To be more specific, they are worried about security.
Microsoft's position is not entirely unreasonable. There are always possible security concerns with new technologies. It is important to highlight these, and fix any problems (such as the recent WebGL vulnerability in Firefox).
But since when did a security flaw mean that we throw the entire piece of technology out? Operating systems and web browsers have been dealing with security problems for many years. It's not like this is new to Microsoft, so their criticism sounds more like FUD than anything else.
Indeed, Microsoft's criticism would sound a little less hollow if they weren't doing the exact same thing with Silverlight that they are criticizing WebGL over.
And lo and behold, a Denial of Service vulnerability in Silverlight 5 of the same type that Microsoft was overly concerned about with WebGL recently surfaced.
I'll quote the report here:
Recently Microsoft published an article about a WebGL DOS vulnerability:
The same vulnerability exists in Silverlight 5, here's a proof of concept (warning, crashes your system)
Normally I wouldn't file a Silverlight bug report about that since this really isn't specific to Silverlight (or WebGL, or any particular 3D API), but the above-mentioned Microsoft security article suggests that Microsoft thought that it would be WebGL-specific.
To be clear, WebGL doesn't allow you to simply pass things directly to the driver. The browser "compiles" the source before it reaches the OpenGL (or Direct3D) driver. This seems to be similar to what Silverlight is doing. Even Flash 11 will be doing these things.
So when it all comes down to it, Microsoft looked at a problem, wrote a text on it, and made it sound like it was specific to WebGL. But the problem also exists in other 3D APIs, and yet Microsoft seems to think that WebGL is "harmful to the web" while Silverlight isn't?
Even people at Microsoft do not buy it. That's how convincing their "WebGL Considered Harmful" article is.
So, Microsoft, does this mean you are going to kill 3D support in Silverlight, or does it mean you will add WebGL support to Internet Explorer?
A little consistency would be nice, you know?
While this report is primarily aimed at investors, it is useful reading for anyone who wants a more in-depth view of Opera. It contains raw numbers, detailed information about Opera's business models, and more. There's even some more detailed information on the acquisition of AdMarvel and FastMail.
I have added some "highlights" from the report, but bear in mind that I had to keep it somewhat brief (even though it's a fairly long list). For the full details, please read the actual report.
This time they have tried to coin the term "Native HTML5", which basically contradicts the whole idea of the web as non-native and platform-agnostic. You know, the idea the entire web was built on?
HTML5 is not native. It is not supposed to be native. It is silly to even attempt to tie HTML5 to a specific platform.
Some people are making fun of Microsoft's antics, which is all well and good. The idea of "Native HTML5" is that ridiculous. Others are quite harsh in their coverage. I think a combined approach is necessary: Make fun of their obvious attempt to hijack HTML5, while making sure that their claims are also met with clear, factual refutations.
In my opinion, Dean Hachamovitch should be ashamed of himself for signing his name to such a shoddy piece of dishonest marketing nonsense. Call me a grumpy old open web fundamentalist, but I'm getting fed up with this.
Whew, glad to get that off my chest
Today, the new service was unveiled.
Named My Opera Mail, it gives you a free @myopera.com e-mail address, 1 GB of storage (as a start), and allows you to log in at mail.opera.com with your regular My Opera username.
Keep in mind that the service is still in beta, but you already get full access to IMAP (incoming) and SMTP (outgoing) if you want to use it from your e-mail client (such as the one that's build into Opera for desktop).
Best of all: It's completely free!
Log in to the service right now, and then head over to the Mail Team blog to learn more and share your feedback!
Opera Mini has reached 100 million users!
When I blogged about the 50 million milestone in February of 2010, I predicted that although the growth rate at the time indicated that Opera Mini would reach 100 million in May 2011, it was likely to happen before that.
And I was right, because the 100 million milestone was reached last month, in March.
In addition to 100 million users, we have also reached another milestone: Two billion daily page views!
Remember that these 100 million users are in addition to all the Opera Mobile users, and users of a preinstalled or bundled version of Opera Mini. When we announced 100 million users a couple of months ago, that was including Opera Mobile. Today we're talking about Opera Mini exclusively.
Any guesses on when Opera Mini will reach the 200 million mark?
Now it seems that we have managed to find common ground, because the GetJar blog just announced the return of the "world’s best browser" (their words, not mine!) to their app store.
While it's April 1st today, I'm pretty sure this is no April fools joke since there's an actual download available.
It's an informative article, but it doesn't get all its facts right. It claims that this is Microsoft's first antitrust filing against Google, which is not correct. In fact, I reported on antitrust filings by Microsoft against Google in both the US and EU back in 2007.
How can that be?
You will still be able to download older versions, but there will be no future development on the platform.
The announcement mentions Windows Phone 7, but there's no commitment to delivering anything on that platform yet. WP7 will probably have to prove itself to be an attractive platform for developers before that happens. My understanding is that WP7 sales have been less than stellar so far.
It's a sad day for Windows Mobile users, but there isn't much you can do if a platform has been declared dead.
The background for this is that James Randi is currently holding a series of talks in Norway in connection with a campaign by the Norwegian Humanist Association called "no one likes to be fooled".
There is a growing commercial market of "alternative" thoughts, ideas, products and services that all claim to solve all sorts of problems, but often with a severe lack of actual facts to back up their claims. The campaign aims to encourage critical thinking, so that you can avoid being fooled by people trying to get to your money by making unverifiable claims.
James Randi is often referred to as a "professional skeptic" due to his many years of actively revealing the truth behind seemingly miraculous events and claims. Even so, he is open to being wrong, and there is a million dollar prize waiting for someone to cash it in by showing actual evidence of paranormal, supernatural, or occult activities.
I was fortunate enough to be able to meet with Randi at his hotel a couple of days after attending his talk in Oslo.
In addition to various bug fixes and optimizations, there are a few new features available in Mini 6 and Mobile 11, some of them quite significant:
- New/improved and more streamlined user interface
- Both Opera Mini and Opera Mobile now feature a user interface for tablet devices
- Pinch to zoom is a major feature which people with touch screen phones have been asking for
- There are now buttons available to zoom with multiple levels on non-touch devices
- When you zoom in, the text dynamically wraps to adjust to the width of the screen. No more horizontal scrolling!
- When you scroll, you will also notice that there are buttons on the right that allow you to jump to the very top or bottom of the page
- A new button that allows you to share content through various services
- New tabs are now opened in the background
- Fat Finger Links: If you try to open a link and aren't quite able to hit the right one, Opera will zoom you even further in and highlight the links you may have tried to (similar to the fingertouch feature from a while ago)
Note: Not all features are available on all platforms.
Take a look at this video demo to see them in action.
And just to clarify: This means that this is not just another browser plugin like Flash, but rather allows IE9 to support WebM through the HTML5 <video> element.
The inevitable question here is how this is any better than using a browser plugin, and the answer is this avoids all the limitations of browser plugins. It opens up a whole new world of possibilities, since HTML5 video can be accessed and manipulated by the browser. A browser plugin, on the other hand, is basically a "black box" to the browser. It doesn't offer even a fraction of the flexibility you get with native HTML5 video (video support in the browser itself).
As I explained in a previous blog post on the subject, this will deal another blow to the closed H.264 codec on the desktop.
So for now, I think we can ignore the hilariously hypocritical quip about "ideology" in the Microsoft blog post, and congratulate them on doing the right thing instead!
A couple of days ago, we released an Android build with support for the HTML5 <device> element. This gives you access to the phone's camera, which opens up new possibilities on the web, such as video conferencing. Our guys had been working on this for a while, and I guess they were looking forward to seeing what people would be able to do with it.
The good news is that we can probably reuse quite a bit of what we did to support <device>. From what I hear, the Opera guys involved with HTML5 actually welcomed the change as well.
But this shows that being on the bleeding edge isn't always easy. Things can change quickly in the world of technology!
With that out of the way, let's get to the actual update! It will not be limited to week 10, but will contain a few other things that have been going on in the previous weeks as well.
Frankly, I don't get it.
Browsers have been copying each other since the dawn of time, and the press didn't seem to care much. Things like Speed Dial, popup blocking, full page zoom, sessions, private data deletion, and so on, were invented or pioneered by Opera, and are in use by other browsers today. Opera has also added features that were first seen in other browsers, such as private browsing and extensions.
Why do they care about this only now?
And as far as I can tell, the ideas in RockMelt aren't exactly novel, new or revolutionary either. Remember Flock?
What do you think about Opera switching from Presto to WebKit?
- Good idea
- Bad idea
- Not sure
- Presto? WebKit?! Huh?
Total: 570 votes