Opera 12 Beta Is Almost Here

By | April 20, 2012 | 63 Comments


Opera 12 Beta Is Almost Here

Since the very first alpha release of Opera 12, developers were busy fixing bugs and adding new features.

Recently, Norwegian browser maker has included a camera support in one of its pre-beta release, which, according to our readers, should boost Opera’s HTML5 score by 20 points. However, this is not yet enough to reclaim the number one spot from Maxthon.

The default backend has also been changed from OpenGL to DirectX for Windows Vista and Windows 7 users, which should improve the overall performance and stability.

In addition to that, default Opera 12 Beta installation will have WebGL and hardware acceleration disabled, which can be enabled simply by setting both settings to 1

opera:config#UserPrefs|EnableHardwareAcceleration
opera:config#UserPrefs|EnableWebGL

Why? Well, according to the official blog post, “In some cases, our hardware accelerated speeds do not yet beat our incredibly optimized software backend, Vega. Shipping a feature that could actually be less effective at boosting speed is a big no-no, especially if its a final release that many people will use for day-to-day browsing.”

If you want to play with the latest Opera 12 pre-beta build, head over to the following page for a list of known issues and download links.

[Thanks, Shane]


About (Author Profile)


Vygantas is a former web designer whose projects are used by companies such as AMD, NVIDIA and departed Westood Studios. Being passionate about software, Vygantas began his journalism career back in 2007 when he founded FavBrowser.com. Having said that, he is also an adrenaline junkie who enjoys good books, fitness activities and Forex trading.

  • http://twitter.com/bricky149 Shane Bundy

    No problem, V - I just wish Opera could fix the performance issue with position:fixed elements. It’s been around for far too long.

    • Fghvn

      If opera team manage to fixed this problem before beta comes out then im considering 12 beta to be my main stable on top of my 11.62(clean install)

      besides, the latests build says in about:opera “ALPHA”

      i think 3-6 more builds to make it in beta though(until opera team decides again a stupid fast release like 10.50 did)

      • http://twitter.com/bricky149 Shane Bundy

        I tend to think far too ahead – Mozilla’s got IonMonkey, Google’s got ANGLE, IE’s got dead code elimination but what about Opera? Where’s their ace in the hole?

        Opera 12′s release cycle is a bit longer than some of the releases they’ve done recently – maybe they could surprise us even more. ;-)

        • http://twitter.com/Astrophizz Dillon Kuehner

          I think they were hoping to iron out the issues with HWA in a timely fashion and when they realized that wouldn’t happen they decided to add in more standards support and features to fill the void rather than wait until later this year (or next) to get version 12 out with stable, performant HWA. They’re encountering the same issues as Firefox and Chrome devs have, the same reasons why those browsers don’t currently attempt to render everything with the GPU. 

          As for aces in the hole, Opera’s never been one to publicly state what their future plans are except for the occasional labs builds and those don’t always pan out. It’s been almost 4 years since they first released a labs build with basic HWA for canvas. I’m surprised they aren’t using available tools (both Chrome and Firefox use ANGLE and Firefox is working towards using Skia) to make their path easier.

          • http://twitter.com/bricky149 Shane Bundy

            Firefox and IE have the best HWA IMO but Chrome’s HWA is almost non-existent. Maxthon’s and Opera’s aren’t complete and Safari doesn’t have it on Windows.

            I do agree Skia is a great software library in terms of speed but Mozilla are concerned about the HWA side of it. Opera probably want to have their own implementation to make it their own work.

            The core updates for Opera are well received by me and I’d be happy to see some of the issues fixed – like some performance issues others are having and the ability to drag a URL or an image into the tab bar and open it in a new tab.

          • Supremekai19

            Chrome’s hardware acceleration..oo man it has problems. Dont know why but everytime I use google ghrome on Youtube the audio is out of sync like 1 or 2 seconds behind. When I pause the video the picture still starts to move in slow motion like its trying to catch up or something. Still loads up the load up bar fast tho.   

          • http://twitter.com/bricky149 Shane Bundy

            Sounds like an ffmpeg problem. Maxthon has a similar problem.

        • Hiram

          Let’s hope that they do surprise us, otherwise Opera 12 would seem, at least to me as an absolute disappointment. It’s basically been in development for nearly a year(some of it’s features for far longer) and so far all we’ve gotten is the worst hardware acceleration(deceleration in Opera’s case) implementation out of all the major browsers, out of process plugins, a 64bit Windows version, better HTML5 support and some relatively minor improvements all around. Obviously the beta is yet to come so I do still have some faith in their ability to deliver with this release, however, I am not holding my breath.

          • attn

            You are forgetting that Opera 11.60 was supposed to be Opera 12. They were going straight from 11.5 to 12, but decided to do an 11.60 release with a lot of big changes.

            11.60 was released in December 2011, so Opera 12 is only 4 months old in reality.

          • Hiram

            Opera 11.60 was not supposed to be Opera 12. Ragnarök and the mail client changes were supposed to originally be released with Opera 12. That does not however mean that the development of Opera 12 was put on hold during the development of Opera 11.60. And from snippets of information provided by Opera employees themselves openly available on twitter and their blogs we can fairly reasonably deduce that some of the features now present in Opera 12 such as HWA,WebGL,64bit Windows version, HTML5 support improvements and possibly even the out of process plugins were in development even before the announcement of Opera 12. “We’re now working on Opera 11.60 and 12.00 side by side, so you will receive snapshots of both Opera versions from us.” – taken from here: http://my.opera.com/desktopteam/blog/2011/11/04/opera-11-60

          • attn

            You should read their announcement. What was 11.60 was originally supposed to be Opera 12, but some features weren’t finished so they made 11.60 from what was supposed to be 12, and branched out.

            From 11.60, two versions were worked on at the same time.

            So claiming that Opera 12 as it is now has been in development for nearly a year is just false. Most of what was originally going into 12 went into 11.60. Four months ago, a new scope was defined for Opera 12 because features that were supposed to be 12 became 11.60.

          • Hiram

            Really? Could you please provide me with a link for that announcement? Because from what I know there was never one of such nature ever made. And besides you aren’t disproving my point at all – I have provided you with reasonable proof that Opera 12 was indeed in development during the development of 11.60. Obviously the stuff that got implemented in 11.60 should not be counted now as being part of 12′s development, but I consider that fairly irrelevant because the major features besides Ragnarök and the mail client changes that were worked on for Opera 12 and were worked on for LONGER than a year were not put on hold during the development of Opera 11.60.

          • attn

            You have not provided any proof, and you should read the desktop team blog for more on this.

            But this can be resolved without even having to agree on all of this.

            The simple, basic fact is that ther are several major features/additions/changes that were originally supposed to be in Opera 12, and that were added to Opera 11.60. Opera 11.60 did not exist at first, but they decided to release Opera 12 features in that version.

            Therefore, your claim that Opera 12 has been in development for a year is grossly misleading. Most major Opera 12 features were released as Opera 11.60. There is no static “Opera 12″ set of features.

            Your argument basically boils down to this: If they release what is now called Opera 12 as Opera 11.70 and they started with completely new features, the logical result of your claim would be that Opera 12 would STILL have been in development for a year.

            But that’s a silly argument because “Opera 12″ is no objective, everlasting definition. Opera 12 is what they decide to release as Opera 12.

            Just because one feature that is to make it to Opera 12 has been in development for a long time doesn’t mean that Opera 12 has.

          • Hiram

            I have provided proof, read my previous comments. And frankly, you seem to be repeating yourself over and over again, even though I have already responded to all of your statements in my previous comments and will ironically do so again. From information freely available online we can reasonably deduce that Opera 12 was supposed to include at least the following features: Ragnarök, Major mail client interface changes, HWA, WebGL, HTML5 support improvements, a 64bit Windows version and Out of process plugins. If you simply release an Opera version including only Ragnarök and the mail client changes that does not make it what originally Opera 12 was supposed to be. And once again I ask for your proof as to your statement that Opera 11.60 was indeed supposed to originally be Opera 12. The only reason they released Opera 11.60 is because they wanted to get  Ragnarök out for users as quickly as possible because it solved quite a few compatibility issues with many websites.

          • attn

            So basically, the only thing that remains from your argument is that HWA has taken a long time. You forgot about things like full ECMAScript 5.1 support and other major improvements to the engine.

            So you ignore multiple major changes and additions, and claim that Opera 12 has been in development for a year despite the fact that only one feature that was supposed to be Opera 12 didn’t make it into 11.60.

            The out of process plugins were just a labs build, and were never promised for Opera 12. That’s the nature of Opera Labs. They are experimental. Remember the experimental HWA several years ago?

          • Hiram

            Not the only feature. In regards to 64bit and out of process plugins I responded to Cousin 33. And your claim that only one feature did not make it to Opera 11.60 is false, as Ruari himself states in the dekstop blog post that I have linked that some FEATURES (plural) weren’t part of Opera 11.60.

          • attn

            What other features, then? The lightweight skinning?? And you are bashing the major mail changes as if they were minor? Hah.

          • Cousin333

            Having so many replies make comments ridiculously narrow… :)Opera 12 was supposed to have – as you said – “Ragnarök, Major mail client interface changes, HWA, WebGL, HTML5″.”64-bit Windows version and Out of process plugins” on the other hand were not supposed to be in 12 final. If you can prove it otherwise, please do so. They were introduced as Labs releases, with no exact release date or version given, and a few days after 11.60 final was released (Dec 15. vs. Dec 6.).Because HWA implementation progressed slowly (not surprisingly, as they aimed – and still aim – to the most complete, stable and widely available implementation), they did not want to delay other features because of that, so they have released 11.60, which contained everything 12 supposed to have, except HWA, WebGL and “Personas”.Then they have moved on, continuing their work on HWA and WebGL while adding new features beside them, like 64-bit editions, OOPP, CSS animations and transitions, DirectX implementation of HWA, drag’n’drop, improved address bar, Opera Reader and camera support to name a few.Actually we did not know since when they were working on these stuffs, but the final Opera 12 will contain significantly more features as originally planned (and later, of course).And I expect some more to come…

          • Cousin333

            Sorry for the lacks of paragraphs and whitespaces.

            For answer, I suggest to start a new thread below, because this is DISQUSting… :)

          • Hiram

            Sure, my reasoning behind the 64bit and out of process plugins thing is this: I saw on a website the user agent of Opera 12 which included the parameter of 64bits and we also now that Opera did not want to release the 64bit version without OOP. I saw this user agent around the release of 11.00, so this was way back.

          • Hiram

            Know, not not
            :D

          • attn

            They were using the 12 version number because they had to use SOMETHING.

  • Guestyguest

    Opera 12 is almost here but the most needed features are as always still Out There… Like Auto Tab-Stacking, for instance…

    • http://www.favbrowser.com FavBrowser.com

      As long as it’s optional.

      • http://twitter.com/bricky149 Shane Bundy

        At least HWA is optional because my laptop is slow and HWA actually slows it down (my other PC isn’t working ATM). I just can’t find how to completely turn off HWA for Chrome.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/David-Grane/100002393996156 David Grane

    Nice information.Waiting to get opera 12 beta.Thank you for sharing.

  • Yoyo


    If someone have a strong PC that have I7 processor does HWA ON or OFF make a difference in average sites like facebook and youtube ?

    • http://twitter.com/bricky149 Shane Bundy

      HWA makes use of the GPU.

  • Armin

    I am just glad they fixed the address bar. It’s as good as Firefox’s now. It was rubbish before.

  • Cousin333

    To Hiram above (we have run out of column width… :) ):

    Seeing Opera 12 user agent before the official release of the first snapshot means absolutely nothing. You could have seen that earlier, like 10.7(?) snapshots becoming Opera 11… etc. The numbering in these early stages means no actual version numbers, but rather “The Next Opera Release We Are Testing But Is Not Public Yet”. They could have called it Opera 20 or whatever, but that time 12 obviously made more sense.

    “Opera did not want to release the 64bit version without OOP”

    That is absolutely true, that is why they have come together in the first Labs release. But that won’t prove you right in this matter… :) 64-bit and OOPP was not intended to be part of the official Opera 12. (not some fake numbering of an internal build).

    • Hiram

      That is true, it’s far from a smoking gun. However I personally believe, and that is obviously subjective that the numbering of 12 was very curiously accurate seeing how many releases came leading up to Opera 12 for it to be purely coincidental. And I should have probably stated in my previous comments that my reasoning behind the 64bit and OOP part was subjective and not really based on any solid evidence.

      • attn

        There was nothing curiously accurate about using 12. They had to use something, so like they always do, they pick the next major version. That’s the way labs builds are done. Doesn’t mean those experimental features make it into that version.

        • Hiram

          Considering that this was before we even had the first lab builds of Ragnarök or HWA, I consider this pretty curiously accurate. However, as I previously pointed out, this is obviously far from solid evidence. And in regards to your other response to the multiple features part, Ruari pointed out that features which still required quite a bit of work were going to appear in Opera 12 and not Opera 11.60, so in all probability these are the features that I listed in my previous comments. And I have no idea where did you get the part that I was bashing the mail client changes.

          • http://twitter.com/bricky149 Shane Bundy

            Speaking of work, Opera decided to put HWA behind a flag and is disabled by default – the reason is because it’s slower than Vega (their software backend).

            They say they want to be the first fully HWA browser – Mozilla beat them to it ages ago.
            Gecko is not only a layout engine but also an application framework and Cairo is used for printing, 2D graphics and UI – Cairo is now HWA in Firefox, effectively affecting the entire program and it shows.

          • Hiram

            Yeah, I’ve read the Opera bit. At this point this could quite possibly or even likely mean that Opera 12 will launch without HWA and WebGL support enabled on default which would be quite a disappointment. And in regards to their claims that their browser is or will be the first truly hardware accelerated being bullshit, all I got to say is that it isn’t their first: http://www.opera.com/browser/features/#speed (the javascript part) The last time this was true was back in the days of 10.51. http://my.opera.com/chooseopera/blog/2010/03/22/opera-10-51-released-making-the-fastest-browser-even-faster Funny, isn’t it? When they are the fastest they can’t help but flaunt their victories, however when they aren’t, they claim that synthetic benchmarks are irrelevant.

          • Hiram

            Claim, not claims*.

          • Cousin333

            I agree that not having HWA in Opera 12 final would be disappointing. However, it is not clear to me from the post, whether HWA will be opt-in just for the upcoming beta.

            By the way, I’m happy that you two have found each other. You make a really nice Opera-bashing couple…

          • Hiram

            It’s not crystal clear to me either, however them disabling hardware acceleration on default while the browser is still in an alpha phase significantly reduces the number of people testing it, thus less bugs will be uncovered and less fixes provided. So that is why I think it’s possible or maybe even probable that Opera 12 will launch with HWA/WebGL disabled on default. And also, I’m not criticizing Opera out of hate, but out love… I’ve been using this bug infested, slowly developed, goofy looking mess of a browser with it’s large share of half-assed feature implementations for far too long to quit on it now, especially seeing that it’s finally on it’s way up. And I probably wouldn’t be able switch browsers even if I wanted to, simply because of how much I’ve gotten used to the way Opera works.

          • attn

            Opera was winning at synthetic benchmarks well after 10.51 as well, so that’s a lie on your part. And the page you linked to says “in many performance tests,” which is true. Another lie from you.

            You are also lying about their position on synthetic benchmarks. They’ve always maintained the position that they don’t necessarily reflect real world performance, but that doesn’t mean they can’t point it out when they are winning at them.

          • Hiram

            Let me clue you in: Geolocation was added to Opera only in 10.60, Tab Stacking in 11.00. During neither of those releases was Opera the fastest browser in regards to Javascript. Also, please provide me with some test results that prove that Opera is currently the fastest browser in many synthetic benchmarks, specifically this part: “The fastest JavaScript engine”. And it’s pretty funny, you haven’t been able to debunk any of my claims and yet have resorted to calling me a liar.

          • attn

            I’m not sure how Geolocation and tab stacking are relevant. I didn’t say they were winning all synthetic benchmarks. I pointed out that different tests showed different browsers at the top, and Opera was shown as the winner in many of them.

            I have debunked numerous of your claims, including the claim that they only flaunted their victories, when the article you linked to on opera.com actually included a benchmark Opera didn’t win at.

            Also, you are the one who started accusing people of various things. I merely called you out on it. If you are going to accuse the Opera devs of lying, I’m going to point out your lies.

          • attn

            By the way, did you notice that the article you linked to on my.opera.com actually includes a benchmark where 10.51 wasn’t winning?

            How does that fit your Opera-bashing?

          • Hiram

            You do realize, that had they not included the V8 benchmark they would have been criticized for nitpicking. And besides they took the second place by a very large margin in comparison to the other browsers, which obviously boast worthy. I gotta ask though, are you too stupid to figure this out by yourself?

          • attn

            You accused them of various things even before I made you aware of the fact that they included a benchmark they didn’t win at. I proved you wrong. You should accept that instead of trying to pretend that you weren’t wrong.

          • Apriorimeister

            So you basically complete ignore everything else and you grip at the one benchmark that they lost at and claim how honest they are. I’m still waiting for your proof that Opera is the fastest in many synthetic benchmarks.

          • attn

            What? You are the one who linked to that blog post as proof of how they were flaunting victories, “Apriorimeister.”

            When I pointed out that the exact same blog post actually shows a benchmark Opera didn’t win at you desperately tried to save face by changing the subject.

          • http://www.youtube.com/user/max1cp?feature=mhum Maxim
          • Cousin333

            I am not an expert of this field, but if they say so now, it is probably true. Don’t forget, that Firefox is open-source, so everyone with some knowledge can judge, whether Opera can beat them in some sense or not.

            “the reason is because it’s slower than Vega”

            I may not be expert on the first one, but that is just one misleading claim you made. The reason is, that IN SOME CASES it does not beat SW Vega, which has very different meaning compared to your claim.

            “affecting the entire program and it shows”

            Sure. It does not suck as much as it used to… :P

          • http://twitter.com/bricky149 Shane Bundy

            I was talking about Vega in the way Opera Software said – The Desktop Team said that and I thought I’d add that in my comment.

            I wish Firefox coped better with plugins. That’s one thing I don’t like ATM.

          • attn

            As I told you, labs features are experimental, and there’s no clear plan for when they are going to be part of an actual release. Again, remember hardware acceleration several years ago?

            Also, what are those features that required more work that you are referring to again? Themes and HWA?

            You seemed to try to minimize the major mail changes to support your own flawed claims about Opera 12.

          • Hiram

            Better HTML5 support and WebGL are the two major “features” besides HWA. And I did not minimize the mail changes, they were however obviously secondary to Ragnarök – simply because Ragnarök GREALY (Around 20%) reduced website compatibility issues which was and arguably still is Opera’s greatest problem in many regards.

          • attn

            Better HTML5 support? That’s an ongoing process. But the major HTML5 feature, the new HTML5 parser, was part of 11.6.

            What are the major HTML5 features in 12? I can only see drag and drop, which is tiny compared to Ragnarok (the HTML5 parser in 11.6).

            So basically, all you have for 12 is HWA (including WebGL) and themes? Talk about disproving your own claims… You know, the “features which still required quite a bit of work were going to appear in Opera 12 and not Opera 11.60.”

            You originally wrote:”It’s [Opera 12] basically been in development for nearly a year”

            By that logic, you can claim that just about any new version with significant features has been in development for as long as the feature that has taken the longest.

            You fail to understand that software development doesn’t work that way. The initial “Opera 12″ had a certain scope. Then they made most of the major changes part of an interim release called 11.6. And you expect them to come up with the same amount of major features for Opera 12 in a couple of months?

          • Hiram

            There were big leaps in regards to HTML5 support in Opera 12 so that is why I named it as one of the “major” features. Also, WebGL and HWA are not the same thing. IE9 has HWA but does not have WebGL support. I will admit  however, that my assumption that Opera 12 has been in development for nearly a year has been a bit off. That still does not change my initial opinion of Opera 12 being a disappointment so far, because even if you fully disregard the initial development of Opera 12 as being 11.60(you shouldn’t completely) their development pace has not been up to par to neither Chrome or Firefox.

          • Cousin333

            Nowadays even Opera don’t have hard-coded release plan. There are all the development that run concurrently from implementation of elements from the HTML5 specification, HWA, RTL and BiDi support to mail fixes as well as UI changes and so on.

            Time to time they get together and decide what would be ready for the next release (version number aside). They make a plan, work on it and rethink if necessary, just like the case of 11.60. So some parts of the current 12 they are working on for years probably (but with varying priority), other functions started just a few weeks or days ago.

            Peaking of pace: I do see, that Firefox and Chrome releases versions like crazy, but looking at the changelogs tells another story. Opera’s changelogs are fewer but usually much more comprehensive and contain more elements.

          • Hiram

            The reason for their changelogs seeming to contain less elements is that unlike Opera, they don’t really expand on the changes that were made. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Firefox_(rapid_release_development_cycle)#Version_9 Firefox 12 is about to be released and we can also expect Firefox 13 to be released at a similar time(if not sooner) as Opera 12. And it’s a similar story with Chrome.

          • attn

            No, the reason their changelogs contain less is that they release much more frequently than Opera so there’s far less in there in the first place.

            You are completely insane if you think Firefox X to Y has more changes than one major Opera version to the next.

            Just because the version number increases rapidly that doesn’t mean they cram stuff in there at the same rate.

            It’s hilarious that you seriously think that the version numbers for Firefox and Chrome can be compared to Opera’s, as if they work the same way. LOL.

          • Hiram

            Are you fucking illiterate or something? The link was to Firefox version 9 through 11, I’ve also mentioned the fact that Firefox 12 is about to be released and Firefox 13 at around the same time as Opera 12 because we should compare the versions as such: Firefox 9 through 13 vs Opera 12. Firefox 9 because it was released at a similar time as Opera 11.60 was.

          • attn

            What big leaps are there in HTML5 support in Opera 12 (“were”? Opera 12 isn’t out yet!)?

            Since you were do dead wrong about everything else, why should we take your claim about Opera’s development pace seriously?Sure, Opera might not be releasing a new version with a full version jump every few weeks, but then again, even 11.50 to 11.60 contained tons more changes and additions than a regular version number (like 10 to 11) for Firefox or Chrome.

            You are obviously just looking at version numbers and ignoring the underlying changes. Hilarious!

          • Hiram

            How was I dead wrong on everything else? You have yet to prove me wrong on anything but my assumption that Opera 12 was in development for nearly a year. On everything else, you’ve been the one in the wrong. And I’m not saying that one should look at the numbers, the exact opposite actually – that one should look at the changelogs which you quite obviously failed to do.

          • Hiram

            Oh and also, I’m still waiting for the proof that Opera is the fastest in many synthetic benchmarks.

          • Mikah

            Yawn, you do go on & on.

          • Hiram

            I forgot to address HTML5 question you had. Simply open up http://html5test.com/ in both Opera 11.62 and the newest build of Opera 12.00 and compare the lists of supported features.

  • Hiram

    To Maxim: Funny that you didn’t even check the results before posting that link as Opera did not win in any of the synthetic benchmarks.