As a Debian desktop user, you might have grown accustomed to using the default Firefox Extended Support Release (ESR) version as your go-to web browser. However, an alternative offers unique features and improvements, such as Microsoft Edge. Microsoft Edge has evolved significantly since its debut, and it’s now a worthy contender in the world of web browsers. This introduction will discuss the key differences between Microsoft Edge and Firefox ESR and why you might prefer switching to Microsoft Edge on your Debian desktop.
Key Differences and Advantages of Microsoft Edge over Firefox ESR:
- Chromium-based: Microsoft Edge is built on the Chromium platform, the same foundation as Google Chrome. This ensures excellent compatibility with modern web technologies and provides a seamless browsing experience.
- Performance: Microsoft Edge is known for its fast performance, even on resource-constrained systems. The browser has been optimized to use less memory and CPU, enabling smoother web browsing and better laptop battery life.
- Syncing Capabilities: Microsoft Edge offers seamless syncing of bookmarks, passwords, and other browser data across multiple devices, as long as you sign in with a Microsoft account.
- Vertical Tabs: A unique feature of Microsoft Edge is its Vertical Tabs, which allows you to organize and manage your tabs in a more intuitive way, making it easier to navigate between open tabs and enhancing productivity.
- Collections: Microsoft Edge features a built-in “Collections” tool that lets you gather and organize web content, such as images, text, and links, from various websites. This is particularly useful for research, shopping, and planning projects.
- Security and Privacy: Microsoft Edge offers robust security features, including Microsoft Defender SmartScreen, which helps protect you against phishing and malware. The browser also includes tracking prevention and InPrivate browsing mode, ensuring a more private browsing experience.
- Extensions: Microsoft Edge supports a wide range of extensions, including those from the Chrome Web Store, expanding its functionality and customization options.
- Immersive Reader: Another unique feature of Microsoft Edge is the Immersive Reader, which simplifies web pages by removing ads and other distractions, enabling you to focus on the content you want to read.
With these key differences and advantages in mind, it’s clear that Microsoft Edge can provide a more modern, efficient, and feature-rich browsing experience for Debian desktop users. If you’re intrigued by what Microsoft Edge offers, you’ll be pleased to know that the following guide will demonstrate how to install Microsoft Edge on Debian 12 Bookworm, Debian 11 Bullseye, or Debian 10 Buster using the command line terminal and official Microsoft Edge APT repository.
Table of Contents
Section 1: Install Microsoft Edge
Step 1: Update Debian
Before installing Microsoft Edge, it’s crucial to update your Debian system to ensure all existing packages are up to date. This ensures that your system has the latest security patches and dependencies needed for a smooth installation. To update your system, execute the following command:
sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade
Step 2: Install the Required Packages
To successfully install Microsoft Edge, you must install certain packages essential for the installation process. These packages may already be installed on your system, but running the following command will ensure that they are present and up-to-date:
sudo apt install software-properties-common apt-transport-https ca-certificates curl -y
Step 3: Import the Microsoft Repository
In this step, you’ll import the GPG key required to verify the authenticity of the Microsoft Edge package. This ensures that the package you’re downloading is genuine and safe to install. To download and import the GPG key, execute the following command:
curl -fSsL https://packages.microsoft.com/keys/microsoft.asc | gpg --dearmor | sudo tee /usr/share/keyrings/microsoft-edge.gpg > /dev/null
Next, add the Microsoft Edge repository to your system’s list of sources by running the following command:
echo 'deb [signed-by=/usr/share/keyrings/microsoft-edge.gpg] https://packages.microsoft.com/repos/edge stable main' | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/microsoft-edge.list
Step 4: Update Package List
Now that you’ve added the Microsoft Edge repository, you need to refresh your system’s package list to recognize the new repository. To do this, execute the following command:
sudo apt update
Step 5: Install Microsoft Edge Browser
You can now proceed to install the Microsoft Edge browser. Three different branches are available: stable (recommended), beta, and dev (nightly). To install the stable version of Microsoft Edge, run the following command:
sudo apt install microsoft-edge-stable
Optional: Install Microsoft Edge Browser Beta or Dev Version
If you prefer to try out the beta or dev (nightly) builds of Microsoft Edge, you can install them instead of the stable version. Note that these versions are not recommended for daily use, especially on a primary desktop or production server. They are intended for users who want to explore upcoming releases or live on the cutting edge.
These versions do not replace the stable version, and they are installed separately. However, it is recommended to install only one version at a time.
To install the beta version of Microsoft Edge, run the following command:
sudo apt install microsoft-edge-beta
To install the dev (nightly) version of Microsoft Edge, run the following command:
sudo apt install microsoft-edge-dev
Section 2: Launch Microsoft Edge Browser
After successfully installing Microsoft Edge, you’ll want to launch it and start browsing the web. There are several ways to open the browser, depending on your preference and the version of Microsoft Edge you’ve installed.
Step 1: Launch Microsoft Edge using Terminal Commands
You can launch Microsoft Edge by executing the appropriate command in your terminal. This method provides a quick and easy way to open the browser directly from the command line. Depending on the version of Microsoft Edge you’ve installed, use one of the following commands:
Dev (nightly) version:
Step 2: Launch Microsoft Edge from the Desktop Environment
While using terminal commands can be efficient, it might not be the most practical method for everyday use. You can also launch Microsoft Edge directly from your desktop environment. To do this, follow these steps:
- Click on Activities (usually located at the top-left corner of your screen).
- Click on Show Applications (represented by a grid of dots, often located at the bottom-left corner of your screen).
- Look for the Edge icon, which represents the Microsoft Edge browser. Click on it to launch the browser.
Example of application icons for Microsoft Edge browser versions on Debian Linux:
Section 3: Getting Started with Microsoft Edge on Debian
Now that you have successfully installed and launched Microsoft Edge on your Debian Linux system, it’s time to explore its features, customize your browsing experience, and optimize the browser for your needs. This section will discuss some essential tips and tricks to help you get started with Microsoft Edge on Debian Linux.
Customize Your Microsoft Edge Experience
Personalizing your browser can make it more efficient and enjoyable to use. Here are some customizations you can make in Microsoft Edge:
- Change the Theme: Microsoft Edge offers light and dark themes, allowing you to choose the one that suits your preference. To change the theme, navigate to the Settings menu (click the three horizontal dots in the top-right corner), then select Appearance. From here, you can choose between light and dark themes.
- Set a Custom Start Page: You can customize the appearance and content of your start page in Microsoft Edge. To do this, go to Settings > On startup and choose from the available options, such as opening a new tab, continuing where you left off, or opening a specific page or set of pages.
- Manage Extensions: Microsoft Edge supports various extensions to enhance your browsing experience. To manage your extensions, go to Settings > Extensions. You can search for new extensions by clicking on Get extensions for Microsoft Edge.
Essential Tips for a Better Browsing Experience
To make the most out of your Microsoft Edge experience, consider these tips:
- Use Vertical Tabs: Vertical Tabs is a unique feature of Microsoft Edge that allows you to organize and navigate your open tabs more efficiently. To enable Vertical Tabs, click on the Vertical Tabs icon (a small rectangle with an arrow) located at the top-left corner of the browser window.
- Take Advantage of Collections: Collections is a built-in tool in Microsoft Edge that helps you gather and organize content from various websites. To access Collections, click on the Collections icon (a small box with a plus symbol) located next to the address bar. From here, you can create a new collection, add content to an existing collection, or manage your collections.
- Browse Privately with InPrivate Mode: InPrivate mode enables you to browse the web without storing your browsing history, cookies, or temporary files. To open an InPrivate window, click on the three horizontal dots in the top-right corner of the browser window and select New InPrivate window.
- Enable Tracking Prevention: Microsoft Edge offers tracking prevention features to protect your privacy while browsing. To enable tracking prevention, go to Settings > Privacy, search, and services and customize your tracking prevention preferences.
- Use the Immersive Reader: The Immersive Reader in Microsoft Edge simplifies web pages by removing ads and other distractions, making it easier to focus on the content you want to read. To access the Immersive Reader, click on the Immersive Reader icon (a small book with a speaker symbol) located in the address bar when available.
Example of Microsoft Edge once opened on Debian Linux:
Section 4: Additional Commands & Tips
This section will cover how to update, remove, and manage Microsoft Edge on your Debian Linux system. These commands will help you maintain your browser and ensure it remains up-to-date and functional.
Updating Microsoft Edge
To keep your Microsoft Edge browser updated and secure, you should regularly check for and apply any available updates. Follow these steps to update Microsoft Edge:
Step 1: Update Package List
apt update command in your terminal to refresh your package list and check for any available updates:
sudo apt update
Step 2: Upgrade Microsoft Edge
If an update for Microsoft Edge is available, use the
apt upgrade command to apply the update:
sudo apt upgrade
Removing Microsoft Edge
If you need to uninstall Microsoft Edge from your system, follow these steps:
Step 1: Remove Microsoft Edge
Depending on the version of Microsoft Edge you have installed, use one of the following commands to remove the browser:
sudo apt remove microsoft-edge-stable
sudo apt remove microsoft-edge-beta
Dev (nightly) version:
sudo apt remove microsoft-edge-stable-dev
Note: These commands also remove any unused dependencies associated with Microsoft Edge.
Step 2: Remove the Repository
To remove the Microsoft Edge repository from your system, run the following command:
sudo rm /etc/apt/sources.list.d/microsoft-edge.list
Step 3: Remove the GPG Key
Finally, remove the GPG key you imported during the installation process:
sudo rm /usr/share/keyrings/microsoft-edge.gpg
Troubleshooting Multiple Sources.list Files
It’s essential to be aware that you can install all three versions of Microsoft Edge (stable, beta, and dev) simultaneously. However, each installation creates a new
sources.list file in your
/etc/apt/sources.list.d/ directory. When you run the
apt update command, multiple
sources.list files for Microsoft Edge may cause conflicts, and some updates might be ignored.
To resolve this issue, you should remove the extra
sources.list files and retain only one. If you accidentally delete all of them, refer to the import steps provided earlier in this tutorial.
Here’s a quick fix:
Step 1: Remove Extra Sources.list Files
Remove the extra
sources.list files with the following commands:
sudo rm /etc/apt/sources.list.d/microsoft-edge.list sudo rm /etc/apt/sources.list.d/microsoft-edge-beta.list sudo rm /etc/apt/sources.list.d/microsoft-edge-dev.list
Alternatively, you can remove all
sources.list files related to Microsoft Edge with a single command:
sudo rm /etc/apt/sources.list.d/microsoft*
Step 2: Re-add a Single Repository
Add a single repository to handle updates for all three versions of Microsoft Edge:
echo 'deb [arch=amd64 signed-by=/usr/share/keyrings/microsoft-edge.gpg] https://packages.microsoft.com/repos/edge stable main' | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/microsoft-edge.list
Step 3: Update the Package List
apt update to refresh the package list:
sudo apt update
Following these steps, you should resolve the issue, allowing your system to receive updates for all three versions of Microsoft Edge using a single
sources.list file instead of three.
Conclusion: Installing Microsoft Edge on Debian
In conclusion, Microsoft Edge offers a viable alternative to the default Firefox ESR browser on Debian Linux systems. With its modern interface, improved performance, and compatibility with a wide range of web applications, Microsoft Edge can enhance your browsing experience on Debian Linux. Following the provided installation guide and taking advantage of the additional tips and resources, you can make the most of Microsoft Edge and explore its features tailored for Debian Linux users.
Additional Resources and Links
Here is a list of official resources and links for further information on Microsoft Edge and Debian Linux:
- Microsoft Edge Official Website: Learn more about Microsoft Edge, its features, and download options for other platforms. Visit Microsoft Edge website.
- Microsoft Edge Insider Channels: Explore the different channels available for Microsoft Edge, such as Beta, Dev, and Canary. Get early access to new features and improvements. Visit Microsoft Edge Insider Channels.
- Microsoft Edge Developer Documentation: Access official documentation and resources for Microsoft Edge developers. Learn about web development, browser extensions, and more. Visit Microsoft Edge Developer Documentation.
- Debian Official Website: Visit the official Debian website for information about the operating system, latest releases, and support. Visit Debian website.
- Debian Wiki: Explore the Debian Wiki for a wealth of information on various Debian topics, including installation, configuration, and troubleshooting. Visit Debian Wiki.