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Opera tries to come off as a "web pioneer" company, inventing new stuff for our intarwebs that all the other companies steal. To a degree it's true because they participate in open standards bodies, but then so do Apple, Google, Microsoft and Mozilla.
Basically they don't amount to a hill of beans these days. They have a pretty decent and performant rendering engine that ports to a lot of platforms, but then so does WebKit and, to a lesser degree, Gecko. They don't bring anything truly special to the table particularly because they are closed source. If Opera open sourced itself before WebKit and Chrome took over the world, I think it would be in a very different position now. Too late though.
Indeed, Opera could have been the one browser if it had went open sourced years ago.
Now it has like 1% of market share, and nobody really cares about it.
But I guess it would increase market share, if it were open source, so that's what they should do, the sooner the better. They just irrelevant.
Opera has most of the mobile market, and incredibly loyal desktop users. In the facebook thread some were offering to pay for Opera again if that helped to prevent FB from getting its way.
Only speaking for myself, but it really is a step above the other browsers, often more. Firefox is both slower and has lacking usability, Chrome requires extensive adaptation before one could be familiar with its UI and it spies on you by default. SeaMonkey is FF for all practical purposes, and the lighter Webkit browsers (Midori et al) lack both a ton of features and usability.
So what's one to do? If Opera were to go to FB, I'd need to spend a month or two customizing FF to be usable at a similar level (some things are not config options and need source-level changes; some other things are extensions, and running those in a scripted language in a speed-critical environment is just wrong. Also many extension authors have shown themselves to be less than trustable, I can't recall whether it was NoScript or AdBlock but it involved those two).
This will, out of all likelihood, end up like Android has: A limited baby OS, a weird stack, locked down bootloaders, "cloud computing" idiocy, and/or DRM. Who knows, maybe a proprietary UI as well, Zuckerburg would probably have everything proprietary except for the kernel.
And out of all likelihood shallow slobs like Michael will be hailing it as the greatest thing ever because IT USES LINUX!!!!!!!!1111111111111111111111111111111111111 1111111111111111111111111ONE
For everyone confused by that "leak" picture on page 1... that is an already existing phone... "HTC CHACHA". It is Android 2.3 polluted with HTC STENCH, and has a fagbook button. What makes it "special" for the fagbookers and pregnant tweens, is that it has a dedicated button that launches the fagbook application.
What IS known is that this phone IS contracted to HTC. Now HTC makes what? Android phones.
They could do winturd phones as well, but not if they want to customize it with HTC STENCH, or the fagbook version of the same thing.
Now this can really go in one of three directions;
1) Android + HTC STENCH w/fagbook customizations.
2) Custom featurephone.
3) Some existing not-well-known mobile OS vendor. BREW? Access?
-They aren't going to build a full smartphone OS from the ground up.
-They aren't going to go with one of Android's competitors (because they won't adapt to fagbook).
No matter what, I don't see this actually going anywhere.