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Software Reviews
Two weeks using Opera 7.54: Why should you consider changing?


Way back in 1997/1998 I got myself a pay-per-minute dialup connection. I used to connect to the Internet very rarely and I never used to bother browsing the web for long. At the time I couldn't afford it and there generally wasn't a lot that interested me on the Internet. The odd time I did I would use Internet Explorer since that was what came with Windows 98; it did what I wanted to do.

Fast-forward a few years and a friend of mine introduced me to Netscape, back in about 2001, and it was fine but I didn't really understand why I may have wanted to use it. It did the same thing as Internet Explorer and I really didn't see the need to change.

In 2003, I had enough money to pay for a broadband connection for a year. I was heavily into Counter-Strike at the time and I really started to spend some considerable hours on the web. It was about then when I started to see the shortcomings of Internet Explorer. The particular things that really bugged me when using Internet Explorer were:

Obviously programs such as Norton Internet Security and other similar programs could help stop pop-ups showing up however it was never a sure thing and something would always get through. And the conditions when IE would crash could never be predicted. (Since Windows 2000 and more recently Windows XP things have got better to be fair).

So I decided to try some alternative web browsers, I downloaded a beta version of Firefox (which was then called Phoenix) and I was very pleased with it. Presently I use my computer for mostly browsing the web and reading emails these days and it is becoming ever more important to me how I browse the web. I am still using Firefox. It is simple it renders the pages quickly. Firefox also has a vast library of extensions, themes and there is also the advantage of tabbed browsing. Finally, if Firefox crashes Windows Explorer won't crash with it.

Firefox is a great browser, and in my opinion better than the previous Mozilla and Netscape web browsers which it is based on. Anyway that is enough of the advantages of non-integrated web browsers and the Internet Explorer bashing (that is not my intention for this review). As always it is worth checking other alternatives out. The Opera Web browser is always mentioned one way or another in my Linux Format Magazine and is almost always included in the cover CD. Finally Curiosity got the better of me and I decided to try out the Opera Web browser.