Opera browser

After this instalment of Click many readers may be convinced that I’m on a mission to replace all the Microsoft products on your computer with those created by other manufactures but you would be quite wrong.Whilst it is true that I quite often suggest alternative products to those such as Media Player which are built into Windows, it is for good reason and certainly not anything against Microsoft.I do believe that for technology to continue to progress that there should always be a great deal of competition and unfortunately if everybody sticks to the software included as part of Windows then this simply wouldn’t happen as other manufacturers will have no incentive to continue developing software.

This week I’ll be covering an alternative to a product that has landed Microsoft in plenty of hot water of late and that is of course Microsoft Internet Explorer.The reason for their problems is that Internet Explorer was forced onto all users that bought a Windows operating system and rather understandably competitors such as Netscape considered this to be anti-competitive as there wasn’t ever an option to install Windows without this browser present.With almost everybody using Windows based operating systems and everybody having Internet Explorer installed by default it was and indeed still is very difficult for companies offering alternative products to attract customers and Microsoft have had to pay heavy fines in numerous anti-trust cases as a result.

Opera (www.opera.com) is a browser which has a strong following and, like the majority of the programs I review for click, is completely free of charge.They do request that if you want to get rid of the very, very limited advertising then you do need to purchase the full version for £24 all inclusive.Fantastically the version of the browser without Java support included is a paltry 3.2mg which compares to around 75mg for the full Internet Explorer download; quite how Opera manage to make a browser that’s more feature packed than Internet Explorer but also under 5% in size I have no idea.

Of course, there is a limit to the work you can do to improve or change an Internet Browser so you will find that Opera does look quite similar to the offering from Microsoft however there are a number of nice touches.My personal favourite feature is that the whole browser uses a ‘tabbed’ interface so rather than having dozens of Internet windows open on your computer at any one time you just have the one version of the application open and then you organise the different pages you’re viewing within this one application.It’s quite tricky to explain this point well unless you’ve seen it in action but it does make browsing a lot clearer and easier to navigate.

The browser includes a download manager that is far more effective than the simple ‘save as’ box that Internet Explorer pops up when you try and download a file as it allows you to manage your downloads as well as pause and resume downloads or retransfer files that have failed.You also get a pop-up stopper for when browsing the Internet and an spam filter for us with the integrated e-mail tool which although I didn’t get chance to use myself did look fairly simple but also comprehensive enough for most users.

To download this fantastic little program simply head to www.opera.com and click on the ‘free download’ button.Give it a go; at 3.2mg you really do have nothing to lose but those on broadband or with a little more time on their hands may want to download the version with Java support which pushes the total download size to around 15mg.Anyone who has an operating system other than Windows such as Solaris, OS/2, Linux, BeOS, FreeBSD i386, QNX or MacOS can download a version suitable for their specific machine.

About the Author – Chris Holgate works for Refresh Cartridges who supply a wide range of printer cartridges at the UK’s lowest prices.