back to article Opera retires Unite, widgets in latest browser cut

Opera made the latest version of the its desktop browser available this morning in a beta release. Old hands may notice a few things missing in version 12.0. Voice-control support in the user interface has been axed, along with Opera Unite and widgets. The browser company wants developers to use the extensions API instead. …


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  1. Lee Dowling Silver badge

    Voice hasn't worked for about 4 major versions, unless you already managed to download the IBM voice libraries that disappeared off the net before then.

    1. Greg J Preece

      Heresy! Opera works everywhere, always, and better than anyone else. :-p

      What's with the focus on the extensions API anyway? A year or two ago, wasn't the party line that Opera didn't *need* extensions because it was already perfect, extensions make Firefox bloated, blah blah yadda yadda?

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Nearly right

        The more extensions you have the slower your browser is likely to run. And as things stand you don't need many extensions in Opera: content blocking is built-in, as is a great mail-client and perfectly serviceable IRC client and RSS reader. I have just two extensions: NotScripts and YouTube WebM Plus.

        Opera's line on extensions, as with so many other things, was to work with a standard to ensure interoperability and avoid vendor lock-in. Extensions, written in HTML and Javascript, are pretty portable between the Webkit crowd and Opera.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Nearly right

          No, the party line wasn't that. The "party line" was that most of the popular Firefox extensions were already built into Opera, which was true. But adding extensions lets them add more obscure features as well.

      2. This post has been deleted by its author

      3. Greg J Preece

        5 downvotes already? U MAD, FANBOYS?

  2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Slight quibble

    Out of the box Unite allowed you to share music and photos very easily with other Opera users

    As it was browser-based other people didn't need Opera to share and it was data protection heaven. Of course, it was dependent on being connected to the net and your uplink speed.

    As extensions of the browser never really made sense - but the widget runtime for standalone widgets lives on.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pull the plug

    I'm sorry, but I really think it's time Opera did the decent thing and closed. Nobody uses it, nobody will use it - not beyond those with a sentimental glint in their eyes for the good old days of the Internet anyway.

    1. W.O.Frobozz

      Re: Pull the plug

      I'm sorry, but that's bullshit. Opera is still every bit as fast as Chrome, and doesn't go out of it's way to make itself unconfigurable like Chrome or run like a bloated manatee like Firefox. Cutting the cruft that few were using will just make it more lean

    2. Lee Dowling Silver badge

      Re: Pull the plug

      "Opera is a web browser and Internet suite developed by Opera Software with over 200 million users worldwide."

      The Wii's Internet Channel, most phone's browsers, loads of kiosks and that's before you even get CLOSE to desktop use.

      Just because YOU and your cynic-friends don't, doesn't mean nobody does. I actually know more people using Opera on their personal machines than using Firefox, and I work with people who are basically tech-ignorant. In corporations it hasn't really caught on, but there are lots of people using it without even realising.

      It's like saying we should pull the plug on Linux because you can't see a Linux machine in Dixons or PC World. Ignorant.

      1. Tim Walker


        For what it's worth, Opera Mobile for Symbian is superb - I would recommend it as one of the first downloads for a new Nokia (Symbian) phone, as in many ways it's the browser that Symbian should have shipped with out of the box.

        If they'd done so, who knows if the Elopalypse could have been averted...

        1. Ilgaz

          Re: Symbian

          They actually did ship opera with symbian while Nokia was a sane company.idiots before Elop gave up and decided to ship worst possible webkit implementation ever.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Pull the plug

      It's the best browser on the market, bar none, I don't give a shit who else uses it or not.

      1. Anonymous Coward 101

        Re: Pull the plug

        It's a life saver for those with phones with shitty native internet browsers. More power to it.

    4. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: Pull the plug

      Now that Mozilla (with Firefox 12) has joined Google (Updater) and Apple (iTunes background service) in quietly installing system services to run your machine for you, Opera is probably the only major browser that still believes the end-user owns the machine.

      Icon: <the one you should have used>

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Pull the plug (@ Ken Hagen)

        Silent upgrades are optional in Firefox 12.

        The alternatives, under Tools>Options>Advanced>Update, are "Check for updates, but let me choose whether to install them" or "Never check for updates".

      2. BlueGreen

        Re: Pull the plug (@Ken Hagan)

        Had enough of Moz/Firefox dickery and as I understand FX 3.6 branch has reached EOL two days ago, I'm considering where to move next. You've convinced me to look at opera. FX 10 LTS will get a look-in but the odds are against it now (still has the same dickhead 'bookmark all tabs' user interface epic fail I've mentioned before, and if they can't even get that right...)

        So, thanks.

    5. luxor

      Re: Pull the plug

      "Nobody uses it, nobody will use it"

      Really? Speak for yourself. I know more people using Opera than using any of the other 3 combined.

      But there again you already knew that since you know what we all use or don't use.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Pull the plug

      Nobody uses it? Opera has more than 250 million users. 250 million is "nobody" to you? Nice.

    7. Dave Mundt

      Re: Pull the plug

      Greetings and Salutations;

      It appears that the current version of Opera has more or less fixed the ONLY problem I had with the browser - that was a continual drip of memory that would finally suck up every byte on the computer, requiring a restart. From day one, though, it has been smaller, faster, and far more flexible in its configuration than other browsers.

      Since I am in a charitable mood, I am going to believe that your opinion is based on reading http access logs, and, noting that there do not seem to be any visits from Opera users. I want to remind you that one of the great strengths of Opera has been the ease with which it can spoof the User Agent ID strings of other browsers. It may LOOK like IE, but, it might well be Opera. This has allowed me to surf a huge number of poorly written websites, apparently created by script kiddies running "pick 2 from column 1, 1 from column 2" page generators that attempt to lock one into one particular browser (yes, I am looking at YOU Microsoft). I have found very few browser specific web pages that Opera cannot render properly - something that I have not been able to say about IE, Firefox, or Chrome. While Firefox has been my "goto" choice for the past year or so because of the memory leak issues, I almost exclusively use Opera now.

      pleasant dreams

      dave mundt

  4. moiety

    Good. I never liked the idea of that unite crap. Can't blame Opera for trying and in a nicer world it might have been a good idea; but I'm not sorry to see it go.

    1. Ben 42

      I always thought Unite seemed like a good idea in a perfect world without software exploits, but giving all the clueless users a server running on their poorly secured boxes struck me as big trouble. How many would have properly updated it when an exploit was, inevitably, found? Even professional sysadmins can't always be trusted to do that.

      Widgets were an odd fit for a browser too IMHO, so I can't say I see that as a bad change either.

  5. W.O.Frobozz

    A pity

    I am probably one of the few people that actually use Unite. Came in handy for accessing a webcam buried behind a firewall, amongst other things.

    Not sure what is up with Opera these days. Unite and the widgets have been moribund for a while now, but they can't seem to get Opera Mobile working reliably on Android of's been almost unusable since early March. A real pity...I still prefer Opera to Chrome.

    1. Sir Cosmo Bonsor

      Re: A pity

      You may want to try a new handset. Use it daily on my HTC and haven't had a problem with it myself.

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: A pity

      but they can't seem to get Opera Mobile working reliably on Android of's been almost unusable since early March.

      I found the first build of Opera 12 mobile to be a bit ropey but the recent releases have improved it a lot.

  6. CaptainHook

    Do they have an option to disable tab stacking yet?

  7. Chris 171

    @anon 11:55

    Im guessing you dont use it from that comment. You take care now...

    Unite was interesting & tested it a few times but found no use for it with a web accessible NAS in place. Widgets too seemed not to fit properly, extensions should still fill the gap nicely though.

    Above all, its still the fastest page rendering browser by a country mile, with the best bookmark / speed dial sharing across every web connected device I own. I also trust Opera as a company far more than every other browser provider out there.

    I aint changing - Opera ftw!

  8. Bronek Kozicki Silver badge

    support for color profiles?

    Does this version finally display correctly? If not ICC4 then perhaps older versions?

    1. Lee Dowling Silver badge

      Re: support for color profiles?

      Tell us why you need colour accuracy to that degree in a mass-market web browser, and then I'd support you.

      Just how many people browse Facebook with a colour-calibrated display?

      1. Bronek Kozicki Silver badge

        Re: support for color profiles?

        I browse photo galeries, not facebook. Many photo amateurs have calibrated monitors, it's mass-market (under 100 quid for good calibrator) just like DSLRs are. I know of 2 mass-market browsers with support for color profiles: Firefox and IE. Shame Opera does not want to compete with those.

        1. nugge

          Re: support for color profiles?

          Safari does too...

  9. Andy The Hat Silver badge

    I've used Opera since I retired Netscape 6 ... Opera version 2 or early 3 I believe which had various issues. Fortunately the company seemed happy to listen and change things for their users unlike certain others who would simply describe them as 'features' or 'our implementation' (eg *allow me to turn off 'Faces' in iphoto Apple!*). I've used Opera almost solely since version 3.5 and use it as default wherever possible. For those heathens that don't realise, most browsers copy with 'add-ons' or 'extensions' what Opera implements natively ...

    1. Ilgaz

      They are also reachable

      I can find the very same guy we bugged in 3.6 times and although he has a high level position, can still bug. Funny thing is, guy acts exactly the same.

      Try chatting with google suits.

  10. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Show me anything that works even remotely as well on a phone and I might agree with you. On most hand held stuff though it's the only real option.

  11. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

    No dont take Unite Away

    Damn, I use that for my mobile tablet and home desktop, it is actually handy as websites I visit often slap on the front page and unite syncs it.

    I have now decided I hate change

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: No dont take Unite Away

      Unite is still part of 12 just disabled by default. Opera Dev currently has an article about porting from Unite to Extensions so I suspect that any Unite apps you were using will be reborn as Extensions. However, if you are talking about sync then you may be thinking of Opera Link which is not going away.

    2. Ilgaz

      That is opera sync

      It stays, it is called "opera sync". Unite is the function serves file etc.

      1. LordWilmore

        Re: That is opera sync

        It's opera _link_ these days fella

  12. Joe Drunk

    Opera for PC lost me at around V9..

    Became too bloated and certain websites just wouldn't render properly. Firefox lost me after V3 because of bloat. Chrome is ok is definitely aimed at noobs - you can tell because as someone else here mention they go out of their way to make it unconfigurable. These days I don't really care, a browser is a browser. Security and speed is all that matters and they all do it much the same..IE9 is starting to look good, we'll have to wait and see...

    For handsets it depends. Opera mobile doesn't offer any advantage on Android 2.2+ devices over the stock browser with wrappers (most android browsers Dolphin, Miren, etc are just wrappers for the stock browser). Opera Mobile 12 doesn't render some pages correctly, Flash websites are choppier and changing from mobile to desktop view often has no effect. Still in development so I'll keep an eye on it.

    Opera Mobile however was the best on my Windows Mobile 6 handset and most of the J2ME feature phones I've owned.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Opera for PC lost me at around V9..

      Too bloated? That doesn't even make sense. Opera became SMALLER, not bigger. Unlike other browsers.

      You are inventing nonsensical claims about bloat for some reason. I have no idea why.

      As for Opera Mobile not offering advantages over the stock browser, that's nonsense too. For example, it has Opera Turbo.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Does it work properly via ISA proxies that require authentication and stop buggins for my bloody password all the dam time?

    Do wildcard exceptions work properly yet?

    Othewise I'd use it as my primary work browser.

    1. ScissorHands

      Re: Proxies

      It was reported and came back as WONTFIX. Opera is using an external library to support NTLM ISA proxies (Server 2003, in the case of my workplace) and can't be bothered to fix it.

      And yet, given the alternatives of FF3.6 or IE7 on a XP SP2 install, it's Opera all the way for me.

  14. gujiguju

    Tail wagging dog

    Nice to see Opera 12b going public. It's a great update.

    Their Vega software backend is fast enough that they've decided to turn-off HWA until they can tweak it further with all the combinations of graphics cards, OpenGL, WebGL, DirectX. It is blindingly fast w/o HWA still -- as long as web devs don't browser-sniff and send the wrong code (Google, Flickr, *ahem*). Changing the user-agent string usually fixes any hanky-panky.

    Opera has 250+ million users, and continues to innovate (in terms of speed per watt).

    Opera market share is #1 on mobiles, while their smaller desktop/tablet share is just a bludgeon used by the others to discredit.

    It's really worth trying for a week. (And don't forget to enable "On-Demand Plugins" for even faster browsing.)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Tail wagging dog

      Agree with all that.

      Operas killer feature is content blocker sync. Whilst Firefox use a sledehammer to break a nut approach with ad blocking, which breaks LOTS of websites. Opera's approach is MUCH better.

      Find somethimg annoying on a page? Right click, Block Content. It will then apply to any other installation of Opera too (assuming you are using the supurb OperaLink).

      In short, Opera has all the good extensions that Firefox and Chrome NEED, build right in, no version compatibility problems, they just work.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It doesn't display text correctly on XP and hasn't since 10x. The fact nobody mentions this anywhere shows how small their userbase is. Firefox is the same since 4x. Both have open bug reports but neither cares.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      As Opera is VERY good on sites that bother to adhere to web standards.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    32bit plugins on 64bit OS

    I'm pretty sure Opera 12 is the only browser than can do that....

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