Install Internet Explorer on Linux with IEs4Linux

9 Set/09

Believe it or not, there is sometimes a need to have Internet Explorer available. Some web designers like to be able to to test their sites with all possible browsers. Some websites are poorly designed and will only function properly in Internet Explorer. So many designers (and users) need to have this browser available. If you use Linux there are a couple of possibilities. You could run Internet Explorer in a Virtual Machine (See my article “Installing and configuraing VirtualBox for virtual OSes“) or you could install Wine and IEs4Linux.

In this article we will deal with installing Internet Explorer with the help of Wine and IEs4Linux. The installation is not difficult and in the end you should have ever possible browser available to you for all your testing needs. Even though this installation will require the use of WINE you will not have to go through any complicated WINE set up. In fact the most difficult aspect of this setup is downloading and running a script that will take care of the most difficult part of the installation for you.

Preparing for the installation

The first thing you need to do is to make sure you have the right repositories in your /etc/apt/sources.list file. Open that file up and check to make sure the Universe repositories are uncommented. If you are using Januty (9.04) you will see the lines:

deb jaunty universe
deb-src jaunty universe
deb jaunty-updates universe
deb-src jaunty-updates universe

Makes sure none of those lines begin with the “#” character. If they do, remove that character and save the file. If you had to make changes to the file you will need to update apt with the command:

sudo apt-get update

Now you are ready to begin the installation.


The first thing you need to do is install a couple of applications with the help of apt-get. From within the same terminal you checked the sources.list file issue the following command:

sudo apt-get install wine cabextract

Once this has finished you need to download the IEs4Linux installation script from this site. When that file is downloaded go back to your terminal window and change to the directory that file was downloaded to and issue the following commands:

tar xvzf ies4linux-XXX.tar.gz

Where XXX is the release number.

cd ies4linux-XXX

Where XXX is the release number.

You are now inside the directory that contains everything necessy to install three different versions of Internet Explorer for Linux (5, 5.5, and 6 Sorry – no 7 or 8). Issue the following command:


Figure 1

Figure 1

The above command will open the GUI installation tool (see Figure 1). From within this tool you can select which version(s) of Internet Explorer to install, the language, if you want Flash Player 9 installed, and where you want icons to be placed.

You can also click the advanced button for more options. Within the advanced section you can select to install IE7 which is very much in beta. I attempted this installation only to have python segfault. There is a hack for this but it’s not really worth the trouble. The problem is that IE7 is not yet supported by WINE. As soon as it is IEs4Linux will add this support.

Once you have made those choices click OK and the installation will proceed.

Figure 2

Figure 2

When the installation begins a new window will pop open (see Figure 2). The last line in this window instructs you how to run Internet Explorer. In my case the executable is located in /home/jlwallen/bin/ie6. There is a rather odd behavior I have found with this installation. Upon completion of IEs4Linux you may not be able to run Internet Explorer without the help of sudo. Do not do this. Before you run the ~/bin/ie6 command issue the following command:

sudo chown -R USER.USER ~/.ies4linux

Where USER is the user name you log in with (in my case jlwallen)

The problem is that some of the files/directories in the ~/.ies4linux directories are installed as the root user. Your standard user will not be able to issue those command or use those files. So changing the ownership of the files and directories within the ~/.ies4linux directory solves that issue.

Final thoughts

Having IE 6 on your machine will not solve a lot of problems. But having the ability to test features of your web sites with as many browsers as possible is always good. Hopefully IE 7 will be supported soon which will bring even more validity to the IEs4Linux project.

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