There are rumours that Opera is to go ad-free in the near future. Despite having bought a license, I really hope this is the case. I far prefer Opera to Firefox, which I find clunky and inelegant, and was very happy when version 7 came out with much needed improvements to the rendering engine. Version 8 is even better imho, and I’ve been using it happily for months. I’d say that anybody using an alternative browser is looking for the most productive software, and aren’t wedded to one application. Opera’s major disadvantage are the adverts in the free version, and despite their being fairly unobtrusive it’s understandable how people could be put off. I honestly think people would prefer Opera to Firefox (with the below caveats) and anything that would attract people can only be a good thing. Removing the ads is undoubtedly the move that would catapult Opera into becoming a major competitior, although the following would help too:
- Get Gmail working fully. It doesn’t currently support the HTML editor or new windows for composing emails (which breaks mailto links).
- Maybe allow third-party toolbars. People can currently customise everything about the browser except for this.