Netflix lets you stream movies and TV shows on Windows and Mac computers, Chrome OS, Android and iOS devices, and a number of set-top-boxes. But up until now there’s been no way to use Netflix video streaming on a Linux computer.

That’s because the desktop web browser version of Netflix relies on Microsoft Silverlight technology for streaming videos, and up until recently nobody could get Silverlight to play nicely with Linux.

Now there’s a way.

Netflix Ubuntu

Developer Erich Hoover has figured out how to get Silverlight 4 to work with the Firefox web browser in Ubuntu Linux by using Wine.

WINE technically stands for “Wine Is Not an Emulator,” but it’s basically a Linux app that makes it possible to run some Windows software in a Linux-based operating system.

In other words, what Hoover’s tools let you do is run the Windows versions of Firefox and the Windows versions of Silverlight in a Linux environment, rather than trying to get native Linux versions of those apps to work with Netflix.

At this point the install process is a little complicated. You have to patch and compile Wine and then install Firefox and Silverlight. You can find detailed command line instructions at iheartubuntu.

Update: There’s now an easier method for installing Netflix as if it were a standalone Ubuntu app.

If you’re patient (and if you’ve been waiting for years for a way to get Netflix and Linux to play nicely, I’m guessing you are), there should also be a simpler method soon, which will let you install Netflix as an app the same way you’d install any other software on an Ubuntu computer.

While the tools are currently designed for Ubuntu, this method for getting Netflix to run on a Linux computer should lay the groundwork for bringing Netflix to other Linux distributions as well.

via Phoronix

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8 replies on “Now you can watch Netflix videos on Ubuntu”

  1. Works fine for me. On my Dell 1501 laptop running lubuntu 13.04 i386 the F11 doesn’t seem to work but by right clicking at the top of the screen I get menu option to exit full screen.

  2. This is too much work. I watch netflix on xbox., hulu plus on all my devices including my Ubuntu set up in the kitchen. Definitely like hulu plus better.

    1. Hulu even has a cool Linux desktop client, Netflix is dropping the ball.

  3. One less reason to stay with Windows. Now If I can get a couple more apps ported over or alternatives, I can move to Ubuntu full time.

  4. i am a computer novice- just watched netflix on ubuntu- via virtual box. Real easy

  5. It’s about time for Netflix to step up to the plate and provide support for Linux. It’s been noticeably absent for a while and to maintain their current PE, you would think they’d try everything to get it onto more platforms for growth potential.

  6. I really don’t get why it is so hard for Netflix guys to do the extra step and support Linux, natively! well, the good news, for me anyway, is that I don’t watch Netflix! 🙂

  7. Dang and yay. Glancing at the title, I was hoping Netflix removed the restriction on their linux-native plugin for playing Netflix on Chromebooks so it could run elsewhere — but this is still huge. Finally, Netflix on Linux!

    I’d still rather give my dime to Amazon, who at least support it, but Netflix’s selection is just so nice.

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