Update: Download Opera 8.5 here, now free!

Opera is set to abandon its policy of incorporating an ad-banner into the free version of its browser, and is instead going to just let people have the software without users having to pay a licensing fee to remove the advertising and receive support. The move is very likely intended to increase Opera's share of the browser market, no doubt inspired by the gains that Firefox has made in recent times. New users are what Opera is after, and they reckon this will help them capture some more. They are able to afford this move thanks to revenues now coming from search tie-ups such as integrated searching of eBay and Amazon, as well as Google's AdSense programme. Good on 'em, I say.

'As we grow our userbase,' said Opera Software's CEO, Jon S. von Tetzchner, 'our mission and our promise remain steadfast: we will always offer the best Internet experience to our users - on any device. Today this mission gains new ground.'