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C O M P U T I N G:
Central & East European and Baltic Language Support:
Other Browsers

Opera icon

Opera is a relatively new browser, originating in Norway, and currently causing quite a stir amongst people fed up with the IE / Netscape domination of the browser market and the enormous downloads that every update of these two giants brings with it. Its two major selling points (it costs $35 to register) are its remarkably small size (at 1.3Mb the compressed download file of the latest version, v.3.61, will still fit on a single floppy disk) and its claim to support Cascading Style Sheets better than any other browser.

Unlike Netscape and IE, Opera is designed to be intolerant to faulty HTML code. This makes is an excellent tool for web developers to check their sites, but it can also lead to difficulties because so many sites have faulty (or browser specific) code and so do not display correctly in Opera. In other words, its pedantic nature is good in one sense and bad in another.

Opera is currently only available for Windows but Beta trial versions for Linux and BeOS are already available, and versions for MacOS and OS/2 are being developed.

Opera is undoubtedly a very good browser and, after a little configuring, provides excellent language support. Unfortunately, this does not currently extend to Unicode, and at present there is no indication on Opera's website if and when this will be added.

Tango claims to be the best multi-lingual browser available. The initial download of about 4Mb is the so-called "Western" version of the browser; additional language groups can be downloaded and "plugged in" as you need them. Some of these, however (e.g., Central & East European languages) are not small - of the order of 3Mb or so.

I was initially impressed with the ease with which it was possible to change the language of the browser menus to German, French or Spanish, and then, after another download, to Russian. All worked immediately and perfectly. Tango also supports Unicode and once I'd downloaded and installed the Central European language pack the characters displayed perfectly.

Like Opera, Tango is extremely fault intolerant and many pages I have tried do not display correctly.

A multilingual version of Mosaic apparently exists, but so far I have been unable to find a site where I can download a copy.

Lynx is the standard text only browser and is probably still in use somewhere. The last version I used (some time ago) was straightforward ascii text only.

Pages prepared by James Partridge

Any questions about language support or fonts, or suggestions on how to improve these pages? Feel free to CONTACT me.


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