Opera 12: new version, new esoteric bug

I’m taking the time to document the obscure bug that I often experience with Opera 12 (like every other day since I installed version 12 on the day it was released).

It is a surprising bug to say the least, not too annoying (as you’ll understand, Opera quickly recovers from it), but still, I reported it (DSK-367824).

[Update 2012-06-26: This is a duplicate of DSK-365797]

For no good reason that I can see or that console logs can explain, Opera actions are suddenly mapped to others, regardless that I use their keyboard shortcuts or that I click commands in the menus. When this happen, I feel like Opera is in play mode (like it’s a software thing to replace commands with other actions!).

For example, I want a new tab but get the window to “Open…”. The first time that occurred, I thought “aha! so I need to press cmd-o if I want to get a new tab.” Nope, all I got was the “Save As…” window. In play mode, it’s “Save As…”, or cmd-s, that will open a new tab. Consistently. Except that I don’t know what triggers play mode.

I played as long as I could, it was entertaining. The play-mode key-combos I found are:
cmd-t (for new tab) == open file
cmd-n (for new window) == save-as
cmd-s (to save) == new tab
cmd-c (to copy selection) == fullscreen
cmd-v (to paste selection) == right click
cmd-w (to close tab) == game over, it does cmd-q (to quit).

A couple tips, troubleshooting a bug in Opera menus

Before I forget and in case I need it later.
A bug in Opera 11.61 I submitted in February [DSK-357462] (that apparently others with similar configurations can not reproduce) still occurs in Opera 11.62. So I looked at other possible causes for that peculiar bug.

The bug is in any menu of Opera, any drop-down list and any right-click menu. When the menus appear, selecting through them is slow at best, and doesn’t apparently work at worse. I can click several times and sometimes forever on an item in the list, it’s as though the state doesn’t change, or takes a while to actually select. I click outside of it to make it disappear and it just stays there until I click either outside of the Opera window, or sometimes (not always) until I hover the mouse over it and then click outside of it, inside the Opera window.

I needed to find when I last performed software updates. Karl gave me this tip:

cat /Library/Receipts/InstallHistory.plist

This is much more accurate than my intuition to search in the console (there is entirely too much info there, and this would take much longer) or looking in the Applications folder and find a common date for “Date Modified”.

This allowed me to check that a few days prior to my noticing the bug, I had performed the “Mac OS X Update Combined” (10.7.3). This was later followed by a “Mac OS X 10.7.3 Supplemental Update”.

Then I needed to assess whether my usage of Opera could be a factor. I typically run it several days or weeks without quitting it. I operate with 1 or more windows and the number of tabs I keep open is around 90. Opera is also my Mail User Agent, has been for years and as such its mail database indexes more than 133K messages (I archived once in 2004, but then I became lazy).

I performed two tests.
The first on my other computer which has the same OS as my work laptop and the same Opera version (the processors are different but I don’t suppose the test is invalid). My opera session on that other computer has an empty mail database and I ran it with one tab. Menus were reactive as expected and selecting through them was smooth and gratifying. I opened several other tabs and I had the same positive experience.
I performed the second test on my work laptop and started a new Opera session with one tab and then a few. I was happy to experience smooth and reactive menu action. Happy and frustrated at the same time.

So maybe there is something in the early February Mac OS 10.7.3 update that impacts Opera to some extent. And if Opera couldn’t reproduce the bug to fix it in 11.62, it may be useful to give them extra info on that bug.

Another good tip, via Dean, was to run in the Terminal:

sample Opera

And perform any menu action for it to dump an “Analysis of sampling Opera (pid xxxxx) every 1 millisecond” in a text file. The blitz sampling, which lasted a fraction of time, analysed me right-clicking on a link in a Web page and clicking on “copy link address”, and wrote 21K lines, hardly any of them making sense to me. I sent it to Opera to accompany my February bug report.

Then I went back to my habitual session, bookmarked for good as many tabs as I could and tried with a 28-tab session. Same frustratingly slow menu actions. Oh well. I need them all (I need more of them in fact) to work, they’re my work flow. I hope this is fixed some day.

Opera 10.53: hi/bye

Opera 10.53 for mac OS lasted about 36 hours on my machine. It wasn’t stable, unfortunately. It really felt like a beta version! It was so bad that I even resolved to try out Opera 10.60 alpha, but since it doesn’t have Opera Mail, it wasn’t workable for me. So I reverted to Opera 10.10 just now.

Opera is the program I use the most. It is my default browser and my beloved MUA. It is also the first time I am disappointed with a version to the point of downgrading. I’ve always been a fan of Opera, which I discovered some time in 2002, and that I adopted as mail client and default browser when M2 was part of the Opera 7 release in early 2003.

A few quick observations about Opera 10.53, expanded below:

  1. Spectacular unexpected* crashes in series.
  2. Intrusion with window coming in focus by itself.
  3. Enter key no worky on dialog boxes.
  4. Scrolling didn’t work consistently.

[* We need to admit to ourselves that sometimes we’re pushing the limits knowingly, in which case, crashes are more or less expected.]

I found them spectacular in the sense that I was used to Opera looking like it’s really trying to process whatever it is doing, entering the phase of being slower or unresponsive for a while till the application crashed. When Opera 10.53 crashes it is sudden and swift. My first impression was that the window had moved to a different virtual space, and I even looked for it, till I saw the box announcing the app had to crash.
And they happened in series. A series of 4 or 5 consecutive crashes triggered by all sorts of actions, followed by a phase of suspicious stability.
Actions that made Opera 10.53 crash:

  • double clicking a URI in the address bar in order to copy it.
  • clicking the send button in Opera Mail.
  • waiting for Opera to finish restarting after a crash.
  • it also crashed when I was busy with another app.

I was surprised, using Opera 10.53, that the Opera window would come into focus unexpectedly and for no particular reason, other than my mouse hovering over it from an application window to another, or each time Opera fetches e-mail, news or feeds. I found the intrusion quite annoying.

Dialog boxes
When a dialog box popped up, it appeared that the focus was on a button, yet, the return key had no effect. I was used to hitting the enter key when the focus is right, and I was disappointed to have to use the mouse to click.

Again, because of habits, I expected the trackpad gesture of scrolling with two fingers to work anywhere in the Opera windows, and consistently, be that a browser tab, or the panels and sections of the Mail interface. It wasn’t the case at times and it wasn’t obvious why it wouldn’t work as expected, when it didn’t.

E-mail stuck in Outbox

For the past couple of months I’ve been annoyed with Opera e-mail sometimes being stuck in Outbox, at the “Authenticating” stage. Sometimes. Hence the annoyance. Sometimes it works fine for days. And sometimes it doesn’t. I don’t know what triggers it. I wish I knew 🙂 Assuredly I can’t be the only one experiencing this! I’ve looked and searched the Web, forums, Opera knowledge base and support pages.

I’m using Opera 9.64 on mac OS X 10.5.7 and outgoing e-mail talks to an SMTP server over TLS.

I just found a workaround that is not very satisfactory, but good enough so long as it does the trick: disconnect/reconnect wi-fi, try again, worky. <sigh />

I also found that even if the stuck message is removed from the Outbox, Opera will eventually deliver it. Sadly the original timestamp is not kept. So if I found another way to send that message, people will still receive it again. Later. <re-sigh />

I changed how Opera handles e-mail a couple of months ago, so that might be it. I used to ssh to a machine and Opera talked to localhost to pop and send.