The return of the "geek browser"? A word in defense of Opera Next 15 (philosophical topic)

    I confess right away: I'm a renegade. As a faithful Opera user since school, two years ago I traded it for Chrome , which today is my main working browser. There were reasons for such a transition (I will tell you more about them below). Nevertheless, I did not intend to completely distance myself from my previous favorite: I followed the release of new versions, installed them, studied them (this, in general, is not surprising - I am a web developer). But I did not find arguments in favor of returning to Opera ... until Opera Next 15 came out , the other day it made so much noise on Habré and not only. Now I seriously think about becoming a defector for the second time and returning to the Opera user camp .

    Of course, Opera Next 15 I did not like. I think, in its current form, few people will like it, except perhaps a monsieur who has specific tastes. A raw product on a new engine (almost alpha), devoid of all its former charms, is able to break the hearts of fans. He broke. They started talking about “betrayal” by Opera developers of their users - those same geeks who accounted for 5% of the browser market given to the Norwegian product (although the rumors began even from the moment of the announcement of the transition to Blink / WebKit ). Of course, the allegations are not unfounded. But it seems to me that right now, making a turning point in its history and being under the fire of heavy criticism, Opera for the first time in a long time, it again deserves to be called a true "browser for geeks."

    “If you want to make enemies, try to change something” (Woodrow Wilson)

    Everyone knows that at one time, Opera was the pioneer who introduced many of the “features” that are familiar to us today in all browsers. During the reign of Internet Explorer , which has not changed its appearance and gut for almost decades, and when all other browsers also looked at it, Opera constantly invented something new, changed something, threw something away. Evolved. And this is precisely what secured the glory of a “browser for geeks”. Today, many people think that this nickname is given due to the presence of a number of non-standard tools in Opera . But the latter is only a consequence, not a cause. Original source of special situation Operaamong the browsers, which determined the devotion to it of a certain stratum of Internet users, it was precisely the passion for experimentation and innovation.

    But in recent years, everything has changed. Chrome appeared , began to develop at a frantic pace of Firefox , and even the formidable acronym IE for web programmers does not cause a migraine attack, as before. Let's honestly admit that all these respected browsers adopted the best that was once an Opera exclusive and added their own features. Result: the differences between browsers began to blur, the era of unification and a quick flicker of numbered versions came, promising a paradise for coders - they no longer need to try to sit in vain on three chairs.

    And in this idyll everything became good, except, in fact, Opera , which began to look like an “honorary pioneer-pensioner”, but in fact - one of many.

    “So that you live in an era of change!” (Chinese curse)

    Now I will answer the question why two years ago I traded Opera for Chrome . There were two main reasons: firstly, objective minuses (compatibility problems with Google sites and banking services + slowness of the once fastest browser), and secondly ... secondly, by the time I stopped using it, Operain fact, it was no longer a “browser for geeks”. Of course, there were a lot of “goodies” in it that attracted geeks, but the experimentation almost came to naught, limiting itself only to changing small details of design and shuffling menu items. At least for me it looked that way. The browser has evolved, evolved, but evolved - it has come to an established form when you just can’t change anything, don’t throw it out, you won’t add it.

    That's why I was delighted with the news of switching to WebKit . In this (besides the possibility of solving past compatibility problems), I saw confirmation that Opera is still capable of real changes, not consisting in games with the color and shape of buttons. PrestoOf course, I'm sorry. And I, in general, agree with those who see dangerous moments in the emerging WebKit monopoly . But I strongly disagree that changing the engine was a betrayal of the Opera paradigm . I prefer to look at it this way: which of the popular browsers these days could decide to make such a radical change in their entire foundation at once? Well aware of all the minuses of this step for the Opera fans' camp , I found in it confirmation that Opera was not going to betray the fundamental basis of its philosophy . She is open to change, despite the fact that her own users are guaranteed not to like it. Madness? Of course.

    “To be irreplaceable, you need to change all the time” (Coco Chanel)

    And then the light saw Opera Next 15- brand new and ugly. As I guessed, the developers decided, taking the opportunity, not only to change the engine of the car, but also to thoroughly work on the body, interior and gearbox. The transition is accompanied not only by a change in the engine, but also with big changes in the interface and browser lifestyle (many were especially hated by deleting bookmarks and replacing them with the “piggy bank” concept). There are no most features that everyone is used to (however, they promise to return some of them in the near future). Now the browser has been dropped almost “to zero” (well, not really). He has a bunch of new problems, and his development will begin anew. As for me, this will be more interesting than the stalled branch of evolution, interrupted on the 12th version. I’m curious to see which product you end up with, It will be interesting to follow the experiments and innovations that will obviously be. And I think that if a stable version of the browser comes out, albeit with drawbacks, I will be happy to return toOpera . It will be interesting.

    In the comments on the topic about Opera Next 15, I saw that the main criticism comes down to two arguments: “ Opera was a browser for geeks, they made up the same loyal 5% of the audience, and now this is another Chrome, goodbye” and “I'm already N I’ve been using Opera for years , I’m used to it, everything was seized from me, and you ruined everything, goodbye. ” So the fact of the matter is that OperaAs it turned out, it’s really a “browser for geeks,” in which there is enough desperation to abruptly change course and begin to sculpt itself anew. And to us - those who, for a period of calm, forgot about the roots of this browser - of course, this is unpleasant. But can we then call ourselves “geeks”? If the statistics of the first argument is correct, then 95% of those for whom Opera has essentially become stable Chrome will leave - and those 5% who are still able to survive the shocks and love them will remain. Although, perhaps this will mean the death of the browser as a commercial product.

    Well, in that case, probably, it will be possible to say that Opera died, remaining to the end remaining true to its spirit.

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