Pal Hvistendahl, Communications Manager for Opera Software AS based in Oslo, Norway told MacCentral the preview release will be available Thursday and is not a final product but more of a public beta.
First announced by MacCentral earlier this month, the initial public beta will be for PowerPC-based Macs, followed by a version for 68K-based Macs and an OS X version all by year’s end, Hvistendahl said.
Like the Windows version, Opera for Mac will offer two options for using the browser. The user has the choice to download a free, ad-supported version with all features and functionality enabled, or registering the browser at a charge of US$39 that removes the ads, with various discounts applying.
Some of Opera’s unique features that will be part of the Mac version include the ability the surf in multiple windows simultaneously, and full keyboard navigation and graphics disabling. Hvistendahl said there would not be an e-mail client in the initial Mac version of Opera. “A lot of people prefer to use a standalone e-mail client,” he said.
Other features of the public preview will include FTP browsing, GIF, PNG and JPEG image support, support for cascading style sheets, Extensible Markup Language (XML), Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) and proxy server support.
Opera makes what it calls “the fastest browser on earth” compared to its much more popular counterparts — Netscape’s Navigator and Microsoft’s Internet Explorer. Hvistendahl said Opera can make such a claim because it comes down to efficient coding. “We follow the international Internet standards and we are very particular about the efficiency of our code,” he said.
As an example of code size, the non-Java-enabled version of Opera for Windows is 2MB in size, while the Java-enabled version is 9.5MB. In comparison, Internet Explorer for Mac without Java is about 10.5MB, while Netscape Communicator with Java is some 24MB. Hvistendahl said he expects the Mac version to weigh in around the same size as its Windows counterpart.