Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Opera is Faster, More Secure and More Compliant than Firefox


With Opera recently releasing their web browser completely free of Ads, it is a good time to let the truth be told. Not only is Opera Faster then Firefox in all performance areas, it is much more Secure and more Compliant.

Performance
Firefox is often mentioned as a light-weight performance browser. It is also touted as being faster than other browsers. This is far from the truth. These tests clearly show Opera outperforming all other Graphical Browsers in Windows. It should be noted that Mozilla and Internet Explorer both outperform Firefox.

Security
Secunia shows Opera 8.x to only have 1 out of 13 vulnerabilities unpatched. While Firefox 1.x has 3 out of 26 vulnerabilities upatched. Clearly Opera is the more Secure Web Browser.

Compliance
The Acid2 Browser Test is a test page, written to help browser vendors ensure proper support for web standards in their products. Althought the Acid2 Browser Test does not test every web standard, it clearly shows that Opera is more compliant with the features considered most important for the future of the web.

Opera v9 Acid2 Browser Test Results



Firefox v1.5 Acid2 Browser Test Results


Conclusion
With the obvious superiority of Opera to Firefox in Speed, Security and Compliance why is it not being recommended as much? That is a good question. Features that people really care about such as integrated Search, Tabs and Pop-up Blocking have been in Opera way before Firefox even existed. The last obstacle of price is no longer one. Opera is now free.

30 comments:

Agent Smith said...

Regarding performance: Have any optimizations been run on Firefox? I think not.
Regarding security: To take one of your philosophies: "Opera still has outstanding unpatched vulnerabilities. Fanboy response? "Firefox has more" and that makes Opera secure how?"
Regarding acid2: You got me there. The Mozilla team needs to step it up in that area.

Andrew said...

He has a build that is "optimized" and it made no difference. But in any speed test you need to compare default installs. Otherwise you would have to optimize both.

It doesn't make it secure, it makes it MORE secure.

Chris Kringle said...

Opera is great but it lacks one huge feature that has made Firefox speed ahead of it. Extensions! The extensions are the real power of the browser that no one seems to talk about much. I have opera installed but Firefox is so much more customized to me than Opera can ever be at this point in time. So thus I only use firefox.

warpozio said...

I agree on the extensions point: they rock!! Whatever miliseconds Firefox misses to Opera it more than makes up with extensions...

Agent Smith: You are funny!
"Opera still has outstanding unpatched vulnerabilities. Fanboy response? "Firefox has more" and that makes Opera secure how?"

Jason said...

Truth be told. Opera still doesnt pass the AciD2 test properly. Why dont we popup Safari and take the test, passes perfectly, lightweight and very fast. I think I am sticking...

Xavier said...

Making the statement that Opera is more secure than Firefox with only the evidence of less publically disclosed vulnerabilities is risky.

You being a lackey and all, I'm sure you can get the source to Opera and release it to the public domain -- thus giving the oppurtunity of a more in depht security audit to occur.

Michael said...

I agree that extensions really do make firefox such a cool browser, and all of the themes of course. I don't know and if someone could tell me that would be great, does Opera have native support for at least some Scaleable Vector Graphics.

BeastofBurden1 said...

In my experience, I have always preferred the speed and flexibility of Opera to Firefox. Firefox seems to load slower, crashes *way* more often, and it has taken up to Firefox 1.5 to have relocatable tabs, which Opera has has since at least version 6.x.

Opera also supports way more features out of the box than Firefox, and since these features are already integrated, you don't have to worry about downloading a buggy extension (ala Firefox).

I love how Opera integrates e-mail and RSS newsfeeds simply in tabs as opposed to a separate window, yet is still so much lighter on its feet than any of the Mozilla based programs. I don't really understand why Firefox/Thunderbird were split from the Mozilla trunk, when had they instead worked towards integrating the e-mail/calendar/editing clients inside tabs like Opera, I think they would have saved a lot of work and prevented the current SeaMonkey/Firefox/Thunderbird/Sunbird/Nvu forks.

Opera isn't perfect, but I agree with the author that Opera is the best browser available. Opera is very proactive in closing security holes, and it is exciting to see how much real *usable* innovations have been implemented since I first tried Opera 6.x.

I have used Safari, but I have not been terribly impressed, and it is crippled by default because it only runs on Mac OSX. A truly world class browser is multi-platform, and Safari suffers from the IE/Win disease of being integrated into the underlying OS such that updating Safari generally requires a reboot (I may be wrong on this, but Opera never requres a re-boot after upgrade).

The only feature I would really like to see in Opera that Firefox 1.5 has is the ability to apply patches for updates rather than re-downloading and installing the whole app.

qkslvrwolf said...

I have an idea. How about you target your concerns with making sure that no one gains a monopoly on the market, and then we concentrate on competing on merit.

So, really, you ought to be working with firefox, not against them.

Yes opera is a cool browser. But that doesn't mean that you need to go bashing firefox when microsoft still looms large. Go after microsoft first, then we can have some friendly competition between non-monopoly software.

superstoned said...

the main reason i don't recommend opera to anyone is it isn't free software... maybe its free in costs, but as long as the source isn't BSD or GPL or something like that, one shouldn't use it. duh...

and under linux one can use konqueror, almost as fast as opera, and with much better integration in KDE, extensions and some other nice features.

beza1e1 said...

You are right Opera is probably outperforms Firefox, but Free Software is still better.

Did you compare to khtml (Safari, Konqueror)? They PASS the ACID2 Test.

Firefox sucks like OpenOffice sucks. Both have this non-free past and suffer from their weight.

AhmadH said...

A software with a single vulnerability is as exploitable as ten vulnerabilities.

I switched from Opera to Firefox when Firefox 0.1 was announced because of the ads in Opera at that time.

One of the reasons why I'm reluctant to switch back are that there is a lot going on for Firefox now with more sites rendering correctly in it. Even though I don't use many of Firefox's extensions, I feel safer sticking with Firefox just in case a really cool extension comes out.

Another reason I like Firefox better is Arabic support. In todays i18n standards, Arabic support in Firefox is medicore, but Opera's is virtually non-existent.

NoBy said...

Apparently more speed is not enough. XUL cause quite big overhead in startup time, but I admit that Opera site rendering speed is quite impressive and looks well.

Is Opera more secure, because have less known bugs? I don't know. Firefox is open source and is more popular - is easier to find bugs here.

Is Opera more compiliant because pass Acid2 test? I don't know too. Did one test decide about standards compiliance? What about CSS2, XHTML 1.1, DOM Level 2, ECMAScript 262, MathML 2.0, SVG 1.0 and many more?

Now I look right and see "Firefox Fanboys Regroup to Spam More", "Firefox FireTune Utility Includes Useless Tweak(s)", "Firefox FireTune Utility Includes Useless Tweak(s)". So you just flaming here. So I don't like opera much. I prefer rock. And Firefox rocks.

b7j0c said...

1. no one cares about acid2.

2. NO ONE CARES ABOUT ACID2.

3. i don't wanrt firefox coders wasting their time on corner case compliance tests like ACID2...and they seem to be in agreement (thankfully)

3. its the firefox EXTENSIONS i can't live without. the browser is only the hosting app to me now. give me 1-1 support for my extensions in opera and i might consider it.

John Jung said...

I am a long time IE user. Recently switched to Firefox 1.5 because of all the extensions. Only problem is that Firefox crashed too often. Tried Opera, which was more stable and often times faster than the other two. Only reason I didn't stick with Operas was its lack of compatibility with Evernote(great program for saving any webpage you like). I hope Evernote or Opera can figure out a way to work together.

AGA said...

Recently I've been working on the redesign of a website and have been doing some testing. The following goes for both the Mac and Winodws versions of Opera:

It messes up the relationship between an element's width, its margins and its padding in the exact same way as Internet Explorer. This is elemental. And I had to fall back on what could arguably be considered a "hack" to get the elements looking the same in Opera as in Firefox and Safari.

That turned me way off of Opera. Big time. In my experience, better compliance is more important than a slight speed increase. Perhaps Opera has a higher percentage of compliance, but when they miss something this basic, what's the point?

Andrew said...

"I have an idea. How about you target your concerns with making sure that no one gains a monopoly on the market, and then we concentrate on competing on merit."

That is your problem. I'm not here to fight Microsoft. I'm here to tell people the truth. Opera is a better browser.

"You are right Opera is probably outperforms Firefox, but Free Software is still better."

Really? Opera is free in any way the average user cares about.

Andrew said...

No Spam or insults are allowed.

Agent Smith said...

If Opera had the customization options that Firefox has (Extensions, and not just a few lame ones.), then I'd drop Firefox in a heartbeat. Until then, I will stick with the "Have it your way" browser, for better or worse, for richer or poorer. :)
Here are some stupid little slogans/descriptions of the browsers that I thought up for no particular reason.
Firefox - "Have it your way"
Opera - "Everything that WE think you want, and a bunch of stuff you probably don't"
IE - "Our way or the highway"
Safari - "All you have to do is change your lifestyle completely..."

Andrew said...

I've used extensions myself and they are not that great. It took numerous extensions to get FF to work the same as opera does. Not worth it IMO, it was easier to simply just use Opera. BTW you can customize Opera easily.

Fireboxes said...

"I'm sure you can get the source to Opera and release it to the public domain -- thus giving the oppurtunity of a more in depht security audit to occur."

Typical fanboy nonsense.

The vulnerabilities in Firefox were found by testing the compiled program, not by reading the code.

"Firefox is open source and is more popular - is easier to find bugs here."

Yet more fanboy nonsense. The same security researchers are looking for holes in Opera and Firefox (and IE). Since Opera is known to be the most secure browser they obviously poke it a bit more because finding holes in Opera is like finding a rare gem.

Oh, and Opera can be extended. Most Firefox extensions can be done in Opera in some way. Well actually, most Firefox extensions are ripoffs of Opera functionality in the first place... :)

"Opera - "Everything that WE think you want, and a bunch of stuff you probably don't""

The great thing is that Opera is still smaller and faster than Firefox, even with all this useful stuff put in there.

And everything is disabled/hidden until you start using it so it's not a problem at all.

Also you can easily extend Opera the way you want to. Things like User JavaScript beat Firefox's lame ripoff features easily.

"Firefox - "Have it your way""

Yeah, if you can put up with the bloat, slowdown, crashing, security holes, and the lame hacks called extensions that bolt onto Firefox and clutter it up. And make it crash even more.

Agent Smith said...

Yes, some features in Firefox extensions are in Opera by default, but extensions allow Firefox to do things that Opera will probably never do. Sure, some extensions are useless to different people. The beauty of it is that you don't need to download them all. In Opera they give you by default features that some groups of people don't need. I, for instance don't need integrated voice and mail functions. Is that not more "bloated" than intalling only the features you want? And I've never noticed or cared about any milliseconds lost in loading times. I have also never experienced the effects of any security holes in Firefox personally. I actually have to TRY to crash Firefox, because it's never crashed at any other time. Opera may have User Javascript, but Firefox has that and extensions. Until Opera offers the features that I want, I'm sticking with Firefox. Once Opera actually does what I want, I'll drop Firefox with no remorse. I'm not particulary loyal to any browser, but you guys are treating Firefox as if it were a worthless piece of...stuff, when it's better than that. At least it's better than IE. The thing is that no bunch of random people posting comments on a random blog are going to change anyone's mind about their browser of choice. So, why exactly is anyone posting here? Because I know I'm stopping.

Andrew said...

I am really begining to believe people don't do any research or try anything out for themselves. They simply here something from someone and declare it the best. Seriously I honestly evaluated Firefox from day one but this was after using Netscape, IE, Avant, Opera and all the other Browsers including Mozilla. Nothing about it impressed me. Opera on the other hand and Avant both impressed me much more then the hyped extensions to firefox. I think I had to install two or three extensions to get FF to use Tabs remotely how I could already in Opera and Avant. I've tried all these other extensions and am not impressed, good features should come with the Browser by default.

This is not about changing people's mind but opening them up to reality. People seem to get upset that the facts about FF don't add up to the reality. What can I say?

Firefox is just a Web Browser. If it didn't have all this Hype and the Open Source, Linux and Anti-Microsoft crowd behind it would be nothing special.

Fireboxes said...

"extensions allow Firefox to do things that Opera will probably never do"

And integration allows Opera to do things that Firefox will never do. Your point being?

"In Opera they give you by default features that some groups of people don't need."

Pay attention. I already addressed this. They are disabled or hidden by default, so it doesn't matter.

"I, for instance don't need integrated voice and mail functions. Is that not more "bloated" than intalling only the features you want?"

Not when this "bloat" is a far smaller download than the "unbloated" Firefox. And not to mention faster!

"Opera may have User Javascript, but Firefox has that and extensions."

Firefox doesn't have User JS. It has the crappy GreaseMonkey extension.

"you guys are treating Firefox as if it were a worthless piece of...stuff"

It's overhyped and pushed down our throats, that's what it is.

"The thing is that no bunch of random people posting comments on a random blog are going to change anyone's mind about their browser of choice. So, why exactly is anyone posting here?"

Because I'm not going to allow the Firefox zealots to get away with spreading more FUD and lies about Opera.

Vasil Dinkov said...

AGA, you obviously haven't heard anything about "doctype-switching" which is available in all modern browsers (including Opera, Firefox and Safari). Maybe you should learn something about it and you may find a cure for your "problems" with Opera ;)

Thaerin said...

Firefox doesn't have User JS. It has the crappy GreaseMonkey extension.

Way to quantify that statement, good thing that doesn't sound anything like any of the other baseless zealot FUD to me. It's hard to take anybody seriously when they sit here whining and arguing against the realityless hype behind FF and then drop vacant comments like that. If there's a particule implementation issue or nagging bug, then sure by all means, call it crappy. But broad, unfounded statements like that serve nobody's interest.


I am really begining to believe people don't do any research or try anything out for themselves. They simply here something from someone and declare it the best.

Preaching to the choir and I agree 100%. That said, I do use FF as my primary browser. Not because they say it's the fastest, not because they say it's more secure, but because at the time it launced, it was a nice (and free compared to ad-supported Opera at the time) alternative to IE. Had Opera had a free, ad-less version at the time, I probably would have used it instead.

Now that they do, what incentive do I really have to switch? I suppose one incentive is that Opera is supposedly "more secure" but that's like saying a falling tree doesn't make a sound unless somebody's around. FF is bound to have more vulnerabilities than Opera not becaues the code is out there for all to drill though and find ways to exploit it, but because there are tens of thousands more folks using it on a daily basis. For somebody who gets their kicks off of finding ways to insert malacious code onto people's machine, this is a much more lucrative target than the market share of Opera users.

I understand, it's all about defeating the FUD and false sense of reality people have for the product, but it seems pointless to me to debate with folks on such minor technicalities. Sure, you're scoring one for the Home Team against Miss Information, but in the end how many minds does it actually change? Not many.

I could't care less that FF isn't truly the "fastest", though somehow I think you'd have a hard time convincing anybody, except on paper and a graph, that a 0.86s faster render time is really faster. 1.xx seconds is still pretty damn fast in my book.

I continue to use FF because it's what I've grown accustomed to. It does what I need it to do on the pages I visit and have never had issues with it crashing. Now granted I don't load it down with pointless extensions either as I've only found use for AdBlock and GreaseMonkey (for stripping GoogleAds).

warpozio said...

Andrew, where did you get the image of Opera passing Acid2? I was just testing my all new Opera 8.51, but this one still has some glitches...
Or where these introduced between 8.5 and 8.51?

Andrew said...

That image is from Opera 9.

AxisGoat said...

Opera 9 has a 'widget' feature which is essentially just it's plugins made more accessible; basically the same as extensions. Press F6 in opera 9 to bring the menu up and click 'add'.

Furthermore a few of these widgets have already replicated firefox extension functionality.

Cork said...
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