Opera Software ASA has released a preview Version 6.0 of its Web browser for the Linux operating system, on the heels of a similar beta version for Windows.
The update includes such new features as support for the Unicode Worldwide Character Set, which makes Opera available for the first time in Asian-Pacific languages, such as Japanese, and Eastern European languages, such as Russian, said Dean Kakridas, the company's vice president of desktop products.
"It's very exciting, especially in markets like China and some other Far Eastern countries that have been waiting for this for quite some time," he said.
Other new additions include "Hotclick," which allows users to double-click a word or right-click a selected phrase, in order to see a pop-up menu of features such as search, encyclopedia lookup, and translation. Opera has signed deals for search engines with its long-standing partner Google Inc., as well as with Fast Search & Transfer ASA's alltheweb.com; and with Lycos Inc. for encyclopedia, dictionary, and translation services, Kakridas said.
He added that Version 6.0 allows users to choose from a number of custom display options, including buttons, skins, and panels.
"We've done some usability studies on all platforms, and tried to update our look and feel," he said. "It's a lot more modern, updated, a sleeker look, all in the name of faster usability and good UI (user interface) design."
The new Linux version also includes a cookie management feature, which allows users, for example, to examine all the cookies placed on their PC by a particular site and decide whether to edit or delete individual ones -- a more fine-tuned way of handling cookies than other browsers, which simply allow users to reject all cookies or be notified when they are being placed.
So far cookie management is only available on the Linux browser, but Opera hopes to add it to future Windows versions too, said Kakridas. "It seems like a very useful feature."
"It was taken care of almost immediately. All Opera versions have a lot of the same code, and it was all rectified in one fell swoop," Kakridas said.
The preview, which can be downloaded for free from Opera's Web site, is a publicly released alpha version and prone to bugs and crashes, the company said.