My Opera is closing 3rd of March

A Blog From Behind the Trenches

Attack of the Bugs

300 million users strong, Opera moves to WebKit

,

Time to say goodbye

Today, we announced that Opera has reached 300 million active users. At the same time, we made the official announcement that Opera will move from Presto to WebKit as the engine at the core of the browser.

With this, Opera will be the first major browser to switch to a completely new rendering engine.

Presto is a great little engine. It's small, fast, flexible and standards compliant while at the same time handling real-world web sites. It has allowed us to port Opera to just about any platform you can imagine. And unlike what some people seem to believe, Presto was actually designed from the ground up with compatibility in mind. It was always a goal to be compatible with the real web while also supporting and promoting open standards.

That turns out to be a bit of a challenge when you are faced with a web that is not as open as one might have wanted. Add to that the fact that it is constantly changing and that you don't get site compatibility for free (which some browsers are fortunate enough to do), and it ends up taking up a lot of resources - resources that could have been spent on innovation and polish instead.

It's the right thing to do

Although I was skeptical at first when I started hearing about the switch, I am now fully convinced that it is the right thing to do. Not only will it free up significant engineering resources at Opera and allow us to do more innovation instead of constantly trying to adapt to the web, but our users should benefit from better site compatibility and more innovative features and polish.

This move allows us to focus even more on the actual user experience.

Contributing to a monoculture on the web?

Yes, monoculture is bad, but Opera was never really in a position to prevent it in the first place. Even with Opera as the dominant mobile browser and more than 300 million active Opera users in total across all platforms, web developers still designed just for WebKit.


If switching to WebKit allows us to accelerate our growth and become an important contributor to the project (we will contribute back to WebKit, and have already submitted our first patch (bug)), we may finally have a direct impact on the way web sites are coded. We want sites to be coded for open standards rather than specific browsers.

At the very least, there will be more competition in the browser space, and competition is always good news.

The web is competing with closed ecosystems

One should also keep in mind that while different browsers are competing with each other, the web is actually competing with native applications. The web may not be fully open, but it is far more open than the closed world of "apps". If moving to WebKit allows Opera to gain more power and strengthen the browser as an open application platform, it will benefit the now semi-open web in the competition against fully closed apps.

It is absolutely essential that the web not only survives, but continues to thrive. This is not the time to let closed, proprietary ecosystems win.

The right move at the right time

Opera moving to WebKit might come as a surprise to some of you, but others will realize that this is not the first time the company is being taken in a new direction.

WebKit has matured enough that it is actually possible to make the switch, and we can help it mature even further. In return, we get to spend more resources on a better user experience, and less on chasing an ever-changing web.

This move allows us to create a platform for future growth because it allows us to focus our resources on things that can actually differentiate Opera from the competition, and could help the web move in the right direction.Poll: What do you think about the switch?

What are the features that define Opera?Poll: What do you think about Opera switching to WebKit?

Comments

inDigazzZAnuarSh Wednesday, February 13, 2013 8:04:41 AM

down

Danieldesic Wednesday, February 13, 2013 8:19:45 AM

Well that's a bit of a shock!
I do understand why, and it will be nice having to suffer fewer messed up sites.
Still, a sad day.

Manuel Andreas Kuhntimmi Wednesday, February 13, 2013 8:35:02 AM

And Opera SDK? Will it die?

SteveKong Wednesday, February 13, 2013 8:43:49 AM

On the one hand, I clearly see the pressure from the competition and the huge amount of sites intentionally and non-intenitonally blocking Opera. It might be good for the site experience ...
On the other hand, this opens many questions. Will this negatively effect the feature set, e.g. Opera Turbo, Dragonfly? Will Opera really stand out from the masses of WebKit-Browsers? What happens to the Presto engine, will it be open-sourced? Will Opera stay with Carakan? (Edit: No, V8) HWA? outstanding SVG support? Is this a further step to the WebKit-only web?

ouzowtfouzoWTF Wednesday, February 13, 2013 8:53:54 AM

I hope this decision will bring the benefits you wish for and I do understand that it seems to be the only way to go on.
But I'm a bit skeptical too because when the other browser vendors do not support or adopt features/fixes from Presto, why should they do that with the changes from Opera in Webkit? Webkit is not always the same, for example when you look at Safari Webkit and Chrome Webkit.
Nevertheless, I wish Opera good luck for the future and I hope that, seeing a lot of really good people who left Opera in the last weeks/months, there are enough awesome people are still left at Opera to bring the web forward with its browser smile

//edit: The questions of SteveKong are interesting for me too (Turbo, Dragonfly, Carakan, HWA). I hope there will be shed some light into this.

Greunlis Wednesday, February 13, 2013 9:01:57 AM

The reasons for such transition are quite obvious and nothing bad can be said about them.

My only hope now is, that Opera will not lose it's view of open standard compliance, web democracy, will not subdue to the stubbornness of Webkit community and will actually work on making the platform better for the sake of web's potential.

radup Wednesday, February 13, 2013 9:25:02 AM

Why don't you just open source the current engine? I am sure a lot of volunteers would contribute to fixing bugs and compatibility problems.

inDigazzZAnuarSh Wednesday, February 13, 2013 9:37:35 AM

Tell us one thing please...

It will Chropera - usual clone of Chromium like CoolNovo, Comodo Dragon, Flock, RockMelt, SRWare Iron

or it will be common Opera with common gestures, speed dial, sidebar, preferences with 'new features' hidden inside, and does not alter the perception of...

Ide StoutjesdijkCrimi Wednesday, February 13, 2013 9:50:29 AM

Great! Webkit is the best Engine out there. It has speed, compatibility, hardware acceleration and lots of other innovations. It will be a winning team together with the great Opera user interface.

Martin KadlecBS-Harou Wednesday, February 13, 2013 10:14:09 AM

I hope Opera management won't use half of the newly "gain" core programmers on tasks like Opera TV and others from which most of us won't benefit.

szotsaki2 Wednesday, February 13, 2013 10:14:32 AM

The most customizable UI in front of the fastest and most feature rich rendering core. Sounds interesting smile.


But, please, do something with its text selection wink.

Haavardhaavard Wednesday, February 13, 2013 10:20:00 AM

Originally posted by ouzoWTF:

But I'm a bit skeptical too because when the other browser vendors do not support or adopt features/fixes from Presto, why should they do that with the changes from Opera in Webkit?

Because now the changes will be available directly in WebKit, rather than having to reimplement what Presto does.

serious Wednesday, February 13, 2013 10:36:29 AM

problem is: how does it affect the UX? Personally I dislike Chrome and Firefox esp. for their user interaction. So, if the Interface stays the same and offers the same possibilities I personally couldn't care less, but if the thing becomes a chrome clone I would be really pissed.

operalibretto Wednesday, February 13, 2013 10:36:54 AM

What about memory usage?
Does this mean opera will lose its advantage of easily opening enormous amounts of tabs?

Chromium, even forced to one process, falls far behind in that aspect. Even IE10 is much more memory friendly.

Cqoicebordel Wednesday, February 13, 2013 10:41:20 AM

In a engineering POV, it make sense. Presto was behind Webkit since at least Acid 3 times.

But as a user POV, it's scary : I choosed Opera because it was fast, featurefull, and had everything I wanted for my workflow.
If everything will stay as usefull as now, it's a good move, but I guess, it won't happen. M2 will disappear, the IRC client too, Unite (oh, already did). And that's why only 20% in the poll think it's a good idea...

ouzowtfouzoWTF Wednesday, February 13, 2013 10:50:38 AM

Originally posted by haavard:

Because now the changes will be available directly in WebKit, rather than having to reimplement what Presto does.


Yeah, of course, its easier for them. But they could cherry pick commits from themselves and skip commits from Opera.
Maybe I'm too pessimistic about Apple/Google wink

Matheusnom4d3br Wednesday, February 13, 2013 11:07:42 AM

Is sad to know that this great engine we've been testing for so many years will be deprecated. But we all know this will be great for the final users. Specially for mobile users.

And I think people are misunderstanding what this move really is. AFAIK Opera is not going to be another Chromium. Only the rendering engine will be replaced. I hope the rest of the application stay as it is (with M2, Turbo Link, Speed Dial, etc...). It will be great if Opera let this clear for everyone.

Good luck!
bigsmile

netmain Wednesday, February 13, 2013 11:09:39 AM

I just hope the poll results will make you understand your users reaction to such move.
There will always be who " hail ", moan, troll, and refuse such move, and only days will tell who got it right... I hope I didn't get it right this time, because it would be the end of such a good era.

PeterCREEPER Wednesday, February 13, 2013 11:13:49 AM

I hope that some (ex)Opera developers will keep Presto alive in some new browser. Then I will switch to it from "Chropera" immediately. And if not, when this sad day will come, well, I will probably do not upgrade and will stay with the last genuine Opera as long as possible.

Nevertheless, by this decision, Opera acknowledges its defeat and bows down to Google. At least they could reflect what the community thinks.

down

Thomas Scholztoscho Wednesday, February 13, 2013 11:28:09 AM

How will this affect the browser behavior? Currently I am using Opera, because keyboard accessibility is so terrible bad in other browsers: separate tabbing for forms and links, spatial navigation, access to video controls to name a few.

Will Opera implement Webkit’s poor accessibility, or will it set its own features on top?

fr3snel Wednesday, February 13, 2013 11:29:27 AM

I hope not - Opera is by far the fastest browser for anything old - WebKit browsers seem to chug along at a snail's pace.

Ultimately, WebKit is harming the web by creating the IE6 of browser engines. There will be no choice - just your pick of interfaces to WebKit. Who needs standards when WebKit has their own stuff? The monoculture and lack of competition will only lead the the stagnation of the early 2000s. The mobile web is essentially like this already - don't be a contributor.

Glootech Wednesday, February 13, 2013 12:18:30 PM

From a business perspective it's a great move. But I've never considered Opera as one of those "business first" products. I've always felt Opera was one of the innovative ones and an advocate for open web. Can't see this happening after hte switch. So yeah, as for me? Bad idea.

Rafael Luikrafaelluik Wednesday, February 13, 2013 1:30:02 PM

"the first major browser to switch to a completely new rendering engine" LOL

kangarrou Wednesday, February 13, 2013 1:37:57 PM

We as users will have to wait to se if it's really a good change. But don't fall asleep now, people is going to want to see the improvements. It's not enough a Chrome with a different logo, or even worse a Safari...

On my personal concerns (and I know that other's people too), I hope that you take care of performance of Memory (bad on opera) and CPU (bad on webkit).

devloop Wednesday, February 13, 2013 1:42:52 PM

I was really disapointed with the 12.* versions. I think moving to webkit is a great thing.
Opera reborn !

eonblue Wednesday, February 13, 2013 1:49:39 PM

"monoculture is bad" so bad

I hope that this will get more time to improve mail, notes, panels, UI, add more to the timing, RSS, IRC chat, contacts, torrent client, and many others. Please do not let another Chrome.

xxgooglechromesuckmydick1337xx Wednesday, February 13, 2013 2:10:50 PM

Google Chrome & Firefox lagging and crashing when 20 tabs open
IE crashes when 5 tabs open

Opera works for 7 days with 120+ opened tabs...
and now...
it will crash at 20 tabs

RIP.

mega7star Wednesday, February 13, 2013 2:26:09 PM

This is not a good idea down sad
Presto rip

Woo Hui Rencrabowns Wednesday, February 13, 2013 2:27:18 PM

Originally posted by xxgooglechromesuckmydick1337xx:

Google Chrome & Firefox lagging and crashing when 20 tabs open
IE crashes when 5 tabs open

Opera works for 7 days with 120+ opened tabs...
and now...
it will crash at 20 tabs

RIP.

Yep. Opera is able to handle countless number of tabs opening. I can turn off Opera and reopen it, yet it won't lag or crash with those countless number of tabs. Change is good but this isn't the change Opera users wanted.

YongShunyongshun Wednesday, February 13, 2013 2:28:42 PM

Business decision.

I hope it will well increase the no. of Desktop users!

Methodius Wednesday, February 13, 2013 2:55:45 PM

While switching to WebKit may help to solve some engine incompatibility issues, it doesn't solve "sniffing" incompatibility issues. Is there any reason to stop blocking opera after you switch to WebKit for those who blocks opera now, whether their site works in opera or not? Opera can change UA string, blockers can change their detection code.

BTW, the choice contributes to making semi-open web more closed. Native Client-like technologies will make web even more closed.

We'll see how that affects the web in several years. Is it IE6-fication-2.0?

João Beno Schreiner Juniorjoaobeno Wednesday, February 13, 2013 3:22:36 PM

I would rather preffer that opera used Gecko engine, what matters the brand of the browser, when they are all just one, it will be like the time when IE had the market and all that branded "browsers" were all IE frames...

Mark A.NightMayor Wednesday, February 13, 2013 3:49:03 PM

Originally posted by joaobeno:

I would rather preffer that opera used Gecko engine, what matters the brand of the browser, when they are all just one, it will be like the time when IE had the market and all that branded "browsers" were all IE frames...



I agree that they should've chosen the Gecko engine as well. I'd specifically like to know why they chose Webkit instead. In any case, this definitely was not an easy decision to make. sad

Jordan TrillesCristallix Wednesday, February 13, 2013 3:58:33 PM

Are you silly? You're not able to follow the concurrence? You're too lazy to implement and fix problems in your own browser? What a shame...

I'm very disappointed. All the benefits of Opera will disappears.

Katrina Knightkknight Wednesday, February 13, 2013 4:04:02 PM

I'm reserving judgment on this until I see the results. Better compatibility would be really good. I'm tired of having to fiddle around trying to make sites work well enough to be useful. I currently have a hard time recommending Opera to people when it often doesn't easily work with the sites they use. I don't want to lose the features that make Opera different from other browsers though and thus far I can't tell whether I need to be worried about that or not.

Charles SchlossChas4 Wednesday, February 13, 2013 4:58:21 PM

Hope it will still kill the vendor prefixes

archenoth Wednesday, February 13, 2013 5:20:13 PM

If it increases compatibility and we get to keep our features, I think this is a good move.

Presto was a nice engine, but the main reason I use Opera isn't the rendering engine, but rather the plethora of features it has while keeping it's small form-factor. Also because it allowed for a spectacular usage paradigm that allowed me to browse the web and accomplish other tasks faster than I could with anything else.

It's also worth noting that this could also increase Opera's capabilities with things like WebGL, CSS3 and HTML5 seeing that Chrome has the second best implementation of HTML5 (Right behind Maxthon) and very good support for CSS3. (Much better than Opera's currently)

Codycodeman38 Wednesday, February 13, 2013 5:25:09 PM

Does this mean that WebKit will finally have a hook implemented to pause animated GIFs? There's been a bug open about this since 2009 (https://bugs.webkit.org/show_bug.cgi?id=23945) but nothing seems to have ever come of it.

This is one of the features in Opera that I really do like, for accessibility reasons-- because of various neurological issues, I find it difficult to read text when a looping animation is nearby. I especially like the fact that Opera allows disabling GIF animation on a per-site basis (e.g., so I can limit animation to certain sites that benefit from it).

sidta27 Wednesday, February 13, 2013 5:26:22 PM

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO sad......webkit memory management sucks, it can't handle multiple tabs like presto...very very sad announcement...atleast make presto open source so the community can do something

svdb0 Wednesday, February 13, 2013 5:27:53 PM

@haavard: I think you underestimated your ability to influence the development of the web. Opera used to be very active in the development of web standards, but with the standards bodies requiring two independent implementations, and with Opera not having an engine of its own any more, that's going to be over. And with one less player, it's going to be bad for the evolution of the web itself.

And unless Opera intends to maintain hundreds of their own patches — undoing the freeing up of the engineering resources — Opera will now have to follow whatever road Webkit takes.

trasho2 Wednesday, February 13, 2013 5:37:17 PM

"The right move at the right time" - och, really? Really?! We well see.

Kisai Wednesday, February 13, 2013 5:54:40 PM

Well I'm sorry to see Opera dump it's own engineering efforts in favor of another. If this is the way it has to be maybe Opera can push Webkit or build the Opera in ways that Safari and Chrome have so far neglected to do:
a) Where's my 64-bit Windows webkit? Come on, this fastest way to get an uptake in the Windows community that only has 64-bit MSIE
b) Don't use Chrome's one-process-per-tab model, good golly this is a memory pig, and the only reason I keep Firefox 64-bit Nightly around. Chrome becomes unusable after 8 tabs due to all the javascripts+flash sites use and Chrome's sandboxing model just crawls.
c) Please don't start javascripts/ in a web page until the window is activated to prevent the ever-so-annoying chain of pop-ups some sites have
d) Please please stop utilizing the UA (User Agent) string as a browser fingerprint. It was bad enough with Opera 9.x in having to use it, but Chrome and Webkit are already confused by tools that use the UI as a fingerprint, please don't make it worse.
Use something like
HTML/5 (Windows NT 6.1;x86-64;DEVICESTRING) Opera/14.0 AppleWebKit/537.17
or just
Opera/14.0 (x86-64;DEVICESTRING) HTML/5
and lose the rest of of the string.

Where DEVICESTRING is generic like "Desktop" "Smartphone" or "Embedded" (TV's, Kiosks, etc) which should only be used to differentiate between the desktop version and versions which may have less power/memory. Don't let plugins fill it with cruft. If WebKit is meant to be compatible on all platforms, the OS itself in the string should be irrelevant.

All the version inflation makes it it ever so annoying to read site statistics filled with every minute version, build and especially Android's variations with all the dozens of poorly-updated smartphones.

Chrispoundsmack Wednesday, February 13, 2013 6:21:26 PM

This makes me very sad to see. Opera's tech was one of the big selling points to the browser. I love the Presto engine.

If your going to dump Presto, please at least open source it.

C. Sandersadonissmu Wednesday, February 13, 2013 6:52:18 PM

To me its a good idea. It fosters greater collaboration among the web development community. Plus its easier to make things a standard and easier to address bugs etc going forward.

thshdw Wednesday, February 13, 2013 7:03:43 PM

I think moving to webkit is a good plan.

My major concern is that this change will some how change the interface.

I use Opera for its interface. If moving to webkit means that my 30 open tabs are slower or use more memory or cause more crashes then its bad. If moving to webkit means I lose the email client, or Dragonfly, or mouse gestures or keyboard shortcuts or the feed-reader, or insert your favorite feature here; then its bad.

I think their needs to be some reassurance from Opera that this change will not hinder the interface or feature set.

raichib Wednesday, February 13, 2013 7:37:44 PM

Originally posted by CREEPER:

WebKit


i also hope so,.
if opera stay in another browser i will use, so far as possible, i will mantein 12.14 or 11.64 for years

Rafael Luikrafaelluik Wednesday, February 13, 2013 7:39:32 PM

Originally posted by NightMayor:

I agree that they should've chosen the Gecko engine as well. I'd specifically like to know why they chose Webkit instead. In any case, this definitely was not an easy decision to make.

Because they can't edit Gecko and Mozilla has long phased the project to let others implement Gecko engine (by the time of Firefox 4 they stopped making the implementation available or improve anymore).

WebKit is an open project which Opera will be able to contribute to, without having to merge with Mozilla.

cfillion Wednesday, February 13, 2013 7:47:49 PM

lol oh we're not April 1st? faint

Just hoping Opera will preserve its awesome features, great accessibility and impressive memory management that make it so different from other browsers.

Piotr Dworaczykpettersolberg Wednesday, February 13, 2013 8:15:10 PM

Sadly, but it's a good choice.
Please keep M2 alive, as it will remain the only reason to use Opera anyway.

Jimtoyotabedzrock Thursday, February 14, 2013 12:29:10 AM

Webkit has a slow software render and its hardware acceleration is second rate compared to geko.

Not to mention it hardlocks every computer I have tried it on if I browse like I do in Opera!

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