Opera just launched a deal that will allow academic institutions a free site license for the browser. The details of the offer are available here.
The browser is being pitched as a much safer alternative to Internet Explorer. However, Opera believes there are other reasons to choose it’s browser:
“Opera is the ideal browser for the university environment,” says Jon von Tetzchner, CEO, Opera Software. “Opera’s user-friendly features, accessibility options for the disabled, and cross-platform and customization capabilities make life easier for students to manage their various study needs. Opera is fully standards compliant and offers extensive administration possibilities for network configuration, providing flexibility to system administrators as they make Opera a part of their university network.”
This really is a great marketing plan, and is an ideal mechanism to increase market share of the browser. Some universities have recently banned the use of Internet Explorer on public computers and are pushing users to use Firefox. Part of the push for using alternative browsers has been fueled by the Department of Homeland Security’s recommendation Firefox is gaining a little on IE, and with a move like this, Opera might be close behind.
I am a big supporter of using alternative browsers to IE, and have been using Firefox for some time. Unfortunately, my web surfing with other browsers has not been without problems. Each day I come across a new database, web site, or other page that will not function properly when using Firefox. This is not Firefox’s problem, as it is a standards compliant browser. However, there continue to be tons of pages that are not written to compliance, and therefore do not work properly with anything except Internet Explorer. According to some, IE is on the way out.
We currently have Firefox as an option at my library, although it is buried several levels deep in the Start Menu. In talking with our systems department, they hesitate to add the shortcut to Firefox on the desktop. The main reason is it is not guaranteed to work with Blackboard.
On a different note, I was encouraged last week when helping a student. He had come in for some business research help, and I openened up Firefox and started searching multiple databases. I did a similar search in Business Source Premier, Business & Industry, and TableBase. After about five minutes, he asked, “This is sort of off-topic, but are you using Firefox?” I told him I was and he asked why. Once I showed him the tabbed browsing, he was sold.