Vivaldi: Opera's Spiritual Successor

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Ladies and gentlemen, we have a new browser. Yes another one. Vivaldi has been released as a technical preview and the application has an interesting history…

In 1994, Opera was produced as a research project by Telenor, a Norwegian telecommunications company. The application featured a browser, email and news clients in lightweight package which could fit on a single floppy disk (for those of you who don’t remember, floppy disks were like chunky USB drives or SD cards which held up to 1.4Mb of data!) The browser was one of the first to implement original features such as W3C standards, tabs, speed dial, turbo mode and a huge range of configuration options. Opera never gained a massive market share but had a scarily passionate group of followers. Until recently…

Opera found it increasingly difficult to keep up with other vendors especially since the browser was available on wide range of devices including feature phones and Nintendo game consoles. In 2013, they abandoned their own Presto engine, adopted Google Blink and streamlined the company (management speak for laying off staff). Opera 15+ is a fine browser but there’s little to distinguish it from Chrome and it offers few of the features users loved in Opera 12.

Vivaldi Technologies was founded by former Opera co-founder and CEO, Jon Stephenson von Tetzchner. I’m guessing the name comes from Antonio Vivaldi — who composed Opera! Their ambitious aim:

The browser we once loved [Opera] has changed its direction. Sadly, it is no longer serving its community of users and contributors who helped build the browser in the first place.

We must make a new browser. A browser for ourselves and a browser for our friends. A browser that is fast, but also a browser that is rich in functionality, highly flexible and puts the user first. A browser that is made for you.

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It’s always both exciting and nerve-wracking to see a new browser appear on the horizon. Hopefully, being based on Blink, this browser will offer alternatives for browsing the web without a lot of new bugs to design for. We’ll see, I guess. :slight_smile:

I doubt Vivaldi will give us any more bugs than Chrome or Opera - the same bugs will end up in all those browsers.

That said: bring it on. More competition is good. Google and Apple are already too powerful and often act in ways which would make the (old) Microsoft blush. But we give them a free pass because we use their products.


Using Blink was the right choice, just as it was for Opera 15. Nobody had any real love for Opera 12’s engine, it was the UI that made it a good browser.

Vivaldi is exactly the right approach, the one that Opera should have taken.

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But people want to support monopolies (which is now Chrome) and then they complain when the monopoly is the only choice. When will people learn?

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I agree.

While Blink doesn’t have the 95%+ market share IE enjoyed, Google has significant power. They recently scrapped W3C Pointer Events. There were various lame excuses such as “not being sure developers would use it”. Of course, not implementing it in Chrome means no one can use it even if all other browsers support it. (Note Pointer Events was initially devised by Microsoft. It’s a good idea, but silly politics have prevailed).

That said, what choice did Vivaldi have? Their own engine would have taken years. Presto is dead. Trident is closed source. Webkit was possible but is stagnating thanks to Apple. Gecko was an option but it’s not heavily used on mobile.

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