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Running Netflix On Linux 185

ndogg writes "Netflix now works on Linux... sort of. The folks at iheartubuntu have figured out a way to get Netflix to run on the Windows version of Firefox using Wine (with a number of custom patches) and Silverlight. They plan on releasing packages for it all soon. Currently, it seems they have only had success with 32-bit, while compiling for 64-bit is tricky."
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Running Netflix On Linux

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  • Still wondering (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Why in the world Netflix don't move to Flash?
    It has DRM too. Come on guys! SilverSh*t is dead

    • Re:Still wondering (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Bradmont ( 513167 ) on Friday November 16, 2012 @12:26PM (#42002253)
      Given that Netflix' CEO was (until last month) a member of the board of directors of Microsoft, and owns about $6 Million in Microsoft stock, I think he probably doesn't want Linux to become a strong desktop option...
      • Re:Still wondering (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Cinder6 ( 894572 ) on Friday November 16, 2012 @01:29PM (#42003059)

        Netflix works fine on the Mac, which is a bigger threat to Microsoft's desktop dominance than Linux is.

        • Re:Still wondering (Score:5, Interesting)

          by evilviper ( 135110 ) on Friday November 16, 2012 @04:12PM (#42005089) Journal

          Netflix works fine on the Mac, which is a bigger threat to Microsoft's desktop dominance than Linux is.

          Apple's Mac is clearly no threat to Microsoft. They've shown themselves perfectly happy to have a profitable niche, rather than lower prices and cater to the unwashed masses.

          The real threat to Windows is Android... A decent Android tablet is only $80, plus a few for bluetooth keyboard and stand. Viewsonic is embedding Android systems in their monitors, now, so you can go buy a new monitor for your PC, and later decide the PC its attached to is redundant. I'm frustrated nobody has put together a polished Linux OS layer for Android, ala. Cygwin or MacPorts, so a number of Linux apps I need can't be run on Android. Microsoft knows the threat, and they've (re-)entered the tablet market to try and just slow the competition down, and divide the market, with Win8, rather than let a free and open option gain dominance and that magical economies of scale that suddenly tips the balance of power.

          Netflix doesn't seem happy about Android, either. They dragged their feet as long as they could on getting out a Netflix app for Android, and while it's out there now, it sure performs like crap on my nice fast cell phone that easily runs everything else... I suppose no matter how much Netflix loves Microsoft, they can't ignore the market to the point of their own demise.

          Meanwhile, HuluDesktop has been available for Linux for a good long time... If you want to stream TV shows and a few movies on your Linux DVR, Hulu Plus is obviously the way to go.

          • Android is Linux, it doesn't need any compatibility layer!
            You can just install you distro of choice in a chroot. Debian and Gentoo both work great for me.
            The lack of X11 acceleration is annoying but everything I have tried has run.

    • flash is dead too, and about time
      • Flash is dead? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by macbeth66 ( 204889 ) on Friday November 16, 2012 @12:45PM (#42002545)

        Since when? It seems that more and more crap is being shoveled out. I would have thought HTML5 would have marginalized Flash, it hasn't.

        • I haven't had Flash installed for years now, and doesn't seem like I'm missing anything. Most video sites (including YouTube or pr0n have options for loading an HTML5 video player, or will do so if they detect an iOS device.

        • Does HTML5 work yet? Doesn't much of the hyped functionality require additional stuff to make it work? Ie, you also have to have extra codecs, or javascript, or something else. While Flash has problems, HTML5 certainly does also and still can not do what Flash does.

          There really is a place in the market for a media programming language thing. Markup languages can not match that, no matter what the web oriented fanboys think. Now maybe Flash is the wrong thing for that, and Silverlight is even worse, but

    • Re:Still wondering (Score:5, Informative)

      by advantis ( 622471 ) on Friday November 16, 2012 @12:29PM (#42002325)
      A while back, LoveFilm UK moved away from Flash to Silverlight citing DRM reasons. Apparently Flash DRM isn't good enough, while Silverlight DRM is. They also claimed that it was the studios that required the Silverlight DRM [], so blame Hollywood.
  • Redundant (Score:5, Funny)

    by MightyYar ( 622222 ) on Friday November 16, 2012 @12:23PM (#42002203)

    Silverlight to play
    Entertainment from
    Tell me more!

  • Netflix can either set minimum silverlight to 5 or find another way to block it. It will be interesting to see if they do that.

    • Is there a reason to block it?
      • by h4rr4r ( 612664 )

        Reed Hastings is on the MS board until Nov 30 and owns quite a bit of MS stock.

        Also WIne might make recording this content slightly easier. I would imagine you could just record the screen in windows as well, though.

      • by PPH ( 736903 )

        Two reasons:

        1) Studio heads who hear 'Linux' and think free ... hacker ... piracy.

        2) The possible purchase [] of Netflix by Microsoft.

    • by rwa2 ( 4391 ) *

      Netflix can either set minimum silverlight to 5 or find another way to block it. It will be interesting to see if they do that.

      Um, I just happened to try this out a few nights ago on my Linux Mint 13 laptop. I had Silverlight 4 on Firefox 14 installed under Wine1.4. The Netflix page made me download a newer version of Silverlight which didn't work.

      Of course, I didn't bother with any of the wine patches, so I probably lose anyway. I was going to try Win7 under VirtualBox next to see how that performs.

  • by spidercoz ( 947220 ) on Friday November 16, 2012 @12:24PM (#42002213) Journal
    Until it runs in Linux natively, I'm not reinstating my subscription. Bite me, Netflix.
    • by KingMotley ( 944240 ) on Friday November 16, 2012 @12:28PM (#42002303) Journal

      After this post, you can clearly see that netflix's stock dropped by $0.00000001 per share. GO spidercoz!

      • After this post, you can clearly see that netflix's stock dropped by $0.00000001 per share. GO spidercoz!

        Well, add another $0.00000001 for me. Eventually this adds up to some money.

      • I didn't realize Netflix stock could get any lower. Btw, count another $0.00000001 deduction for me.
    • I used to think that way until my old DVD player died. My replacement BD player has netflix built-in, and it doesn't require a computer attached to the TV.

      Still not going to get a netflix subscription though. I don't have enough time to watch shows and movies, and I'm pretty sure my ISP will complain loudly if I watch it every day. Go Canada!

      • Good option if you have it, but optical media is dead to me.
        • You don't own any optical media? I thought about that for a long time - just get rid of everything I have so I don't have to store it. I replaced the player to play my old content, I have hundreds of legit physical CDs and DVDs and a couple BDs.

          I didn't even know that it could do netflix until I took the new player out of the box and set it up.

          • I started ripping my DVDs a while ago. I bought 3 2TB disks just before the floods and put them in a RAID-Z array, giving me 4GB of usable space. That's enough for full backups of my laptop (with periodic snapshots) and for my DVD collection (probably about 1TB when I've ripped them all). The NAS box runs FreeBSD and is connected to my projector and speakers. Because none of the streaming services use open standards for their services, I can't use them from this machine, so they don't get my money even
          • I still have some but they're relics, haven't been played in years.
      • The selection in Canada is terrible. I hooked up a Roku box for one of my customers who bought one, and there was not one movie or show on Netflix that they wanted to watch. (I saw a few things I could have watched, but to say I was underwhelmed is an understatement) I left them exploring some of the other (free) channels that the Roku could connect to, but I was not optimistic.

        Seriously though, I wouldn't bother with Netflix when I can download most any movie or show that has ever existed and keep it forev

        • by tom17 ( 659054 )

          OK, here is a test for you. Using your regular channels, can you see if you can currently get any of the following?

          All the Curious George episodes (I can only find 1ep on easynews)
          Harold and the Purple Crayon episodes (None on ezn)
          All the Thomas & Friends (A few on ezn)
          Go Diego Go (I can only find a few german ones)
          Similar luck on torrent sites too, but I can't check right now.

          I won't go on, but there is lots of stuff for kids (and adults too, but granted, not as much) that's not easy to find unless it'

      • Amazon Prime works fine on Linux... So you can still "think that" if you wish.
    • by interkin3tic ( 1469267 ) on Friday November 16, 2012 @01:22PM (#42002941)
      I'm with you in spirit. I can run netflix on easily:
      -Xbox 360 if I paid the additional fees
      -Windows laptop
      -WDTV device that crashes constantly

      Things I cannot run netflix on easily:
      -The ubuntu laptop that I have no use for except as a HTPC.

      I'd cancel my subscription out of protest. But my wife would side with Netflix over me any day of the week.
    • by Kjella ( 173770 )

      This is for the people who won't use Linux because it doesn't run Netflix, not the people who won't use Netflix because it doesn't run on Linux. Netflix don't want you, don't care about supporting you and might in fact hate it because it causes problems with their content providers who demand "robust" DRM. But as usual there's hacktivists that won't take no for an answer and they'll reverse engineer, emulate, patch and prod it until it works, it's how Linux got off the ground in the first place. It certainl

    • Until it runs in Linux natively, I'm not reinstating my subscription. Bite me, Netflix. []

  • No sale (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Friday November 16, 2012 @12:25PM (#42002241) Journal

    Why would I pay Netflix when they won't bother to support my OS? If they want my money, they can port their software to my OS, or they can package Wine with their software, and support that.

    They would also have to change their policy on DRM-free content [] before they get any of my money. I'm willing to pay for TV, I'm even willing to watch their ads. I'm not willing to facilitate an effort to make DRM the norm.

  • by WillerZ ( 814133 ) on Friday November 16, 2012 @12:26PM (#42002255) Homepage


  • ...and then this happens. This is worse than when I got WoW working in WINE.

  • by bmo ( 77928 )

    The only way to reliably play Silverlight stuff is to install the most trimmed back XP you can get (WinFLP for me) and install IE8.

    And you know what?

    I never watch Silverlight stuff anyway even with the ability to do so.


  • It actually sort of already works in "Linux", since there's a working Netflix app for Android.

    I've never done it, but presumably this means that you can run it on your Linux desktop by running an Android device emulator with the Netflix app.

    • by h4rr4r ( 612664 )

      I believe that would be way to slow to watch. The netflix app uses the NDK so you have to emulate ARM which is slow. Besides it might well check for an emulator and fail to start.

    • by Anrego ( 830717 ) *

      You can also run a windows XP virtual machine using virtual box and watch netflix that way. Works fine if you enable hardware acceleration and have decent hardware.

    • There are several problems with this:

      1. You're correct that it runs under Linux. Unfortunately Linux is not the same thing as "The operating system commonly known as Linux", which we'd call GNU/Linux if it wasn't for the fact that would be kowtowing to a Dirty Smelly Hippie(tm). Android is not GNU/Linux, it has a significantly different API. It merely shares the same kernel.

      2. Netflix is compiled code, and is compiled for ARM. Your Ubuntu desktop, on the other hand, is an Intel machine. So yes, you'll

  • Most likely people have looked into this before, but I would suspect my blu-ray player is not running windows. Maybe instead of trying to get netflix to work in a browser in WINE in linux, they should try looking at how blu-ray players do it?
    • by h4rr4r ( 612664 )

      They use software not compiled for x86 so it is actually easier to get Wine to work than what you are suggesting.

      • If they could get it working in linux for arm I think people would be more than happy calling that "netflix on linux" because they'd just go buy their rPi's and happy happy joy joy. Furthermore there's a trick with flash to tweak one of the libs in android so it appears as non-android which allows hulu to play as well. These 2 systems for arm worked up for normal linux on ARM would give the rPi and slashdotters everything they want. So I kind of agree that someone should be out there trying to get these bin
  • I just pop the DVD into the player and off it goes.

    Wait. You mean streaming. Oh, okay. But who cares when Netflix has very little of their content available for streaming.

    • by Cinder6 ( 894572 )

      Netflix is pretty great for TV shows, but yeah, movies are pretty lacking.

    • but they have what matters:
      Star Trek - OS, TNG, DS9, VOY, ENT,
      Stargate - SG1, Atlantis, Universe,
      Battle Star Galactic - New series, caprica, razor
      x files, eureka, warehouse 13, Alphas,

      unfortunately they no longer have red dwarf probably will again when season x hits dvd

      • Like a good nrd, I own the proper ones;

        Star Trek - OS, TNG, DS9, VOY, ENT,
        Battle Star Galactic
        x files

        Gah! I shudder at these syfy failings ( after the first season )
        ST:VOY Only for Seven of Nine

  • by Crimey McBiggles ( 705157 ) on Friday November 16, 2012 @12:49PM (#42002595)
    I have an LG TV (LV5500 I think) that has Netflix as a built-in app. The TV's operating system is Linux, and its manual even includes a copy of the GPL, along with a list of libraries (e.g. FFMPEG, Apache, etc). They've probably partnered with Netflix to get some sort of BLOB that can be run only on the intended hardware, so I doubt that it is free or open. TLDR; the title should says something about "desktop" or "Intel", because my ARM-based TV plays Netflix just fine thank you.
  • I was twice a Netflix member. I quit because I wasn't happy with their selection, which is really only of value if you have children. Now I'm an Amazon Prime Member. Amazon is priced competitively plus as a former studen,t I'm now paying $40 per year for the short term. The selection of "free" movies for Prime members is comparable to Netflix's selection but there is a greater selection at additional prices. Plus, I get the added benefit of free 2-day shipping for anything I buy through Amazon. On the
  • Correct me if I'm wrong, but why not just use ChromeOS's support for Netflix in something like Virtualbox?

    • by ndogg ( 158021 )

      Because that won't work. Netflix for ChromeOS is specifically tied to certain Chromebook hardware.

  • Why bother? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Bert64 ( 520050 ) <bert AT slashdot DOT firenzee DOT com> on Friday November 16, 2012 @02:18PM (#42003399) Homepage

    Regular TV is broadcast in a standard format that can be received on any compatible device, where the specifications required for compatibility are openly available for anyone to implement.
    VHS was the same...

    Now media is delivered in drm-encumbered proprietary formats, all in the name of "preventing piracy", however piracy is now more common than ever.

    I used to buy movies on VHS and/or watch them on broadcast TV, but if you try to force me to use a proprietary device to watch tv i will just find superior alternatives instead that can be viewed on devices of my choice.

    The warez versions are massively superior to what netflix offers:

    - you can watch the files on any device thats physically capable with no arbitrary restrictions
    - you can download at any time and watch later (eg if you have bandwidth caps during the day but not at night, or want to watch on a portable device)

    I would pay for a legit service which offered the same quality of service as warez, but since such a service isn't available i can't... Those services which are available are clearly inferior and entirely unusable for me.

    • I would pay for a legit service which offered the same quality of service as warez, but since such a service isn't available i can't...

      Interesting opinion... It's bullshit, IMO, but whatever. You act like warez is your only other option. Whatever helps you sleep at $BEDTIME. Everyone has different morals.

      I was once a Netflix subscriber. My XBox Live subscription ran out, and I wasn't playing many games (and I realize how shitty it is to pay for ads in a service that any PC can do w/ server list, not loading down MS servers), so I sold my Xbox & games, then called Netflix support when I couldn't seem to get it working on my perso

  • I thought someone would eventually come through and get some sort of Netflix working on Linux, but Silverlight working right was not at the top of my list. I was expecting either a dedicated and optimized "player" for the Android app or a port of the the ChromeOS version.

  • We heard you liked Netflix so we had some hackers, hack your hack to hack wine to hack firefox on windows hack.
    Gotta give the guys credit for figuring this out, but sheesh that's quite a software stack just to watch a grade B movie from 1982.

  • Sorry but I'm not going to run something that could enable Windows viruses.
  • Easier to just run it out of a VM

"If it's not loud, it doesn't work!" -- Blank Reg, from "Max Headroom"