I first used Opera in Windows somewhere between growing dissatisfaction with Netscape and skepticism that IE would ever be a “real” browser. I didn’t use it for long. The multi-paned interface confused me. It was tough to configure. And I could never efficiently bookmark the pages I visited most often.
For obvious reasons, there is no port of IE to Linux. And, I’m still not completely satisfied with Netscape, though Mozilla holds marginally more promise with each iteration. When I found that Opera 5 for Linux had been released, I grudgingly thought I’d give it another shot.
Man, oh man, is this browser fast! Opera has upped the ante for page load times, even on a cable connection that’s quick to start with. Add to that the improved look and feel, consistent bookmarking, and complete customizability, and Opera 5 for Linux has quickly moved into the top browser spot on my KDE desktop.
Opera 5 is available free with relatively unobtrusive banner advertising. A for-pay version is also available that wipes out the banners and adds a bit more functionality.