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Opera Browser for Linux To Beta Soon

Aug 17, 1999, 22:31 (25 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Shae McKean)

A question and answer session with Jon von Tetzchner, Opera Software's cofounder and CEO, regarding the Linux port.

By Shae McKean, Opera Software

In October 1997 we started Project Magic, an initiative to gauge user interest in Opera for operating systems other than MS Windows.

We asked them to express their interest, how much they'd be prepared to pay for it, and if they'd be willing to prefund the development.

Five months after the start of Project Magic, we closed the 'voting station'. Although the figures as of 30 November 97, the first official cut-off, were compelling enough, we decided to leave the 'voting station' open for other enthusiasts to post their support.

Over those weeks, thousands of delighted users pledged their support. In return, we started looking for 'solutions'. We have found some, but we have also stumbled across a lot of hurdles, resulting in some OS still being in discussion rather than under development. This is because we have NOT asked for the prefunding, making things a lot more difficult than if we had the money to just hire programmers ourselves.

We are committed to bringing Opera to the most popular platforms, while at the same time appreciate your support and patience while development is under way.

I'm sure our customers would like to know just where you are at with the Opera for Linux code. Could you give us a few details to go along with this screenshot regarding how the Linux browser is progressing?

JVT: We are making some definite progress with the Linux version. It still has some way to go, but at least the UI and the new cross-platform core are working together. Interestingly the work on this version has created a side-effect in a text only browser which is very small and fast. This may become a product in itself for use instead of Lynx as well as a base product on machines with limited capabilities (Mobile phones, etc.). There is a lot of capabilities in a very small package.

Will you be releasing a beta soon?

JVT: We do not want to say any date at this time, but yes.

The text browser looks pretty interesting, will Opera for Linux then come with a console mode (text only)?

JVT: The text version is more likely to come as a separate product. We are considering the interest in it at this time. In any case it is a great cross- platform base.

How do you view the text browser as fitting in with the Opera product line?

JVT: The text browser is a result of our work to make Opera a truly cross-platform product. It actually works just as well on Windows as on Linux. Off the top of my head I'd say a small footprint, cross-platform browser could do quite well in the market today and fit in nicely with some emerging technologies, plus a good number of people are using Lynx at this time and we believe we can provide a kind of super-Lynx, if the interest is there.

Will you be releasing the text browser soon as a beta product for testing?

JVT: We're conducting market studies now and of course, as always, we're listening to our users.

Back to Opera for Linux, do you envision it being a stable browser? How will it compete performance wise with Netscape for Linux?

JVT: We aim to keep the high standards we have set before on stability and then some. Our aim is that users should be able to use Opera continuously without any problems at all. Speed has always been a major thing with Opera and the Linux version is not going to be different. In fact our tests have indicated Opera for Linux is a lot faster than Netscape. However, you will soon be able to test this for yourself.

What will Opera for Linux cost?

JVT: $35 for a single license.

Will those who have purchased Opera for Windows get a discount on Opera for Linux?

JVT: This has not been decided upon. These are two different products, but we appreciate the question and are evaluating what to do.

Will Opera for Linux be based on the new QT2.0 from Troll Tech?

JVT: Yes.

Will Opera for Linux support JavaScript?

JVT: Yes.

How soon after the release of Opera for Linux will we see a Free/Net/BSD port?

JVT: We aim to support any UNIX/Linux platform where there is real demand and Qt is available.

Well, thanks very much for taking the time out to answer my questions Jon. It looks like the Linux port is progressing well and it must be a very exciting time for Opera.

JVT: Yes, thank you, its very exciting to see how well the Opera for Linux port seems to be working out, we're extremely pleased with it.