One of the core goals of Opera has always been to provide you, to our best approximation, with the browser that makes the web available to everyone, and to give anyone the most comfortable way to surf the web. The way we handle features and configuration follows the following approximate formula:
- Normal browsing features: included, on by default
- Comfort features: included, can be disabled from the UI
- Features to make the web more accessible: feature included, UI to make use of feature might be second tier if it gets in the way for the majority that doesn't need it
- Finetuning features: configurable via Advanced prefs (if a significant minority might find it useful) or by editing text-based ini files
- Features to keep old users happy: feature included, disabled by default, configurable via UI or by editing text-based ini files
Note that "features to make the web more accessible" are not "bloat" or a "distraction for developers". Such features are very much needed for our mobile browsers, and it makes little sense to not
"Editing text-based ini files" can be somewhat hard to explain to potential power users. Opera 9 will include a built-in editor for opera6.ini to make this easier. Of course we can have long discussions about what the default settings should be, and which settings should be delegated to opera.ini. The built-in editor is not meant as a alternative interface for the Preferences, so the latter should contain all the things a 'normal' user might want to change once in a while.
This posting is inspired by Firefox developer Ben's latest post Battling Firefox Bloat
. The problem I have with the Firefox philosophy: almost everyone is a member of a minority, and usually member of a few minorities. So with Firefox, everyone
has to manage a set of extensions for necessary (for them) features or nice-to-have comfort features like "Mouse gestures" and "Paste and Go".
also read David Baron's concerns
about Firefox maybe relying too much on extensions.