Linux’s got Netflix. No fuss, no muss, easy-peasy Netflix, straight out-of-the-box.
It wasn’t so long ago that common knowledge dictated that the reason GNU/Linux wasn’t getting traction was software, namely MS Office and Photoshop. Those days are long gone. Office is now pretty much irrevelant, with many if not most home users (at least the people I know) opting for Open Office or LibreOffice. Meanwhile, Photoshop’s moved to the cloud and although it still won’t work on Linux, many graphic artists are finding that GIMP is robust enough to tackle nearly everything thrown at it.
So that should be it, right? Wrong.
Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), a paradigm shift in home computing has occurred during the past seven years. These days, computers are as much about entertainment as they are about word processing, spreadsheets and the like. At the center of the computer-as-entertainment-device revolution is our favorite old DVD rental company Netflix, which offers more streaming moving image titles that you can shake a stick at — if shaking sticks at movie titles happens to be your thing — with unlimited streaming costing as little as eight bucks a month.
The trouble is that Netflix hasn’t easily worked on Linux — until now.
Oh, I know, Netflix on Linux has worked fine for those willing to spend a day futzing around, which is unacceptable as far as I’m concerned. My viewpoint is, if Netflix (or any other company for that matter) wants my business, they need to make it as easy for me to use their product in Linux as it is for those using Windows or any other operating system.
Well, that’s been done. No user agent switching, working to get Silverlight working under Wine or anything else is required — just Google Chrome 38 or higher.
It’s that easy. Just open Chrome, go to Netflix, open up an account (if you don’t already have one) and voila!, in no time at all you can be catching up on all of the episodes of Burn Notice and The Shield that you might’ve missed in over-the-air syndication (oh yeah, I also refuse to pay for cable). I have Netflix working now on two Linux Mint boxes, so it should be working on all Ubuntu derivatives. On Friday, Swapnil Bhartiya reported on The Mukt that according to his tests, Netflix is also working out-of-the-box on openSUSE and Arch Linux as well.
Just think, now when someone asks you if you’ve seen the second season of House of Cards, you won’t have to offer a hangdog look and explain how great Linux is but that it won’t run Netflix — which doesn’t help you make your case. You can also do as many of my friends have done — drop cable, pick up a pair of rabbit ears to watch network shows and rely on Netflix for the rest.
Eight bucks a months is a lot cheaper than what Time Warner wants…