Monday’s article on easy Netflix coming at last to Linux garnered a few polite responses, taking me to task for my enthusiasm for a “non-free” solution. The problems are that Netflix uses DRM and that currently its use on GNU/Linux requires the use of the proprietary Chrome browser. One commenter even questioned FOSS Force’s commitment to software freedom with the remark: “Your logo “Keeping Tech Free” I take it that means free beer and not freedom.”
Nope. I’m an advocate of free “as in speech” software — which includes the freedom to choose. If there’s a FOSS solution for something I need or want to do, I’ll take that every time, and encourage my friends to do so as well. However, if there’s something I need or want to do with no FOSS solution available, I might use a proprietary solution, depending on the depth of my need or want and on how draconian the terms of the proprietary EULA.
As far as I’m concerned, when a person makes a commitment to FOSS, the commitment is not only to own the software being used whenever possible, but also to completely own the computer as well. I think this was summed up well in May of last year when we included this tidbit in FOSS Week in Review:
“This week Richard Stallman posted an article he penned on the GNU Project’s website titled Is It Ever a Good Thing to Use a Nonfree Program? The answer is “no.” If you don’t know why off the top of your head, then you need to read the article. This doesn’t mean you have to quit using nonfree software. You just need to know it isn’t a good thing when you do.”
Yup, I know I’m using a non free browser, and yup, I know it isn’t a good thing.
As soon as Mozilla gets up to speed so that Netflix works in Firefox, I’ll use it. As for Netflix’s use of DRM? Hold on to your hats — that doesn’t bother me. I’m not buying movies from Netflix, which would be another story, I’m merely paying for the right to watch them stream through my computer. The way I figure it, the studios have every right to protect the millions of dollars they have invested in each and every movie they make. Indeed, I want them to do just that, because I want them to be able to make more movies. I like movies, you see, and they’re damned expensive to make.
Yesterday, Jeff Hoogland, the founder and former lead developer of Bodhi Linux, dealt with the issue of Netflix on Linux on his blog. He says that “Netflix support is a win for desktop Linux” and urges his readers to “stop complaining.”
“Every time I see one of these large services start supporting desktop Linux, the complainers come out of the wood work with something else to whine about. With Steam it was DRM in the games that now ran natively. With Netflix folks are complaining about it requiring the use of Google’s branded Chrome browser.”
Again, it won’t be long until other browsers will work with Netflix — Google just happened to be the first to arrive at the fair. As for DRM, that’s relevant if I’m buying a movie or music outright, but doesn’t and probably shouldn’t matter when it comes to streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu or Internet radio.
I don’t want to steal movies, I only want to watch them.