In a press release innocently titled Opera gears up at 300 million users, Opera Software has confirmed what had been suspected for a while: future versions of the Opera desktop web browser will use WebKit rather than their proprietary Presto rendering engine.
It’s odd how so many people seem to consider the adoption of WebKit to be the end of Opera as a unique web browser. Both Safari and Chrome already use Webkit and no one is likely to confuse the two browsers. They maintain their unique identities and I’m sure that Opera will do the same. The reality is that Opera Software is a business, and undoubtedly has determined that maintaining their own rendering engine is no longer the best use of their resources. Opera has a long history of changing with the times and this is just another example. Opera Version History is an interesting page which details when each Opera feature was introduced and when it was made final.
Opera was my browser of choice back when I used dial-up internet. In fact, I used to recommend Opera as the only usable browser for dial-up users. For those who were lucky enough never to experience dial-up internet, here is the reason why. (If you are viewing this page using dial-up, you have my condolences.)