I’m a diehard fan of Firefox, but I’m still interested in trying out the alternatives. Opera, once a commercial product, has been free since version 8.5, and the beta version of Opera 9 is now available for download. It promises the fastest, most secure browsing experience ever, and includes several new features including widgets (small Web applications, similar to Konfabulator, Windows Vista Sidebar and the Mac OS X Dock), a built-in BitTorrent client, customisable ad blocking and more. Compatibility-wise, I’ve had no problems viewing any of my usual sites, and it does seem fairly speedy. So far, my only complaint is that the interface isn’t as light as that of Firefox, but switching the skin to Windows Native has made things a little easier on the eyes.
You can download the beta from the Opera website.