Microsoft's Edge browser has taken another step to stability on Linux with the addition of the operating system to its Beta Channel.
Quite why anyone would actually want Microsoft's latest attempt at a browser on Linux is open to question. From the perspective of the Windows giant, getting developers to test their code on the platform is the name of the game and the move from the Dev Channel to Beta signifies a stable edition is on the way.
The first preview builds of Edge for Linux turned up in 2020. Penguinistas have not been treated to the daily updates of the Canary Channel – only Windows, HoloLens 2, and MacOS users get those – but they have been receiving regular drops on the Dev Channel. In March, for example, lucky Linux fans were able to synchronise their settings using their Microsoft account.
Linux joins the Beta Channel at version 91.0.864.15 with .deb and .rpm downloads. We took it out for a spin on Ubuntu 20.04 (on Intel chippery) and found it a competent browser; not as speedy as some and not as clunky as others. Unless one is wedded to the Microsoft ecosystem, there is little leap away from one's preference (other than
edge://surf, of course).
Not present, however, is an ARM64 Linux version of the browser. That's a curious omission since Chromium, the rendering engine behind Edge, has long been ported to platforms such as the Raspberry Pi. The arrival of developer darling Visual Studio Code on the diminutive computer makes the omission doubly curious.
Then again, it took the company a surprising amount of time to bring its own browser to its own ARM64-powered hardware.
Also not coming to an open-source desktop near you any time soon is the daily-updating Canary version; Microsoft engineer Sean Larkin said: "Right now we don't have any plans to do this," when asked.
Larkin did, however, say that a stable version was on the way, after which the Canary version might be revisited. ®