By Harry McCracken | Tuesday, April 28, 2009 at 12:03 pm
The folks at Opera are celebrating the fifteeth anniversary of their Web browser today. They’ve got some fun celebratory items up, including memories from cofounder and CEO Jon von Tetzchner, a secret origin in comic-strip form, some predictions for the future, and a list of fifteen reasons to use Opera.
The company’s saying that Opera is the oldest browser that’s still extant, and while that’s a defensible interpretation of history, it’s subject to debate. It’s marking its fifteenth birthday not on the anniversary of the first public release of the browser–that didn’t happen until 1996–but on the anniversary of the beginnings of coding on the first version, which was a research project at Norwegian telecommunications company Telenor. If you determined the oldest remaining browser based on general availability, Internet Explorer, which was released in 1995, would predate Opera. And IE was originally based on code from Spyglass Mosaic, the commercial version of NCSA Mosaic, the first graphical browser–but I don’t know if there’s any Mosaic code kicking around in today’s IE 8.
Firefox, meanwhile, is a descendant of Netscape Navigator (which first appeared in late 1994 and was officially discontinued in 2007). But work on Netscape began in mid-1994–after Opera development was already underway, apparently.
Anyhow, Opera is one of a handful of popular Internet apps of the mid-1990s that’s still with us, still evolving, and still doing interesting things–especially on alternative devices such as phones and gaming consoles. Long may it wave…