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The Netflix Linux Conjecture: How Netflix snubs the Linux comunity

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Netflix has a feature that allows members to stream movies directly to their PCs. To accomplish this, they use Microsoft’s Silverlight technology. Silverlight is basically a web-application framework that provides functions similar to that of Adobe Flash.

Now, with that out of the way, let me give you the gist of the conversation between myself and Mr. Swasey:

ME: Hello, I am a freelance writer for Techrepublic (CNET),, and and I get a LOT of readers asking why Netflix does not support Linux. I plan on doing an article on this very subject and was wondering if I could get your official statement on this very subject.

Steve: Jack, Netflix wants to be ubiquitous on any screen you want to watch TV shows and movies on and we’re working to get on as many platforms as we can. However, Linux currently does not have a Microsoft Silverlight plug-in that’s comparable with Netflix playback. Please let me know if you have other questions.

ME: Steve, Have you looked into Moonlight yet? It is a collaboration between Novell and Microsoft With this plugin you are able to view Silverlight content on Linux. This works as a Firefox plugin and works quite well. I can even go to the Microsoft Silverlight site and view content with this plugin. With that being said, how can you not support this when Microsoft itself allows the streaming of their content using the Moonlight plugin? Thanks for your input on this. It will make a very widely read and anticipated article as there are a LOT of Linux users out there who feel they’ve been shunned with services like yours.

rest here

re: Netflix snubs the Linux comunity

Yeah, all 197 of them should have their mom's cancel their subscriptions.


198, I'm one of them. lol

Big Bear

I love it when companies

I love it when companies practice OS discrimination. You can't ride on this bus because you use Linux.

It's simply business

It's not discrimination - it's simply business.

There just isn't enough Linux users (kidding aside) for them to worry about.

With the economy doing some major sucking, you can bet your last free Unoobtu CD that if there were enough Linux Desktop users to be profitable, Netflix would do so.

So although the original article writer claims there's a HUGE number worldwide, I'm afraid real life data doesn't back that up.

Of course you could always try and get Linux users classified as handicapped - then you got some weight to shove around with your discrimination accusations.


Yes, it is a degree.

but, no business, especially one so involved in tech to deliver a service or product intentionally limits the potential number of customers that could be paying customers.

Tech is ALWAYS in flux. To say they don't want to provide access to as many potential paying customers as possible when it is an issue that is addressed pretty easily and not expensively, as the offers to make it Linux compatible while maintaining their DRM concerns has been offered to them.

I don't know about you, but if somebody offered my business a way to access more paying customers from a wider tech base at low to no cost while still maintaining my content standards, I'd jump for it. Like you said, it's just business and more customers paying for Netflix service is more business.

I can't agree that in the Netflix situation that it's "simply business" when so much is to be gained and nothing lost by making a product/service available to more people, but yet they still don't want to do it.

When it comes to web delivered content, who cares what OS is on the clients computer as long as it is able to carry said content in a way that preserves the requirements?

Linux can be made capable of doing that, at little or no cost to Netflix.

Sorry, sounds like the "good ole boy" club at it again.

Big Bear

Crystal Ball

"Linux can be made capable of doing that, at little or no cost to Netflix."

So do you have inside corporate knowledge or did you use the Linux fanboy wishing well to get that tidbit?

I'm guessing you have no real facts and are simply regurgitating the standard fanboy answer.

Do you really know all about Netflix's technical infrastructure? Their technical staff? Their programmers? Their contract specifics with all the movie distributors requiring DRM? Did you put together a spreadsheet on the costs to add that little feature for 198 customers? Did you factor in the maintenance costs for both the back and front ends? And don't forget customer support - did you add in the training to get your customer support staff up to speed? And which flavour of Linux will you support? Which desktop? Which hardware platform?

Do you really think that Netflix is such a stupid company that if it was indeed "little to no cost" to add even a few thousand users they wouldn't be jumping all over it? They have after all won numerous business accolades for their business design, their packaging and distribution methods, their customer UI, etc. So of course such a company would always be on the look out to squeeze out even a few more pennies in profit.

And that's the keyword, PROFIT. If all the factors on this "little decision" don't even show a glimmer of profit, why would they go to a "not so little expense" in adding it?

Your logic is flawed beyond reason.

I'm afraid you're wrong Big Bear, it is simply business, and I'm quite sure the numbers were not in favour of supporting such a tiny, fickle, whiny, "free as in beer" group that the Linux users are known to be.

"So do you have inside

"So do you have inside corporate knowledge or did you use the Linux fanboy wishing well to get that tidbit?"

read the actual article and you will see that it was referenced that offers were made by developers to help create exactly that software.

Outside of being argumentative and snide, you might try to pay attention, you may actually learn something.

and while we're discussing business motivations, tell us with your inside knowledge why any business would not want to have access to the widest pool of customers possible?

Do you know something you're not letting the rest of us know or are you still being an apologist for companies who would rather have no competition than provide a better product and stand on it's own merits?

You spend a lot of time complaining and making personally derisive comments about people who post in favor of Linux yet you don't make a case of your own except the typical corporate shill of "that's the way we do it" which is just BS.

I make no apologies for being a Linux and FOSS 'fanboy" because unlike others who can't make something work due to them having some corporation dumb it down for them and hold their hand for their own protection, I have had Linux installed on Servers and desktops for over 5 years in various business, school and home user environments and getting things done quite nicely.

I speak based on first hand experience.

I run Linux and FOSS in business successfully, how about you?

Big Bear

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