Remember when web browsers were useful tools? Remember when you could follow sites you liked, check your email, and see your calendar, all without leaving the browser? Or, I should say, remember when you could do all that without Big Tech feeding your personal data into the yawning maw of surveillance capitalism?
This week, the team behind the Vivaldi web browser released version 4.0, which seems like an appropriate time for me to tell you that you need to try it out. To riff off Neil Stephenson, Vivaldi outshines all other web browsers "in approximately the same way that the noonday sun does the stars ... it is not just bigger and brighter; it simply makes everything else vanish."
Stephenson was actually talking about the text editor Emacs, whose never-ending recursiveness makes it the programmer's Holy Grail of text editors. But I think the metaphor applies just as well to Vivaldi, compared to other web browsers. I don't think it's a stretch to say that Vivaldi is the Emacs of web browsers.
Vivaldi CEO Jon von Tetzchner was also the cofounder of Opera, one of the earliest web browsers to have features like pop-up blocking and tabbed browsing. The level of customization and power-user features that set Opera apart are present today in Vivaldi as well, along with plenty more.