Opera is a Web browser that provides some advantages over other browsers from Mozilla or Microsoft. Much smaller in size, Opera is known for being fast and stable. Opera is available for a number of operating systems, including BeOS, Symbian OS, Linux, Mac OS, OS/2, Solaris, and Windows. It offers the same capabilities of the more popular browsers including integrated searches and instant messaging, support for JavaScript, cascading style sheets and E-mail. Because Opera is so compact, it has been promoted for use in hand-held Internet devices, including smartphones that use the Windows Mobile operating system.

The feature you notice first after installing Opera is a menu or "hotlist" that serves as both a directory to the Web and a bookmark file. The hotlist can be easily removed and you can use the full viewing space to look at multiple Web sites at the same time, either tiling or cascading the windows. You can choose to have the sites you were last looking at restored the next time you open the Opera browser. Opera offers keyboard as well as mouse control of its features. Plug-ins such as RealAudio, RealVideo, and Shockwave can be added. Opera does not support Active-X or Visual Basic.

Opera began in 1994 as a research project for the national phone company in Norway, Telenor. It is now on its 9th version. Opera is free for download to all supported platforms. Opera is the browser for Nintendo's Wii gaming console.

Other Web browsers include Firefox, Internet Explorer, Apple Computer's Safari and Mosaic, developed in 1993 and the original code base for Netscape's browser, Lynx.

This was last updated in November 2007

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