Archived copy of A Swedish wolf in Norway

Miscellaneous technobabble from a Swede in Norway.

“Moore’s law doesn’t apply to Opera”

Published: 2006-01-18 16:01:52

The quote is from a colleague of mine, who used it in a talk he is going to give at a Norwegian university in a few weeks time. It’s interesting to think about it, especially since it is completely true.

Moore's Law – Gordon Moore’s famous observation made in 1965. It projects the doubling of transistors every couple of years. Moore's Law has been maintained and still holds true today. Intel expects that it will continue to do so at least through the end of this decade. See Moore’s Law.

While it is seems to hold true in the general case – computers do get more powerful all the time – the computer system the Opera browser is developed for has remained more or less the same since we started. It has just got cheaper.

Opera celebrated its tenth anniversary last year, meaning the company was founded in 1995. Around that time, if you wanted a powerful personal computer, and was ready to pay for it, you would get a machine with a CPU that ran at about 100 megahertz, had eight or maybe sixteen megabytes of memory, a hard disk of half a gigabyte or thereabouts and computers connected to the Internet with modems at 14.4 or 28.8 kilobits per second. Today’s high-end computers run in circles around these.

However, it is not today’s high-end systems that are what people buy the most of today – people by mobile phones, PDAs, set-top boxes and similar systems. And these cheap systems today generally come with a processor that runs at a around 100 megaherts, have eight or maybe sixteen megabytes of memory, a small flash disk and connect to the Internet over a mobile connection at around 16 or 32 kilobits per second. I.e, more or less the same system that was a high-end PC just a decade ago!

Since we want Opera to run on these systems, we have to make sure it is fast, tight and performs well. If it is sluggish on a system with twenty times the processing power of the phone you want to run it on, just imagine what it would be on the phone. The positive side-effect of this is, of course, that when you do run it on your gigahertz personal computer with a broadband connector, it is really, really fast.

Tags: browsers opera


Yeah - but I was using a bigger screen though, attached to my 100MHz PC. It could handle a 800*600 resolution, if I recall correctly!

Somewhat related:

This was originally posted on My Opera at
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