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Open Source Linux

Netflix Touts Open Source, Ignores Linux 481

Posted by samzenpus
from the practice-watch-you-preach dept.
Julie188 writes "If Netflix loves open source, where's the Linux client? Last week's post from Netflix on its use of open source has gotten a lot of coverage from the tech press. Too bad nobody's called the video giant out on its hypocrisy: They benefit greatly from open source, but really don't care to let their customers do the same."
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Netflix Touts Open Source, Ignores Linux

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  • by seedtime (656136) on Wednesday December 15, 2010 @06:35PM (#34568130) Homepage
    That was my first thought. I don't often post but this is just a tad bit ridiculous. They are meeting the majority of their customers needs first. What about supporting all the other open source platforms? Linux is not the only one. There is a lot of open source that is not Linux. (JBoss, Apache, etc . . . )
  • by perpenso (1613749) on Wednesday December 15, 2010 @06:47PM (#34568308)
    From the Netflix website:

    "The great thing about a good open source project that solves a shared challenge is that it develops it's own momentum and it is sustained for a long time by a virtuous cycle of continuous improvement. At Netflix we jumped on for the ride a long time ago and we have benefited enormously from the virtuous cycles of actively evolving open source projects. We benefit from the continuous improvements provided by the community of contributors outside of Netflix. We also benefit by contributing back the changes we make to the projects. By sharing our bug fixes and new features back out into the community, the community then in turn continues to improve upon bug fixes and new features that originated at Netflix and then we complete the cycle by bring those improvements back into Netflix."

    "Here is an incomplete sampling of the projects we utilize, we have contributed back to most of them: Hudson, Hadoop, Hive, Honu, Apache, Tomcat, Ant, Ivy, Cassandra, HBase, etc, etc."

    http://techblog.netflix.com/2010/12/why-we-use-and-contribute-to-open.html [netflix.com]
  • by perpenso (1613749) on Wednesday December 15, 2010 @06:50PM (#34568336)

    They are mooching.

    They have taken from the commons and aren't giving back.

    Wrong. They contribute to the projects they use.

    "Here is an incomplete sampling of the projects we utilize, we have contributed back to most of them: Hudson, Hadoop, Hive, Honu, Apache, Tomcat, Ant, Ivy, Cassandra, HBase, etc, etc."
    http://techblog.netflix.com/2010/12/why-we-use-and-contribute-to-open.html [netflix.com]

  • by pavon (30274) on Wednesday December 15, 2010 @06:51PM (#34568346)

    The Netflix streams are all have proprietary DRM protection. To write our own client we would have to reverse engineer this proprietary protocol (which is legal, but can be difficult), and then worse, we would have hack the authorized players, and to get the DRM keys out of them. This implementation would constitute a circumvention device, and using or distributing it would be illegal under the DMCA.

    Asking open source customers to break the law to use your service isn't exactly friendly to open source.

  • Re:Roku is linux (Score:3, Informative)

    by Devrdander (1105175) on Wednesday December 15, 2010 @08:15PM (#34569062)
    The Roku box actually has DRM support in the hardware, as do most of the set top boxes and integrated devices. Linux itself just runs the front end for the hardware decoder.
  • by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday December 15, 2010 @08:27PM (#34569156) Journal

    If you have a license for XP Pro lying around you should look up "TinyXP Rev 09" or "MicroXP A3 Final" and then simply substitute your XP Pro license for the one included in the ISO. I've found that these custom stripped XP ISOs are great for running in VMs, as they have all the crap you don't need already cut out so it lowers the overhead. TinyXP without IE uses just 48Mb on the desktop, MicroXP uses something like 32MB. There is even a version of windows 7 floating around called "Windows Tiny7" that uses just 145MB of RAM, although why you'd want to run Windows 7 in a VM just to watch Netflix I'll never know.

    As for TFA, you'll most likely NEVER see Netflix on Linux, just as you won't see the big software like Photoshop and autoCAD natively supported. Why? We all know why, it is because of DRM. Linux guys hate DRM with a purple passion yet without allowing DRM support you'll never get the apps like Netflix that appeals to so many users. On the one hand I can admire the Linux guys sticking to their principles, but on the other with services like netflix becoming THE way people watch video at home not having a client has got to hurt desktop Linux adoption.

    While we all know that it is trivial to just torrent the video, most of us are geeks and home users just "don't get" most P2P apps like torrent software. The point of DRM isn't to make it impossible, just make it a PITA for Joe average, just as it is trivial to find ISOs that were made in spite of Safedisc or SecuROM, but Joe average can't just slap a blank in his DVD burner and whip off a copy of a SecuROM game. Personally I hate DRM, especially on games as many times their crap is hard coded for a specific OS and won't work on newer OSes, but as long as the PTBs at these companies insist on DRM in their products you can give up on seeing Linux clients. It would just be too trivial to compile a custom kernel that bypasses the DRM or fools it into thinking it is working while allowing the video to be captured, and three days after the first client was released the hack that allowed recording would be all over the net, probably in an easy to install package. You know it is true, as it only takes one asshole to ruin it for everyone else.

  • by Izaak (31329) on Wednesday December 15, 2010 @09:46PM (#34569740) Homepage

    Dude, if they had actually released the source code to their client, someone would have already ported it to Linux (heck, I would do it nobody else stepped up). Netflix uses open source tools in the course of doing business. That is very different than actually releasing their product as open source.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 15, 2010 @10:08PM (#34569902)

    Completely off base. Microsoft won't license the DRM components of silverlight, and until they do, there is no discussion of netflix on linux. But thanks for assuming something completely random and jumping into the fray.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 15, 2010 @11:52PM (#34570464)

    The only plausible excuse would be that the content owners from which they license content wouldn't license their content to Netflix if Netflix had a desktop Linux player.

    That's actually it. It isn't some conspiracy, or a secret. I'm a random Ubuntu user, and I looked into the whole netflix thing, and I consider one thread to be definitive [1].

    I want to quote the netflix rep posting in the thread as saying that he uses Ubuntu and that netflix would love to have a linux client if they could get the rights to do one. But, cut and paste doesn't work for me on slashdot :(

    Anyway, read it for yourself. It is pretty clear that Netflix is on our side.

    [1] developer.netflix.com/forum/read/49086

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