Netflix (Finally) Playable On Linux Using Patched Version of WINE

Subject: General Tech | November 17, 2012 - 02:53 AM |
Tagged: wine, windows, ubuntu, silverlight, Netflix, linux, firefox

One of the major hurdles preventing me from switching to Linux completely (despite my love for Mint) has been Netflix support. While there is a Silverlight-equivalent called Moonlight for the Linux operating system, it does not support the necessary DRM aspects to facilitate Netflix Instant Streaming. Aside from installing VirtualBox and booting an instance of Windows (which basically defeats the purpose of switching), Linux users have not been able to stream Netflix shows.

Thanks to a Linux developer by the name of Erich Hoover, there is a ray of hope for Linux users that want to take advantage of the streaming side of their Netflix subscriptions. Using a patched version of WINE (Wine Is Not An Emulator), Firefox, and an older version of Microsoft Silverlight, he was able to get Netflix streaming to work without breaking the DRM. That’s good news as it means that even though it is not officially supported, Netflix is not likely to actively break or fight it.

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Netflix Instant Streaming running on Ubuntu 12.10 (32-bit).

Currently, it has been tested on the 32-bit version of Ubuntu 12.10, but other distros are likely to work as well. Users will need to compile WINE from source, apply five patches, and then install Firefox 14.0.1 and Silverlight 4. Right now, there is no GUI or pre-compiled version, and at least the first few steps require the use of the terminal. Thankfully, I Heart Ubuntu has put together a step-by-step guide outlining exactly what you need to type into the terminal to get Netflix streaming up and running. The site notes that the WINE patching process could take a good chunk of time if you are on an older computer. Further, Silverlight 5 does not work, so using the older version is necessary.

This is great news for the Linux community, and along with the Steam for Linux beta things are definitely looking up and moving in a positive direction for the open source operating system. Obviously, this is far from native support, but it is a huge improvement over previous workarounds. A PPA is also reportedly in the works to make the installation of the patched WINE version even easier for those not comfortable with the terminal. Until then, check out the I Heart Ubuntu guide for the full setup details.

The developer asks that you donate to the WINE Development Fund if you find his Netflix support patches useful.

Image credit: iheartubuntu

November 17, 2012 | 06:39 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I read about this last night on reddit. Awesome news indeed. Not a perfect solution, but atleast it is working. Who knows, maybe ill keeep my subscription around after all.

November 17, 2012 | 06:58 AM - Posted by Tim Verry

Yeah, I'd really like to see Netflix actually officially support it. I mean, they have an Android application and the streaming boxes like the Roku are likely Linux under the hood...

November 17, 2012 | 07:44 AM - Posted by Robert123 (not verified)

This is pretty huge, the only reason I couldn't get my mother to try out Linux(mint) was because of a lack of Netflix support.

Honestly the 3 things Linux needs for mass acceptance=
1.Netflix
2.iTunes
3.Steam (Full support, though not as big as the top 2 since not everyone is a gamer)

It really does cover a huge chunk of people who don't use
a computer for anything else. (Everything else Linux already supports effortlessly)

November 17, 2012 | 07:50 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

why push linux on your poor mother.

hey look a round hole... i've got a square peg for that!!!! YAY

November 17, 2012 | 08:59 AM - Posted by Tim Verry

B/c it's a heck of a lot harder to break since they can't install themes, smilies, cursor packs and other malicious items masquerading as free software :)

November 17, 2012 | 06:57 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

knowledge is be the best defense?

people don't drive cars made of cotton candy, why is " they don't know how to break it or use it" a best selection?

great, give them a car they can't drive cause they can't crash it... best solution right?

*gag*

November 17, 2012 | 09:52 PM - Posted by Tim Verry

That's not really what I was getting at, but oh well. And knowledge likely is the best defense but it in the meantime, being away from home, where I'm not around to explain things or answer questions the Linux box has a heck of a lot higher uptime than the same hardware running Windows. It has office, email, IM, and the web browser all on the desktop and easily accessible--everything she wants to do with the computer and it works well. (And I didn't mean to say that because she can't break it is the only reason to use linux, it's also snappier on the hardware and simple to use for basic tasks).

Hate to tell you, but mitigating human error while providing a stable machine for accessing the web is not such a terrible thing. Especially since the risk of fake AV, ransomware, drive by downloads and other bs slipping past antivirius and infecting the system is lower as much of that is aimed at Windows users. It's a lot less worrying from both parties.

As far as cars go, is there not a lot of technology, testing, and design that goes into engineering a chassis that can take a crash and allow the driver/passengers a good chance at surviving as well as various saftey systems to mitigate risk? Heck, some vehicles now have systems in place to avoid some accidents in the first place.

Why is that such a bad thing in your opinion?

"people don't drive cars made of cotton candy, why is " they don't know how to break it or use it" a best selection?" Well, now I really want cotton candy :)

"great, give them a car they can't drive cause they can't crash it... best solution right?" Not sure where you are getting that idea considering it is quite useable. More like it is a car that has its speed limited by a second key (heh, sudo in this case?) like the Bugatti Veyron. It'll drive just fine at highway speeds and then some but keeps you out of trouble, and danger, by keeping you below 200+ MPH :).

November 18, 2012 | 07:13 AM - Posted by Robert123 (not verified)

"Hate to tell you, but mitigating human error while providing a stable machine for accessing the web is not such a terrible thing. Especially since the risk of fake AV, ransomware, drive by downloads and other bs slipping past antivirius and infecting the system is lower as much of that is aimed at Windows users. It's a lot less worrying from both parties."

^^^^^^
That pretty much sums it up perfectly.
Thank you

November 17, 2012 | 06:54 PM - Posted by Scott Michaud

Because it's the best option for her circumstance?

November 17, 2012 | 06:59 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

and running windows (that she already knows and understands) is a crappy option for her? ......................

November 19, 2012 | 10:52 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I'm the guy who made the first comment.

A couple of things.

1. Reed Hastings will never support GNU/Linux. As long as silverlight lives, there will be no support. He is on Microsofts board fo directors after all.

2. Most if not all devices like the roku are runing a customized linux kernel with their own DE (desktop environment). They can have a netflix app due to the way netflix can identify the hardware. I don't have the links handy to back this up atm. Basically they have a security token which identifies thinks like the hardware it is on (roku hd vs popcorn hour), ip and other "identifiable" information. That would not fly in Linux users mind.

3. I have my mother inlaw running ubuntu 10.04 LTS because of the insane amount of viruses. She does not care the OS. As long as she can check her AOL e-mail and play her shitty casino games on facebook, she is set. I think most mom's are like that. To the guy that was all butt-hurt: Clearly you do not have a mom.

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