[Opera Software - where more is in less, and less is more]

[ Home | Features | Download | Register | Commercial | Special | Links ]
[ News | Press | Company | Project Magic | Support | User Forum | Guestbook | Contact ]

'Project Magic' -- 10 February 1998 and beyond

By Helmar Rudolph, initiator of PM

Voting station officially closed
Exactly five months after the start of Project Magic, we have now officially closed the 'voting station'. Although the figures as of 30 November, the first official cut-off, were compelling enough, we decided to leave the 'voting station' open for other enthusiasts to post their support.

As we now know where our priorities lie, and as we have established contacts with the involved parties on many many sides - even beyond the initial scope of Project Magic -, voting for specific platforms does no longer fulfil any purpose other than realising the ongoing support for our initiative.
Best of luck to you. After hearing news of Netscapes possible demise, and detesting the snail-like functionality of IE on the Mac, I am hoping you can come to immediate terms with your Mac development team to produce a browser for all people. Thanks for your efforts." -- H. G. Lesser
From now on, this page will keep you in close touch with the developments that are going on, and with new ones that emerge in the process. We would appreciate your frequent visits, because only this way you know what is in the pipeline and what has been discarded, changed, initiated.

The updates will now appear in reverse chronological order, with the latest update on the top, although it doesn't make too much sense if you are new to PM and what has been going on.

On this note, I would like to extend my sincere thanks to the many thousands of you who have supported us with pledges, tips and tricks, and for spreading the news of Project Magic into the world. Very often I come across a snippet taken from this web page that has been posted on Mac or OS/2 sites and e-zines. This shows me the real interest and belief in the success of Project Magic, and as you will ready further down, we are well on our way to provide you with the browser you deserve.

Not everybody's platform will be served right now -- our resources and funds are way too limited for this right now -- , but rest assured that we will try our best to make Opera the browser for everyone.

But now enjoy the latest update, and thanks again for all your support.

[ -- Helmar ]

Update Station

Update - 07 February 1998

First of all I would like to apologise for the long 'non-update' of the PM pages. This was not because nothing happened, but because of the severe time constraints and a ***load of work on my side, so please excuse me.

So what happened in the meantime? Quite a bit, in fact. Let's start with...

OS/2: first of all, we will soon have an official announcement but I'd like to give you some 'bytes' right now. A British Columbia-based company called Binary Concepts, Inc. will be writing the port for OS/2. I spoke to Arthur Lee, of Binary Concepts, last night, and he said that the first stage is to provide an Open32-based version of Opera, which will be replaced/converted over time into a solid and native OS/2 version, and I believe that this is the right way to do it anyway. Quick results but with better prospects as the program evolves.

Mac: the Mac negotiations have been held back mainly due to two factors: time and resource constraints on our side, and difficulties negotiating contracts with the developing partner. Whereas the OS/2 party is working on royalty-only basis, the Mac team requires upfront payment, and we are busy settling that with them. Their initial 'proposal' was not interesting to us at all, because then we could have done it in-house in the first place. I have spoken to the coordinator of the programming team a few days ago, and have asked him to revise their 'proposal', also because the Mac community is waiting with bated breath for Opera/Mac. On the technical side, we hope to be able to 'go back' as far as MacOS 7.5, even 7.1, but final details on this will emerge only after the contracts have been signed and the code transfered to the team. In short: I really hope that we can finalise negotiations until the end of this month (February), otherwise I think we have to look for another team of prospective, quick and efficient coders.

BeOS: The Be, Inc. guys have been very busy lately, but we are still trying to find a way to kickstart development. Again, it's mainly a matter of money, and in the case of BeOS, we are talking about a rewrite rather than a plain and less compliated 'port'.

Linux: not much has happened here. We are getting the odd enquiry and the numbers are still coming in, but it is more likely that we develop a UNIX version first and then 'move' towards other flavours. We are still getting asked about making the source code available for free, but I don't think this will ever happen. It might be good for the program if hundreds of coders work on it, but at the end of the day it will be a commercial product that needs to be marketed and supported, and that will cost money. In short: the UNIX/Linux/X11 side is still open to discussion and also to larger interest from larger companies.

"Yikes! I just downloaded Version 3.1, and hardly believe it the speed! Not only is the download file SMALLER than the V 3.0 file by some 40K, but it is bringing pages in at almost double the speed of before. How do you do that?" -- J. R.
Amiga: well, if you look at the stats, you will have noticed that the Amiga numbers surpassed the OS/2 numbers. However, I still have something like 800 mails that I haven't even looked at, plus there are MANY mails in there where people express their interest in an Amiga version, but one of the aims of PM was to find out if people are interested in pre-funding development, so that we don't have to wait until we have the funds. Unfortunately this indication is sadly lacking from the majority of Amiga support mails, so I am not so sure about the seriousness of the 'support'.

What is astounding though, is that the German Amiga community (which is very strong, BTW) has been very supportive not only with pledges often around DM100 (US$60), but also with commercial enquiries to distribute the Amiga version of Opera once it is available. But what next: well, either we ask for upfront payment and see if the Amiga mails are all 'serious' or we wait until we can either find a team that would develop Opera for the Amiga on a royalty-only basis or until we have the money ourselves to fund development. [ I had some complaints about my 'seriousness' comments, but I still stand by it, because I don't think that every mail we got was a serious one, as it was intended. ]

One thing that really annoyed me with some Amiga users is that they spammed our guestbook, causing a lot of unnecessary work, although we explicitly asked not to post any support pledges there. Strange, maybe bold and red colour doesn't show on their monitors. ;-)

Atari: not being part of PM (geez, I only have 24h in a day, and a few other things to do as well....), there's an interesting twist to it. I spoke to Jon about this and he said: "well, there is this rivalry between the Amiga and the Atari users, and if you add Amiga to PM the Atari users will come out and nag you, too". And how right he was. I wish he had told me that earlier on because then I wouldn't have added the Amiga to PM. Not because I dislike any of the two OS, but I am reaching my limit as far as managing this project is concerned. So before you get upset, remember that nobody but me is working on PM and all that goes with it, and that there are serious time constraints. If we were bigger and had more staff, things would look different, but we are small, and I have a lot of other things to do... In short: the Atari platform will NOT be added for the time being, and even though Amiga has been added to PM, it does by no means mean that we will develop an Amiga version. PM is about researching the market, and not about final commitments.

Anything else: well, there were requests for OS like Psion, GEOS, Smaky (?!) and obviously the different flavours of UNIX. Some people are even asking for DOS, but that's more than unlikely. There is someone who wants to do a Psion port, and maybe we even let him do it. ;-)

"It's about time that someone recaptured the spirit of Mosaic and created a browser for The Rest Of Us. We don't need groupware. We don't want bloat. We don't want some big server corporation's idea of a marketing tool. We don't want to see our zippy new Macs to crawl like they're slogging through molasses. We *certainly* don't need "push technology" used to shove marketing down our throats." - W. Parker
Well, folks, that's all from the PM update front. If you have any really good suggestions, requests or contacts to loonies such as ourselves who want to do the development first and get rich later, please let me know at magic@operasoftware.com. But here are the latest stats for those who get a kick out of colored bars .

Until the next update.... thanks a lot for all your continued support and interest.

[ - Helmar]

Update - 21 January 1998

Well, you see the newcomer to Project Magic, Amiga, whose supporters have really come out in the hundreds. Unfortunately, some of them left silly 'Amiga, Go!' messages all over our guestbook, so our webmaster (I) had to kick them out altogether because they were really clogging it up -- despite a message not to leave them there. That was really disappointing, but the numbers are absolutely stunning. I still have to read hundreds of mails...

Not much has happened on the other fronts, but expect some more news soon. We also got a request for something rather interesting: Tao's Elate. Have a look a bit later, and you will see what I mean.

All in all, it is very hectic here at Opera Software, and we are making good progress. Opera is getting smaller and faster -- and better, but more later. Again, for your info, here are the lastest PM stats.

Update - 08 January 1998

Project Magic extended to Amiga
A mail by Mikael Svensson from Sweden finally convinced me to add the Amiga platform to Project Magic. Welcome! I 'made' Mikael the PM-Amiga man, so whatever comes from that, it will be to his and other Amiga users' credit.

Update - 07 January 1998

Happy New Year to all of you from us at Opera Software! Today, the 7th of January 1998, is a special day. Today, we got the 2000th vote from the Mac community, who is throwing all their support behind Project Magic. Thank you very very much! It means an awful lot to us, and we will do everything in our power to provide you with the best browser ever on a Mac computer.

But now some progress info: you know that the OS/2 contracts have been signed, and we will soon post a press release announcing happier times for OS/2 users. ;-) Our negotiations on the Mac front have come relatively far, but there are still some issues to sort out. However, if you know of a qualified, willing, motivated and reasonable team of programmers for Mac, UNIX and BeOS, please let us know. We are always looking for professional partners in this exciting venture. Several other things are happening behind the lines, and all I can tell you is that they are really good and promising, so stay tuned for more.

Update - 25 December 1997

From all of us at Opera Software, Seasons Greetings and may you make 1998 a happy and healthy year.

You may be pleased to hear that we have just signed contracts with the OS/2 developers, and expect coding to commence any time now.

We are also getting closer with a Mac development group, and hope to do the same there within the coming weeks.

We have also been approached by a company offering their help to develop a Linux/X11 version of Opera. We hope to make progress on that front too.

Be is still a bit undecided, mainly because we are talking more of a complete rewrite rather than using most of the code as is. Be, Inc. has offered us tremendous help, and we hope to be able to make use of their resources soon, too.

With regards to numbers, the Mac users have once again shown that they believe in small and efficient software, and have added more than 400 votes in the past three weeks. Our special thanks in this regard go to Netbits for carrying an Opera-writeup, as well as again Guy Kawasaki of Apple's EvangeList for carrying every single PM update. Thanks, guys!

[Click here to scroll up]
[ Home | Features | Download | Register | Commercial | Special | Links ]
[ News | Press | Company | Project Magic | Support | User Forum | Guestbook | Contact ]

All material on this or the following sites are copyright Opera Software - © 1994-1997. All rights reserved.