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Opera Is Free September 22, 2005 – 10:31 p.m. – Permalink

Opera’s growth, due to tremendous worldwide customer support, has made today’s milestone an achievable goal.

OPERA SOFTWARE

Opera, the world’s fastest browser, has become free. The announcement came on September 20 — an interesting turn of events. What will be more intriguing are the implications of this turnaround.

Not to mention, Mozilla Corporation has released Firefox 1.0.7, on the very day after Opera’s milestone. Coincidence? Of course not. Unfortunately, the 1.0.7 came at a very bad time, as the announcements of the free browser explodes through the Web community. Another disadvantage Mozilla had was the announcement by Symantec that Firefox users were more vulnerable than IE.

Whether Opera will eventually defeat its competitor Mozilla is unlikely. Although this is an excellent way to increase its popularity (while still losing money, how fun), Mozilla has been gaining steam and its momentum will not stop, until, at least, when Internet Explorer 7 is released.

This introduces a whole new set of questions — will Opera overcome the huge onslaught that will be brought with Windows Vista and IE 7? Most likely. The older alternative browsers, like Konqueror, have been around a long time, and have survived the end of the Netscape era and the beginning of Microsoft’s insecurity era.

Opera has had 1.4 million downloads in only two days from these repercussions, and that is quite extraordinary for a browser that has only just begun to block Microsoft’s vision of dominating the Web. Steve Ballmer of Microsoft said, “We won the desktop. We won the server. We will win the Web. We will move fast, we will get there. We will win the Web.” That is extremely unlikely. Both Mozilla and Opera have gained too much.

Opera was founded in 1995 in Oslo, Norway, and the first version of Opera, 2.1, was released the following year. The first significant version of Opera was Opera 5 for Windows, which raised questions about Microsoft’s future presence on the Web in 2000.

Opera 8 was released in April of 2005, and the download rate shattered past records. Even more extraordinary is the fact that since Opera removed the banner advertisements from its browser, more than a million people have downloaded it — double the Opera 8 record.

We’ll see where this takes us — even if it's not very far.

In other news A List Apart has two new great articles about print design. Seraphic Zephyr will have print styles in a very short time. Also, the CSS Validator has begun giving warnings for background-color: transparent; undeclared background colors where there are no colors; and vice versa.