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Opera Unite Web Server Benchmarked 227

Posted by timothy
from the not-bad-for-a-bonus-feature dept.
worb writes "Opera Unite comes with a web server which is supposedly going to 'redefine the web.' But how well does it actually perform? Is it a threat to other server solutions? Someone put it to the test, and published the results. While nginx, one of the fastest web servers available, is 5 times faster, a PHP+Apache+MySQL server is only 2 times as fast. A compiled C++ server, the MadFish WebToolkit, is 6 times faster. He concludes that Opera Unite's server is impressive, and that the others come nowhere close to the ease of use."
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Opera Unite Web Server Benchmarked

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  • Misleading, again (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SteelRealm (1363385) on Thursday June 18, 2009 @09:47PM (#28384731)
    Opera's Unite is not meant to refine the web as a hosting solution in the traditional sense, but as a way to make your files accessible to yourself and others through it. I don't think anyone is questioning whether it is a better hosting solution then a dedicated server. It's also worth it to note that Unite is a Alpha release with lots of bugs to be fixed and performance tuning and optimization to be done.
    • by nametaken (610866)

      Sure. It sounds like it's great at what it's meant to do, get the job done and get it done easily.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by bunratty (545641)

      ...a way to make your files accessible to yourself and others through it.

      Can you say "huge honking security hole"?

      • Re:Misleading, again (Score:4, Interesting)

        by SteelRealm (1363385) on Thursday June 18, 2009 @10:04PM (#28384881)
        Considering how quickly Opera patches everything, I don't see this as any bigger a threat than normal browsing. People who use your Unite page to access things have only got access to what you allow them to see and what you've choicen to host through Unite.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by patro (104336)

        ...a way to make your files accessible to yourself and others through it.

        Can you say "huge honking security hole"?

        Every server is a security hole waiting to be fixed.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by pbhj (607776)

          ...a way to make your files accessible to yourself and others through it.

          Can you say "huge honking security hole"?

          Every server is a security hole waiting to be fixed.

          Ultimate security = bolt cutters.

      • I Call Shenanigans (Score:5, Insightful)

        by mpapet (761907) on Friday June 19, 2009 @12:06AM (#28385513) Homepage

        Can you say "huge honking security hole"?

        The great news is there are viable replacements for this reference to Microsoft's operating system. Debian, BSD's, maybe some other Linux distro are more than capable of serving and Opera runs on all of them.

        Another Opera summary that's mostly flamebait. That's disappointing because it's a good idea whose time has been very long in coming.

      • Three levels of privacy, default being number two.

        1. Public, anyone can access.
        2. Passworded, give them the link, they can access, they give that link to someone else, so can they.
        3. Private. Only the Opera Account holder can access.

        Also, it is only accessible while someone has Opera open. One can start and stop each unite service individually also.

        Sounds like it has some decent basic security to me :)
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Zoidbot (1194453)

          Plus all the services are disabled by default. Something which most of the morons here seem to have trouble getting their head around.

          Personally, I think it's a awesome innovation. It's not a web server, it's a personal content publishing service.

      • by Yvanhoe (564877)
        I'll say it when there will be one.
        It is not very hard to serve files in a secure fashion.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jc42 (318812)

        ...a way to make your files accessible to yourself and others through it.

        Can you say "huge honking security hole"?

        Um, how so? That sounds to me like a succinct description of what a web server is supposed to do. Phrased differently, the "for dummies" definition of a web server is a program that you point at a directory, and it makes everything under that directory available via the Web. This isn't a security hole; it's exactly what a web server is used for. It's only a security hole if outsiders can use

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Amen.

      The Opera Unite service has several features so far: web server, file sharer, music streamer, fridge notes, lounge... It's direct communication for everyday users who will be able to host their own sites, files, music, photos locally on their home computers. Said content will be available as long as Unite is running. When Unite is not running or the computer is off, there's nothing being shared. Why all the fuss? it's easy to understand. Don't like it? Don't use it. The service is what it is, not a pro

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by PitaBred (632671)
        And hopefully it'll encourage ISP's to keep their pipes open both ways, instead of treating subscribers as download-only nodes
  • Disturbing trend (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nausea_malvarma (1544887) on Thursday June 18, 2009 @09:49PM (#28384753)
    I'm disturbed by the centralization taking place on the web, where by networks like email are replaced with proprietary walled-garden social networks, and entire webpages once written in the open html standard are being done entirely in flash. I'm starting to have hope for the future now. HMTL 5 will reduce the need for proprietary plugins, for sure. This Opera web server thing could work towards decentralizing the web as well. Sure, anybody can set up a web server to host their own content in theory, but its too difficult for average folks to do. With this technology, perhaps more people will sidestep commercial options, and host web pages on their own - meaning less reliance on geocities, google sites, ect. And thats good. It's not healthy for a few companies to have that sort of control over a medium.
    • by Abcd1234 (188840) on Thursday June 18, 2009 @09:58PM (#28384833) Homepage

      I'm disturbed by the centralization taking place on the web, where by networks like email are replaced with proprietary walled-garden social networks, and entire webpages once written in the open html standard are being done entirely in flash.

      I know! For example, Facebook has made it completely impossible to deploy and host one's own website. They simply *force* you to put everything in their system. And don't get me started on the likes of Twitter, which has forced everyone to stop using Twitter in favour of their system. I mean, at least if I could *choose*, but you can't because they can control your *mind*! Yes, very disturbing indeed...

      • by Abcd1234 (188840)

        rofl, man I gotta proof read. I believe I meant "stop using email"... :)

      • by nausea_malvarma (1544887) on Friday June 19, 2009 @12:06AM (#28385521)

        You aren't taking network effects into account. I'm young, and most of my friends are in their 20s. Some of them never check their emails, and insist that I send everything to them through myspace. Why? Because all of their friends use myspace too, and none of their friends email that often. So yeah, I have the choice of emailing my friends, but their dependence on myspace forces my hand. We all have a choice, but these mediums have generated enough momentum already that it's very hard to get by when using the alternatives.

        • I get some the same thing only with Facebook but I just refuse to bow to their demands.
        • Yeah, right . . . (Score:5, Insightful)

          by siloko (1133863) on Friday June 19, 2009 @01:23AM (#28385987)

          and most of my friends are in their 20s. Some of them never check their emails

          I'm guessing none of your friends either work or are at college. Try telling your boss or University sysadmin that you don't want customer emails or system notices because you won't read them unless they are sent via mySpace . . . No job/Slap around the face will quickly ensue!

          • Try telling your boss or University sysadmin

            So? The friends in question will grudgingly use email when they're forced, and use myspace for everything else, including communicating with friends.

            Congratulations, you have... wait, not done anything about OP's problem.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Psychotria (953670)

          What? Your friends are obviously a bit simple. Oh, all of my friends use myspace, I'd better do that as well and ignore email. This scenario that you suggest, suggests to me that you need new friends. Or, get a bunch of friends who actually have a job other than flipping burgers at McDonalds. And why are you letting you friends "force your hand"? That's crazy. Be more sure of yourself and don't give in to their idiot tendencies. Send them emails and force their hand.

        • What are you doing to prevent it? Have you, for example, set up a mailing list that they can use to communicate instead? I've done this for my friends, and now it's trivial for us to send things like party announcements via email, while previously it required collecting a list of email addresses (and always forgetting someone you wanted to invite...) and entering them into your mail client. I also run an XMPP server that a few of my friends use, and if they want to have an XMPP address on their own domai
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by amicusNYCL (1538833)

          Goddamn, how difficult is it? If they demand you use MySpace, fine, post a message on MySpace:

          "check your email"

          No one is forcing you to use MySpace, you're making that choice.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by sjstrutt (603317)

      Opera Unite is not as decentralized as you may think. It still requires that you initialize connections via the machinename.username.operaunite.com domain that you are required to register with Opera. Sure, this is set up to easily traverse a NAT, but it isnt as decentralized as advertised (and you're restricted from hosting content that they consider "obscene, vulgar, hateful, threatening, or that violates any laws".

      A more thoughtful take on the subject can be found here: http://factoryjoe.com/blog/2009/0 [factoryjoe.com]

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        That's true, but doesn't it also serve as added security versus people connecting directly to your computer?
      • I didn't know of this requirement when I posted my comment. Does anyone know of a similar application that makes running a temporary web server idiot-proof, that doesn't require special accounts?
        • Opera Unite.

          Granted, it's still in the alpha stage, but if your router supports UPnP Unite will ask you if you want to have your public ip-address pointing at its webserver. And there is nothing that prevents you from using something like dyndns.org to accomplish your goals:

          Like this guy from Opera software did [dyndns.org]

        • On OS X, you just need to click the Enable Web Sharing checkbox in Sharing in System Preferences. I think there is something similar with Windows. The big problem at the moment is NAT traversal. You either need connections forwarded from a third party, or you need to set up port forwarding. When we have IPv6 deployed on consumer-grade connections, this problem goes away; just advertise the IPv6 address and let people connect to it directly.

          For this kind of use, however, something like FreeNet would b

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Chainsaw (2302)

        and you're restricted from hosting content that they consider "obscene, vulgar, hateful, threatening, or that violates any laws"

        Dude... You're talking about a company residing in Norway. The third largest export after oil and salmon is Black Metal [norsksvartmetall.com]. Which is kind of bizarre, as Norwegian is probably one of the most cheerful languages there is.

      • Re:Disturbing trend (Score:5, Informative)

        by worb (935866) on Friday June 19, 2009 @02:34AM (#28386461)

        A more thoughtful take on the subject can be found here:

        I'm surprised to see that people are still linking to this. It's basically full of errors, and was written in rage [opera.com] over all the hype Unite was getting. He was angry about how people just repeated Opera's claims blindly. Kind of like you are blindly referring to his blog post even though it turns out that the post is too inaccurate to really be used for anything.

        You really should read some of the comments on the page you are linking to, in order to see people correcting all the misconceptions. For example the misconception that everything goes through a proxy, as you claim it does. Furthermore Chris's comments where fun until Haavard took him down a notch on his own blog, resulting in Chris himself posting on Haavard's blog with a massively different tone.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Eil (82413)

      Sure, anybody can set up a web server to host their own content in theory, but its too difficult for average folks to do. With this technology, perhaps more people will sidestep commercial options, and host web pages on their own - meaning less reliance on geocities, google sites, ect. And thats good. It's not healthy for a few companies to have that sort of control over

      Years ago, I remember certain broadband ISPs would probe certain ports on the customer's side (HTTP, FTP, etc) and do a variety of dickhead

    • by Eskarel (565631)

      It is unfortunately a natural part of live.

      Open Standards are a great thing, but part of being open by necessity means being created by committee, and generally a committee formed up of the people who are trying to generate their own proprietary solutions.

      HTML standards are, in general, at least 2 years behind where the actual implementation is. People write websites in flash because flash is a relatively good solution to delivering cross platform Rich Internet Applications. HTML 5 looks like it will provid

  • It's a toy... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jo42 (227475) on Thursday June 18, 2009 @09:52PM (#28384779) Homepage

    Is it a threat to other server solutions?

    In one word, No.

    In more words, can it run apps written in PHP, Ruby, Python, Java, etc. with SQL server database back ends? No.

    Can it be load-balanced, clustered, etc. on servers in a data center? Well, maybe if you tried hard enough. Heck, you do anything if you try hard enough. But in one word, No.

    • Re:It's a toy... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by SteelRealm (1363385) on Thursday June 18, 2009 @09:57PM (#28384811)
      It's not meant to act as a serious server, just to allow easy access to files and content made avaible to Opera on the user's computer. They said it's unlikely PHP and MySQL will be added, but the possiblity that they might do it is there in the future. It's a toy to attract users and to maintain those who may consider leaving the browser, and it's doing just that. Anyone who wants to share content with friends/family can easily do it, and it's incredibly handy for people who use multiple computers.
    • Exactly. It's like someone noticed you can edit text in Opera and posted an article asking if it's really a threat to Vim. Just because two pieces of software have some overlapping functionality doesn't mean that they are meant for the same task. You wouldn't use MS Word as a code editor, even though it can edit text, and you wouldn't use Opera Unite to host a high-volume site, even though it can serve HTTP.
  • Stupid benchmark (Score:4, Insightful)

    by royallthefourth (1564389) <royallthefourth@gmail.com> on Thursday June 18, 2009 @10:14PM (#28384961)

    The summary conflated a web server with a database and a programming language (PHP+Apache+MySQL) when discussing benchmarking of just a web server.

    I'll go ahead and assume that the article isn't worth reading.

  • by bogaboga (793279) on Thursday June 18, 2009 @10:30PM (#28385035)

    ...He concludes that Opera Unite's server is impressive, and that the others come nowhere close to the ease of use...

    When I suggested that Apache needed some thing near to easy configuration, I was labeled a troll and requested not to tinker with such a server if I did not know what I was doing. By the way, I know Apache has some configuration GUIs but none comes close to Opera's offer.

    In fact, I was castigated for being one of those who crave "point and click" interfaces that are "responsible" for most of the chaos on the internet.

    I am happy that I have one fellow who agrees with me. I will not be surprised if Opera's web server snatches market share from the established ones.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by chdig (1050302)
      Opera's web server has a completely different target market than apache, and is so completely different that to compare Opera to Apache is like comparing benchmarks of serving static content to that which comes from a database -- yes, another silly comparison that TFA for some unknown reason actually makes. Apples ain't oranges!

      As others have mentioned, to serve pages to anyone other than yourself, the requests will be sent through (and approved by) Opera's servers. Unite itself isn't open source, apach
    • by twostix (1277166)

      There's a dozen free simple "point and click" web servers already in existence. IIS has a "point and click" interface *and* comes installed in most Windows installations and still holds a minority share.

      I don't think you understand why Apache is where it is. And it's *hardly* because there's no competition for it. It's fought web servers backed by billion dollar companies to come out on top. There's a reason for that and it's not just because it's free as there's other free web servers that also hold a

    • ... tells me how correct the people that chastised you were.

      I will repeat the advice: leave Apache alone, it is for people that know what they are doing (and having a point and click interface will not improve your understanding of what Apache is doing).

  • Someone put it to the test

    "Someone"? Really? Color me paranoid, but I'd be inclined to suspect at least a little bias from a website named "unitehowto.com". Are we sure kdawson didn't get hold of timothy's posting account?

  • by presidenteloco (659168) on Thursday June 18, 2009 @11:52PM (#28385431)

    How dumb, or seriously ADD,
    do you have to be, when the major question you ask about
    a new technology is: Yeah, but how fast is it?

    "We've invented this program that is smarter than the average bear"

    "Yeah, but how fast is it?"

    "You don't understand! This baby even knows that you're not SUPPOSED
    to fight forest fires!"

    "Yeah, but how fast is it?"

    Seriously, these speed evaluations are irrelevant, boring, and inane to
    the extreme. How about some evaluation of the possible uses this new
    technology will be put to, and how its abilities to support these uses
    compares to other competing or similar technologies.

    "Look at this new amp we've got! Look at this. It goes up to 11! Unbelievable!"

    "Yeah, but how fast does it go pedal to the metal, man?"

    • The really stupid part is that they're speed-testing an alpha. Who cares? It's going to be different by release, anyway.

      Benchmarks and reviews are ways for otherwise boring people to attempt to take part in ideas larger than themselves. Never mind if you're just jabbering or are an idiot with an obviously-flawed method - everybody's text looks the same on wordpress.

  • From TFA:
    "Well, since I don't want to kill my HDD I'm doing a test where PHP takes a value from simple MySQL table, increments a value and saves it back (using a set of functions that are typically used in web programming)"

    What am I going to do?! I'm running complicated PHP scripts on my development machine... is my hard disk going to die?
    ..
    but seriously, the author is converting the value received from an integer column in mysql to... an integer:
    $i=intval($i)+1;
    --
    What happened to /. and why are th
  • by bgspence (155914) on Friday June 19, 2009 @12:39AM (#28385733)

    How long does it take someone unfamiliar with a each web server take to download the required software and serve the first page?

    I bet Opera Unite beats the other solutions by a mile.

    • by smoker2 (750216)
      And how long will it take for them to figure out they need a hole in the firewall (or leave the browser running 24/7) before anybody can see it ? And how long before those people leave private documents in the public folder and then bitch about it ?

      The whole summary is a troll. All the other servers were faster without exception, but they take the conclusion that this is good ? Are we supposed to rip out our lamp stacks now and run opera on our co-lo servers ? I don't think so. As for ease of use, I instal
  • It's interesting to see that Nginx performs so well in comparison with the LAMP setup. I've setup a server at home using Nginx (http://magicode.org/ [magicode.org]) and it really performs well, even though it's a very modest server (P4, 256MB ram, slow drives, basically a 10 year old computer with parts added on).

    Regarding Unite, will people simply be using it to offload larger files and images, or will it be a genuine platform for people with no access to hosting? It's an interesting experiment by Opera.

    • by mrboyd (1211932)
      Marketing failure. You should have released SQLLiteAdm before trying to get ./ed :)
      • by Jarlsberg (643324)
        Haha, yeah, but it's still scheduled for release next week. And it's open source and free, so I'm not sweating about budgets or marketing.
  • by orin (113079) on Friday June 19, 2009 @06:07AM (#28387523)
    One of the most fun things about Opera Unite is that it allows standard users to enable it and run websites from behind the corporate firewall. As long as Opera has been installed on a computer, a standard user doesn't need admin privileges to enable Unite. Most corporate firewalls won't block the traffic because the local version of opera will establish the session tunnel to the opera unite servers, through which all incoming web traffic will travel. More here: http://bit.ly/4gmpFv [bit.ly]

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