I just signed up for Netflix for the first time. I know, I’m way past the freshmeat boat on that one, but I never wanted it for anything until last week. Much to my chagrin, I went to instant-play and found that Linux wasn’t a supported operating system. Most of the time these days, when a website says such a thing it’s not really that big of a deal. There’s often some kind of “do it anyway” link to click on. After spending a couple of minutes looking for such an option, I didn’t find it. I turned to the interweb to see if anyone else had run into this issue and to see if there were some workarounds available. I started doing a little digging and found out about this sordid story involving Microsoft’s Silverlight, Novell’s open source Moonlight, and Digital Rights Management.
Silverlight is Microsoft’s answer to Adobe’s Flash. Moonlight is Novell’s Open Source implementation of Silverlight, it’s available as a plugin for both Firefox and Chrome. You can pick up Moonlight from Novell’s mono-project website. The problem is, Moonlight doesn’t really work, as of course Microsoft won’t release the workings for the PlayReady DRM component into the open source community. Why does this matter for Netflix? The instant-streaming application isn’t Flash based like Hulu, Youtube, vimeo and pretty much every single other streaming site out there. Netflix’s service is implemented using Silverlight, leaving it currently out of the hands of the Linux desktop user. All of these services work wonderfully in both Chrome and Firefox on my system. Needless to say, I canceled my service the next day.
[via Tech Republic]