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back to article Opera to take web back to the old days

Opera raised the browser feature ante today by announcing Opera Unite - placing a web server in every client and encouraging end users to share content from their own desktop with the world. Rather than compete with the cloud-based services that are currently so popular, Opera is proposing, and enabling, a return to how the …

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Anonymous Coward

@Kev K

The UK is such an interesting nation, there seems to be an immediate assumption that peadophiles are everywhere and are just waiting for their next opportunity.

This shows 2 stupidities,

Number 1 they think that Peadophiles don't already have their own private networks and a reasonable level of competence, and that for such individuals this system will have much interest.

Number 2 that there are peadophiles everywhere, showing that the UK really is rampent with paranoia - kind of place old men get burnt to death in their own flats becouse of rumours.

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Sounds good

Those of you moaning about security of a load of users with web servers have got it wrong. It's not a web server in the Apache / IIS category. You're not asking a user to get to grips with httpd.conf or anything! It's a simple sharing interface.

The only concerns as far as I can see are inbuilt vulnerabilities in the Opera software and ISPs getting pissed off about people technically violating the terms.

Opera may have to be careful not to use the term "Web server" to get around that problem.

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Brutal video

OK, I'm going to assume that the copy written for that youtube video is emblematic of what the entire implementation will be like. "servers belonging to *strangers*". oooo, spoooky.

I do like the idea of micro-serving though. But wasn't this an idea a few years ago with mobile phones where you could tune into what other people have on their ipod on the same subway car via bluetooth or wifi?

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Heart

Worth a look

Despite running several of my own servers I'm actually quite intrigued by this. It might provide a "reasonable" way of sharing ephemeral stuff with friends and family, ie. a small number of clients over a small time. Much better than the current dumping of "funny" stuff via e-mail and no need to worry about T&C's of Flickr, Google, etc. One of my accounts with the big boys recently lapsed (about six weeks inactivity) and it is easier to set up a new one than reactivate it, and all I want it for is to be able to see pictures of my nephew.

As for the integration - this is so much better than the kludges offered by the social networkers. Google's wave is probably going in the same direction but I don't trust them with my data. The big question might be whether it will be possible to add online storage if desired. Something to think about.

As for the rest of Opera 10 - it just gets better, pity the mail client is so underused as it's the best by far. I now have about 100,000 e-mails over various accounts and the full-text search is immediate. Miniatures in tabs was also activated for OS X in this build and like Speeddial it's just a great idea. Bound to be seen in the next Safari update which has just caught up to Speeddial.

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Anonymous Coward

Not much of a departure from existing practice.

Although I use Opera mostly as just a browser (and still will) it has always been more of a general net client thingy. So this adds a server thingy. Not a massive change.

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Gates Halo

So all I need to publish...

...as Joe AverageGuy is the name of my computer, and a username. Which, being Joe AverageGuy will be the name of the user I log in with. Which, being Joe AverageGuy will be a local admin.

Opera found a legal way to create an opt-in botnet.

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Anonymous Coward

Re : Webservers

Don't know who your ISP is but mine is quite happy for me to run a webserver, they even support SMTP forwarding from their mail servers so you can run your own. Port scans for open relay email servers I can understand but my ISP doesn't even do that.

Also I suspect that the Opera webserver isn't going to sit on port80 but will sit somewhere else

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Gates Horns

LOL, Clueless.

LOL, look at all the clueless "admins" that really don't have a clue what they are talking about.

Why not try downloading it and trying it BEFORE you make yourself look idiots.

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Linux

Anticipation people, Anticipation!

Why are there so many people whining about innovation on the basis that BT has bundled the vast majority of subscribers in the UK with piss poor connections? Japan already has close to 50% FTTH penetration, average download speeds around 100Mbps, and tested symmetric 1Gbps dsl. Innovation has to be forward thinking, but you'll always have some pessimistic Anglo-speaking IT techs ( Charles, Gary , etc... ) stuck in the past.

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Power to the people !

Power to the people ! But remember folks with power comes responsibility !(something the ploiticians (*) would be wise to remember ! )

Well done Opera ! And keep on going, because choice is good and in my book you are by FAR the best browser on all counts !!

*(an unintended typo - but I like it so much I'll leep it *GRINS*l)

Oh and to ISPs:- Why can't there be variable upstream speed as required? Even if it meant balancing the downstream speed ?

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Anonymous Coward

ADSL

ADSL ... what do you think that A stands for? Asymmetric... which means that upload and download are not the same. The exchange I'm on supports SDSL if I really want to pay for it, and my ISP will support it too.

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Jobs Horns

test run...

Have installed and am running on independant Asus Eee box. I have just moved my personal web space on to it. To run for a few days to give a full test but this seems to suit what i'v been after with out all the hard work of power hungry un need time consuming servers.

As for slow upload issues and ISP's not allowing you to run servers well you get what you pay for end off story.

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@TeeCee

"Apart from the numbering issues, yer NAT router with an inbuilt firewall is great protection against the gits out there"

And UPnP is an even greater threat to said protection. Most DSL modems come with that enabled by default, y'know, to help things like Messenger work. Opera's fancy dan new system will happily exploit that no doubt.

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OK....

So basically you took the Apache code base, rammed it up your browser and now your claiming you have re-invented the web....hmmmm. OK, you just keep telling yourselves that....

Can't wait for the ISP reaction to this. Should be fun when those support calls come in....

"Yeah I turned on my Opera server and my mates can't get to it, what's wrong?"

"Have you port forwarded your router?"

"A what?"

"Router."

"What the little box thing you sent me when I joined?"

"Yes."

"Ports? Oh the holes on the back where the cables go in?"

"Ah...no...."

Much sighing and a very long evening ahead for Mr/Mrs Support person!

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Awful idea :/

Security is the obvious one - making things "too easy" to share files in an unproven protocol will lead to botnets and DDoS.

People won't realise that sharing files and having a number of other users dowloading from them will eat into their own upstream bandwidth, and complain to their ISPs that "my Internet is slow".

We don't need yet more global bandwidth wasted on crap - let people understand file serving and social networking services better, that will fullfil all their needs I am sure.

I for one hope ISPs block unite:// links unless expressly requested by their customers.

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Paris Hilton

RE-ADSL

Correct the A does stand for Asymmetric. The point made however was why can't it be variable !. After all it does retrain according to the line/signal quality - typically downwards for the downstream ! And as for ADSL I'm not sure that cabled people are ADSL are they ?

Paris cos she knows a thing or two about things going up and down.

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So...

...it's P2P file-sharing done right, then.

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Bah!

This idea will be so much hot air until Opera introduces their ground-breaking WAIS and GOPHER service.

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I've tried it. It works brilliantly

IT'S *NOT* A BLUDDY WEB SERVER!!!

It's a P2P platform with a handful of sample apps. One of them is a mini web server. None of them is "on" by default.

Having used Opera since version 5, I can think of no other vendor I'd trust more on security. I'd worry much more about 3rd party apps on the platform., but that aside, I'm really impressed. And I say that as someone who runs personal web, FTP and SMTP servers.

-A.

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Anonymous Coward

Love it

this is the real cloud.

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Stop

RE: frank ly

Well said frankly!

My biggest concern would be by far Security, there is after all 1 MASSIVE FLAW with this setup, say for example Hacker A finds a flaw or bug in Opera and publishes this onto the web, you then have Hackers A-Z and more who know just where to look for machines to infect or control.

Currently if there is an Opera flaw it would not be feasable to scan for IPs on the net, then attempt this flaw on any one IP as there is no garrentees that this IP is even a PC or Server, it could be a router, firewall or even a media sharing device plus so many more these day, but for arguments sake lets say it is a Windows XP machine after all the majority of PCs are then there is still no garentees it is using Opera.

So lets all welcome 1 domain name where security holes will be a constant and target that, on the plus side (hackers point of view) they know the users are not going to be very IT Litterate as if they were they would know of the 101 other solutions already available.

OPERA REWIND PLEASE!

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@Matthew Peddlesden

"Not to mention that many ISP's state in the agreement that you can't run servers..."

*blink* *blink* Do they?

Can you name six and show your working?

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Black Helicopters

I Just Felt A Great Disturbance in the Force...

...as if billions of malware authors suddenly had a collective orgasm...

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J 3
Linux

placing a web server in every client

Yeah, my ISP here in the USA also forbids servers in their T&Cs. They have never enforced it though.

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It's going to find its target

Methink some people will find that very nice. I run the standalone, full-fledged servers I need already (and no, no Apache on my personnal machines, I don't personnally host websites that would need it!), but some users are going to love that!

And the air-brained paranoid types here spouting stupid stuff about paedos, spam or botnets should think twice, learn how servers work, and probably RTFA too. As I understand, most of the traffic will be filtered by Opera (but for the P2P bit I suppose. Good luck exploiting that). It can raise privacy issues (yeah, booh-hoo, some people I don't personnaly know are going to see the content of my website, who woodafunkit?), but it should guarantee a quite decent security (especially against the ever trendy XSS-type attacks).

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Paris Hilton

More useless bloat...

Opera makes every other browser out there look well designed and bloat-free.

Now where's that firefox icon?

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Anonymous Coward

Great news

Sounds interesting. So far, the only browser that's seen improvement from the point of view of ordinary people is MSIE. What's been going on with Opera and Firefox has been too much about stuff to please techies. This innovation from Opera is very much in the same style as their RSS and Bit Torrent apps - ie, something old, simplified to the point where even your grandmother can use and configure it.

Now we just have to wait for the flood of Firefox fanboys to start slagging it off royally because it's not nearly as good as Apache...

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Go

Some people are missing the point

Imagine accessing 'your' web server/P2P from your smartphone.

I think that is what they are trying to do.

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@Aidan Whitehall 1

In the USA, every cable network includes language that you can't run mail or web servers from your cable-enabled location. Some of them even monitor your bandwidth and types of traffic and inspect your packets. So if you're using cable access to the Internet, you are violating the terms of agreement, and they can just stop your access cold without refunding you a penny. For many people this would also impact the other cable services they receive, as in most cases someone with cable Internet access also has cable television and telephone, all provided as a bundled package. When the Internet access portion is removed, those people would no longer be able to obtain the bundled package, and would immediately begin to pay for cable television and phone service at the unbundled rates, typically quite a bit higher. And it's one cable provider per service area, around here ... you can't simply get another cable account from a different provider.

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Happy

Wheeeeeeeeeeee

That's the sound of the approaching asteroid for all you clueless dinosaurs out there. Seriously, I have rarely encountered such idiotic dismissal of a new service. All the security cassandras almost certainly haven't even bothered to investigate what Unite is and how it works. People have a problem with Opera bundling THIS and yet continue purchasing,running and supporting the gaping holes that Microsoft calls software???

Put it this way. Anyone who fails to see why Unite is a huge deal is probably on the wrong side of the future.

PS I'm sick of morons on El Reg writing off new tech because it doesn't fit their extremely idiosyncratic needs. e.g. "What good is it for you if you're on dial up?" Who fucking cares????

PPS Worms?? Botnets?? Stop your fucking whining and run linux.

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This really is a doddle.

Had a play with it this evening - don't recommend media player unless you've got a thick pipe but it really is a dream for photos.

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um, correct me if wrong but.....

is it not just a 'home web server' that you can get elsewhere???

http://www.google.co.uk/search?hl=en&q=home+web+server&btnG=Google+Search&meta=&aq=f&oq=

eg http://www.ghacks.net/2009/03/28/home-web-server/

or more like Picasa, flickr, or just another 'cloud' app??

http://search.theregister.co.uk/?q=cloud

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Unhappy

Freedom from third party servers??

all the traffic goes through opera servers. so how does it safeguard privacy? I use Tonido which looks much better!

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Bod
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Re: Re : Webservers & Re: RE-ADSL

Re: Re : Webservers

My ISP allows servers also (which is one of the main reasons I picked them). With some limits of course. However I'd say the majority of ISPs don't and/or block server ports.

Re: RE-ADSL

Yes Cable is Asymmetric also and the upstream is likewise limited (when I moved from NTL to BT, BT's upstream was actually larger at the time!). In fact people believe cable should be amazing because it's all fibre and all that, but it's only fibre to cabinet and then coax to the house with a downstream channel that's shared between neighbours and multiple smaller and heavily contended upstream channels. It was never designed to cope with a lot of upstream traffic, especially simultaneously, and the infrastructure was based on customers sharing the cable to provide TV pictures (and half the problems cable customers get with signal issues is down to shoddy connections elsewhere in the street. Often unterminated connectors in a neighbour's house!).

Copper phone wire for broadband has a benefit in being a dedicate cable from exchange to subscriber. On that part of the the journey there's essentially no contention, unlike cable. From the exchange onwards though, that's another matter.

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Gates Horns

please please please don't let M$ copy this

I hope to God that M$ don't copy and try to shoehorn this into IE. Security implications are just about aceptable for opera as:

1. People who get opera tend to know more than those that just stick to "blue internet thingy"

2. Opera has low market share so less reason for malware writers to go snooping

3. M$ 'wonderful' security history and putting 'feel' before security.

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Happy

Bloat? Bloat? I don't got no steenkin bloat

@More useless bloat...

By Anonymous Coward

Opera 9.64 5.4MB download

Firefox 3.0.11 7MB download

Internet Explorer 8 for Windows XP 16.1MB

Show me the bloat!!

While I applaud and support Firefox in it's aims, to claim Firefox is well-designed compared to Opera is, well, laughable. Opera is the Ferrari of browsers.

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Re: um, correct me if wrong but.....

Ok, I'll bite:

No, it is not just a 'home web server' that you can get elsewhere.

The "web server" part that Opera mentions is that the browser supports two way HTTP transactions, so it can respond to requests as well as making them. In essence it is a Peer-to-Peer networking client/server application using HTTP as the transport protocol through port 80. Responding to HTTP requests makes it technically a "server". That's it--no magic, no Apache, no IIS.

Moreover, it is not just another 'cloud' application. "Cloud computing" harks back to the elden days of yore when dumb terminals communicated with centralized mainframes which performed all the processing and storage for them. Or to the past "Online Services" which served as gatekeepers of information, and jealously controlled its access. The Internet and the World Wide Web--along with personal computers--were supposed to break us from those shackles and allow individuals to directly form part of the whole framework, sharing and connecting to each other directly. The Unite platform is a return to this original intent: Yes, it is a "cloud" but it is not in the shape of Google or Amazon or Microsoft, it is amorphous and comprised of each individual computer on the Web (the reason why it was originally called so, and not something like "World Wide ISP Network".

However, it is more than this. It is a platform that exposes an API for extending the transport and sharing services. They call these "Unite Services", and are nothing but simple web applications built for the Unite platform. Once these are installed and turned on on a user's machine, these applications offer interactive services to the local and external users, and they do not need anything more than a regular web browser (any browser!) to access.

Part of the genius of the whole thing is its simplicity: there is practically nothing to it, so for the average person this is a dream! If my mom wants to share her pictures with our family, why should she have to upload them to a third party server and be bound to their terms, which may even include property claims on the media assets themselves, when she has a perfectly good and reasonably fast computer and internet connection? All she needs is an easy-to-use interface that will allow her to share them from her own computer and send a link directly to us. This interface is what Unite provides.

The security of the system so far seems to be an all-or-nothing affar at the moment: You either share publicly everything within the shared directory without a password, with a password, or you don't share at all. However, it is only in Beta stage, and the Opera developers have commented in the support forum that they are working on a more granular permission system. As before, Opera seem to have taken security as a major concern when designing this system.

In any case, I hope you try the new Opera Unite browser for yourself and see what it's all about before making assumptions based on hearsay and prejudices. It is truly an innovative platform in that it fullfills promises heretofore forgotten by most, made at the inception of the World Wide Web itself.

-dZ.

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So basically it does what other ...

... similar products already do (ORB, WHS, MSN, Facebook, an actual web server, etc., etc.). So the claim of "reinventing the web" was, as expected, a load of crap. Perhaps it may make some things easier to do, but If you think this is revolutionary you need your head examined.

Fair enough for them to have a go, but they have *many many* competitors and the probablities of this product making any major inroads appear at first glance to be virtually nil. Thankfully I say, as millions of machines being left on seems an awful waste of electrons!

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cnet has a good article on similar...

http://news.cnet.com/8301-17939_109-10266230-2.html

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Paris Hilton

@orko McVelikovskyvez

So they use a smaller installer... There is still absolutely no need to have an IRC client, server, torrent application, etc etc etc in the browser, I have applications that do each of those WAY better. when I want to torrent stuff, I open uTorrent. When I want to go on IRC, I use mIRC. When I run a server, I use Apache. I do not need to do all that from a web browser...

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I guess your check is in the post, DZ-Jay...

Anthony 13 has the better answer.... and sorry to say that Opera's rep. may be good, but the invisibly low marketshare is bad enough, without playing 'shouty liitle man' and making it worse in other areas too.... :(

more answers, please, and please reduce the 'starry eyes' and OTT praise to a minimum..... (we are not on an Iphone section...)

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Re: So basically it does what other ...

Wrong again. Those services you mentioned exist in a *centralized* environment, where the host owns and controls the media and its access. If you want to send a message via Tweeter, or publish your pictures in MySpace, you'll have to adhere to their terms, and these include owning a large chunk of the intellectual property of the information you host on their system.

With Unite you don't upload your pictures or music files anywhere: they are hosted on your own computer. You are right, this can already be done by any user with a web server; but that misses the point: it requires experience and understanding of the technologies. The same I can say for any other "innovation" on the web such as those you mentioned: it could already have been done with other technologies, but their genius comes from a new interface or way of integrating older technologies more effectively.

Opera Unite is not revolutionary, and I never claimed it was. I said it fullfills the old promises of the WWW, perhaps because the technology and the state of the art has advanced enough for someone to put them together in a more cohesive and effective way.

-dZ.

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Not really innovative...

Is what one or two other people have seen. Its a modernized BBS... back in the days of 9600 and 14400 baud modems , we'd leave messages on BBS' and check for pictures. One problem that I see is that its going to create a new glut of webcontent. This took the idea of the WildCAT BBS software and updated it for 2009.

But the problem I see is that the computer MUST be left ON for the content to stay active, just like any other webserver. I know Opera is concerned about security, but Spyware gangs are feriously greedy and will be pouncing all over Opera to see how the technology works. Opera has now made itself a viable platform that may be easier to exploit since the user by default will leave the machine constantly on so their friends, family and others can view their content.

I know this is going to be a problem on larger networks since many software programs easily create UPNP ports through routers.

I'm interested to see how this develops. The only advantage I see, is that it will allow people launch their own Facebook, Myspace or whatever page from their computer without relying on any other service. This may actually lead to less webpages that show up in search results. But how will Opera handle the sharing of content in the future? I'm sure lots of people will be embarassed , sued, or do more idiotic things because now no one is there to watch them over their shoulder like Facebook and Myspace has....

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