Linux Users: no MSDN downloads for you!

You'll need to install WINE and ies4linux if you expect to be able to download files from MSDN. Okay, I confess, I use Microsoft products.

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You'll need to install WINE and ies4linux if you expect to be able to download files from MSDN.

Okay, I confess, I use Microsoft products. A lot. Go ahead and revoke my Linux advocate license, I'm a traitorous clueless fool. Yadda yadda yadda. Have we gotten that out of the way? Great.

Maybe I'm being totally unreasonable, but with the advent of free desktop and SMB virtualization products, one should be able to have the choice of running Microsoft applications, including Windows, on Linux or any other alternative environment of their liking. My preferred computing environment is Linux -- specifically Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5, for the work I do as an infrastructure architect. But I still need to run Windows applications, so lately I've taken to running it under Sun xVM VirtualBox 1.6.

I also happen to have a personal MSDN subscription -- which traditionally I've accessed using Windows systems. However, for the first time today, when building a new VirtualBox instance of Windows XP SP3, I tried to access it and download a few ISO files from the MSDN site so I could mount them in my VirtualBox VM. Oh, I had no problem logging in. But download software? Sorry.

If you actually try to download files using Linux and Firefox on the latest version of the MSDN site -- which was launched just about two months ago -- you'll find out that the choices are all grayed out, even though you have a legit entitlement. Curiously, the same problem also occurs for me on Firefox 3 RC1 and Beta 5 for Windows (although others have told me their experiences were different).

Perhaps this has been the case for a while, but with Microsoft being all Interoperability Committed, maybe, just maybe they should consider making their support web sites more platform-independent.

You can, by the way, get around this problem if you install WINE and the way-cool ies4linux program, which gives you a complete IE6 (and experimental IE7) environment with Flash player. You can log into the MSDN downloads site and even use the web-installable MSDN downloader program, as shown in the screenshot above.

Anyone have better luck with Linux and Firefox and MSDN? Talk Back and Let Me Know.