300 million users strong, Opera moves to WebKit

Time to say goodbye

Today, we announced that Opera has reached 300 million active users. At the same time, we made the official announcement that Opera will move from Presto to WebKit as the engine at the core of the browser.

With this, Opera will be the first major browser to switch to a completely new rendering engine. …

Presto is a great little engine. It's small, fast, flexible and standards compliant while at the same time handling real-world web sites. It has allowed us to port Opera to just about any platform you can imagine. And unlike what some people seem to believe, Presto was actually designed from the ground up with compatibility in mind. It was always a goal to be compatible with the real web while also supporting and promoting open standards.

That turns out to be a bit of a challenge when you are faced with a web that is not as open as one might have wanted. Add to that the fact that it is constantly changing and that you don't get site compatibility for free (which some browsers are fortunate enough to do), and it ends up taking up a lot of resources – resources that could have been spent on innovation and polish instead.

It's the right thing to do

Although I was skeptical at first when I started hearing about the switch, I am now fully convinced that it is the right thing to do. Not only will it free up significant engineering resources at Opera and allow us to do more innovation instead of constantly trying to adapt to the web, but our users should benefit from better site compatibility and more innovative features and polish.

This move allows us to focus even more on the actual user experience.

Contributing to a monoculture on the web?

Yes, monoculture is bad, but Opera was never really in a position to prevent it in the first place. Even with Opera as the dominant mobile browser and more than 300 million active Opera users in total across all platforms, web developers still designed just for WebKit.


If switching to WebKit allows us to accelerate our growth and become an important contributor to the project (we will contribute back to WebKit, and have already submitted our first patch (bug)), we may finally have a direct impact on the way web sites are coded. We want sites to be coded for open standards rather than specific browsers.

At the very least, there will be more competition in the browser space, and competition is always good news.

The web is competing with closed ecosystems

One should also keep in mind that while different browsers are competing with each other, the web is actually competing with native applications. The web may not be fully open, but it is far more open than the closed world of "apps". If moving to WebKit allows Opera to gain more power and strengthen the browser as an open application platform, it will benefit the now semi-open web in the competition against fully closed apps.

It is absolutely essential that the web not only survives, but continues to thrive. This is not the time to let closed, proprietary ecosystems win.

The right move at the right time

Opera moving to WebKit might come as a surprise to some of you, but others will realize that this is not the first time the company is being taken in a new direction.

WebKit has matured enough that it is actually possible to make the switch, and we can help it mature even further. In return, we get to spend more resources on a better user experience, and less on chasing an ever-changing web.

This move allows us to create a platform for future growth because it allows us to focus our resources on things that can actually differentiate Opera from the competition, and could help the web move in the right direction.Poll: What do you think about the switch?

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85 thoughts on “300 million users strong, Opera moves to WebKit

  1. Webkit has a slow software render and its hardware acceleration is second rate compared to geko.Not to mention it hardlocks every computer I have tried it on if I browse like I do in Opera!

  2. As I said on the poll and on other pages:If the DECISION IS FINAL and IRREVERSIBLE PLEASE:star: OPEN SOURCE PRESTO! :star::star: AND OPEN SOURCE CARAKAN! :star::star: AND THE UNITE SOURCE CODE! :star:If you are switching to Chromium, Webkit and V8 then Presto and Carakan would be considered abandoned, therefore you would no longer have any use for them. So donate what you no longer have a use for to the community.Put them on github along with Dragonfly!

  3. Bad news for mobile Opera. All webkit-based browsers for android sucks, now only mobile Opera on HVGA screen have quite usable scaling/scrolling and content reformatting features ._.

  4. Haavard!What will be the fate of Magic Variables after switch from Carakan to V8?There are any alternatives in the V8 JS engine?One more question: The structure of profile will change? For example converting INI-s to JSON, etc. which may cause problems in the upgrade process?

  5. Sad. Sad, just sad.Sure, Webkit will improve over time, and I guess we won't lost Opera features and customizable UI.but Presto is the main charm of Opera. Period.To be honest this decision is dangerously similar to Nokia's decision of ditching Symbian for Windows Phone. Symbian was a very mature OS with wide capabilities built-in, quite the same with Presto as a rendering engine. See what happened to Nokia's Market share?For the first time of my life, I'm thinking of changing my primary browser. This is coming from person who regularly use Fx & Chrome, even IE and Safari sometimes.von Tetzchner was right to left Opera, he must have seen this coming.

  6. Originally posted by NutzShells:

    but Presto is the main charm of Opera

    How? Most people have no idea what engine they are using. All they see is the GUI.

    To be honest this decision is dangerously similar to Nokia's decision of ditching Symbian for Windows Phone.

    Wrong.Nokia ditched Symbian for an unproven OS with no support. Opera ditches Presto for one of the most popular browser engines.This is more like Nokia moving to Android over Symbian. Or Apple using open-source components to build their (then) new Mac OS X.Get a clue.

  7. I personally think it's a good idea especially for web developers who won't have to use lines of codes to make their websites compatible with Opera. WebKit is the way to go.

  8. Ah first come first, this is just my opinion, so feel free to disagree.Originally posted by Chirpie:

    Originally posted by NutzShells:but Presto is the main charm of Opera How? Most people have no idea what engine they are using.

    LOL

    Presto is a great little engine. It's small, fast, flexible and standards compliant while at the same time handling real-world web sites. It has allowed us to port Opera to just about any platform you can imagine

    That's the main charm, Presto allows Opera web experience to be similar, smooth as butter no matter what is the platform. Mobile, Mini whatever Presto is behind them. Yes, you could argue Webkit is succesfully implemented on iPhone, Android, even Symbian s60 browser, but I personally still think Opera Mobile with Presto still blow them out of the water.Originally posted by Chirpie:

    Most people have no idea what engine they are using, All they see is the GUI.

    That's the problem, most people *don't* use Opera. Opera's current user bases, IMHO are either technologically inclined and/or a die-hard UI fans. Since they choose to deal with incompability rather than simply switching browser. The latter perhaps won't care as much till this Webkit switch started to make their browser behaves differently.Originally posted by Chirpie:

    Wrong. Nokia ditched Symbian for an unproven OS with no support. Opera ditches Presto for one of the most popular browser engines.

    Sigh, you're the one who should realy get a clue. MSIE Trident was a very very popular browser engines with tons of support (putting aside the source-model and what platform it supported), I could also mention Gecko. The point is more popular and supported doesn't necessarily means something is better. Hey, Firefox is more popular than Opera, and one can say it got a lot more of support in the interweb. Well do you personally think Fx is better than Opera?As for me, the issue isn't what engine will Opera be using in the future, the change itself is the issue. That's why I think Nokia's decision on ditching Symbian for any OS is very analogous to Opera's decision of ditching Presto. Good or bad, time will tell.

  9. Sadly, why opera leaving presto? maybe this thing same happend like when nokia leaving symbian, that will more worst for opera in mobile competition, ucweb have eat opera position. So i think opera must still develop the presto engine at all, i never let presto go! WE symbian user always support presto engine! Always untill the last blood we can do! Opera Presto is much light than webkit, in Symbian web kit have a bad rendering at all, i never getting error when using presto rendering in symbian.. Really hope.. this's Bad Decition… really

  10. Opera ASA is not going to open source presto, so would you like to make an internal backup of presto source code, please?Always a good idea.

  11. Originally posted by benyamin90:

    Sadly, why opera leaving presto? maybe this thing same happend like when nokia leaving symbian, that will more worst for opera in mobile competition, ucweb have eat opera position. So i think opera must still develop the presto engine at all, i never let presto go! WE symbian user always support presto engine! Always untill the last blood we can do! Opera Presto is much light than webkit, in Symbian web kit have a bad rendering at all, i never getting error when using presto rendering in symbian.. Really hope.. this's Bad Decition… really

    >plus 1 !..

  12. unification is a good trend… but it damn doesn't matter when there are bugs which are not fixed for years! bug reports are ignored… i'm an opera fan since v2.0 but ready to leave it :bomb: ps: these bugs are not related to page rendering

  13. Originally posted by benyamin90:

    Sadly, why opera leaving presto? maybe this thing same happend like when nokia leaving symbian, that will more worst for opera in mobile competition, ucweb have eat opera position. So i think opera must still develop the presto engine at all, i never let presto go!

    So if spyware browsers like UC are eating Opera's position (Opera is eating UC in China, by the way), doesn't that prove that using Webkit is the right choice?You are contradicting yourself!

  14. Originally posted by Vladimyr:

    but it damn doesn't matter when there are bugs which are not fixed for years! bug reports are ignored… i'm an opera fan since v2.0 but ready to leave it

    Then you're going to be disappointed because ALL browsers have old bugs that haven't been fixed for years.But what does any of this have to do with Webkit?

  15. Originally posted by NutzShells:

    That's the main charm, Presto allows Opera web experience to be similar, smooth as butter no matter what is the platform.

    Irrelevant. Only a couple of platforms matter these days, and Webkit is available for those already.Originally posted by NutzShells:

    Since they choose to deal with incompability rather than simply switching browser. The latter perhaps won't care as much till this Webkit switch started to make their browser behaves differently.

    So you think Opera doesn't want to grow beyond a niche browser? LOL.Originally posted by NutzShells:

    MSIE Trident was a very very popular browser engines with tons of support (putting aside the source-model and what platform it supported), I could also mention Gecko.

    There's a reason why everyone is using Webkit instead of Gecko. Gecko is a mess, and it keeps breaking. So apps embedding Gecko are having all sorts of problems.Trident is not available on all relevant platforms, and it's closed-source.

    The point is more popular and supported doesn't necessarily means something is better.

    Read the damn discussion. I replied to your insane claim that "this decision is dangerously similar to Nokia's decision of ditching Symbian for Windows Phone."Windows Phone is a failure. Webkit is not. The comparison i sretarded.

    As for me, the issue isn't what engine will Opera be using in the future, the change itself is the issue. That's why I think Nokia's decision on ditching Symbian for any OS is very analogous to Opera's decision of ditching Presto.

    Except I have proven your comparison to be wrong. Unlike Windows Phone, Webkit is extremely successful and is quickly taking over. Had Nokia switched to Android that would have been a better comparison because then Nokia would have used the most popular platform, just like Opera is doing now.Change in itself is not enough to compare this to Nokia's stupid move. Apple changed to using open-source components in Mac OS, and that was a huge success too.

  16. Originally posted by Chirpie:

    Originally posted by Vladimyr:

    but it damn doesn't matter when there are bugs which are not fixed for years! bug reports are ignored… i'm an opera fan since v2.0 but ready to leave it

    Then you're going to be disappointed because ALL browsers have old bugs that haven't been fixed for years.But what does any of this have to do with Webkit?

    that's why i'm still here…
    hope is dying the last :beard:

  17. Originally posted by AnuarSh:

    Tell us one thing please…It will Chropera – usual clone of Chromium like CoolNovo, Comodo Dragon, Flock, RockMelt, SRWare Ironor it will be common Opera with common gestures, speed dial, sidebar, preferences with 'new features' hidden inside, and does not alter the perception of…

    FYI, Flock was based on Mozilla. And, it died a long time ago…

  18. A pity news to me this is…I've chosen Opera (v3.63 by then) for being guaranteed to NOT include any of IE/Netscape's bugs/vulnerabilities.Now, with Opera@webkit, I will not trust that browser for my internet-banking, etc.I'll stay with the latest Opera@presto as long as possible.:(

  19. Originally posted by opera1215b1748:

    Now, with Opera@webkit, I will not trust that browser for my internet-banking, etc.I'll stay with the latest Opera@presto as long as possible.

  20. Originally posted by ouzoWTF:

    Originally posted by opera1215b1748:

    Now, with Opera@webkit, I will not trust that browser for my internet-banking, etc.I'll stay with the latest Opera@presto as long as possible.

    http://files.myopera.com/Tamil/Smilies/Eek.gif]

    I think he's thinking about mozilla, apple, ie, maxthron, advan browser and etc2 using webkit engine. Usually the browser that used that engine using track engine and spy engine, that's why….

  21. Then use Comodo Dragon as it does not have the Chrome spyware. By the way, FF does run on its own engine called Gecko.

  22. FF Have Crash Reporter that work like a blad with 2 eyes…. One for report the bug, the another for spying their user condition, their habbit… On the internet…

  23. Originally posted by benyamin90:

    …I think he's thinking…

    I think:1) that Opera SA has made an error;2) that this switch means complete capitulation of Opera as an independent browser;3) that there will be no more Opera browser – just yet another google clone;I really hope Opera SA will either open-source Presto/Caracan or ditch web-kit themselves.

  24. Let me quote myself after seeing a video of a presentataion of an Opera employee:Originally posted by EricJH:

    Originally posted by schwiebie:

    Andreas Bovens presentation about Opera and Blink at London 'State of the Browser 2013' last week:http://project4.tv/video/451" target="_blank">http://project4.tv/video/451

    Thank you. That was interesting. I only listened to the first 10 minutes as that was about Opera for desktop.Originally posted by geocities:

    Was any new news in that video?I dozed off somewhere :zzz:

    Here are the interesting bits and pieces from the first part.Focusing engineering efforts more on innovative browser features which is Opera known for.Opera will make their own browser UI. Opera already made contributions to Webkit and Chrome projects but is currently focusing on getting a product out first. Atter that they will contribute more to the engine and other parts like font, networking may be, graphics etc.Opera is not going to be a skin on Chrome or a top layer on top of Chrome. There will be deeper integrations and changes.

  25. If you want an open source engine, make a fork of presto that is open source…what's with all of this 'closed source engine' stuff, anyway? why can't you simply make presto open source, so everyone can contribute, like in Firefox? presto is FAR better than webkit! PLEASE DON'T SWITCH! 😥 LISTEN TO THE MAJORITY AND KEEP PRESTO!! 😦 WITHOUT PRESTO, OPERA ISN'T REALLY OPERA! look at the benchmarks with hardware acceleration. all Presto needs is a way to disable hardware acceleration for videos and enable for the rest, and an html5 3D implementation, and it would be better than chrome!

  26. Originally posted by opera1215b1748:

    that this switch means complete capitulation of Opera as an independent browser

    Quite the opposite. We had to do this to become more competitive.Originally posted by opera1215b1748:

    that there will be no more Opera browser – just yet another google clone

    Opera will be around, and it will still be different from other browsers.Originally posted by rexydallas:

    If you want an open source engine, make a fork of presto that is open source…

    Open-source is just a means to an end. It's actually about being able to more interesting things.

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