design for budgets


Firefox vs. Opera in Linux


I've been trying Opera on Linux these last few days, due to an issue with Firefox not redrawing the browser screen on new page loads unless something other than a page load triggers a redraw (like the user resizing the browser).

I have mixed emotions about Opera. I really want it to work, however I it's looking like there are a few dealbreakers.

But first, let's start with the "pros."


  • Opera is quicker and seems to use less memory (though I haven't kept a close eye on that).
  • Opera is slicker. The look is better, more refined, and finding new themes/skins is easy to do in the browser with near-immediate changes - i.e. no need to restart.
  • Speed. It's quick - though I don't feel like I get enough of a visual cue when pages are loading. No waving windows flags or spinning rings. I miss that.
  • Speed Dial rocks. When you open a new tab, you're presented with a 3 x 3 grid of thumbnails/links to pages you've set... works like a speed dial to your favorite pages. (There's a Firefox extension that mimics this, but not with the same polish.


  • Shortcuts are a little goofy compared to what I'm used to, and even when I changed the "focus search" to CTRL+K to avoid conflicts with Linux, it doesn't always work. Perhaps there's some user error here - and definitely some habits that'd have to break.
  • No bookmarks.
  • Nothing that stacks up to Firefox's Web Developer Toolbar or Firebug.
  • No status bar at the page bottom. I don't want to have to wait for a tooltip to find out where a link is pointed.

It's the little things, I guess, that ultimately make up these decisions for a person. I'm going to stay with Firefox for now. Thank goodness there's a workaround for the bug I mentioned before.

Update 2008-01-10: forgot to mention the con that decided it for me was that the Opera hyperlink tooltips overlaid the javascript "tooltips" in Netvibes, so I couldn't get a clear preview of my feed items! That just wasn't going to cut it for me. Still, I have to say, I really like Opera.


To get a status bar in

To get a status bar in Opera, just click View/Toolbars/Status bar.

Dealbreaker fixed

Just thought I would point out that turning on the Status Bar also fixes the dealbreaker as hyperlink tooltips are then disabled.


Thanks for the tips, folks. I may have to give it a try again.

© 2008