connotation, like... oh, I dunno... willy or shit... <giggle (oops another i!)>

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What's in a name?

You know, this may sound pretty shallow, but I really think that calling their browser 'Opera' instead of something more dynamic and male-appealing like 'FireFox' or 'Chrome' is what is hurting them badly. Huge mistake, IMO.

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Happy

@ JcRabbit

So what would you rather it be called? How about "DIESEL" (in caps, for effect)?

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dynamic and male-appealing

"You know, this may sound pretty shallow, . . ."

It is.

". . . but I really think that calling their browser 'Opera' instead of something more dynamic and male-appealing like 'FireFox' or 'Chrome' is what is hurting them badly."

Yes, 'Opera' isn't very manly and you wouldn't want anybody to get the, you know, wrong idea. Anyway, you don't have to tell anybody you're using it. You could just be a closet user.

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Names

It should be called Butch, or Pec. HardBall. Steel. Granite, that's a good one. Granite.

Or judging by the majority of men in my area, StupidLoud.

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Gay

"dynamic and male-appealing like 'FireFox'"

Except, of course, "Firefox" sounds GAY.

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I'm with you guys. Opera is awesome.

Unlike FF, Opera comes with what I need. It has mouse gestures, good tab layout, and generally doesn't suck. I don't have to re-download plug-ins when I upgrade, for one...

However, Opera has very poor marketing. Sure, they can sell it to big companies as embedded browsers, but what they really need to do is sell it to users. Users drive the market; I know I'd be willing to pay a few bucks to get Opera Mini on my Android phone (I have Opera Mobile, but it's not the same thing - I want a local renderer), and I'm sure that if enough other people used Opera, they would agree... if they even knew about it. Opera leads the market in innovation, but lags terribly in marketing, and that is going to hurt them in the long run.

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@ ArmanX

FWIW, mouse gestures are one of the first things I disabled. My touchpad already has a set of gestures, I don't need something with a conflicting set of gestures.

Oh, and why can't I set "opera:private" as my default starting page?

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Marketing? Naaaah...

What Opera lacks is a sugar daddy. Safari has Apple, Chrome has Google, Firefox has the Open Source Noise Machine (and Google), IE has Microsoft. Mostly Americans, like the bloginteligentzia. Funny that.

You have it crossed: what you have on the Nokia S40 is Opera Mini. The local rendering version is Opera Mobile, and it exists for Android. But here's the rub:

It uses a bunch of "native code" (uses the NDK instead of the regular programming interface) and I believe that prevents Opera from having it available on the Android market. Opera Mobile for Android is OEM only, and for the same reason it's only compatible with Android 2.2+

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Opera?

I recently tried downloading Opera. It has a lot of features that I like and would probably use. The 2 things that stopped me switching are:

1) Dreadful compatibility. A bunch of websites I use regularly in either Firefox or Windows just don't work in Opera.

2) Too slow. Given that I moved from IE to Firefox because of rendering speed (not tabs) the speed is a show stopper for me.

I uninstalled it a few days later.

Oddly enough, a couple of times over the last year or 2 I almost switched back from Firefox to IE. Firefox has had a lot of stability problems. It was regularly crashing for me, and I definitely see more crashes with Firefox than IE. There is only one thing that has stopped me switching. Why can't you customise the navigation bar? And why did MS think it a good idea to put refresh and stop in the middle of the navigation bar instead of next to forward and back? And why does home go on a different bar?

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Anonymous Coward

Eh?

1) Name a few. I've never come across a site that doesn't render properly in Opera, except for a handful that were been specifically coded for IE6 and they didn't work properly in FF.

2) Now that really is a crock of shit. Opera is, and always has been, faster than FF.

FF is getting so bloaty and slow these days that it's an embarassment. The time from opening to rendering the first page makes it completely unacceptable. Yeah sure a lot of sad FF fanbois (like you) point to the speed improvements in 4.0 beta, but by 4.1 they will be all gone. 3.0 was pretty fast wasn't it?

Oh and nobody, but nobody is fooled by your "I nearly switched back to IE" schtick, it's clear you're just another sad FF fanboi.

Windows user? Want light and fast? Get Chrome. Want features? Get Opera.

Oh and if Mozilla are so good why can they not innovate? It's so long since Mozilla did anything new that nobody can remember what it was. Bragging about stuff you have ripped off from somebody else is just plain sad.

Mozilla has grown fat on Google cash. They have a fat market share and think they can rest on their laurels and rely on ripping off features from other browsers. It might work for a while. Their fanbase are so used to FF's peculiarities that when they try to change to anything else they find it hard. Plenty of other businesses (in IT and outside of it) have gone the same way and then when they realised they needed to innovate to compete it was too damned late. But surely the biggest worry for them is what will happen when Google decide they don't need them anymore. How long will FF last then?

Google probably enjoy funding this bloaty mess. It makes Chrome look better. If Google pulled the financial rug out from under FF then maybe Mozilla would start to actually produce a decent browser.

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Grenade

Opera slow & websites incompatible?

Where have you been for the last 10 years?

Opera is now, and has consistently been, the fastest browser. I have Opera & Firefox installed, Opera spanks Firefox every iteration. I did try Chrome but had to remove it; I've got an old machine with *only* half a gig of RAM & life's just too short.

Incompatible website? Spoof it. Works for me every time.

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re AC Eh?

1) Google docs (spreadsheet) don't quite work right in Opera. That is they do work, but there are couple of minor but annoying issues (such as the cell highlighting not actually highlighting the correct cell all the time).

I do use Opera from time to time (mainly for cross browser testing purposes) and find it quite a nice experience actually. But after 6-7 years of solid FF use (for development as well surfing) it will take something quite radically better to get me to use something else. Or FF to REALLY screw up. And no, I don't care about memory leaks, footprints, hogs, startup times and JS speed. All browsers are just fine for me in that respect.

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Naaah.

If you want lightweight, you get Chrome, if you want Features you get Firefox, plus a billion add-ons.

In both cases for development, you have a browser with at least four times the market share.

I do use Opera most weeks in some capacity. For sake of randomly running across browser problems I switch between browsers a few times a day, and actually have nine browsers installed on this PC. I don't dislike it, I just don't find any single reason to user it over Chrome or Firefox.

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Bronze badge

That slow thing

I've used Opera as my main browser for the last six or seven years and it's reliably been excellent but lately I have found it to be getting a little slower relative to its rivals.

In particular it seems to have developed the irritating habit of not bothering to load half the images in a page- if it can't load one image it seems to give up on all the others as well. That's increasingly making it less viable as a browser for me. I'm really hoping they take a step back and realise that being fast, light and reliable was what made Opera the best browser for so long.

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I had a slow Opera experience ...

... on my Linux box once. Very, very sluggish performance compared to FF. These days it runs beautifully on the same machine (fresh install), so I have no idea why that was (it was just a few months ago) - I don't think it was really the browser's fault but there's no sense accusing someone of lying, this could well have happened for one reason or another.

FF starts in less than 2 seconds after a cold boot on my (three year old, but reasonably powerful) PC and runs very nicely; not quite as fast as Opera, especially on JS-heavy pages, but it's certainly not a bloated mess. Opera starts in around 5 sec after a cold boot, and runs very quickly after that.

Calm down, a few deep breaths there. Opera's just a browser, and it's not Mozilla's fault it's never (yet) managed to grow its market share to the size of FF's.

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Nope

Spoofing doesn't work in all the cases I've encountered. Usually the problem is with form fields - combos often appear empty, or don't appear at all regardless of any settings, but there are many sites that don't appear correctly.

There's also a common bug which prevents you from logging into Google sites, specifically Mail, and just dumps you back to the login screen. Opera won't even acknowledge this one - too busy moaning at stuff I suppose. It's a shame, I like Opera a lot, but it has to work properly.

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Anonymous Coward

Whatevarrr; Firefox has Tree Style Tab extension and way more.

Opera may boast lots of 'hidden' features, but they are such a disappointment, minimal and not very usable, so I can't be bothered to use them.

Opera also lacks critical stuff, for security/privacy, as provided by the Firefox NoScript, Adblock, BetterPrivacy etc. extensions!

Opera is just something I try occasionally, when sites or Firefox are being awkward.

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FAIL

Firefix Numties

"Opera also lacks critical stuff, for security/privacy, as provided by the Firefox NoScript, Adblock, BetterPrivacy etc. extensions!"

Someone want to tell this one that all those features are all built right in. Perhaps some of these Firefix idiots needs to actually TRY opera. It will open their eyes.

In this marketshare orientated world, where product quality has no bearing on success, some poeple are in for a shock.

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Go away Opera... please

I'm sure that the people who use it are happy with it as shown here but do they really have to bleat every time a different browser does something they do too? There are two things that really put me off trying Opera seriously. One is the amount of bitching they do about unfair competition. It might be warranted but it's nearly always Opera bitching the loudest and never happy with the punishment dished out. Two is they are quick to claim they did something first but they forget that being first isn't always best and the way they do it screams of "why didn't you like it when I did it?" to me.

In conclusion, get lost Opera. Please. If you whined less and had far fewer "our browser does that too and we've had it longer!" moments I, and probably others, wouldn't hate you so much. I don't like how sluggish Firefox is and I dislike the quality of the adblock extension for Chrome but I'd pick either of them over being stuck with Opera.

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FAIL

Go away whiner... please

Oh no, you don't like Opera! Therefore Opera users should shut up! What are you smoking?

Opera isn't doing any more bitching about unfair competition than anyone else. Did you miss the part where Google, Mozilla and others were part of the EU complaint?

And this story is not about Opera "bitching", it's about someone posting a tip in his personal blog about how you can group tabs in Opera.

In conclusion, you are whining over stuff you are clearly clueless about.

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Happy

I never knew that

Well, the things you learn about something you thought you were familiar with.

It's still not that clever, though. To improve it, you should be able to have more than one group in one window and be able to name the group yourself (as opposed to having the group named by the open tab).

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Personally I never swear by any one browser

Browsing the web is far too important and detailed, an activity, for me, to find a single answer from one vendor. Opera works great for news and research, because of the way it keeps track of it's history between settings. Each tab is, effectively a train of thought, which i will revisit and flick backwards and forwards in the history, a bit to refresh my mind on what I was reading up on , at the time.

Many times I have pursued items of work-related work that I had left off on for months, because of what lay under a particular tab.

Opera has poor integration with Windows networks, however, because of AD's odd implementations of common protocols. Firefoxs does better at this, since their sights remain fairly fixed on breaking into the corporate firewall, and making sure it works, rather than being a Rolls Royce of web browsing. It's only a real advantage when talking to intranet sites, or having to wrestle with the likes of Bluecoat proxies. The Flash content seems to work slightly better in firefox, too, but that's probably the plugin, rather than the browser.

Chrome is always the best, for any madly-ajax-ified Google thing, simply because they write the damn thing.

Then there's IE, of course - for testing.

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Re: any one browser

It looks like people get as attached to using only one browser almost as much as using only one OS. However with a browser there is no practical reason for it.

I'm with Daniel 1 on not using only one. With a modicum of computer skills one can take advantage of the differences. On this oldish kit I have 6 different browsers open on different desktops. Really, there's no reason to just run one browser unless you've got pre Pentium hardware and a small harddrive.

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QI

There is a solution to your first problem

I am a regular user of Opera for more than 5-6 years. There are certain websites which don't work but to solve this there are couple of options.

You can right click on the page and "Edit Site Preferences..." and by going to Network tab you can Identify as FF or IE. The problem is websites designers not with Opera. Classic example of this is Amazon website, by default it doesn't give you Auto Suggestion in search but if you Identify as FF it works fine.

Second solution and the last resort is you can right click on the page and hit Open with FF/IE/Chrome. This is nice touch and only Opera has got it where you can open the page on any other browser installed on your machine.

Your second problem, the speed, I don't believe you. Opera is the most snappiest browser in every sense not just in simple Javascript benchmarks but overall experience!

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Boffin

Extentions compatibility

I'm currently using Firefox 3.6 with NoScript, AdBlock +, Google Toolbar, the my friendly fox unofficial eBay Toolbar, and DownloadHelper extentions. If these worked with Opera, i'd install it right now. I suspect Google already has a version of their toolbar for Opera.

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Google Foolbar????

I NEVER install the dammned google foolbar. Opera has had a Search box built into the browser so long I forgot it was ever missing. Other than that feature the Google toolbar offers nothing useful and simply takes up space that couldbe better used to dispaly web content.

Same goes for Yahoo toolbar, WIndows Live toolbar and any other peice of $#%^ toolbar. I don't use a browser for playing with toolbars.

I use IE at work because it is required to work properly with Sharepoint. If I didn't have mouse gestures added , IE would still be painful to use.

Ebay search? It's on the search box drop down list. By default.

Other than that, stop surfing ilegal porn sites and you won't have so many problems to defend against.

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Go

Ad Muncher

The Opera version of Adblock/Noscript is called Ad Muncher. (On Windows)

It blocks all ads and protects you from malicious scripts without you having to do ANYTHING.

Out of the box, it filters every browser and every program that could possibly have ads and it does it faster and with more accuracy than the firefox extensions do.

Ad Muncher + Opera is an awesome browsing experience.

With that being said, you aren't limited to just Opera, you can use any other browser you want whenever you want and all of them are equally filtered and protected.

I honesty don't know why both Opera and Ad Muncher aren't more well known...

http://www.opera.com/

http://www.admuncher.com/

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FAIL

Opera does most of those

all except the ebay thing. I suspect you can get a Widget to do it.

Greasemonkey (Called UserJS in Opera)

Adblock+ (called ContentBlock in Opera)

Bookmark Sync (called OperaLink and much more functional in Opera)

NoScript (Built in to Opera)

Interestinly, the latest Opera 10.70 snapshot now had contentblocker syncing via Opera-link. So you block something on one Opera install, and it applys to all your other Opera installs. VERY handy.

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FAIL

Thats nice... But

a) Opera Link is a useless POS that mangles your bookmarks.

b) The major reason to use NoScript is the XSS and clickjacking prevention (and other assorted security features), which disabling plugins and scripts in Opera doesn't do. Opera claims to have built-in XSS prevention, but its pretty useless.

c) The Linux version of Opera 10.61 is still not fit for purpose.

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FAIL

Andrew fails again

Opera Link works fine here. If it did mangle your bookmarks, it wouldn't have millions of active users (as reported by Opera).

XSS? XSS affects web applications, dear child. You are just throwing around words you don't understand, in order to sound cool. FAIL.

Opera 10.61 for Linux works fine too.

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Tabs in my tabs?

What is this Russian doll madness?

Actually this sounds pretty cool, I'd switch browsers if there was an Opera version of Adblock/Noscript

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There is

It's all built right in. (and more comprehensive).

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ORLY?

Opera's urlfiter ini and plugin and script blocking not more comprehensive than NoScript and Adblock Plus. Control is far coarser grained than Noscript and Adblock Plus and far less intuitive. You can't automatically download an adblocking urlfilter list like Adblock Plus allows (either you visit a website and download an urlfilter.ini and place it in your Opera profile folder or you add all sites and elements you want to block manually) and it has no clickjacking protection and very little XSS prevention, not even as much as Firefox without NoScript.

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Scuse me, but is this an improvement?

I can already collect and group bookmarks in folders and sub-folders.

Why do I need to do the same thing with Tabs instead?

Does seeing a thumbnail of the page help me any better than a bookmark mini-icon and it's name? I suspect not. At least with a name I can find things regardless of scale.

Worse still, it means I need another interface flip with key and button action just like switching between programs or windows: BAD. NON-visible.

here is my way of web browsing with Firefox: with a bookmark sidebar courtesy of the "All-in-one Sidebar" addon (free).

- It has all my "tabs" (and aren't the same as bookmarks?) visible at all times, No buttons or keys required.

- I can organise and group them any way that I like, at any time.

- The bookmarks run down the side of the browser window - and for most screens, that is a big empty space otherwise as web pages are often shaped more like a paper page, narrow and tall.

- It already exists.

Ah, but my comments will probably make no difference. The same stuff as us reasonable folks already had will be reprocessed, rebadged and peddled again as something that supposedly is New And Improved.

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Erm

I dont use Opera because it looks ugly. And it makes websites look ugly. That is all.

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