Two of the most popular Linux browsers were unveiled this month after years of development -- the open source Firefox 3 and the proprietary Opera 9.5. Opera's launch a week before Firefox was like any other launch, unlike Firefox's much publicized world record attempt. But Opera 9.5 is no less revolutionary than Firefox, matching its open source rival feature for feature, from security-related enhancements to improved multilingual text rendering.
The first thing you notice when you launch Opera 9.5 is that it occupies less desktop real estate than Firefox 3, with less toolbar space and smaller borders, giving you more room to view pages. Opera's nifty features are tucked away in its power panel. Unlike Firefox's panel, which displays only bookmarks and history, Opera's lets you access the built-in file transfer manager, the notes app, widgets (the Web browser equivalent of desktop applets), and other features. You can also see any bookmarked site as a panel as well, or download more Web panels for a variety of tasks, such as browsing news sites or playing games.