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Netflix on Linux Contest




Recently in Ubuntu news, there has been chatter that Netflix has absolutely no plans to support the linux community. There are several alternative methods for watching Netflix on linux distros... the easiest method is to run Windows XP in Virtual Box and then watch Netflix that way. There are a few problems with this. First, you'll need a fast enough computer to run XP virtually. Second, you would need a valid license to run XP. Most of us dont want to go through these hoops anymore.

Linux users WANT a native method to watch Netflix. Chrome OS and Android users (both linux spinoffs) can watch Netflix. Even Mac users are technically running a unix based system and can watch Netflix.

We, the linux community, want to watch Netflix on our personal computers! We have decided to start a Netflix on linux contest. It will run until the end of March 2012. This gives you a month and a half to figure it out.

There are DRM issues involved so a legal way to watch Netflix is desired.

We have a few rules for the contest. The winner must provide an easily reproducible legal method for getting Netflix working natively on any popular linux distribution, preferably Ubuntu linux. Simple terminal command instructions that any linux user can use. Simply put, if it is not simple enough for the average linux user to do across multiple distros, it wont count.

If you want Netflix running natively on linux, donate to the chip in now! The winner who gets Netflix running natively in linux gets the money donated to the Chip-In. We know there are intelligent programmers in this great world we live in. So good luck! If you dont see the Chip In widget below, please go to this link: http://netflixonlinux.chipin.com/


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  1. In my opinion this contest is taking the wrong angle. Netflix is really a symptom of a bigger problem.

    Sony, Paramount, Disney...etc want their content streamed in a secure way that can't easily end up on pirate bay. That's the real challenge. We need to come up with a solution on Linux that the industries will be happy with that's superior to what Microsoft has come up with. Then run the pitch to the industry so they will tell Netflix... "You can't license our content unless you use this solution"

  2. Mikey thats a great point thanks for the input. We have to work together and find a solution in one form or another.

    While I do like Amazons streams, they just dont have the content yet.

  3. Anonymous12:15 PM

    what about wine or crossover? I know at this point it doesn't work but in time couldn't it be made to run silverlight?

  4. Thank you Anon! I will look into this angle. So many different ways to go round this Im sure there is a solution.

  5. Here is the simple reason Netflix will never be made available for Linux
    From Netflix:
    Chief Executive Officer, President, Chairman of the Board
    Reed Hastings has served as our Chief Executive Officer since September 1998 and our Chairman of the Board since inception. (...) Mr. Hastings currently serves as a member of the board of directors of Microsoft.

  6. I think the best way to go about this is try to get Silverlight working on Wine. I found out that Silverlight 5 (developer version) actually installs in Wine. Tried Netflix and went all the way up to the spinning blue logo but it failed there. All the silverlight programs that I tried have this problem. I was able to get one very simple Silverlight program running on Opera through Wine. So, Wine seems to be getting there slowly but surely. I don't know how much more effort is required to get it working, but if someone dedicates time to working on it. might not be too far off.

  7. Anonymous6:58 AM

    Bare with me. I'm newer than newby and dont understand anything, and this idea is so rough it is stupid but someone out there can be inspired by it maybe and refine it.......What if the only way linux users could grab a torrent through terminal was by searching for the producers name and not the movie name. This would mean we need to research each producer/recording studio and all of the works they have done before we can get the download. They might be happy with the advertising and even just recognition having their names as household brands and they might find ways to work with the torrent community that way.

  8. i am guessing that no one came up with a technical answer over the usual political ones that permeate the web in regards to this subject. i think the two best ways of figuring this out are the most reasonable ones. The most obvious is finding out the difference between the vanilla builds and the official Chrome OS builds found in Chromebooks, and using it somehow.
    The other way could be finding out how to use the files in the .dmg files in the Apple version of Silverlight. As I do not own a Chromebook I have been trying the latter, but the installer looks for files not present in a 'nix distro. I don't understand why people always want to go with wine always as Mac is a cousin to 'nix and therefore, in my mind makes more sense than wine. I guess old habits die hard when it comes to former windows users. ....

  9. chromebook pilot user11:44 AM

    @KUZAR; I do own a chrome book, and as I have experimented with the netflix features, I believe that There are "features" in the custom (closed source) linux kernel that chrome os uses. note that chromium os is NOT the same thing as chrome os, howvever similar they may appear, there are differences. additionally, there are "netflix" files in the filesystem of a chrome book, presumably plugins. chromes books support all kinds of security features down to the bios, as i understand, which may be why netflix has approved these devices.

  10. Anonymous6:03 PM

    What about android in a VM i know the x86 project has come a long way but does not come with any google apps or app store. surely someone can get netflix to work that way..?

  11. Anonymous10:39 AM

    I think the best shot revolves around the Chrome OS. I don't believe that it uses Silverlight. If it did, it most likely could be ported to Linux. It seems to me that Netflix and Chrome OS works through a proprietary kernel module and userspace application (video player).

  12. what's the legality of someone offering a VM proxy, that happens to support silverlight tunneling? the end-user client could be java based (?) to service many distros. it would have to have some sort of advertising to generate revenue for server costs, and so that may kill feasibility. id say offering subscription based options, but all us cheap asses dont want to pay twice for our netFIX, do we? anyways, just a thought. worst case cenrio, this could be a local option for private home networks. hide some shitty windows netbook mobo in a closet somewhere, and set up a remote desktop environment. not exactly efficient, or cost effective, but hell... some people need their "medicine", and streaming is a helluva drug.

  13. Anonymous7:35 AM

    The problem isn't netflix so stop blaming them. The problem is the MPAA. The MPAA require that netflix content be securely protected and if it isn't then netflix could be fined to the extent that they no longer are in business. I know the security issues very well as I do embedded device programming for things that support netflix. The devices like roku even run linux internally but to support drm they use hardware protection that is part of the physical chip, it isn't software. The pc not having that drm protection in hardware relies on software. On the windows side you have the ability to lock out access to the parts of the video process to prevent users from bypassing DRM. On the linux side drivers are open and anyone with a few days time can bypass any protection added to the system, that is too high a risk for netflix.

    What is needed is a DRM system for linux, but then the complaints start, people don't want DRM, they want open video drivers, open kernels , and open everything, and that is incompatible with DRM. So if you want netflix and others on linux start figuring out how to do DRM that can't be bypassed on linux.

  14. I know it said we should find a way to run it natively, but Windows 8 Consumer Preview works... Just sayin'.

  15. Anonymous1:19 PM

    "The problem isn't netflix so stop blaming them. The problem is the MPAA. The MPAA require that netflix content be securely protected and if it isn't then netflix could be fined to the extent that they no longer are in business."

    Uhhhh...care to explain then why the MPAA allows Hulu and Amazon to stream to Linux users?

  16. Anonymous8:47 PM

    I find this of course after the original time frame runs out on the contest. There is however two issues immediately seen by myself. Firstly, the MPAA is not going to allow users to have a method of downloading "streaming" content to any computer that gives the user access to every portion of it. This is why the product exists for Mac and Windows (they are the Duplos of the computer world) and treat their users as they, well, should be treated. That is to say like stupid children. Android and Chrome OS are built in the same vein as OS X and Windows (which by relation are wildly free and inviting to power users). This is why they have a solution.

    The real answer is largely what Mikey Carter stated. That the open source community (or someone with whom we would not be removed from the loop of development) need to come up with a solution that would become the defacto standard and allow the Linux Desktop to really flourish on that aspect. Don't expect it anytime soon however as MS and Apple will buy anything that appears to be somewhat promising that it may be dismantled and shelved so that they can come to market with an inferior product without competition.

  17. Anonymous5:52 AM

    I could be totally in the wrong direction, but back about 10 years ago when I was "hacking" a Tivo with netflix, it was based on linux. Is that still the case? Could we port that version to real linux?

  18. Anonymous6:27 AM

    Try using Moonlight instead of silver light. here is the link http://www.go-mono.com/moonlight/

  19. Anonymous8:39 PM

    I know how this could be solved. If ThePirateBay.org started its own $10/month unlimited streaming service to stream pirated movies on demand to users worldwide with a slogan saying "When NetFlix Supports Linux, then We Promise To Shut Down". Until then, they play movies without supporting Hollywood.. that would definitely get the ball rolling.. the mpaa would actually encourage/pressure netflix to remove their fists from their asses

  20. Anonymous2:52 PM

    Im a total newbie but what about using Android 4.0 ice cream sandwich on virtual box, and running the netflix app?
    I dont know for sure but it appears you can login to your various accounts (gmail ect..) on VB, why not Netflix, maybe no full screen tho.

  21. Anonymous7:01 PM

    One side wants open-source software, created by the community and shared by all. The other side wants to be paid for their time and efforts, to amass a profit for their knowledge and diligence. Sounds like an age old battle to me.
    There must be a middle ground!
    We all know the ideologies of both proprietary Windows and MAC and that of the philanthropic Linux. We must compromise. We must work together. We must have a choice.
    I propose that all the major distros of Linux make their own DRMs, strictly closed source (if possible). Linux is about freedom, so it would be the end user's choice as to whether or not to install this software.
    As a paying Netflix subscriber I want the freedom to watch it on whichever OS I am running!

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  25. I like a browser implementation approach that uses moonlight.
    I considered activeX for the DRM but that won't work as
    the DRM of Netflix is "Silverlight DRM" which is Playready DRM.
    The old DRM handled through activeX (media player ctrl..) won't work.

    There is however a Playready client app SDK. With this SDK a moonlight (silverlight)DRM implementation is possible.

    ".. you can create and distribute PC applications supporting Microsoft PlayReady..."

    There is of course the cost:
    ".. To access the PlayReady PC SDK you must execute the following agreement:

    PlayReady PC Software Application Development and Distribution Agreement (download sample)
    After this agreement is executed, you may receive:

    PlayReady Documentation Pack
    PlayReady PC Software Development Kit
    Security-level 150 test certificate

    $5,000 license fee
    $10,000 certificate fee for each major release of a licensed product. See below for more information on obtaining security-level 2000 certificates."

    So to get moonlight (silverlight)DRM (which is really playready DRM)
    one needs 5K and a "reasonable"(see the SDK license terms) number of developers. Another 10K to deploy the package.

    Ubuntu Maybe? A shared cost agreement of some kind (including development costs)? Netflix ? anyone?

  26. ridmyflix1:22 AM

    use let me watch this.. movie25..  better service for linux usrs..

  27. thereisnospoon10:30 AM

    How about releasing the basic ideas behind software one creates, but not the source itself, and releasing the binaries for your software, which users would have to pay for. That way, the software industry isn't harmed by a dev's need to get paid, and the dev still gets paid.

  28. Chris McAlpine3:45 PM

    Why don't we just write the software and give/sell it to NetFlix? It would be a deal that would only have the potential to help the company, so they would be idiots for refusing it. Also, did anyone accomplish the challenge?