This time on the show, Netflix comes to Linux! Sort of. We'll explain how and what this might mean for the industry. Then, playing games and other Windows apps in Linux with WINE, which, isn't an emulator. But it is. Sorta. Plus, our favorite Linux commands. One of 'em involves chocolate! Stay tuned! All that and more this time on Hak5!
Run Netflix on Linux without a Windows VM
For the longest time Netflix hasn't worked on Linux. Why? Dr. M - DRM or Digital Rights Management. Netflix relies on Microsoft's Silverlight, a freeware application framework for rich internet apps similar to flash. The run-time was released by Microsoft back in 2007 and has been updated 5 times since then. An open source implementation was developed by the mono team with support from Microsoft, but the project was abandoned due to poor acceptance of silverligth and proprietary restrictions. Many speculate that Silverlight will soon reach end-of-life, but for many of us Netflix is the one key reason for its existance.
Previously dirty hacks were attempted to get Netflix running on Linux through Wine, and for a while the concensus was to simply run a Windows VM just to stream video. Yuck!
Thankfully Erich Hoover has put together an nice little package to get Netflix going on Linux without the need for a VM - rather using WINE.
WINE, which stands for Wine Is Not an Emulator, is an application that lets you run Windows programs in Linux. It does so by duplicating the functionality of typical Windows DLLs - the functions that Windows programs call.
If you run into problems try:
This isn't the first time DRM playback on Linux has caused a stir. In 1999 Norwegian programmer Jon Johansen found himself on the other end of a massive lawsuit after developing DeCSS - a program to decrypt commercially produced DVDs. In that case the DVD CCA, the licensing organization for DVD encryption, argued that DeCSS violated the WIPO Copyright Treaty as DeCSS can be used for copyright infringement.
It will be interesting to see how Netflix responds. As Shannon demonstrated a few weeks ago there's no technical reason why Netflix can't run on Linux -- the Netgear NeoTV is in fact a Linux powered set-top-box with a Netflix app.
Wine is awesome, but can be complicated because you have to go into each program and change the settings to get them to work on Linux with no compatibility issues. PlayOnLinux has a bunch of programs installed that can be downloaded to work in Linux with just a click. PlayOnLinux uses Wine as it's backend, so you're just using their easy GUI to install programs and games. It also installs whatever version you need of wine to run any specific program- no dependency hell! They don't support piracy, so you still need your CD or code for licensed games and programs.
Jeff writes, I just got started using ubuntu and love snubs terminal 101 series on haktip. I'm am wondering what are your favorite linux commands?
Put together by a band of IT ninjas, security professionals and hardcore gamers, Hak5 isn't your typical tech show. We take on hacking in the old-school sense, covering everything from network security, open source and forensics, to DIY modding and the homebrew scene. Then we wrap it all up with a healthy dose of cocktails and geek comedy. Damn the warranties, it's time to Trust your Technolust.
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