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Opera 10.0 alpha 1 is impressive, but does it stand a chance against Firefox?

I've just spent a few hours taking Opera 10.0 alpha 1 for a spin around the Interwebs, and I have to say that for an alpha build, it feels nice and solid. But does it stand a chance of making itself heard compared to the David verses Goliath match going on between the lumbering Internet Explorer and the feisty Firefox?

I've just spent a few hours taking Opera 10.0 alpha 1 for a spin around the Interwebs, and I have to say that for an alpha build, it feels nice and solid. But does it stand a chance of making itself heard compared to the David verses Goliath match going on between the lumbering Internet Explorer and the feisty Firefox?

There's a lot of new stuff in this alpha release:

  • Presto 2.2 Engine
  • Performance boost
  • 100/100 and pixel-perfect on the Acid3 test
  • Auto-update
  • Inline spelling checker
  • Opera Mail improvements, including rich text composition and delete after X days
  • Widget Improvements on Linux

[poll id=404]

The Presto 2.2 rendering engine is particularly interesting:

  • 100/100 and pixel-perfect on the Acid3 test
  • New regular expression engine, which greatly improves performance
  • Improved CSS performance
  • Pretty-printing of unstyled XML
  • Web font support
  • RGBA and HSLA support
  • Selectors API support

Performance wise, the Presto 2.2 has a way to go before it represents a threat to Firefox:

Although it does ace Firefox when it comes to Google's V8 benchmark:

04-12-2008-19-45-54b.png

Note: Previously this chart had been incorrectly labeled as "Shorter is better" ... this has now been fixed. 

Also Opera 10.0 alpha 1 has beaten Firefox to the 100/100 ACID 3 score:

The problem that I see facing Opera is significance. Internet Explorer get its relevance from being shipped with every Windows-based PC, while Firefox has an extensive array of add-ons. What makes Opera special? Sure, I love Opera Mobile and Mini, but the desktop version leaves me cold.

However, the upside here is that the browser war this time is working for the end user (back in the mid to late 90s it wasn't). Thanks to fierce competition we're all getting better, faster, more secure browsers. That's a good thing all round!

Thoughts?

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