This Space for Rent

Five reasons to use Firefox instead of Opera

A few months ago, The Register had a little article on how the people who make the Opera web browser were (justifiably) a little miffed that Mozilla Firefox was getting all the good press for being a Better! Than! Microsoft! web browser even though it's slower and fatter than Opera. The people at The Register (some of them claim that Opera is the best browser in the whole wide world) were not completely sympathetic to Opera's claims, but treated them very kindly (since they are basically a web browser company that's actually making money off their web browser, instead of being a giveaway product.) So, since it's been a long time since I last looked at Opera (the last time I looked at Opera was back in the days when my choice was Internet Explorer or Netscape 4, neither of which is the finest browsing experience, even though the both of them stomp all over Mozilla and Firefox performancewise. I can run IE on a laptop without having the fan turn on, which is pretty amazing considering that Microsoft provides no way to turn off ads or spyware. Firefox, well, it's not quite so svelte), I decided to download it and try it out.

Yes, Opera has a klunky interface (I'm sure that "tabbed browsing" is good for something, but I run my web browsers on Windows and X11, both of which come with spiffy programs called window managers that take care of properly handling multiple windows all by themselves. Firefox also has this awful feature, but it's not nearly as hard to avoid as the Opera implementation is) and an amazingly awful supply of fonts (I installed the Bitstream Vera fonts on my Linux desktop at work, and everything uses them except Opera), but those aren't show stoppers. I can get used to odd interfaces (I can manage to navigate around MacOS without pulling out my hair, screaming, and flinging the offending computer out the window, and I can, most of the time, stagger along on an X11 display without throwing a fit and deleting the entire X11 codebase when it won't let me install more fonts without reading 3000 pages of documentation beforehand), but there are a few things that Firefox has that nobody else does, and I can't live without:

  1. Adblock,
  2. Firesomething,
  3. User Agent Switcher,
  4. LinkChecker, and
  5. Bugmenot

Of these, Adblock is the most important, but the others are nice and convenient, and none of them require anything more complicated than telling Seajackalope that it's okay to load extensions from a new site. There are just so many g-ddamned ads on the web these days (particularly on weblogs, now that people have realized that you can make a living off advertising on your online newsletters) that trying to read pages without adblock editing them is an exercise in nonstop frustration. Opera might be fast, tiny, and efficient, but it shows ads in webpages, and thus is knocked right out of consideration.

It could be argued that blocking web ads is a bad thing, because if they weren't blocked I wouldn't spend so much time online and I could instead work on projects, the house, or converting to a source code control system that's got a usable license, but modulo that Opera loses big and I'll stick with Seafish.