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Opera 9.5 Beats Firefox and IE7 As Fastest Browser 510

Abhinav Peddada writes "Ars Technica takes Opera 9.5, the latest from Opera's stable, for a test run and finds some interesting results, including it being a 'solid improvement to an already very strong browser.' On the performance front, Ars Technica reports 'Opera 9.5 scored slightly higher (281ms) than the previous released version, 9.23 (546ms). And Opera 9.x, let it be known, smacks silly the likes of Firefox and Internet Explorer, which tend to have results in the 900-1500ms range on this test machine (a 1.8 GHz Core 2 Duo with 2GB RAM). Opera was 50 percent faster on average than Firefox, and 100 percent faster than IE7 on Windows Vista, for instance.'"
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Opera 9.5 Beats Firefox and IE7 As Fastest Browser

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  • by KDR_11k ( 778916 ) on Friday September 07, 2007 @03:47AM (#20504625)
    From what I've seen the speed rankings in all tests always have Opera and Safari leading with IE and FF being behind.
  • by lpangelrob ( 714473 ) on Friday September 07, 2007 @03:48AM (#20504631)
    Well... okay. That was a short article.

    I'm not expecting them to try Lynx or anything, but at least test Safari on Windows? The one that also claims to be fast?
  • by rm999 ( 775449 ) on Friday September 07, 2007 @03:53AM (#20504661)
    without units. 281ms per what? Apparently a bunch of tests listed on http://celtickane.com/projects/jsspeed.php [celtickane.com]

    Now my question is, how significant is ~500 ms for these tests? All I care about is how long it takes to load a typical webpage I surf, and for me, Firefox seems almost instantaneous for most pages. "Smacks silly" my be an overstatement.
  • by arth1 ( 260657 ) on Friday September 07, 2007 @04:29AM (#20504843) Homepage Journal
    Not to mention font rendering. If using sub-pixel anti-aliasing, or anti-aliasing against the real background and not the document's bgcolor (or css equivalent), yes, it takes a lot longer, for a much better rendered result. Opera can be downright ugly when using small serif fonts on a non-uniform background, and Safari tends to dither against the wrong colour, especially if a table cell has a different colour than the document itself.

    Regarding text rendering... What bugs me is that since the first Firefox, every so often, you get a horisontal line which is skewed by one pixel. This happens on both Linux and Windows, on different machines, with different fonts, with all Gecko engines. When this happens between lines, it's not TOO bad -- it just looks odd when there's suddenly a pixel more space between two lines than all the others, but when it happens in the text itself, it's VERY noticable. And if you select the text on that line and unselect it again, the problem goes away. It's like the rendering engine pre-calculates how much vertical space to set aside for the text in order to to increase rendering speed. Then, when drawing the text, the actual result never matches the space, so it duplicates or chops lines at random intervals until it the text fits. I'd rather wait a little longer and avoid this problem.
  • and? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by crhylove ( 205956 ) <rhy@leperkhanz.com> on Friday September 07, 2007 @05:03AM (#20504993) Homepage Journal
    With apologies to Old Ben, I for one would rather give up a little speed for stability, portability, and adblock, foxmarks, and the very real benefits of using an open source product.

    But, if they were to GPL it.....

  • by JordanL ( 886154 ) <jordan.ledoux@NOspaM.gmail.com> on Friday September 07, 2007 @05:10AM (#20505011) Homepage
    You've clearly never used Opera if you're attempting to spin this article by claiming that we just plain don't know that Opera renders stuff in general near the top of the pack already, and also is perhaps the most standards compliant browser.

    Not to mention that Opera 9.x is one of the only stable browsers with tentative support for HTML 5.

    I get a kick out of FF fans on this site. FF is by no means bad, but Opera clearly has areas where it consistently outshines the open-source browser. Before, people used to say "I don't like ads in my browser" as an excuse for not using it. Then when it became free, it was "I use lots of GreaseMonkey scripts", despite the fact that you can use most GM scripts in Opera too.

    Opera leads the way for most browsing achievements, and they show no signs of stopping. I've been using it since version 6, and though I give FF a whirl every .x build, I still have yet to see anything on FF that makes me believe it's worth the switch... and to top it off I'm a web developer by trade. I code for Opera, then break it for FF and IE.
  • by ballpoint ( 192660 ) on Friday September 07, 2007 @05:11AM (#20505015)
    Don't laugh: I'm running the latest version of Opera on an almost 10 year old Libretto 110CT with 32 MB RAM running Windows 98SE.

    It works quite well, and a lot better than most browsers on portable devices.

    Thank you, Opera !
  • by jeevesbond ( 1066726 ) on Friday September 07, 2007 @05:18AM (#20505049) Homepage

    adblock plus

    Right-click --> Block content


    F12 --> Enable plug-ins


    F12 --> Enable JavaScript

    If you need to do any of these on a per-site basis: F12 --> Edit site preferences. Additionally you can also switch off:

    1. GIF/SVG animation
    2. Sound (ever come across a site with an annoying MIDI tune playing in the background?)
    3. Java
    4. JavaScript scripts receiving right-clicks (and some other JavaScript settings)
    5. Referrer logging
    6. Lots of other stuff, above is what I've found useful.

    You can change these settings for one site or all sites. Now is that enough for you, or do Opera need to call this functionality 'adblock plus', 'flashblock' and 'noscript' and supply it in addon form? :-)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 07, 2007 @05:52AM (#20505219)

    Testing javascript with Safari is like testing javascript with NoScript -- of course it's going to be faster since it doesn't really work
    The WebKit implementation of JavaScript is easily better than the implementation in FireFox, Opera or Internet Explorer's JScript. Note I'm not saying just 'different', actually better - by which I mean it's demonstrably faster, is more feature complete, and requires less workarounds when you start doing complicated things (all centered around event handling though really, both FireFox and IE have issues with what you can/can't do when it comes to events and referencing properties of objects - in Safari everything I would expect to work, just does, though YMMV).

    I've written both simple demos [iaincollins.com] and fairly sophisticated JavaScript apps [google.co.uk] (which can do Sim City / Civilization 2.5 isometric views like this [googlegroups.com] - and render them extremely quickly so you that you can pan around the environment as if it was a native title)).

    When it comes to looping through a large array of arrays (e.g. the terrain tile detail in one of the above examples), applying style or class attributes to DOM elements, creating or moving DOM elements on a page and dealing with event handlers Safari wins hands down, followed by FireFox, Opera and IE (in all respects). The "Opera is the fastest" claim holds very little weight with me having compared them. What Opera has is a very fast UI that's extremely responsive, which is all a bit smoke and mirrors really. It's not particularly fast at script execution or object manipulation as soon as things get interesting (it lags behind Safari and FireFox certainly, but it's still far ahead of IE), and of course it renders perfectly valid pages very differently from Safari and FireFox (for which is sometimes possible to blame ambiguities in the standards, but that it doesn't follow the lead of Gecko/KHTML/Webkit or IE is a bit annoying - though do I appreciate the complexity involved).

  • by localman ( 111171 ) on Friday September 07, 2007 @05:57AM (#20505233) Homepage
    I just want to mention an unpopular fact: there is a point in every project I've worked on where table-based layout is either the only way to get a particular detail to work properly in all common browsers, or the CSS solution is so convoluted and absurd as to make multiple nested tables seem proper.

    I do like CSS, but it seemingly hasn't covered all bases yet.

  • by Ilgaz ( 86384 ) * on Friday September 07, 2007 @06:04AM (#20505273) Homepage

    I haven't got any figures, but subjectively I find konqueror faster than firefox. I don't often use it because so many sites don't render well, but speed wise I would rate it as much faster
    It could have something to do with Flash not supported on PowerPC/X11 but here on OS X, I found Konqueror working lot more smoother than Apple Safari thanks to Finkproject(.org) installed KDE 3.5.7

    The memory figures especially were impressive.

    I tested Digg.com etc which are browser murderers as you may guess.

  • by A Friendly Troll ( 1017492 ) on Friday September 07, 2007 @06:23AM (#20505353)
    My block list in Opera is a many years old - most of the stuff was done when Firefox wasn't even on the horizon. I maybe see one ad per month. Why are auto-updating block lists so important? It looks just like paranoia to me - "zomgz, I *need* to update, or there will be ads!". No, there won't really be.

    There is a UserJS somewhere (userjs.org?) to introduce Flashblock-like functionality.

    Opera 9.x natively supports per-site JS and plugins blocking, and CSS as well. But OK, there is no status bar icon.

    You don't need the "Down Them All" plugin. Press Ctrl+Alt+L and you have a new tab with links on the current page. You can even filter them. Then just select whatever you want and download.
  • by A Friendly Troll ( 1017492 ) on Friday September 07, 2007 @06:25AM (#20505365)
    http://nontroppo.org/timer/kestrel_tests/ [nontroppo.org]

    And remember, this is an *alpha* release.
  • by ricegf ( 1059658 ) on Friday September 07, 2007 @06:53AM (#20505501) Journal

    Or is good software engineering only to be appreciated if it comes from the open source community?

    Well, I'm always willing to appreciate good technology whatever the source. For example, I'll readily admit that .NET and Visual Studio are top quality products, even if they do come from a convicted monopolist. Opera, too, is an excellent product, and I used it BF (Before Firefox) with pleasure and persuaded some friends as well.

    That said, I value my freedom enough that the closed source nature of both of the above products seriously diminishes their value to me. I'm not a hard-nosed RMS wannabe - I use some closed source, such as Flash plug-ins and non-free video drivers, because they work so well - but when a free option is good enough (and Firefox, like virtually all packages in my current distro of choice, is far better than "good enough"), I personally prefer to support free software with my usage, bug reports, and cash.

    Perhaps one day soon, I can use a 100% free-as-in-speech distro without compromising any functionality at all. I'll celebrate the day. But that's my choice.


  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 07, 2007 @07:06AM (#20505577)
    Does it pass ACID2 test?

    Opera 9.5 alpha: interactivity test: Failed.
    Opera 9.5 alpha: ACID2 test: Failed.
    Opera 9.5 alpha: long life running test: Failed.
    Opera 9.5 alpha: anti-exploit test: Failed.
    Opera 9.5 alpha: javascript test: Failed.
    Opera 9.5 alpha: ActionScript3 test: Failed.
    Opera 9.5 alpha: Flashmedia test: Failed.
    Opera 9.5 alpha: Music player test: Failed.
    Opera 9.5 alpha: Video player test: Failed.
    Opera 9.5 alpha: Rendering test: Failed.
    Opera 9.5 alpha: Startup timing test: Failed.
    Opera 9.5 alpha: RealTime responsive test: Failed.
    Opera 9.5 alpha: Security test: Failed.
    Opera 9.5 alpha: Alarming test: Failed.
    Opera 9.5 alpha: Messaging test: Failed.
    Opera 9.5 alpha: Backup test: Failed.
    Opera 9.5 alpha: Overheating test: Failed.
    Opera 9.5 alpha: Speed test: OK. Eureka!!!

    Conclusion: Opera 9.5 alpha is definitively an exploiter web application.
  • by suv4x4 ( 956391 ) on Friday September 07, 2007 @07:12AM (#20505611)
    Does it choke rendering Digg's Sucky Comment system, like FF?

    FF is the only one to choke so easily rendering larger pages, you know. Unfortunately.

    Even before 9.5, Opera still beat the crap out of Firefox in CPU/RAM usage, but then, so did IE.

    I still like Firefox :( but because of the dev tools.
  • by Paperkirin ( 888073 ) on Friday September 07, 2007 @07:15AM (#20505623)
    I believe it. One of the best ways to breathe new life into an old computer is to put Opera on it. I've seen it running acceptably (not wonderfully, but better than Firefox and IE 5.5) on a Windows 95/98 box (not sure which) old enough to have a 'turbo' button on the case. I'm betting that if all it's going to be used for is surfing, you could set it as the Windows shell app to clear explorer.exe out of memory, and have a nice little kiosk-type thing.
  • Re:Different market (Score:1, Interesting)

    by mh1997 ( 1065630 ) on Friday September 07, 2007 @07:25AM (#20505701)

    it's probably a personal preference thing - but I notice the market share numbers, and suspect I'm not that unusual.
    I wish more of slashdot would remember that much of what is used is for personal preference and stop the "my browser/OS/IDE etc. is better than yours" attacks.

    I just switched from FF to Opera because of its low market share numbers - which was the same reason I switched from IE to FF when the FF market was about 2%.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 07, 2007 @07:45AM (#20505813)
    scored slightly higher (281ms) than the previous released version, 9.23 (546ms)!

    Man, that's not slightly higher. If you routinely open a lot of tabs, like I do (there's a convenient pane called "links" under tools, you just open it, select the ones you want (I just select all), and open them all in a background tab, the difference will be like this:
    my $pid = fork();
    die "Couldn't fork!\n" unless defined $pid;
    if ($pid == 0) {$me = "Opera 9.5"; $myspeed = 0.281; }
    else {$me = "Opera 9.23"; $myspeed = 0.546; $indent = "\t\t\t\t"; }
        select (undef, undef, undef, $myspeed); #sleep $myspeed ms
        print "$indent$me: Done with tab #$tabnum!\n";
      print "$indent$me: Done!\n";

    It'll be like going from a 3 GHz processor to a 6 GHz processor! No, really! I really do wait for this many (and more! sometimes hundreds of) vanilla, locally saved, HTML pages to load in Opera :(

    [so I can page through them like a book, with numpad 1 and 2 for forward and back - but maybe that's just me. Anyone else read a few weeks worth of slashdot like this? (for example)]
  • by Ilgaz ( 86384 ) * on Friday September 07, 2007 @08:12AM (#20506015) Homepage
    I was trying to joke with outdated information. That "Qt is not GPL" discussion still amazingly stays while Trolltech says "It is GPL if your project is GPL" for ages. :)

      Opera uses commercial Qt license of course.
  • Re:Different market (Score:4, Interesting)

    by kripkenstein ( 913150 ) on Friday September 07, 2007 @08:19AM (#20506065) Homepage

    there is no way I'm trading NoScript + CookieSafe + Firebug + Foxmarks + Slashdotter for a slight increase in speed.

    + Adblock + a few other things, and that 'slight increase in speed' might start to look like a supersonic jet outrunning a kid with a wheelbarrow. A wheelbarrow with a lot of nifty stuff on it, sure, but still ;)
  • by rs79 ( 71822 ) <hostmaster@open-rsc.org> on Friday September 07, 2007 @08:21AM (#20506081) Homepage
    Pretty numbers and everything but...

    I downloaded it when I first read this article. Then I went away for an hour and used it oing my normal
    daily sstuff.

    Holy shit it's fast. Some site, just plain html and lots of graphics are a bit faster then before.

    Sites with lots of ms generated js are unbelievably faster. Opera's always impressed me with its speed but I've never seen a speed increase likt this. Kudos.

  • by guidryp ( 702488 ) on Friday September 07, 2007 @08:59AM (#20506409)
    I was a long time Opera user until Firefox 1.0, but FF won me over with plugins and better default behaviors.

    Like when you are looking at a page and you see something to search for, highlight and right click search for....
    In Firefox you automatically get a new tab with the search, which is what I want. Opera overwrites the page you were reading with the search. Other features work similarly. You can hold down alt or something and get what you want.

    Similarly with bookmarks. Firefox I middle click a bookmark in my bookmark bar and I get a new tab. Opera, nothing happens, if I left click it over-writes my current page. Seeing a pattern

    Search in page. Firefox much better implementation with obvious highlighting.

    Speed isn't enough to win me back.

    So why use Opera at work. It is stable. Firefox crashes all the time on my Redhat corporate install. Perhaps something wrong with the Redhat because I have tried out IT supplied Firefox and my own DL copy with the same results.

    A lot was stolen from Opera, it is time for Opera to steal back with some of the better interface elements of firefox.
  • by Brian Gordon ( 987471 ) on Friday September 07, 2007 @09:46AM (#20506993)
    Opera has an ugly history- it used to suck, and it used to be ad supported. I don't care if it's cleaned up its act, I have too many problems with opera to embrace it.
  • by nbarriga ( 877070 ) on Friday September 07, 2007 @04:04PM (#20513245)
    I just checked Opera 9.50 Alpha in this test: http://www.css3.info/selectors-test/ [css3.info] and I got the following result: "From the 43 selectors 43 have passed, 0 are buggy and 0 are unsupported (Passed 578 out of 578 tests)"

Logic is a pretty flower that smells bad.