History of the Opera web browser
The history of the Opera web browser began in 1994 when it was started as a research project at Telenor, the largest Norwegian telecommunications company. In 1995, the project branched out into a separate company named Opera Software ASA, with the first publicly available version released in 1996. Opera has undergone extensive changes and improvements, and introduced notable features such as Speed Dial.
Until version 2.0, the Opera browser was called MultiTorg Opera (version 1.0) and had only a limited internal release—although it was demonstrated publicly at the Third International WWW Conference in April 1995. It was known for its multiple document interface (MDI) and 'hotlist' (sidebar), which made browsing several pages at once much easier, as well as being the first browser to completely focus on adhering to the W3C standards.
In February 2013, Opera Software announced that their in-house rendering engine, Presto, would be phased out in favour of WebKit. Opera 15 saw the browser being fully rewritten, with this and subsequent releases being based on Blink and Chromium.
- 1 Version 2
- 2 Version 3
- 3 Version 4
- 4 Version 5
- 5 Version 6
- 6 First MSN.com controversy
- 7 Version 7
- 8 Second MSN.com controversy
- 9 Hotmail controversy
- 10 Version 8
- 11 Version 9
- 12 Version 10
- 13 Version 11
- 14 Version 12
- 15 Version 15
- 16 Version 16
- 17 Version 17
- 18 Version 18
- 19 Timeline of releases
- 20 Release compatibility
- 21 References
- 22 External links
Due to popular demand, Opera Software showed interest in programming its browser for alternate operating systems such as Apple Macintosh, QNX and BeOS. On October 10, 1997, they launched "Project Magic", an effort to determine who would be willing to purchase a copy of their browser in their native OS, and to properly distribute funds to develop or outsource for such operating systems. On November 30, 1997 they closed voting for which operating system to develop with. Project Magic then became a news column for updates for alternate operating systems until version 4.
Version 3.6 was released on May 12, 1999.
Opera 5.10 (April 2001) was the first version to recognize mouse gestures, but this feature was disabled by default.
On November 29, 2001, Opera 6 was released with new features including Unicode support, and offering a single document interface as well as the multiple document interface allowed by previous versions.
First MSN.com controversy
On October 24, 2001, Microsoft blocked users of browsers other than Internet Explorer, including Opera, from accessing MSN.com. Microsoft Internet Explorer users were not affected. After cries of monopolistic behavior, Microsoft lifted the restrictions two days later. However, as late as November 2001, Opera users were still locked out from some MSN.com content, despite Opera's ability to display the content had it been served.
On January 28, 2003, Opera 7 was released, introducing the new "Presto" layout engine, with improved CSS, client-side scripting, and Document Object Model (DOM) support. Mac OS 9 support was dropped.
Version 7.0 saw Opera undergo an extensive rewrite with the faster and more powerful Presto layout engine. The new engine brought almost full support for the HTML DOM meaning that parts of, or a whole, page can be re-rendered in response to DOM and script events.
A 2004 review in The Washington Post described Opera 7.5 as being excessively complex and difficult to use. The review also criticized the free edition's use of obtrusive advertisements when other browsers such as Mozilla and Safari were offered free of charge without including advertisements.
In August 2004, Opera 7.6 began limited alpha testing. It had more advanced standards support, and introduced voice support for Opera, as well as support for Voice XML. Opera also announced a new browser for Interactive Television, which included a fit to width option Opera 8 introduced. Fit to Width is a technology that initially utilized the power of CSS, but it is now internal Opera technology. Pages are dynamically resized by making images and/or text smaller, and even removing images with specific dimensions to make it fit on any screen width, improving the experience on smaller screens dramatically. Opera 7.6 was never officially released as a final version.
On January 12, 2005, Opera Software announced that it would offer free licenses to higher education institutions, a change from the previous cost of $1,000 USD for unlimited licenses. Schools that opted for the free license included Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Harvard University, University of Oxford, Georgia Institute of Technology, and Duke University. Opera was commonly criticized for having been ad-sponsored, since this was seen as a barrier to gaining market share. In the newer versions the user was allowed a choice of generic graphical banners, or text-based targeted advertisements provided by Google based upon the page being viewed. Users could pay a license fee to remove the advertisement bar.
Second MSN.com controversy
In 2003, MSN.com was configured to present Opera browsers with a style sheet used for old versions of Microsoft Internet Explorer. Other browsers received either a style sheet tailored to them, or at least the latest Internet Explorer style sheet. The outdated style sheet that Opera received caused Opera to move a significant amount of MSN.com's content 30 pixels to the left of where it should be, distorting the page and making it appear as though there was a bug in Opera.
In response, the Opera Software company created a special "Bork" edition of Opera which displayed gibberish instead of MSN.com but not on any other web site. They did this to make a point about the necessity of a harmonious relationship between web browsers and web sites.
After the complaints, Microsoft changed their servers to present the latest version of Opera, version 7, with the style sheet served to the latest version of Internet Explorer, which resolved the problem. However, Microsoft continued to serve the outdated style sheet to the older Opera 6.
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Version 8.5 was released on September 20, 2005. Opera announced that their browser would be available free of charge and without advertisements, although the company still continued to sell support contracts. Enhancements included automatic client-side fixing of web sites that did not render correctly, and a number of security fixes.
Opera introduced Widgets, small web applications, a built-in BitTorrent client, improved content blocking and a built-in tool for creating and editing search engines. Opera also added ability to read MHTML and to save the web page as archives.
Version 9.5, codenamed Kestrel (after the Kestrel falcon), was released to span the gap between Opera 9.2 and Opera 10. It included some of the rendering improvements due to be made in Opera 10 and also aimed to provide better integration with various operating systems. The first alpha build of Opera 9.5 was released on September 4, 2007. The first public beta was released on October 25, 2007, and the final version was released on June 12, 2008. The final release was downloaded more than 4.5 million times in the first 5 days.
Opera 9.5 has improved support for Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), including many more CSS3 selectors and the CSS2
text-shadow property. Support for other web standards was also improved. For example, Opera 9.5's Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) implementation supports 93.8% of the W3C's SVG test suite, and built-in support for Animated Portable Network Graphics (APNG) and MathML. Opera 9.5 also supports high-security Extended Validation Certificates and added malware protection through partnership with Haute Secure.
The interface underwent a few alterations as well. Using "Sharp" by default, a new skin designed to be more intuitive, though the classic skin was still available as a user preference. Screen reader support has been added back in. Opera's mail client, Opera Mail, has been updated, with an improved indexing feature and many bugfixes. Opera 9.5 also lets users save bookmarks, notes, the Personal Bar and Speed Dial settings to the Opera Link service. These preferences can then be synchronized with another Opera browser, such as a copy of Opera Mini running on a mobile phone.
Alongside the new features, Opera 9.5 had new performance improvements. For example, x64-bit editions of Opera for compatible Linux and BSD operating systems. On the other hand, SPARC Linux support has been dropped.
Version 10 (Peregrine) debuted in a first beta version on June 3, 2009 and scored 100/100 on the Acid3 test, but failed the smoothness criteria. There was also a preview build that scored 100/100, released on March 28, 2009. Among other features, it also came with speed optimizations, inline spell checking for forms, an auto update feature, HTML mail formatting, web fonts and SVG font support, alpha transparency support using the RGBA and HSLA color models, and an updated version of the Opera Dragonfly web debugger. Opera Turbo is a highlighted new feature of this version.
The official release of Opera 10 occurred on September 1, 2009. A week after release, 10 million downloads had been recorded.
Opera 11 (codenamed Kjevik) was released on December 16, 2010 with new features including extensions, tab stacking, visual mouse gestures, new installer (Windows only) and safety improvements to the address field. In addition, the content blocker list now can be synchronized through Opera Link. It also passes the Acid3 Test as of January 22, 2011.
On April 12, 2011, Opera 11.10 (codenamed Barracuda) was released. It contains many fixes "under the hood", such as improved Turbo Mode, a plug-in installation wizard and a rewritten Speed Dial. Opera 11.10 was updated to use the new Presto 2.8 Rendering Engine. 
On June 28, 2011, Opera 11.50 (codename Swordfish) was released. Equipped with the rendering engine Presto 2.9.168 featuring up to 20% faster rendering of CSS and SVG, support for HTML5 tag
|Operating system||Latest version|
|Windows||Windows XP to Windows 8.1||20.0|
|Windows 9x and Windows NT 4.0||10.63|
|OS/2 and eComStation||5.12|
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