Sharovatov’s Weblog

Opera revolution fail

Posted in no category by sharovatov on 16 June 2009

Opera announced “Opera Unite” concept – they integrated a web-server right into Opera and made Opera Desktop Gadgets run on it.

All the services Opera Unite offers are web gadgets, so they are built in html+javascript with some additional API provided by the browser.

To get any of the services, you must register at Opera. When you register, you give your computer a name, e.g. “home” and then you are provided with a URL home.yourlogin.operaunite.com where yourlogin is what you chose as a login when you were registering.

File sharing service is basically a web server directory listing exposed to the internet. This is my understanding how it works:

  1. You point Opera Unite to a directory
  2. Opera internal web server starts listening 8840 port locally
  3. Opera opens a persistent connection to operaunite.com (213.236.208.30 IP address in my case)
  4. So when anyone opens up home.yourlogin.operaunite.com, operaunite.com server requests the list of files from your machine using a persistent connection that you opened and sends the response back to user.
  5. when you close Opera, web server is shut down, connection is dropped and nobody can download anything.

So sharing can work ONLY when your computer is working and Opera is running.

So none of the services can work when computer is turned off or Opera is not running.

When you want your sharing/chat/fridge services to be working, you will need to keep your Opera running. And if several users start using it, your computer will slow down significantly. And if you by any chance put a link to an image hosted in your Opera Unite on a popular site… Your computer will either stop responding or eat 100% resources.

That’s what John Resig, the author of beautiful jQuery says:

I just tried to visit six Opera Unite pages and only one resolved. The future of the web is two 9s: 0.99% uptime!

Useful service? I doubt.

Photo sharing service is just crap at the moment. My Opera Unite serving 1 client with a Photo Sharing page with thumbnails eats 60-70% of CPU and up to 200 Megabytes of memory. Full-blown web servers like IIS7 or Apache2 would serve this page and static files in a milliseconds without any noticeable resources eating. Thumbnails are created in really poor quality.

In Web Server service CGI is not supported, in-memory modules are not supported. PHP is not supported. The only language you can use is javascript. HTTPS is not supported.

Opera says that the communication between users is done directly. Truth is that it’s done through operaunite.com. Let me repeat it, all the traffic goes through operaunite.com. Are you ready to give all your information to Opera? Do you trust them so much? Do you care about your privacy? Do you think they will care about users after what they did to Windows 7 users in Europe?

Opera says this is a revolution – I can only see a bad (or alpha, not even beta) implementation of a rather poor technology. When I go out, I don’t leave my laptop working and Opera running, so the sharing won’t work. And I don’t want my browser to take 100% CPU and 400 Mb RAM when two users are watching static pages with static thumbnails. And it’s not p2p as all the traffic goes through Opera servers. There’re plenty of good services that do their work and don’t pretend to do a revolution where there’s clearly nothing revolutionary.

This makes me laugh:

Our computers are only dumb terminals connected to other computers (meaning servers) owned by other people — such as large corporations — who we depend upon to host our words, thoughts, and images. We depend on them to do it well and with our best interests at heart. We place our trust in these third parties, and we hope for the best, but as long as our own computers are not first class citizens on the Web, we are merely tenants, and hosting companies are the landlords of the Internet.

P.S. Opera engineers said that in the final version p2p file sharing will be implemented – well, let’s see.


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17 Responses

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  1. d said, on 16 June 2009 at 4:59 pm

    Hopefully Opera’s idea will be made better and properly implemented by other third parties like all of their other ideas.

  2. Aleksey said, on 16 June 2009 at 7:28 pm

    1:
    “all the traffic goes through operaunite.com”
    Not true.

  3. werwelf said, on 16 June 2009 at 7:36 pm

    Now is it clear to everyone, you did not get anyghing. Your “article” is not objektive and thats why useless and without any value.

  4. […] Opera revolution fail I just tried to visit six Opera Unite pages and only one resolved. The future of the web is two 9s: 0.99% uptime! […]

  5. progg.ru said, on 17 June 2009 at 4:22 am

    Opera revolution fail…

    Thank you for submitting this cool story – Trackback from progg.ru…

  6. sharovatov said, on 17 June 2009 at 7:36 am

    Wow :) Thanks for replies, guys!

    @Aleksey

    “all the traffic goes through operaunite.com”
    Not true.

    Unfortunately, this is true. This was confirmed by Opera engineers – as far as I understand, you understand Russian, so for reference please read Opera team blogpost on habrahabr.ru – there was a good discussion about the topic there.
    And if you think about the technology behind the scenes, you will see that even when they fix uPnP support, true p2p conections (without passing data to opera servers) between a client and your Opera Unite will be possible only if you are on the same LAN with him. If you are behind a router with NAT, you will have to initiate a connection, and the only way to make users able to connect to your Opera Unite is using operaunite.com proxy.

    So p2p connections will be available only to people from the same LAN where uPnP is configured on all the routers.

  7. sharovatov said, on 17 June 2009 at 7:38 am

    @werwelf
    Sorry, what do you mean by “not objective”? Does truth hurt your fan feelings? Or what?

  8. […] Opera revolution fail by Vitaly Sharovatov […]

  9. lucideer said, on 18 June 2009 at 5:04 am

    “So none of the services can work when computer is turned off or Opera is not running.”
    This is the basis for the “fail” in your title and shows quite simply that you just don’t understand the point of Unite. It’s designed to connect people who are online. It’s not designed to replace persistent services, it’s designed to provide realtime on-the-fly services – a new and entirely different concept.

    “And if several users start using it, your computer will slow down significantly.”
    Again, you’re thinking of persistent served pages with mass users – this is p2p – Person2Person, not Person2Millions of people

    “Photo sharing service is just crap at the moment.”
    Hrmm… you wrote this blog what.. 1 hour after it came out? It’s an alpha product for a reason.

    “Do you think they will care about users after what they did to Windows 7 users in Europe?”
    Oh. So you’re another one of THOSE people – i.e. those two lazy to read the facts about a case perpetuated by the EC, and not by Opera at all. One too lazy to read the facts about a voluntary decision Microsoft which went against what the EC wanted, yet people are for some bizarre reason blaming the EC for the decision (or in really ignorant cases like this, blaming Opera)

    “P.S. Opera engineers said that in the final version p2p file sharing will be implemented – well, let’s see.” – it’s already implemented in the Media Player service and also usable by developers of new services I believe.

  10. victor said, on 18 June 2009 at 7:35 am

    @lucideer
    So, where is in this case the “reinvention of web”?

  11. […] hosting fees, or domain registration!  Just serve everything right off your desktop.  But like Vitaly, I see a few gotchas with this […]

  12. CrimeanLion said, on 19 June 2009 at 5:31 am

    I’m not an Opera fan and I’m completely agree with you. Opera is going the same way it have done to Microsoft. May be someday Microsoft will go to court to disallow supplying all this stuff in one build.

  13. sharovatov said, on 24 June 2009 at 8:57 pm

    @CrimeanLion thanks for your comment. It would be really funny if they were taken to court, but Opera market share is so small that nobody cares about Opera at all.

  14. Momn said, on 4 January 2010 at 9:23 pm

    Man, you obviously have no clue.
    In the meanwhile, nowadays january 2010 I can tell that Opera 10.10 and Opera Unite are a massive success. Opera never had so much users and everybody is pleased with Unite.
    Come on, don’t be anxious, every others browsers will implement Unite as well very soon.
    “nobody cares about Opera at all.”
    Except all the others browsers, where would they steal new ideas if Opera wasn’t there ?
    “all the traffic goes through operaunite.com”
    How do you want someone to connect to your Domain Name if no DNS knows your IP ?
    However, you have all choice of not using operaunite, tick “do not use opera account”, in opera config. You can even use dyndns to have your own domain name. You know where I found this idea ? Opera Unite Blog.

  15. sharovatov said, on 5 January 2010 at 6:41 am

    Hi Momn, thanks for coming to my blog and commenting :)

    “Opera 10.10 and Opera Unite are a massive success”.
    Only in your head, man. Or on your Opera fanboy website, if you have one :) Check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usage_share_of_web_browsers page – it’s got enough links for global stats counters – Opera’s still in the deep ass, sorry.

    “Come on, don’t be anxious, every others browsers will implement Unite as well very soon.”

    I highly doubt, but if Opera proves that users really need crappy webserver integrated into a browser – of course, others will copy this functionality.

    “Except all the others browsers, where would they steal new ideas if Opera wasn’t there ?”

    Steal ideas? Oh come on :) Vendors do copy ideas from each others, that’s real world, welcome. Should I remind you how everyone copied ajax, wysiwyg etc from IE?

    And if Opera was really so cool as you want it to be, why is it used by much less than 5% of internet users? :)

    “How do you want someone to connect to your Domain Name if no DNS knows your IP ?”
    Have you heard anything about dyndns services?

    “Seriously, is there a real developer in the world that still support IE 6 ?”
    Well, if you prefer to lose approximately 10% of visitors who use IE6 – then you don’t support it.
    And yes, I really recommend you don’t support IE6, IE7 and IE8 – so you won’t be hired as a web-dev by any company, and we’ll have better competition on the web-dev market ;)

  16. […] it turns out I was right in my earlier blogpost about Opera’s so-called “web revolution” and “reinventing the web” marketing bluff – it […]

  17. sharovatov said, on 22 October 2012 at 5:36 am

    https://sharovatov.wordpress.com/2012/10/22/opera-unite-is-dead/

    for the stubborn fanboys – even Opera themselves had to admin this was just a marketing bluff, nothing more.


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