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IEs4Linux lets you install Internet Explorer under Linux

By David Pendell on September 18, 2008 (4:00:00 PM)

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Because a large portion of end user machines attached to the Internet are Windows machines, Web developers have no choice but to develop Web applications that, while they don't necessarily rely on Microsoft technology, do have to work properly with Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser. That usually means developers require a Windows installation at their disposal. Those of us who run Linux on our home machines have a harder time testing sites for Internet Explorer compatibility, or accessing sites that require proprietary IE features. IEs4Linux is a script that can help you set up three older versions of IE on any system running Wine. Unfortunately, the program is not as polished as it should be.

Requirements are low, and consist of the latest version of Wine and cabextract and an Internet connection, preferably high speed. Once Wine and cabextract are installed, download the IEs4Linux tar file and extract the contents, then switch to the directory that contains the executable and run it.

This is where the first indication of a lack of polish becomes apparent. If IEs4Linux is run from the command line and your Wine installation is a 1.x release, a message appears that states that Wine is out of date -- meaning not a 0.9.x version -- and that it should be updated for proper operation. This isn't a problem, and the program doesn't quit at this point.

The main screen of the program is straightforward. First, select the versions of the browser that you would like to install -- IE5, 5.5, or 6, but not the current IE7, even though it was released almost two years ago. Choose whether to install Flash 9, specify where you want the icons for the program installed, and click OK. For most people the defaults are acceptable. If there are no errors in the IE installation files and dependencies that IEs4Linux downloads, the program should leave you with a working installation of the Internet Explorer versions of your choice. Those very few steps brought me to a working installation of Internet Explorer 6.0.

On my test machine, an old Dell laptop, IE6 ran fine, with the exception of Flash. The program tried to download Flash from macromedia.com instead of adobe.com, despite the fact that Flash has been an Adobe technology since 2005, and that IEs4Linux refers to Flash as Adobe Flash on its main page. As the program did not error out at this point, I assumed that the installation worked, but when I tried to access a Web site that used Flash, IE6 didn't recognize that Flash was installed. When I tried to install it through the browser, I was again met with failure.

The download process is sloppy too. While downloading IE, if there is any kind of a hiccup in your Internet connection, the download terminates. The program does not try to reestablish the download, it just stops, and the only option left is to quit the program. On the plus side, when you rerun the program, if the settings are duplicated from the previous installation attempt, the files that were downloaded successfully are not downloaded again.

Advanced options

On IEs4Linux's main page there is a button that brings up advanced options such as the path for the installation, the location of the bin folder, where the aforementioned IE installation files will be saved, flags for wget, and, for those who want IE7, an option to attempt to install it. One minor irritation is the default for IE to be installed in the hidden folder .ies4linux instead of the default .wine, but it turns out this is not a design flaw. Installing IE in Wine creates, as the Wine Application Database puts it, "a big mess." The Wine developers actually recommend that you don't install IE at all and strongly recommend IEs4Linux if you insist on doing so. If you do install it, either by hand or with IEs4Linux, they strongly recommend that you install it in a different directory, which the defaults in IEs4Linux accomplish. Still, some indication of the defaults and the reason for the different directory would be nice.

I never was able to get IE7 to work. When I tried to run it, a window did display, but nothing was ever rendered in it. Even after letting it run for several minutes, nothing happened. Given that IEs4Linux is just a program for downloading and installing IE, this failure falls in the purview of Wine. Indeed, a check of the Wine Application Database confirms this and shows that the only known working platform for IE7 is Ubuntu 8.04 Hardy x86_64. I can't determine to what extent IE7 runs in this context, as the only criteria that the Wine app database requires is an application installs and runs, with no indication as what "run" means.

However, IE7 may not be a must-have for most non-Web-developers, as a quick search of Google shows that there were more problems with IE7 breaking Web sites than there are Web sites that require it. If you are a Web developer, lack of IE7 support is probably a deal-breaker, but if you are a casual Web surfer who just wants to be able to access IE-only sites, IE6 is still a capable browser and is supported on XP SP2 until 2010.

Summary

For all of its lack of attention to detail, IEs4Linux simplifies the complicated process of installing IE in Linux. While the problems with its user interface are annoying, the program is stable and does the required job. However, given that the Wine project developers discourage installing IE on Linux, and given that virtualization technology is becoming easier and cheaper to implement, IEs4Linux may be becoming increasingly irrelevant. Your reasons for installing and running IE on Linux would have to be pretty compelling before I could recommend using it. A better approach would be to upgrade your computer's memory, install an open source virtualization product such as KVM or Xen, and run Windows XP and IE in that context. In that setting, IE will run better and faster and be more stable than IE under Wine.

David Pendell has been working with computers for the last 23 years in a variety of capacities, including for programming and audio and video processing. He has been using Linux since Red Hat 5.1 and has used a variety of distros.

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on IEs4Linux lets you install Internet Explorer under Linux

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IEs4Linux lets you install Internet Explorer under Linux

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 82.192.13.179] on September 18, 2008 04:36 PM
Sadly enough, for a web developer even running IE under Linux won't give you a chance to do real cross browsers tests without a Windows box at hand as the system fonts and anti-aliasing methods differ too much to sacrifice this step.

--
Robert Wetzlmayr
http://wetzlmayr.at/

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Re: IEs4Linux lets you install Internet Explorer under Linux

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 92.42.145.164] on September 18, 2008 05:29 PM
Agreed, a VM on a second monitor is the only way I've found it to be half viable.

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IEs4Linux lets you install Internet Explorer under Linux

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 194.205.142.82] on September 18, 2008 05:10 PM
I have one single question, WHY?

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Why? Seriously?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 62.210.154.97] on September 18, 2008 05:23 PM
1. Because we can
2. To test and compare
3. Because some brain dead site, while being fewer and further between, still only work properly on IE

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Re: IEs4Linux lets you install Internet Explorer under Linux

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 82.192.250.149] on September 18, 2008 05:25 PM
And the FIRST TWO SENTENCES of the article answer that question. If you can't be bothered to read beyond the article title, please don't post a reply.

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Re(1): IEs4Linux lets you install Internet Explorer under Linux

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 194.205.142.82] on September 19, 2008 08:46 AM
I did in fact read the whole article and my question is still why?, base your code on W3C standards with a nice little popup for ie users and let MS fix there own mistakes, after all would you eat broken glaas just because everyone else does.

Please dont post a reply if you cant believe that someone might have a differing viewpoint.

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Re(2): IEs4Linux lets you install Internet Explorer under Linux

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 68.192.162.71] on September 19, 2008 04:35 PM
Because some of us who develop websites want to make sure that they operate in the real world, where vast numbers of users are stuck with IE because it is a corporate standard. And not even IE7, but IE6. Yes, I'm talking to you T.

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Re(1): IEs4Linux lets you install Internet Explorer under Linux

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 64.219.147.57] on September 21, 2008 04:10 AM
Isn't amazing how bold anonymous posters are. You flipping idiot! If you can't add to the conversation stay the hell out of it. I would ask you how secure your job is at microsoft! But I really don't give a flip!

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Re(1): IEs4Linux lets you install Internet Explorer under Linux

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 71.109.146.150] on October 18, 2008 09:20 AM
Dick.

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IEs4Linux lets you install Internet Explorer under Linux

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: localhost] on September 18, 2008 06:17 PM
Wine does not provide support for IEs4Linux and is stated in the winehq irc channel, so please don't come asking for help. IEs4Linux does not play nice. The best way is to use a VM to run IE in, as others above have posted about diferences, IE in Wine wont run very good or the same as IE on native Windows in a Virtual Machine.

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IEs4Linux lets you install Internet Explorer under Linux

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 24.84.196.212] on September 18, 2008 06:26 PM
I have used ies4linux since it 1st was released. While I hardly ever use IE I keep it available on my desktop just in case. I have noticed very little development work to improve IEs4linux over time. It is a handy little script but it won't solve world hunger, unfortunately.

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IEs4Linux lets you install Internet Explorer under Linux

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 192.58.229.21] on September 19, 2008 12:59 PM
"I did in fact read the whole article and my question is still why?, base your code on W3C standards with a nice little popup for ie users and let MS fix there own mistakes, after all would you eat broken glaas just because everyone else does."

You must be living in another planet...

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Re: IEs4Linux lets you install Internet Explorer under Linux

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 65.15.180.50] on September 19, 2008 06:02 PM
Actually no, you must be. In fact in the last 2 years of design and development I have seen a trend. One that points towards the development of stanard complient websites first and fore most. I know of atleast 100 designers and developers, that design solely on Standards. If Microsoft can't spend a few minute reading the w3c development standard then why should we bother spending a few minutes coding for a broken piece of software. I refuse to waste my time on it unless I am specifically asked by a client to do so, and that aint cheap. It is very simple to inform most users of a better solution that works better then what they have. Consumers are eager to find better and better technology that serves their needs.

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IEs4Linux lets you install Internet Explorer under Linux

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 78.86.191.204] on September 19, 2008 01:51 PM
This is a little "old news" don't you think and I can't see it being developed further for ie8 support in the future as ie7 support isnt and probably never will be finished.

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IEs4Linux lets you install Internet Explorer under Linux

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 69.202.124.237] on September 19, 2008 02:40 PM
I had to install this on a clients computer, because her online classes website would only function using IE. I had a talk with one of their IT guys, while I was convincing him that Openoffice WAS the same thing as MS Office. After I installed IE 5, she was able to view her class assignments/work.

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IEs4Linux lets you install Internet Explorer under Linux

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 91.143.191.254] on September 19, 2008 03:38 PM
nice, although i covered this on my blog here...

http://www.red91.com/2008/05/23/safari-ie-on-linux

it is good to have around but better if you use Virtual PC and microsoft VM test images.

;-)


John.

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Re: IEs4Linux lets you install Internet Explorer under Linux

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 88.239.150.156] on September 24, 2008 09:19 PM
Even running IE under Linux won't give you a chance to do real cross browsers tests without a Windows box at hand as the system fonts and anti-aliasing methods.

Cristiano
http://www.bolcasohbet.net

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IEs4Linux lets you install Internet Explorer under Linux

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 205.143.204.102] on September 19, 2008 04:21 PM
VirtualBox and a windows install disk will get you much farther, faster than trying to run IE through Wine. With seamless mode, you can even have it *look* like you're running IE natively in linux.

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Re: IEs4Linux lets you install Internet Explorer under Linux

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 95.132.252.119] on March 03, 2009 10:08 AM
And what about xen?

<a href="http://italianainfo.ru">home</a>

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Re(1): IEs4Linux lets you install Internet Explorer under Linux

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 80.254.110.28] on April 22, 2009 08:53 PM
<a href="http://good-avto.ru">home</a>

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Is this news? I think it's two years late...

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 190.177.195.10] on September 20, 2008 08:06 PM
http://www.theinquirer.net/en/inquirer/news/2006/09/26/ie-for-linux-hack-offers-one-more-reason-not-to-boot-windows

I also couldn't help noticing the writer keeps referring to "the program" while it's hardly a program... it's an INSTALL SCRIPT for crissakes!

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lame article :-(

Posted by: Michael Shigorin on September 21, 2008 01:00 PM
1) doesn't mention that due to DCOM98 license one must either have windows license or break one;
2) "Web developers have no choice" -- utter BS;
3) "Unfortunately, the program is not as polished as it should be" -- you need it, you do it.

Sorry about that.

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IEs4Linux lets you install Internet Explorer under Linux

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 67.61.167.35] on October 02, 2008 11:52 PM
for those people who say you need Internet Explorer ONLY....take Firefox and install the User Switcher Agent extension.
You can then set it to Internet Explorer...and when you visit a page...it fools the page into thinking you have IE installed...and VOILA!!! Problem SOLVED!

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