Netflix, the wildly popular, subscription-based, streaming video service, has been giving people ways to watch movies on all kinds of devices for years. Unfortunately, desktop Linux users have never been able to join in on the fun due to technical incompatibilities. But now, thanks to the work of Erich Hoover, that's no longer the case.
The main technical roadblock for desktop Linux users who wanted to watch streaming movies over Netflix has always been Microsoft Silverlight. The Silverlight technology that Netflix builds their streaming movie players on requires the Microsoft technology, but Silverlight simply doesn't play well with Linux. That is until Hoover, by way of the Windows Emulator (Wine) project for Linux, changed all of that.
The good news is that installation is actually quite simple. The bad news is that it's only simple on the Ubuntu distribution and its derivatives -- Edubuntu, Kubuntu, Lubuntu, Mythbuntu, and Xubuntu.
The complete installation instructions can be found on iheartubuntu, but they basically go:
- Add Hoover's repository to your package sources.
- apt-get install the netflix-desktop package.
- Watch a movie!
In under 5 minutes, I was able to do the download and install and then start up a movie on Kubuntu over a cable Internet connection. The quality was great and the software worked perfectly.
I'm sure that Hoover is going to get a lot of recognition for his work in the coming months ... assuming that all these desktop Linux users can tear themselves away from their movies long enough to thank him!
Illustration © Ayhan Yildiz