As reported on Slashdot, the Opera web browser beta release is now available. Based on the posts to the /. page on Opera, it looks like the Opera browser is closing the gap on Netscape feature-wise, but it still can’t handle web pages with Java applets (as can’t NS). It’s reported that the Opera browser renders CSS1 web pages beautifully, something NS is terrible at. Let’s hope the folks at Opera can get a fully functional production version out by year-end.