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The Opera Mafia

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We've known about these people before, but this latest exchange really takes the cake. Many people regard Opera as a nice browser but what they can't know is the people behind the product are a real piece of work.


Opera's claims that their software does not use the highly dangerous 'Terminate' calls are a bluff, and their mafia tactics to suppress criticism and free speech on the net don't change a thing, except make us all more aware than ever of what kind of people they really are.

Opera has the Terminate calls in abundance - they're used by every module in the Opera system - and here's the proof.

Part One — 'Yes We Trash Computers'

It all started years ago when we'd first heard about the Opera browser. Things didn't work too well with the Norwegian company back then, and countless downloads from public archives never worked. The very minute they were installed they'd say that the trial period had already expired. We thought 'oh well' and went about doing other tasks.

But a number of users of our IP checker CIP wanted Opera compatibility and so we looked into it again - with the same result. Download the latest copy, try to run it immediately, it's already expired. So we wrote to Opera to find out what was going on.

You really wouldn't want to read the exchange that ensued. We were called every name in the book and moreover and what's really important, we were told that there was nothing we could do about this dilemma - there was no way the software would run on our machines.

We were given no explanation of why or how this happened, either. It just had. We were told that if we really wanted to try the Opera browser, we would need to uninstall everything we had on our machines and wipe our disks completely clean and reinstall our operating systems again, because Opera had put some really low-level crud on our disks that could not be removed in any way except a total complete re-format.

Which basically gave us the opening we needed. Opera was directly admitting doing things to our machines which jeopardized them. We demanded to know what had been done and to be given instructions as to how to remove it. We pointed out that we had legal staff in nearby Stockholm and would immediately begin preparations for a major lawsuit against Opera Software for damage to our machines.

The next week of exchanges are also something you can do without. But after seven or eight days an Opera techie was finally brought in.

This techie was not even using the Opera domain for email - it was only on his word that he was connected to the project at all. Basically, his tripe is also not worth going through. We reiterated our legal threats, he kept asking why we wanted to know what Opera had done to our disks, we threw the bleeding obvious back in his face - but in the end he was forced to give in. Opera was out on a dangerous limb and he knew it.

So he revealed 'the Opera secret' - the ultimate secret - which we have dutifully kept to ourselves all these years:

Opera doesn't do any low-level damage to your disks at all. Opera uses a single rather paraplegic entry in WIN.INI - admittedly hard to find and recognize for what it is, but that's it. A single entry in WIN.INI.

We're still going to give Opera a chance here. Anyone who wants to extend a trial period for Opera need only inspect WIN.INI and figure out which entry it is. That shouldn't be too hard at all. But for our own dignity we'll refrain from making even this minor fact public.

Part Two — The Opera Mafia Resurfaces

Since publishing our blacklist we've received countless letters of gratitude from end users, been written up in CNN and by Steve Bass in PC World Online, and even been contacted by a few ISVs. Normally these ISVs are rather polite and sincerely interested in finding out what's gone wrong with their software and in correcting it.

Michael Burford at GetRight is a case in point. He hadn't a clue to these calls being in his otherwise excellent program, and together we ferreted them out, and came to the conclusion that it was the Microsoft runtime which was the culprit.

But that was Michael Burford, and Michael Burford is a nice guy. The people at Opera Software are not nice guys.

What follows, in entirety, is a letter we received on the evening of 3 February of this year. Of especial note is the bit at the end where they demand special permission to even mention their product at our site. Talk about rich.

So we'll leave this column at this impasse - you read the letter, you be the judge. Oh - for the record, Opera does use 'Terminate' calls - and if you want to see for yourself where these calls are found in the latest version of Opera, click here.

Dear Sirs,

It has come to our attention that Opera Software AS is listed on your
Web site as using the calls TerminateProcess and TerminateThread in our
product Opera, more specifically on the page


Since Opera does not use these strings in any place in its code, we
kindly ask you to remove our software from the listing on this page, and
refrain from further mentions of Opera on your Web site without
consultation of Opera Software AS first.

Sincerely Yours,
Jarle S. Nilssen

________________________________  Opera Software  ___________

Jarle S. Nilssen
Technical Support Manager

Opera Software AS
Waldemar Thranesgt. 86b,
N-0175 Oslo,
Tel: (+47) 23 23 48 60
Fax: (+47) 23 23 48 78

E-mail:         jarle@operasoftware.com
URL:            http://www.operasoftware.com
Newsgroups:     news://opera.nta.no

Opera - Opera 3.61 out now!

  'Yes We Really Do Trash Computers'

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