Opera Quickens Cross-Platform Upgrades

Version 7.21 of the Opera browser delivers capabilities to retrieve closed windows, control kiosk functionality.

Opera Software ASA, less than a month after launching an updated Web browser for Windows, has revved another release that runs across operating systems.

Opera 7.21 was launched on Tuesday and runs on Windows, Linux, FreeBSD and Sun Solaris. The release provides a feature for undoing the accidental closing of a browser window and reintroduces a kiosk mode to restrict access to functionality when running the browser in a library, computer lab or other public setting.

Opera, of Oslo, Norway, credited the quick turnaround of browser releases to its development process. Opera now is developed with platform independence from the start, rather than creating it first for one operating system and porting that work to others later, the company said.

"Browser-making is our only business," said Opera CEO Jon S. von Tetzchner, in a statement. "Delivering the very best Internet experience possible is simply our bread and butter."

Opera is one of the few commercial browser makers taking on Microsoft Corp.s dominance in the space with Internet Explorer. While continuing to launch new features in its desktop browser, Opera has focused much of its attention on browsers for smart phones and devices.

Last week it announced the Opera Platform for mobile operators and handset manufacturers. It can integrate a devices applications, the Opera browser and a mobile operators content so an operator can customize a handsets main screen. Opera is demonstrating the platform this week at the ITU Telecom World 2003 show in Geneva.

Opera 7.21 includes a feature called "Undo," which allows a user who mistakenly closes one of the browser windows to recall it within the closed-window history list, now added to the browser menu, or via a keyboard shortcut, according to Opera.

The latest release also brings back the kiosk mode that was part of Opera 6. The mode lets managers customize the browser settings to control the functionality, menus, downloads and other preferences available to users in high-use settings.

Opera 7.21, available now, is offered as a free advertising-supported download or for $39 without advertising.

Along with the platforms supported in 7.21, Opera also is pushing forward more Mac OS X support. It announced in August an interim release, Opera 6.03 for Mac, to run on Panther, the name of Mac OS X 10.3 due out on Oct. 24. Opera plans a full release, Opera 7.0 for Mac, later this year.

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