Opera 11 ships, adds stacked tabs and extensions

Company co-founder again calls for add-on standardization

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Opera also touted version 11's reduced size -- about 30% smaller than its predecessor -- that will make it a faster download. Opera shrunk the download file by dropping external installers. "There's no separate installer," said Von Tetzchner. "Opera installs itself."

Opera remains a minor player in the browser market, accounting for just 2.3% of all desktop browsers used worldwide last month, according to U.S. metrics vendor Net Applications.

Von Tetzchner argued that Opera's share is under-counted.

"We've added 50 million active users this year, 50 million last year, so we've tripled the number of active users in the last two years," Von Tetzchner said. "Of course we'd like to grow it even faster, we're putting more resources into development, but we think [Opera's share] is more like 7%-8%."

Von Tetzchner acknowledged that the 150 million active users he cited included those of Opera Mobile and Opera Mini, two editions that run on smartphones. Opera's desktop-only user base, he said, was approximately 50 million.

In comparison, Mozilla claims to have 400 million active Firefox users, while Google recently boasted that Chrome is being used by about 120 million people.

Von Tetzchner also dismissed the idea that Google was pushing out browser upgrades faster than Opera.

"There's a lot in this release," said Von Tetzchner, talking about Opera 11. "What we'd call a dot release some others [bump up the version number] a full point. "Opera 10.5 was a major release, and we could have called it [version] 11 and no one would have complained."

Opera shipped version 10.5 last March, adding a new JavaScript engine dubbed Carakan that dramatically boosted the browser's SunSpider benchmark scores. In Computerworld's latest tests, Opera 11 was the fastest of the five top browsers in rendering JavaScript.

Google, on the other hand, has been adding a full point to the version number of Chrome about every six to eight weeks. The current "stable" build of Chrome, for instance, is version 8; Chrome 6 debuted in early September 2010.

Opera 11 can be downloaded for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux from the company's site.

Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at  @gkeizer or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed . His e-mail address is gkeizer@computerworld.com.

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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