I tried Firefox 3 beta 2 today. (Happily it was in Portage, albeit hard-masked.) Seems to work OK so far. I managed to crash it once already by trying to open eight websites at once. But it is a beta after all.
Turns out some of the weird issues I was having with my neverending photoblog project may have been Opera-related. Opera would hang and fail to connect to my locally-running Hunchentoot server very often. Firefox though never seems to have that problem. Very odd.
Firefox 3 also seems to incorporate (maybe "rip off" is a better term) some of the nice features of the Opera versions. Like the dropdown list of history items matching text you type into the location bar. Firefox's version of this looks much nicer than Opera's and doesn't cause the whole interface to lag like Opera's does. You can also get speed dial for Firefox, and this Firefox extension seems to be more configurable than the built-in Opera version. Firefox + extensions does a very good job of imitating most of the good things about Opera, at the end of the day.
So yeah, there isn't a heck of a lot of reason to use Opera. It's a great program but it's always been quirky in my experience, and seems to be still even in the latest versions. So I'm going back to Firefox for a while.
I was pleasantly surprised at how many themes and extensions are already up-to-date and usable in Firefox 3 beta 2. In particular I'm now using this very nice dark theme. And Adblock Plus works in Firefox 3 already, which I kind of missed when using Opera. Unfortunately the same old horrendous theme / extension installer dialog box is still there, unfriendly as ever. If Firefox is going to rip off features of Opera, I wish they'd pick Opera's theme installer, because it's far superior.
Aside from little layout tweaks, there doesn't seem to be anything really revolutionary in Firefox 3 though. It's kind of a let-down in one way, but I read that there were a lot of updates to the rendering engine, so that's good. And then again maybe there are only so many features you can (or should) cram into a web browser.
I've been using Firefox since, oh, probably version 0.3 or 0.4 when it was still called Phoenix. Those were fun days. I used to badger everyone in sight to use it. when no one except uber-geeks had ever heard of it. Nowadays almost everyone I know uses it, and I'm always thrilled to see random strangers, even non-geeks, using Firefox. The word is clearly getting out.