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Internet Explorer on Linux: help for XFLD (and Ubuntu) November 27, 2006

Posted by Nigel Ajay Kumar (NAyK) in Definitions, Flash 9, Linux, Other Distros, Software, Ubuntu, Working with Linux.

Trust me, I need Internet Explorer: ONE site that helps me check my internet usage is an Internet Explorer only site. I can’t help it, and right now I can’t do anything about it. And so in my effort to use only Linux, I needed still need IE (of course when I get back to webdesigning, I need IE for testing purposes, but for now that one page is the reason). With that disclaimer, I hope the following help makes sense. It’s only for emergencies and nothing more. For daily browsing I use Firefox (on XFLD), Swiftfox (on Ubuntu) and Firefox/Opera (on Windows). So do you really trust me? Then on to the guide on how to install IE on linux (I did it on XFLD .3 which is still installed (and used) on my Desktop, but it should work on the Ubuntu 6.10 on my Lenovo as well). (ubuntu update: I installed it later onto my Lenovo notebook using Ubuntu and met a similar, though not the same, success.)

OK… to get you straight to my source ie. the article that helped me… here it is. The reason why I’m writing my version, is to give you a step by step “feeling”/hands on/practical look at the process.

It worked. And the installers threw in a Flash 9 plugin as a bonus. Wow, excellent stuff

A. Search on Google for “internet explorer on linux” and found the tatanka.com main page the first on the list. I don’t usually click on the first link so I tried this tatanka site as well as one more (tabs in action!). The other site wasn’t so helpful, but tatanka was straightaway to the point. I didn’t really want to install WINE on my XFLD (which is another way of installing IE I guess)… so I was attracted by the simplicity of IEs4Linux. The site promised, “IEs4Linux is the simpler way to have Microsoft Internet Explorer running on Linux (or any OS running Wine). No clicks needed. No boring setup processes. No Wine complications. Just one easy script and you’ll get three IE versions to test your Sites. And it’s free and open source.” I was all hooked!

B. The instructions on the site were pretty simple… I clicked on the “follow me link” which led me to the link that asked me whether I wanted it for (k/x)ubuntu, Fedora, Gentoo, Debian… without reading further, I clicked Ubuntu (knowing the XFLD is based on Ubuntu). If I had read that page I may have hesitated because it said I need to install WINE… but for now, I was happy that I was going to do something simple.

C. The instructions site was pretty typical of most linux installation guides. A code line with a brief explanation above it. The code-line needs to be typed in the Terminal (for Windows users, the CMD or DOS like interface in Windows). I’m taking the basic instructions from the site and adding my reactions/viewpoint. My views are in italics.


You have to enable universe packages first. It is also recommended that you use the official winehq ubuntu package:

Universe packages in my view are “unsupported” packages not part of the official Ubuntu repositories (places to download). A Universe is usually created/maintained by developers who are not officially with Ubuntu. The multiverse is usually a much larger pool of developers/programmes, and is by extension further removed from official repositories. Usually we’re told to use Universe/Multiverse at our own risk. I’ve usually just blindly installed from universe/multiverse and am only become a little more cautious of late, because some of my linux problems COULD have been caused by indiscriminate downloads.

1) Open a terminal

It’s usually a black TV screen icon. Found in XFLD in Applications/System/Terminal… something like that. XFLD by default uses “transparency” setting which is really irritating because you can’t read the text sometime. So I removed the default in preferences and replaced with solid.

2) Open /etc/apt/sources.list

sudo gedit /etc/apt/sources.list

In XFLD, there’s no gedit editor (ubuntu update: It is the default text editor in Ubuntu). GEDIT is like NOTEPAD in Windows. And is an indespensible tool in Linux to edit code. In Kubuntu they use KWRITE and in XFCE (which is what XFLD uses) they have MOUSEPAD. So I typed sudo mousepad /etc/apt/sources.list. Once I press enter, a file called sources.list opens up with code in it. The file will open in the graphic window (not in the terminal).

The sources.list file is basically the file that tells Linux that these are the repositories (the places) from which Ubuntu etc. can download from. There are more repositories listed in the sources.list file that are disabled by putting a # before the code-line. The #-line makes the line a comment and negates that source. The next instruction you will have to remove the # and thus enable that stated repository.

3) Uncomment (or add) following lines:

deb http://us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu edgy universe

There are many lines of code in that file, but I knew what I was looking for so it wasn’t too difficult to find it. The original line in my sources.list looked like

#deb http://in.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu edgy universe
The final line looked like
deb http://in.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu edgy universe
Notice the “in” before archive. That basically tells the country mirror from where you are going to download. I’m in India so “in” it is. “us” is obviously for people in the US.

4) Add this line:

deb http://wine.budgetdedicated.com/apt edgy main
I added this code-line right after the previous line I edited… I guess it doesn’t really matter where you put it, but it just made sense to put it there.

5) Close gedit. Update and install wine and cabextract:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install wine cabextract
This is what I did. I closed MOUSEPAD (in the graphic window) and retuning to the terminal I typed “sudo apt-get update” and pressed enter. It asked me my root password which I typed and pressed enter.

A whole string of lines began to come on screen and it’s a good idea to read what is eventually said in the last lines because it migh show an error. There was no error for me. I then typed “sudo apt-get install wine cabextract” I didn’t need to type the root password again. A whole bunch of different lines appeared. It took some time, but things were happening!

6) Download IEs 4 Linux and install

wget http://www.tatanka.com.br/ies4linux/downloads/ies4linux-latest.tar.gz

tar zxvf ies4linux-latest.tar.gz

cd ies4linux-*


(Note for Dapper users: if you use ubuntu dapper, replace edgy with dapper on lines above.)

After typing each of the above lines, I saw something happen. I actually made a mistake and thought the first and second lines were one line (they weren’t). I’m not sure what wget does, but tar is the unzip utility, so it makes sense that the file was unzipped after downloading. Each step took some time, but eventually when I typed ./ies4linux I go the instruction that I needed to type the name of file in its path and then get internet explorer working.

I was really excited and did it… and below is the screenshot of internet explorer working on my computer. I also saw that there was a shortcut for internet explorer on the desktop… I guess it reminds us all of windows… but the people I guess forget that MS Internet Explorer omnipresence was something that we were hoping to run away from. But at least for first use the shortcut is helpful!



Now back to the normal reaction/reflection text (in non-italics). I found it funny when I went to the short cut, it directed me immediately to IE’s Microsoft update site, saying I need some service pack or updates etc. I almost felt tempted to try it… but then I chickened out… because I didn’t want to mess up with the installation and I was really happy that it was working so far.

I logged to the site I needed, saw that I was just within the usage limits, and then logged out. Thanks Tatanka developers (Sergio Lopes and team). I can’t support you financially, but I can say that you did an excellent job. Oh, I forgot to mention they also loaded a Flash 9 plug-in, which was an added bonus!

Final usage comment: Well, everything can’t have gone smoothly, can it? Well, the IE window keeps blinking on and off… like it’s refreshing. It’s not so distracting but it does happen once in a while. But when I opened a flash based video in metacafe… is was entirely unwatchable because it refreshes/blinks constantly. It’s like watching snapshots fast. I guess that IE on Linux is not for watching videos… but perhaps the flash plugin needs to be ironed on. I must say that those who need IE on Linux, (and knows who know that the IE plugin in Firefox doesn’t really work (it doesn’t!)) this is the answer. (ubuntu update: upon installing IE on Ubuntu, I found that everytime I ran the programme through the terminal, there was a long string of incomplete commands. As I closed the terminal, even IE closed. This does not happen when I run IE through the on-desktop shortcut. Anyway, I’ve moved the nice-looking nasty shortcut out of my site!)



1. laosboyme - November 28, 2006

Its great that you have install IE in ubuntu! are you using Xubuntu?

2. NAyK - November 29, 2006

To laosboyme: I am using both XFLD 0.3 (which is an Ubuntu Derivative, with XFCE window manager, and multimedia codecs), and Ubuntu 6.10.

3. Moises - October 22, 2007

Currenty, one downfall with firefox is that it does not have a Shockwave plugin. I found out that if you install Firefox for windows in Ubuntu using the Wine you can download, shockwave and install it as well, I even down loaded Flash 9 for windows, and once I open Firefox through wine I could actually open sites that use shockwave.



4. Moises - October 22, 2007

Forgot to mention does your version of IE work with Shockwave sites, I had a few patrants asking me for that, as sometimes they need to take some courses online, but because our network is all linux driven, we tell them know. I know it works though wine, but I am curious about the installion of IE.


5. Running Internet Explorer under Ubuntu Linux | Edmonds Commerce Blog - February 19, 2008

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