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Thursday, 22 October 2020 07:09

Microsoft releases a decent Edge browser for Linux

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The Edge logo. The Edge logo. Courtesy Microsoft

Microsoft has released a version of its Edge browser, based on Google's Chromium open-source browser, for Linux, an act that nobody would have considered possible some years ago.

And it is quite a decent browser, with wide open space, good display fonts and also operates at a decent speed. There is no clutter at the top unlike Firefox, with the developers having copied the Chrome model of having the menus at the right-hand side.

This makes for some awkwardness when one is trying to access stored bookmarks, but then these are early days.

There are also a decent number of extensions for the browser so that one can get rid of the usual impediments to hassle-free browsing.

I am not exactly a fan of Microsoft, but in this case, the software is more than acceptable. Not that one plans to use it beyond a bit of experimentation.

The release works on the distribution I use - Debian - and is also claimed to work on Red Hat, Ubuntu and openSUSE. But I cannot vouch for the last three; there are many experts out there who have tried to provide installation instructions for world+dog and come up short.

edge itwire

The iTWire home page on the Edge browser.

The only way to install Edge on Debian is to download the .deb file from here and use dpkg -i <filename> to install it after becoming root.

Others have provided instructions for all distributions, but it is obvious that they have not installed the browser on these distributions.

For example, on the Bleeping Computer website, there are instructions given for installing on Debian, using sudo in the command line. Debian does not use sudo; that is an Ubuntu thing.

And using these instructions, one gets error messages at two points: one, when updating the database prior to install (Err:11 https://packages.microsoft.com/ubuntu/16.04/prod bullseye Release 404 Not Found [IP: 52.163.211.218 443) and the second after the update command has completed (The repository 'https://packages.microsoft.com/ubuntu/16.04/prod bullseye Release' does not have a Release file. Updating from such a repository can't be done securely, and is therefore disabled by default.)

Exactly why one thinks that installing from the command line after downloading a file is complicated is beyond me. It is much simpler than all the alternative complicated instructions given.

Microsoft has a Linux Software Repository page that is outdated, having been last updated on 14 August. It needs some serious attention.

At some stage, one will have to install the browser from a repository, else updating it becomes a painful task. Clear instructions from Microsoft for the major Linux distributions would be the logical step to push use of Edge on Linux.


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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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