Wikipedia misconception: “Elektra” as a layout engine

According to multiple Wikipedia articles (1 2 3 4 5 6), "Elektra" was the name of the layout engine in Opera 4-6. This is also widely believed to be the case across the Web, as a quick Google search reveals.

However, all of these pages, including Wikipedia, are incorrect.

Update: Opera publishes version history, rewrites history

"Elektra" was actually the codename of the Opera 4 browser, just like Kestrel was the codename for Opera 9.5 and Peregrine is the codename for Opera 10. I don't think the engine had an actual name until it was rewritten for Opera 7. Today, it is known as Presto.

Elektra is actually mentioned in a press release from 1999:

The new Windows version, Opera 4.0 Elektra, is scheduled to be released at the end of this year.

As Rijk also pointed out a while back, Elektra was a complete browser, and designed to make it easier to port Opera to new platforms.

As a sidenote, our group of volunteers under NDA is called "The Elektrans". The group was established in connection with the Opera 4 release, and started out as a Windows group. Today, there are several different volunteer groups under NDA for different platforms and focus areas.

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14 thoughts on “Wikipedia misconception: “Elektra” as a layout engine

  1. So? You can't really put a name to something which hasn't been a component in its own right. I've read Rijk's post when he wrote it and I was aware of the Wikipedia articles (those that existed around that time, anyways). I'd rather have the component named after a codename (without collisions btw, almost nobody uses "Elektra" to mean Opera v4) than an unnamed component.Even if you say the "Elektra engine" that's basically what "Core2" is for 9.5+, which contains the rendering engine. It's basically the same as naming all FF backend components "Gecko" (although all components are distinct, the maximum specifity you'll ever get is "Gecko+Spidermonkey").It's an irrelevant trivium, in my opinion. For all intends and purposes, "Elektra" is rendering engine + JS engine + All other backend stuff of Opera 4-6. As I said above similar things go for Gecko and "iCab" and I'm sure others. "Presto" was used in the same way before Core2 came around. Never heard of "Core" before reading the wikipedia article just now.

  2. The engine in Opera since version 7 is Presto. "Core" is the core platform, not just the rendering engine."Elektra" is the codename for the complete Opera 4.0 browser. Not just the engine or backend, but the complete package, including the user interface. "Elektra" is the equivalent of Merlin (Opera 9.0-9.2), Kestrel (Opera 9.5-9.6) and Peregrine (Opera 10).I also think it was only 4.0 which was called "Elektra". Opera 5 and 6 had no codenames, IIRC.You will also notice that "Elektra" was used correctly in the press release from 1999, causing a name collision.So originally, "Elektra" was the codename for a specific release of Opera. In theory the engine in 4.0 would be "Elektra" too since it was part of the "Elektra" package, but it never really had an official name.The name was not reused for Opera 5 and 6 (again, if I remember correctly), so referring to the engine in Opera 4-6 as Elektra is inaccurate, and it seems that it is Wikipedia which is now creating names rather than merely referring to them. I don't think that is Wikipedia's purpose.At the very least, the articles should mention the real story, and if justified, point to how people have started using Elektra as the name of the engine from 4-6 even though that was not really what Elektra meant.I don't understand what you mean by this:

    You can't really put a name to something which hasn't been a component in its own right.

  3. I don't understand what you mean by this:

    It means that probably the rendering engine in Opera 4-6 wasn't a seperate component in its own right and consequently also didn't have a name.

    At the very least, the articles should mention the real story, and if justified, point to how people have started using Elektra as the name of the engine from 4-6 even though that was not really what Elektra meant.

    Probably. Think you can dig up any sources on the change of use of the name?As for the rest of the post, I understand that. I understand it was a code name for a complete product. However, "Elektra engine", i.e. the engine in Elektra refers to the backend portion, imo. And using that as a basis to call that same backend portion, which was improved upon and used in Opera 5-6, sounds ok to me.And I think you should embrace that usage, since if it's already established, how is that not good for your company*? I guess it shows that people like to talk about "that engine back then". And it's not like music companies wanting to get rid of "drm" (the name, not the practice), since it's gained a negative meaning for a lot of people (I guess, anyway).And no, I don't think wikipedia is making this up, if this is common usage. If that usage originated on wikipedia, then that might be true, but too late to change if it's gained common usage.* I understand you are voicing your own opinion here, but that's not the point

  4. Originally posted by _Grey_:

    It means that probably the rendering engine in Opera 4-6 wasn't a seperate component in its own right and consequently also didn't have a name.

    Yes, that is indeed the case. The engine never had a name, and Elektra was the equivalent of Kestrel or Peregrine today. Just a codename for the browser.Originally posted by _Grey_:

    Think you can dig up any sources on the change of use of the name?

    The name never really changed. People just started using it incorrectly, and I suspect that this is due to an error introduced at Wikipedia, which means that Wikipedia has been used to generate new information rather than merely reflecting existing information, which is what it's supposed to 🙂

  5. The name never really changed.

    Right. I wrote change of use of the name.And as I said, if this was due to the error in Wikipedia, that's unfortunate, but not really worth changing if this is indeed common usage of the name.If this is a point about wikipedia, maybe it has relevance, but as for "setting the facts straight regarding Opera" I still consider it irrelevant.

  6. Yes but one of Wikipedia's core tenets is only including information that can be verified. If an incorrect fact remains in Wikipedia for some time, then other people start repeating it. Eventually it might end up in what appears to be a "Reliable source". Then someone tries to verify the fact in wikipedia and cites that source. Voila, an undetected circular reference!

  7. This has relevance as a piece of information which corrects a misconception about the development of Opera, which I happen to be quite involved in for natural reasons.One should strive to write down history in a correct manner.

  8. lockoom: Indeed, Opera Software decided to embrace the error.Opera Software has officially rewritten history. There was some discussion on this internally, and I guess someone in charge figured that fighting against the internet is futile 😉

  9. However, isn't calling the rendering engine for Opera 3.5 "Elektra" taking the history rewrite too far? Opera 4 was definitely a different engine from 3.5: 4 introduced CSS2 support, whereas 3.5 had CSS1 support.

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