All Unkept
Posted in: Microsoft, Web development, Linux  —  April 23, 2005 at 02:20 PM

Web development on Linux

by Luke Plant

Having lacked IE on my home PC for a few weeks, and now got it back again, I came to ask myself -- can you do any serious web development on a Linux platform?

For general web usage, I never need Internet Explorer, nor would I want to use it. I use Konqueror almost always, which is a truly excellent browser, and for web design stuff I sometimes use Firefox (it has some nice developer extensions, like realtime CSS editing). However, Internet Explorer is the dominant browser by miles, so whether you like it or not, any moderately advanced web design has to take it into account. The hoards of serious and bizarre bugs in Internet Explorer, especially its awful CSS support, mean that you cannot rely on any slightly complex design just working on IE.

But how do you test it without a copy of Windows? I have tried using Wine, but didn't get very far with running IE6, despite using a genuine Windows installation as the basis. Those who have reported success seem to also report buginess that isn't in the original, such as javascript not working etc, which would make that option useless for real testing of websites.

Since I've needed Windows 98 for a while for work, and I bought a copy of Win4Lin, I've not had to think about this much, because I've always had a copy of IE available while running Linux. The other option is CodeWeavers' Crossover Office, which apparently runs IE with only minor problems. Is there any free alternative that really works? I guess that CrossOver Office is probably the best option -- it means at least that you are not paying the Microsoft tax just to be able to do web development.

Such is the sad state of affairs when we allow one company to have such a monopoly.

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