Opera Software will release the first public preview of its Mac browser Thursday, February 22.

Opera claims its browser is the "fastest in the world". The preview version is an alpha release and should not be seen as a final candidate. It will work with any PowerPC-based Mac running Mac OS 7.5 or later.

The company will make versions of its browsers available for 68K Macs and Mac OS X in future. Opera has also announced that the Mac version of its Web browser will be available in a free, ad-supported version in the final release.

The browser supports FTP browsing, versions 1.0 and 1.1 of the http protocol, displays GIF, PNG and JPEG image formats and supports XML (Extensible Markup Language). It also offers WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) and proxy server support and can render CSS (cascading style sheets).