Opera 9.0 released into the wild

Determined to steal the spotlight from Firefox and Microsoft's new Internet Explorer 7 beta, Opera Software has released the latest version of its web browser, Opera 9.0. The new release really packs in the features, from an integrated BitTorrent client to floating "widgets."

The widgets are especially interesting, as they offer functionality similar to MacOS X's Dashboard and Windows Vista's sidebar gadgets right from inside the web browser. Third-party developers are encouraged to write their own widgets, and Opera already has a host of existing ones available that serve up RSS news, weather forecasts, soccer scores, dictionaries, and even a playable 3D version of Tetris. Widgets appear independently from the main Opera window, and they stay up even when the browser is minimized.

Opera 9.0 is available for download from Opera's website in 25 languages and for platforms including Windows, Linux, Mac OS X, and Solaris. A detailed change log of the new release's features and bug fixes is available here.

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