2007-11-23

Opera vs Firefox

I've been using Mozilla and Firefox for years. I recently began using Opera Mobile on my Pocket PC. It is great--I like it so much, I bought a license--so I thought I'd give Opera a try on the desktop. Here's a little of what I think of Firefox 2.0.0.9 vs. Opera 9.24:

Resource utilization
So far, Opera seems to consume fewer CPU cycles and less memory. I can't tell whether it's the core browser or the numerous Firefox plugins I use, but Opera seems to beat Firefox here. As part of my Go Google strategy, this is important--I'll be using the browser more and more for everyday tasks, including basic word processing.

Winner: Opera

Ad blocking
The ability to control advertising is important to me. I don't want to view ads in general, and I get distracted by animated ads. Firefox lets me block images from any server, a very coarse-grained way to block ads. Opera lets me block individual URLs on rendered web pages, and then edit the list later, adding wildcards. With Firefox, it's all or nothing, and with Opera, it's a lot of work to build up the black list.

Winner: Tie

Flashblock
The Firefox Flashblock add-on is another great way to control ads and other Flash-based content. There are ways to block Flash content in Opera (see Ad blocking, above), but it's not as easy as using Flashblock on Firefox.

Winner: Both

Search engines
Firefox's search box is nice. It's easy to add new ones from the library, but it's not super-easy to customize (super-easy criterion: grandma could do it). It's easier to customize Opera's location box. I've already added search shortcuts for Merriam-Webster and IMDb (and restored Google on my PPC by editing search.ini).

Winner: Opera

Google Toolbar
I really like the Google Toolbar add-on. It simply doesn't exist for Opera, and the Google widget is not an acceptable substitute.

Winner: Firefox

Google Calendar
I can't edit full-day events in Opera!

Winner: Firefox, and, ultimately, Google Calendar is important enough to me that Firefox might just win overall because Google app's don't run adequately in Opera.

Alternate keyboard
I customize Windows to use the Dvorak keyboard. Opera often switches back to QWERTY. How annoying!

Winner: Firefox

Widgets
Opera widgets are nice, and Firefox doesn't offer anything similar. I usually run Google Desktop and Google widgets, though, so I don't care so much about browser-based widgets.

Winner: Tie

Add-ons / Plugins
Firefox has an extensive collection of add-ons, contributed by anyone and everyone. Opera has a more controlled, probably higher quality, set of plugins. Firefox lets you shoot yourself in the foot but gives you as many different kinds of bullets as you want. Opera tries to protect you.

Winner: Tie

Tabs
Both offer tabbed browser. Opera opens new tabs without switching to them by default. Firefox's Ctrl-Tab switches to the next tab by default, while Opera changes to the most recently viewed tab (annoying).

Winner: Tie

Toolbar bookmarks / Speed Dial
Firefox lets me drag URLs onto the toolbar for fast access. Opera lets me define nine speed dial shortcuts.

Winner: Firefox

Foxmarks
Foxmarks is a great tool for synchronizing for bookmarks between multiple computers. There's no easy, free way to do this with Opera.

Winner: Firefox

Meebo
Meebo is sloooow! in Opera. It Just Works in Firefox, and the Meebo plugin is handy.

Winner: Firefox

Decision
In a split decision, Firefox wins. I want stuff to Just Work. Google app's don't just work in Opera, so I'll stick with Firefox.

1 comment:

John said...

Hi,

I use Google Calendar everyday in Opera (well 9.5x) and it works fine. Maybe thats because I use the user agent emulator in opera:config, but then I'd have to place the blame on the site developer. Also, remember the Opera-MSN fiasco? While most of these sites probably DO support Opera, they block it via the user agent.

Ok, you got me with Meebo. But that was until I set Opera's user agent to emulate Firefox. Again, thats probably laziness on the developers part. (Example: Would you hotwire program not to work on Windows 2000 even if it did?) I must admit though, I do like the fact that there is a modern OS/2 port of Firefox, while Opera only has version 5.12 for OS/2.

Plus, while I highly doubt the average end user will care about this (unless your a geek, of course), Opera seems to be more standards compliant. Firefox 3.01 gets a 71 on the acid3 test while Opera 9.52 gets an 83. Plus, a public developer test build of Opera actually got a 100 on it, but it didn't fully pass the test due to performance issues.

And continuing the comparision of Firefox (3.x) vs Opera (9.5x) the security features while act the same internally, the Firefox 3 malware warning seems more polished. I do like the review though. Kudos for not perferring one over the other due to "licensing restrictions", but I don't like the fact that you personalized it with "I can't edit full-day events in Opera! Winner: Firefox, and, ultimately, Google Calendar is important enough to me that Firefox might just win overall because Google app's don't run adequately in Opera. ...", but then again its a personal review on your blog.

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