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Opera acquires Hern Labs

Filed under the:  department.
Posted by:Ryan on Thursday, 14 Dec, 2000 @ 11:00 AM
Submitted News

Hern Labs, known for porting the Opera webbrowser to BeOS, has been acquired by Opera Software. This is a very interesting turn of events, as it actually removes one of the parties involved in Opera on BeOS. Now it’s just Opera, and Be. Could this lead to faster development of 4.0 (or 5.0) on BeOS? I have no idea. What do you think?

9 Responses to “Opera acquires Hern Labs”

  1. tpv Says:

    Don’t just to immediate conclusions

    While I agree this looks promising, don’t just to any conclusions just yet.

    Just because our viewpoint on Hern is “ported Opera 3.6 to BeOS”, that isn’t necessarily what Opera saw in it.

    It’s like AOL buying netscape. Everyone immediately thought that AOL was trying to break away from being dependant on MS’s browser.
    But the truth was the AOL didn’t care about the browser.
    They didn’t even want the server software (they sold it to Sun). The main thing they were after was NetCenter - something a lot of us overlooked as a Netscape asset.

    I don’t know a lot about what goes on inside Hern Labs, but their web page says “Hern Labs AB is an expanding software development company, focusing on the design
    and development of cross-platform systems and applications”.
    Opera might just want some of their cross-platform skills. BeOS might not be the focus of that cross-platform-ness.

    I don’t want to sound like a nay-sayer. I certainly hope that Opera will use the skills of Hern Labs to continue to support Opera on BeOS, but until they say more, we don’t know if that’s why they bought Hern.

  2. VitViper Says:

    I sure hope so…

    We need Opera 4 ASAP! 3.62 is a mess… Usuable but a mess…

  3. IAmWhoIHam Says:

    This is good news…

    Hern Labs specializes in porting Opera’s browser to BeOS. Their latest work was 3.62.

    We all know Opera has 4.0 out for Windows and BeIA (and is working on a new 5.0 browser?). They acquired Hern Labs.

    The logical conclusion to draw is that they want Hern Labs closer to them, working on the latest version of Opera for BeOS.

    Otherwise this deal doesn’t seem to make any sense (from the outside looking in, that is).

  4. MToth Says:

    In Response To tpv @ 12/14/2000 12:00:35 AM

    Re: Don’t just to immediate conclusions

    Well, for one, recently it was commented that a future Opera on BeOS version would depend on V3.62 sales… no market, hence no need to develop, fair enough. So I can only agree with you.

    I’d say Nutcase should try to have them interviewed, all other lengthy reasoning has been here a million times and is worth nothing because we don’t know anything. Save your energies, ask Opera what they intend to do with H labs.

  5. Jedi Be Says:

    [No Subject]

    In case no one noticed, the title of the press release says “Strong focus on the wireless market”. That doesn’t sound like the purpose was for BeOS. Hern didn’t develop Wagner (Opera for BeIA), that was done by Be Inc. internally.
    Also, one of the new features in Opera 5 for Windows is experimental support for WAP-surfing using WML. Opera is going after the wireless market here. That’s the cross-platform strength that Hern Labs can provide. I don’t think it has much to do with Opera for BeOS at all. In fact, if Opera Software wants Hern in order to develop for wireless platforms, that could cause Opera for BeOS to be put on the back burner.
    Sorry to be so negative, but that’s how I see it.

  6. rain Says:

    In Response To Jedi Be @ 12/14/2000 4:31:41 PM

    Re: [No Subject]

    Well, opera 4 allready has WML(WAP) support, and it’s lovely. Being able to develop WAP services without any special wap-browser.
    They have ports for EPOC and Linux, so I bet they allready have experience on cross-platform development inluding wireless OS development. But a few more guys would probably be good if they want to expand in the wireless market.

    However, are hernslabs THAT good? I have no idea about how portable the opera-code is. And I would definatly not be able to port it myself. But compare opera 3.6 for windows and for beos. The windows version is ROCK STABLE! Opera has always been rockstable. Version 4 still has a lot of bug though. It surprised me that they will release a version 5.0 without fixing the bugs in 4.0. This is not opera to me. Sounds more like MS or something.

    However, as the windows version of 3.6 is rock stable, the BeOS port is not. Did hernslabs do a good job? I can’t say, I don’t know if the code was easy to port or not. And I know that porting such a large application is a hard job and you need to have talent for it. So I can’t judge them.
    But I have the fact: Opera for windows is stable, Opera for BeOS is not. Speed and stability is Operas trademark. So releasing an unstable buggy brower would not do good to operas reputation, even if it’s released on a small platform like BeOS.
    Can Opera software stand up and say: “We are proud about the BeOS version of Opera”?
    I don’t think so, not if you compare it to the Windows version.

    I’m not saying that I’m not thankful for hernslabs job on the port. I like having opera for BeOS. I have always liked opera. But I’m trying to see it in the perspective of Opera Software. And to me it’s confusing why they would want to work with hernslabs for any reasons other than 1.) they suppose that it would make them able to make a better beos port if they have a closer relationship. 2.) hernslabs has made very good ports for other platforms that Opera soft would want their browser released for.

    I hope Opera is being realistic enough to realize that an unstable 3.x browser won’t sell gold nowdays. Even if it’s for a platform where people scream and pray for a good browser(with javascript).

  7. Aleksey Says:

    A bit off-topic, but may be of interest.

    dailyradar.com has posted a review of the Compaq iPaq, this one running MS’s software. They seem to like it, but have some complaints, such as the utter dominance of MS stuff on it, as well as the ads (if you don’t look at them for a few minutes, the machine shuts down).

    The say that the built-in browser tends to work ok, rendering most sites decently.

    Of course, what I’d like to see is the BeIA version of this. For instance, does it have the same annoying ad policy? How the browser perform? How are the media capabilities? Etc, etc…

    review here:

  8. Scott B Says:

    In Response To rain @ 12/14/2000 9:26:01 PM

    Re: [No Subject]

    My point was only that the press release title seemed to hint that wireless was the reason for the purchase.
    What I posted about WML/WAP support came from the Opera site itself. It said WML/WAP was a “NEW” feature in Opera 5. Maybe it was there in Opera 4 but they just sisn’t let anyone know about it.

  9. chuck Says:

    In Response To tpv @ 12/14/2000 12:00:35 AM

    Re: Don’t just to immediate conclusions


    -Opera bought Hern to revise the existing browser code to be easily ported to any platform (P.C., I.A., etc.) This is good as it would reduce the overhead required to support new platforms or existing ones with a small user base (like BeOS) :)

    -Opera intends to diversify. Afaik, Opera’s only product is Opera. This helps protect Opera in the event demand lessens for the browser.

    I’m speculating, of course, but it makes sense. I am sure, however that this deal has been in the works for a long time, possibly since the time Opera hired Hern Labs to do the port.

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