Developer Details How to Get Netflix Running on Linux

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News Posted: Sat, Nov 17 2012 11:14 AM
For as popular as Netflix has become, it's a little surprising that it isn't available on Linux. Not natively, anyway. Don't worry though, if you really want to run Netflix on Linux, a determined developer has figured out a workaround that actually, well, works.

The developer, Erich Hoover, says the solution is to get Firefox and Microsoft Silverlight working in WINE, which is "not as as it sounds." To get all the pieces to play nice together, you need to run a custom built version of WINE that's been patched in several places. It's a wee bit complicated and involves several steps, but according to Hoover, the end result works like a charm on 32-bit versions of Ubuntu. You can get it to work on a 64-bit build too, but that's even more tricky, he says.

Netflix Ubuntu

Hoover is said to be working a PPA (Personal Package Archive) that will make installing Netflix on Ubuntu 32-bit and 64-bit a simple and painless process. In the meantime, iHeartUbuntu outlines all the steps required to get Netflix working ahead of the PPA.
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3vi1 replied on Sat, Nov 17 2012 3:52 PM

As much as I love Linux, I still think this is too much of a pain in the ass for 'normal' users. I compile Wine from source all the time, but I wouldn't even suggest the process to my non-geek friends, particularly when you need to set up a a 32-bit chroot if your running a 64-bit distro.  Adding a PPA is relatively painless (3 commands, or several clicks through some menus), but you really shouldn't add PPAs from any entities that you don't implicitly trust.

It will be much better once the patches, or an improved version of them, make it into the standard Wine repos. Still, having to use a backleveled version of Silverlight is hackish. Most Linux users will probably just continue running it in a VM using their ancient XP licenses.

The real problem in all of this is NetFlix. Their CEO, Reed Hasting has been on the board of directors over at Microsoft for the last 5 years, and therefore has always had a vested (i.e. conflict of) interest in making sure that there was as little competition in the OS market as possible.

Hasting's is leaving the MS board at the end of this month. Will we see a native Linux client? Maybe. We know they have already written one, because it's been running on Linux based systems for quite a while due to their partner deals for ChromeOS and Roku.

What part of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" don't you understand?

++++++++++++[>++++>+++++++++>+++>+<<<<-]>+++.>++++++++++.-------------.+++.>---.>--.

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RWilliams replied on Sat, Nov 17 2012 4:10 PM

I'd love to believe that Hastings being on Microsoft's board has something to do with it, but the fact that Netflix is on every other platform I can think of makes me believe otherwise. Microsoft's biggest threat desktop-wise is Mac OS X, and mobile-wise, Android. Netflix has been available on those platforms forever.

That said, I still do blame him, or at least the executive team there. I believe that their excuse is marketshare and nothing else. It would take a lot of effort to create a solution for Linux, given that there is no native Silverlight client there, so that's a pretty hard sell.

I'm starting to wonder if Canonical could offer to get the job done FOR Netflix, if that would be kosher. It's fairly dumb, but it wouldn't be the first time something like that's happened.

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3vi1 replied on Sat, Nov 17 2012 4:43 PM

>> " It would take a lot of effort to create a solution for Linux, given that there is no native Silverlight client there, so that's a pretty hard sell."

You missed something:  There already *is* a client for Linux.

ChromeOS = Ubuntu with new UI. Roku = Linux. Android = Linux with another UI (and no SilverLight).

 Re-read what I said in the final paragraph.

What part of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" don't you understand?

++++++++++++[>++++>+++++++++>+++>+<<<<-]>+++.>++++++++++.-------------.+++.>---.>--.

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RWilliams replied on Sat, Nov 17 2012 5:55 PM

There's a major difference between a desktop PC and simple systems like Roku, ChromeOS and even Android. Those are based on Linux, yes, but they don't use Silverlight (as it's not available for Linux). However Netflix makes it work on those platforms is fine, because it doesn't open up much of an attack vector to allow people to duplicate the content due to their simple nature. That situation changes when we're dealing with a feature-rich OS that allows for -far- greater control (read: a far improved ability to copy the content).

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3vi1 replied on Sat, Nov 17 2012 6:38 PM

>> " However Netflix makes it work on those platforms is fine, because it doesn't open up much of an attack vector to allow people to duplicate the content..."

But you and I realize that we can rip anything from a VM without any problem whatsoever. We can also root the other Linux platforms, if not just emulate them entirely... So, that argument might appeal to some people in a boardroom, but it's totally bogus.

What part of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" don't you understand?

++++++++++++[>++++>+++++++++>+++>+<<<<-]>+++.>++++++++++.-------------.+++.>---.>--.

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RWilliams replied on Sat, Nov 17 2012 7:19 PM

I agree. Where there's a will, there's a way. It's kind of like DRM / copy-protection. These companies -know- that people will get around it, but it just doesn't matter. They'll continue to add it in anyway.

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3vi1 replied on Sat, Nov 17 2012 8:09 PM

NO. You can't... "agree". We can't reach "consensus".... we can't both hope for a better future... this is madness! Madness!!!!!

What part of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" don't you understand?

++++++++++++[>++++>+++++++++>+++>+<<<<-]>+++.>++++++++++.-------------.+++.>---.>--.

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RWilliams replied on Sat, Nov 17 2012 8:34 PM

I'm sorry :(

(I hope that's okay.)

Edit: Well, would you look at that. We got a Linux topic into the "HOT" box on the right!

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3vi1 replied on Wed, Nov 21 2012 8:45 PM

I actually installed it, just to test... and... welll... it works amazingly well. Hmmmm.

What part of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" don't you understand?

++++++++++++[>++++>+++++++++>+++>+<<<<-]>+++.>++++++++++.-------------.+++.>---.>--.

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