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Microsoft's Edge browser is now 'stable' on Linux

The software is two years behind its Mac and Windows equivalents.
Microsoft Edge logo (2020)
Jon Fingas/Engadget
Jon Fingas
Jon Fingas|@jonfingas|November 3, 2021 12:15 PM

Yes, you read that correctly: Microsoft has officially released a web browser for Linux. Ars Technica reports the software behemoth has finally released its first stable version of Edge for Linux. The Chromium-based browser is available either through Microsoft's website (in .deb and .rpm formats) or through the command line using a Linux package manager.

The Linux version has been a long time in coming. Microsoft was testing the Edge variant in its Dev and Beta channels for about a year, and it's arriving more than two years after the Mac and Windows versions. It's not clear what prompted the wait, although Linux has historically had little consumer PC market share.

The feature parity is largely intact, at least. You unsurprisingly won't find an Internet Explorer compatibility mode (only Windows has that), but you can sync tabs, bookmarks, passwords and extensions. This may be your browser of choice if you use Linux on a personal system but want the browser setup from your Windows PC at work.

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Not now

The release is symbolic of how Microsoft's relationship with Linux has changed over the years. The company was notoriously antagonistic in the early 2000s, when CEO Steve Ballmer called Linux "a cancer" on intellectual property and otherwise treated it as a threat to Windows. Internet Explorer effectively served as a deterrent to would-be Linux switchers as many IE-optimized sites wouldn't run properly on Linux browsers without significant effort, if they ran at all.

Flash forward two decades and it's a different story. The company is now much more focused on services than Windows, and that means making offerings like Microsoft 365 and Windows 365 as accessible as possible. Microsoft needs to be friendly to Linux users to keep them from using rivals like Google Workspace — Edge for Linux could be worthwhile if it leads to years of subscription fees, even if users have no plans to switch to Windows.

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Microsoft's Edge browser is now 'stable' on Linux