It seems like forever and a day since I stumbled across Opera 4.x, way back in about 1998, and I never looked back. Perhaps the main reason is that as a browsing environment, with its system of tabs, it seemed a wonderful combination of customisability and compactness; gone forever was the tedium of trying to keep track of all the separate windows with which IE x.x insisted upon cluttering my meagre desktop. And back in those days it was a serious issue: memory on my early systems was very small, and modern wide monitor screens had yet to arrive on the scene, so window management meant keeping as much minimised for as long as was possible. Then I discovered Opera, and the rest was history.
Imagine my utter joy when I installed Mandrake Linux on my computer, and later Mandriva (at its best around 2007) and discovered that the RPM port was part of their repositories! Sadly, as Mandriva has slowly slipped into obscurity and (lately) receivership and their departed devs have forked it into the splendiferous Mageia, this is no longer possible, but the people at Opera these days seem to have some kind of an obsession as to what they think a ‘modern’ browser should be, which I personally do not share. And I miss my old Opera Blog, upon which I lavished so much attention for so long. So I have nothing but praise for Jon (“Praise Jon!” as the late Robert Anton Wilson might say) for going back to basics and bringing a new tabbed browser for non-frivolous users like myself.
In the few hours before I pop up the road for a bulgogi meal with my senior students, let me say that I sadly felt forced to set up a complete web presence when Opera’s mail and blog (and other) services finally disappeared. I am actually paying good money annually for these now, and it is in fact quite an enlightening and enjoyable experience, but it’s not the same as using the old (pre-version 12.14) Opera. Especially (and here is a hint for the Vivaldi devs) I miss the wonderful little webserver that used to be in there c. 2010, which was so useful, as I could leave my computer running at home and transfer files to my machine at the public school where I was working. I would really like to see something like that again (unsubtle hint)!
The best thing at the moment is that despite being a work in development, Vivaldi’s functionality is excellent, it can be made to fit well enough into my desktop appearance-wise to be unobtrusive, is stable and renders clearly and quickly without interfering with other software under Mageia 5. Several points:
* the return of the old Opera webserver would be nice. Did I mention that before?
* better colour customisation (rather than ‘skinning’ or ‘theming’) would be nice, too. This includes being able to do a little (but not necessarily much) more with the start page
* I look forward to the transition of Vivaldi Mail from Roundcube to its final form (which looks good, by the way, but again, colour customisation would be nice).
As Vivaldi is still developing, the fact that it does not appear to have a huge number of settings which can be changed seems to be an advantage. If its current state is anything to go by, it will surely evolve into a very comfortable browsing environment.
Here’s hoping that it finds a future place in the Mageia repos!
Whoops!!! Edited 2015-07-17