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Installing a whole OS just to test a site on IE seems a bit excessive. Wouldn't it be easier to just test one's site on the cloud? (E.g. see http://www.microsoft.com/expression/products/SuperPreview_Ov..., though its for Windows.)

That's always bothered my about Internet Explorer. I can download Firefox, Chrome, and Opera all for under 20MB but I need to download 4GB to test Internet Explorer 8?

Seems strange, doesn't it? But the rendering engine is shared with countless other system components, it's not portable between operating systems (no IE9 on XP, no IE on mac/linux, no IE7 on certain x64 windowsen) and all attempts to extract the rendering engine into a portable .dll have quirks of their own (IETester et al).

Sad state of affairs, but a whole OS image is the only way to get guaranteed compatibility with what real-world users are seeing - A better comparison would be to iOS Safari or the Android browser, where the vendor just has zero incentive to make that specific browser work (identically) on other platforms.

I looked into some cloud solutions, but they are rather costly. If you could pay by the hour rather than month it might be more of an option.

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