Opera fans using Windows or Mac OSX can now rejoice as their favourite browser is now available in a 64-bit edition. A labs build of the upcoming Opera 12 browser has been made available for download for all platforms. This is on top of all the features that Opera 12 already brings, such as support for hardware acceleration, new light themes etc.
This isn't the only good news though, as these new Opera Labs builds also tout support for OOPP (Out-of-process Plug-ins). This is a feature that has been in Chrome since the beginning and was adopted by Firefox since version 3.6.4; with this feature, browser plug-ins such Flash, Silverlight etc. run in a separate process from the main browser. This has the effect of isolating the plug-in crashes from the browser, thus improving overall stability. If some content causes a plug-in to crash, the effect is just that the content it is rendering becomes available; the browser continues as is. A simple reload of the page containing the crashed content will fix this matter.
Opera 64-bit builds also have an interesting feature, that the 64-bit Opera can use 32-bit plug-ins as well. It has come perhaps a little too late as most plug-ins are now available in 64-bit versions. Still those using some of the lesser used plug-ins such as the one for Quake Live.
While often features previewed in Opera Labs builds do not make it in the final product, we hope these ones do. It is high time for something as essential as a browser to move to 64-bit, and support for running plug-ins out-of-process is quite important as well.
You can read more about this release and download it from here.