back to article Opera chief: history will silence Unite doubters

Undeterred by the media backlash against Opera Unite - the web-browser-meets-web-server contraption unveiled last month - Opera chief executive Jon von Tetzchner says that ten years on, the world will look back on its debut as a seminal moment in the history of the web. "Some people see Unite, and they understand. With others …


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Opera works on so many platforms by using a standard "Core". If that core is open sourced under the GPL then all the other derivative "packages" that build on that core have to be open sourced too.

I do perfer Opera to other browsers but would like it to be open source, however I can see why is isn't and will never be. It is first and foremost a commercial product, and it is also the only browser out there apart from IE that is a proprietary stack (ok, Netfront is an exception but it's pants). As we all know, business won't back an open sauce product unless they have someone to sue if it fails. Hence Nintendo choosing Opera from the Wii and DS, Sony Ericsson choosing Opera for their high end phones, Vodaphone and T-mobile choosing Opera Widgets as their cross device widget platform. Those company's could well have afforded to hire a few resources to hack an open source product into their devices but prefered to go the route where they could sue someone if it messed up. Hence Opera being the major player in a very ucrative market.

Why should they give up that comfortable bed of money?

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My Ma says...

If my Ma wants to send me photo's of her holidays in Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan, she usually just emails them to me.

She doesn't like leaving her laptop running at night in case it catches fire and burns down her house.

She's been a victim of online card fraud once and is now paranoid.


Great idea if:

1. Your computer is always on and your friends and families are too

2. Your always online

3. You've got Opera installed

4. Your not worried about security

See, there's a reason we have servers to serve content. When implemented correctly, they are secure, reliable and accessible 24/7.

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PS sorry it ain't techie enough for some of you....


This post has been deleted by its author


People who are still complaining about security

are just showing that they still have no idea of how Unite works. There isn't a security risk from running Unite, and the complaint that leaving your computer on is a security risk in itself is stupid, if you've got an infested PC, leaving your PC on isn't the problem.

@Matt 89

1. Nope, just as long as the two coincide at some point it's fine isn't it. What might be great is if there was a Skype style service written, so it would be as easy as talking about something in a conversation, hence knowing the files are available.

2. Why do people even have connections that need to be told to go online anymore?

3. Good point, work that out all by yourself?

4. Already dealt with. RTFM.

@Ken Hagan

You clearly don't have a clue what you're talking about either. Well done.

1) Well yes, they do, you choose which folders to share and then manage it just like any other folder.

2), 3), 4) Since you haven't bothered reading a single word about how Unite works, I'll waste no further words explaining it to you.

@Chris C

1) Comcast? Verizon? UK site. Other than that, it's more like normal p2p than hosting a web server.

2) Over a reasonably basic connection (with low upload) I can quite happily stream my music folder to my work PC and listen in decent quality, go figure.

3) LoL. Close Opera, continue talking. Sorted. Of course, this only matters if lots of people are viewing content when you're in the middle of a conversation. That's by-the-by anyway, I don't understand how this can be a factor when you can use Ventrilo + not see any noticeable speed problems in gaming connections on a basic connection?

4) Only a requirement if you know people who want to look at it every minute of the day.

5) People lose interest because they can't be arsed uploading things from their PC to the web. This helps because putting the items on your PC (in the correct place) is the same as uploading it.

@jake('s wife)

No-one is actually on your PC, they're looking at folders that you specify. You maybe reasonably tech-savvy, but you admit that jake is the one who writes the web pages, and not everyone has that person to help them. Once again, there's no security risk, it's dead simple (far easier and simpler than having to mess around with FTP), and it's a really good idea.

There needs to be less people being such spotty nerds in this comments section, it's depressing.

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This is so 1996

"Microsoft Personal Web Server" with bells on.



1) Actually, is an international site. The fact that it is a domain does not change that. If you really think this is a UK-only journal, then please explain the plethora of US-centric articles and US-based journalists. Incidentally, El Reg used to have a separate site ( which omitted the UK-specific articles, but that has long been removed and now redirects to Also, since you're apparently too thick to understand it, I used Comcast and Verizon as examples of popular ISPs because many (if not most) ISPs have similar restraints, at least in the US, Canada, and Australia, from what I'm told.

2) You can stream your music folder to your work PC and listen in decent quality? Gee, wow, you're right, I must be wrong. Your statement only serves to show that your connection can upload a fixed-rate audio stream to a single computer. That's quite different from answering simultaneous requests from multiple users, especially when such requests want the data as quickly as possible, not in a fixed-rate stream.

3) Closing Opera (thus closing your web server) kind of defeats the purpose of having your own little web server, doesn't it? Also, thank you for showing superb ignorance by implying that this won't be a problem simply because you don't understand how it could be. Are you also one of those people who say that everyone who shows displeasure with Vista is obviously doing something wrong because it works for you?

4) The always-powered-on requirement is a requirement unless you know exactly when people will want to access your site. That's quite different than "Only a requirement if you know people who want to look at it every minute of the day." If you don't know when people are going to try to access it, then you'll need to leave it up all the time. The method you imply, and really the only way I see this being of any use, is for you and your visitor to arrange a time for them to access the site.

Lastly, you're a completely, ridiculously, absurdly moronic idiot for claiming there is no security risk. Any time you open a path for someone to access your computer, it *IS* a security risk. And yes, when people are accessing files on your computer, they *ARE* "on your PC". There are two words which have gained popularity over the past 15 years or so. They are "vulnerability" and "exploit". You might want to read up on them before dismissing something as having "no security risk". As the saying goes, the only secure computer is an unplugged (powered off) computer.


@Chris C

> "But if you're technical enough to do this from Apache or anything else, one, there's no problem with that, and two, you're probably not going to understand Unite anyway."

So... If I'm smart enough to set up an Apache server, then I'm too dumb to "understand Unite anyway"? That sounds remarkably like Apple's marketing department.

Well since you missed the point, I'd have to suggest you might be. I can set up an Apache server, and FTP server, or an SSH server if I need one. My mother can't. If I want this kind of service on my home machine, I'll do it with tools I can control. If my mum wants to do this kind of thing on hers, I'll point her to Opera. If your world view is, I can do it the hard way, so these idiot tools serve no use, then yeah, you're not going to understand the point behind Unite.

> "What we're trying to do is take something that currently is very difficult and make it easy. We're tying to give you something that you can describe to your parents or even your grandparents. And I believe we've achieved that."

So did Geocities. And look what happened to them.

Geocities did not make things easy. You still had to faff around uploading files, and more importantly, since all most people want to do is share photos, back in those days, you had to faff around scanning the images to be uploaded. Your analogy fails because we aren't in the 90s anymore. Digital cameras are ubiquitous, as are hard drives full of digital photos. The utility of a one-click 'share this folder with my friend in Germany' button should be pretty obvious even to the most self-righteous of geeks.

>1) Most ISPs (such as Comcast and Verizon) explicitly state in the Terms and Conditions that you are not allowed to run servers of any kind.

Oh well. That'll stop people from using Unite then.

> 2) Upstream speeds. Most ISPs provide people with relatively little upstream speed (1Mbps for Comcast cable, 128Kbps for Verizon DSL),

Yes, and people said that streamed video would never catch on because even ISDN wasn't fast enough to sustain a decent bit-rate.

> so anything hosted on your system will be displayed to your visitor very slowly. This will be exacerbated when you have multiple people trying to request data from you simultaneously.

I don't think the point is to be running an industrial grade server. I think the idea is that from time to time, friends and family can browse my photo album.

> 3) VoIP. Go ahead and host your files on your own system, then wonder why your VoIP connection is choppy and poor quality.

What? VoIP services are packet prioritized. I have VoIP alongside my Comcast cable service, and I can be maxing out my Internet access in both directions with no impact on my phone service. Unless you're talking about Skype of course, but that's hardly the same thing, and probably of very little concern to most users.

>4) Always-on requirement. Most people don't leave their computers powered on all the time, so trying to connect to their "website" will be hit-and-miss. Some people may choose to leave their computers powered on all the time to combat this, but will probably change their minds once they realize the additional electric cost (and heat) this will cause.

If you'd bothered to read the article you;d have noticed he's envisaging a time when all household appliances are always on. A Mac Mini uses about 20W today. Such a box would be more than capable of providing always on support for Opera, managing the household photo and media collection, as well as serving double duty as a backup server and even a set-top box. In a few years you could easily shave 5W of that total, halve the price of the unit, and imagine a world where such devices are starting to become basic consumer electronics. We're almost there already!

> 5) It failed before. People don't care where their files are stored as long as it's easy to make a "home on the web".

Exactly, and how much easier than Unite does it get?

>. Then again, considering the global dumbing-down of people in the last 15 years, this point may be nullified.

A very succinct example of why you don't get it.


Too complex for open source?

%s/complex/embarrassing, unmaintainable and spaghetti-like/g

Precisely the same reasons why most of my code is closed-source, too. :) Just idle speculation on my part, obviously.

Silver badge


"No-one is actually on your PC, they're looking at folders that you specify."

So they DO have access to my PC, then? Do you see the problem yet?

"You maybe reasonably tech-savvy, but you admit that jake is the one who writes the web pages, and not everyone has that person to help them."

He's not helping me, you condescending prick. I can do it myself, if I want to. It's just that he's faster than I am (he started teaching HTML at Stanford in 1992, while I put up my first web page in 2004), and there are only so many hours in the day. It's called sharing the load.

"Once again, there's no security risk,"

Sorry, I don't believe it. All complex code has bugs. You are intentionally allowing outsiders to access files on your computer. You will get bit eventually.

"it's dead simple (far easier and simpler than having to mess around with FTP)"

FTP is considered hard? Odd. Jake taught me in about five minutes. I'm beginning to doubt that you have very much technical ability.

"and it's a really good idea."

If you say so. Enjoy the coolaid. By the way, have you checked with of your ISP to see if running server software at home is allowed by them?

"There needs to be less people being such spotty nerds in this comments section, it's depressing."

In my view, there need to be fewer condescending pricks in fora like this one. At least spotty nerds have clues about technology.

-- jake's wife


first I though u were a troll Shakje

But as jakes wife said, you are just a condescending prick.

How can you respond to the points everyone is making, like security, power on etc. by just sticking your head in the sand, cover your ears and sing "na na na na na na na na"

you know and we don't etc...obfuscation by ignorance?

I completely detest MS and their Browser market share, they achieved it through their monopolistic position, 10 of thousands of people lost their jobs and we received an inferior product IE&netscape.

Same story with their media players, firewall, backup, DRM etc.etc.etc.

They also own/control the gamer market, DirectX & the shitbox360, so gamers are pwned by MS as well.

However this guy in opera, he just complains all the time, we cant do this, please give more help. And when he does actually create? something not new, but's the best thing since sliced bread, and anyone technical cant understand it?

you couldn't make this shit up

And Shakje, stop behaving like you matter and no-one else does...Calm down....

word of the day......empathy


ISP's will block - Opening up your Desktop is NOT smart!

First up - Their little video on their site talks about getting out from servers who are controlled by others - well guess what - who is going to provide the reverse lookup and conduit to bypass the incoming port blocks by your isp? :)

Second - there are many reasons SMART administrators use servers. Servers are (or should be) redundant, fail-over, have backups, and multiple drives in a raid to prevent data loss. Oh and fast outbound connections and security in place to lock down everything but the webserver.

I can see a ton of Hackers right now grinning from ear to ear about this announcement.. imagine a virus like some of these worms that go in and send out masses amount of spam... Now they can use these viruses to infect all these nice little home web servers and flood the search engine bots with massive amounts of spam as well.

The future is the cloud and moving data away from a single source of failure and into the datacenter where the infrastructure is in place to protect and server up that data to you anywhere in the world..

Those people who think its a good idea because facebook or myspace won't have control over your data - well guess what - if your page is not password protected, your data will be available in google - if it is password protected there is still the possibility of a 0 day hack that comes out to access all of these nice little home based servers. It wont be long for us to all hear about this happening..

If you want something to NOT be public - then take a computer disconnect it from the net, type up the information on that computer only, and then burry it in the foundation of a building you know will not be destroyed any-time soon. Even then some ailen in the future will find it and put it in one of their museums.

Shane Menshik



What if....?

What if Opera Unite _was_ running on a dedicated server? That is, you had an Internet-facing device (*not* a full-blown computer) that served up content from a connected hard-drive. And on that hard-drive you placed your photos etc that you wanted to share.

Then we'd have the following:

1. No personal files/folders/etc available to people accessing your shared files.

2. No need to have your computer on all the time, only this mini-server. And as Michael McIntyre once pointed out, we don't mind the fridge being on all the time!

OK, so it would require "setting up", but no more so than a digital set-top box (i.e. connect cables, plug in, turn on).

And the Opera bloke did suggest that he sees such devices becoming commonplace in the near future.... (hell, just call it "<insert social networking web site here>@home" and punters will buy it)


This is why

Twitter, Facebook, Google and LiveJournal under attack

No one's going to DDoS your browser.


Anonymous Coward

Opera It's like IE, but without the market share.

There are loads of annoying Opera specific bugs. It's like IE, but without the market share.

At which point you need to ask, is it worth fixing them??? I would say no...


Water water everywhere

"We're starting to see servers in various components, like routers and photo frames. But it's not co-ordinated. It's not working," von Tetzchner continued.

Erm, well in a sense he's right...



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