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Opera Unite: A Personal Webserver Built In to Your Browser, Part 2

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Browsers can be reasonably considered a mature technology. We all know what they're supposed to do: serve up whatever web content we choose quickly and easily, and hopefully not burn up a lot of CPU/memory resources in the process. Opera Inc. decided to go against the flow and add a personal content server that is available simply by being enabled. In Part II of this two-part article, technology expert A. Lizard shows you how to make the personal content server available without using the Opera Unite proxy server, either as a LAN server or so you can use it with your own Internet domain.
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In Part 1 of this article, I discussed the general concept of a personal content server, why one might want one as opposed to a “cloud” service, how to obtain and install Opera Unite, how to keep one's content from becoming publicly available via the Opera Unite website,

Here, I discuss how to make the personal content server available without using the Opera Unite proxy server, either as a LAN server or so you can use it with your own Internet domain. In other words, you can use it as http://www.yourname.com instead of devicename.username.operaunite.com as the default proxy setup would render it. I also describe the set up of a dedicated Opera Unite installation stripped to bare essentials for improved stability and decreased CPU usage.

Setting Up a Separate Opera Instance

While the setup is much more complex, it's still a lot easier than setting up a secure Apache installation.

  1. Copy the /home/username/.opera directory into /home/username/.opera-unite (see Figure 1).
  2. cp /home/username/.opera  /home/username/.opera-unite

    Figure 1 Editing Opera .ini files

  3. Open /home/username/.opera-unite/opera6.ini with a text editor as user. I used kwrite.
  4. Find/replace all references to .opera with .opera-unite.
  5. Save and exit.
  6. Do the same with operaprefs.ini, opera6new.ini, and opera.ini in the .opera-unite directory.
  7. Open the new webserver-only version as user with the following command line:
  8. opera -nowin -personaldir /home/username/.opera-unite
  9. If you're copying a working installation of Opera Unite:
    • Open the main configuration of the original installation and disable Opera Unite.
    • Open the main configuration of the new webserver-only version, first shut down Opera Unite, then reopen it.

    To run the webserver-only version from a desktop icon, create an application launcher icon as usual by right-clicking and selecting Create Application Launcher, and fill in Opera Unite in the General tab. Here you can find or create an icon for Opera if you don't like the generic default. Then, fill in the command line from #6 of this list into the Applications tab’s Command textbox.

    If you want to run it automatically at startup, in theory, adding the above command line to /etc/rc.local will work. If that works for you, the problem is solved. However, that approach doesn't work for me, so… (this is for KDE, Gnome should be similar):

    • Open Autostart (KDE – Menu > System Settings > Advanced > Autostart).
    • Click Add Program.
    • Enter the following in the Choose Application textbox:
    • opera -nowin -personaldir /home/username/.opera-unite
    • Click Close. It should create a new Opera desktop icon for you if you haven't already done that.
  10. Once open, first open choose Tools > Quick Preferences and unclick Enable Plug-Ins. At this point, the Opera Unite server will work with plug-ins (including but not limited to Flash) disabled. No Flash, no operapluginwrap, no admin monitoring needed to ensure it isn't pushing total CPU usage to 100 percent. Unfortunately, there's no way to automatically turn the services on after the desktop loads yet. However, this program still has enough stability issues that if you want it to run continuously, you either need someone physically present or a remote control setup to enable you to (re)start it.
  11. Type opera:config in the URL textbox and change the following:
    • Opera Account: Opera Account Used (disable)
    • Webserver:
      • Do not use Opera Account: enable
      • Enable: enable
      • Proxy host: Default is operaunite.com; leave as-is.
      • Default proxy port is 16680 leave as-is and open the proxy port in the firewall to match that port number if you want to use the proxy.
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