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Netflix Touts Open Source, Ignores Linux

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the practice-watch-you-preach dept.

Open Source 481

Julie188 writes "If Netflix loves open source, where's the Linux client? Last week's post from Netflix on its use of open source has gotten a lot of coverage from the tech press. Too bad nobody's called the video giant out on its hypocrisy: They benefit greatly from open source, but really don't care to let their customers do the same."

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Send the wah-mbulance. (3, Insightful)

Seor Jojoba (519752) | more than 3 years ago | (#34568094)

Uh, go get the open source and build it yourself. Why should Netflix be obliged to implement a Linux port? Not doing something is not the same as preventing it from happening.

Re:Send the wah-mbulance. (1, Informative)

seedtime (656136) | more than 3 years ago | (#34568130)

That was my first thought. I don't often post but this is just a tad bit ridiculous. They are meeting the majority of their customers needs first. What about supporting all the other open source platforms? Linux is not the only one. There is a lot of open source that is not Linux. (JBoss, Apache, etc . . . )

Re:Send the wah-mbulance. (4, Interesting)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | more than 3 years ago | (#34568158)

Since when is Linux a requirement for Open Source?

Re:Send the wah-mbulance. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34568368)

Your reading it backwards... if it was open source, then almost lightning fast there'd be a linux client.

Re:Send the wah-mbulance. (2)

Dhalka226 (559740) | more than 3 years ago | (#34568492)

Never. Nor is contributing by producing clients for operating systems associated with open source a requirement. Nor anything else other than, you know, complying with the license.

Somebody just wanted to bitch and moan, and Slashdot, having lost any standards years ago, saw the words "open source" and published it. Huzzah.

Re:Send the wah-mbulance. (4, Insightful)

milonssecretsn (1392667) | more than 3 years ago | (#34568552)

That wasn't what they said. TFA said: "They benefit greatly from open source, but really don't care to let their customers do the same."

Netflix is essentially saying, "This open source stuff rocks! But we aren't going to allow you to run our product on it."

Re:Send the wah-mbulance. (5, Insightful)

Mr_eX9 (800448) | more than 3 years ago | (#34568164)

How are open source programmers supposed to implement a Linux port of a proprietary, third-party streaming platform based on Silverlight? Reverse engineering? More importantly, how do they convince Netflix to use it?

Re:Send the wah-mbulance. (2)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 3 years ago | (#34568328)

...a proprietary, third-party streaming platform based on Silverlight?

Bill Gates smiles, pumps fists and yells "Hoo yeah! Git some!"

Re:Send the wah-mbulance. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34568632)

Where is the repository? git.microsoft.com doesn't exist?

Re:Send the wah-mbulance. (-1, Troll)

luis_a_espinal (1810296) | more than 3 years ago | (#34568392)

How are open source programmers supposed to implement a Linux port of a proprietary, third-party streaming platform based on Silverlight? Reverse engineering? More importantly, how do they convince Netflix to use it?

Since when a company that touts open source is required to implement a port on Linux? A company can rely on open source and praise it and still remain within the confines of, say, a Windows client. Nowhere there is a requirement in open source users to implement clients for any specific operating system - proprietary or otherwise - using any specific technology stack - proprietary or otherwise.

Re:Send the wah-mbulance. (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 3 years ago | (#34568628)

But if their existing client was Open Source, it would be much, much easier for someone else to reimplement it as a Linux client.

And no, they're not required to do that either; hypocrisy isn't illegal.

Re:Send the wah-mbulance. (4, Insightful)

zerocool^ (112121) | more than 3 years ago | (#34568476)

And additionally, whether you believe it's "right" or not, Netflix can only do what it does because there are copy protection mechanisms in place to ensure respect of the copyrights of the material they are displaying.

There might be a way to create an open source Netflix client that respects copyright, but it would be difficult (technologically, and perhaps legally depending on the license you're using), and it would be a hard sell to the copyright owners.

Plus, I mean, come on - Netflix streaming works on PS3, Xbox, wii, mac, windows, iphone, ipad, a number of set-top TV boxes like the Roku and the WD ones, several TVs with integrated instant watch, and several Blu-Ray players. They're trying to get as many eyes in front of their product as they can. It's not like they're forcing you into a small subset of products.

Re:Send the wah-mbulance. (1, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#34568616)

It's no harder then any other platform. Plus Roku is Linux based, so I think the technological means is there.

Not that they should HAVE to develop it. However it would be polite to give back to the community whose work you are building on. There just being rude.
\

Re:Send the wah-mbulance. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34568750)

The only thing they are obligated to do is follow the license attached to the code they use. Not doing that is rude and illegal. If the community wanted something back they'd write it into their licenses, but then it wouldn't be free open source. To assume someone owes you because they use something that you were giving out like candy at a parade is rude and a slap to the face of the open source community.

Re:Send the wah-mbulance. (1, Troll)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#34568722)

Netflix streaming works on PS3, Xbox, wii, mac, windows, iphone, ipad, a number of set-top TV boxes like the Roku and the WD ones, several TVs with integrated instant watch, and several Blu-Ray players.

Don't have one, don't have one, don't have one, don't have one, don't have one, don't have one, don't have one, don't have one, don't have one, don't have one. What I do have is a couple UNIX boxes that are completely capable of fetching data over a network and displaying it on screen. There's absolutely no reason I should have to buy another piece of hardware to do that.

FWIW, BitTorrent works on any platform.

Re:Send the wah-mbulance. (1)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | more than 3 years ago | (#34568580)

With Moonlight?

Re:Send the wah-mbulance. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34568634)

Tried it. No. Moonlight is ages behind and the encryption stuff was never even an option

Re:Send the wah-mbulance. (1)

drb226 (1938360) | more than 3 years ago | (#34568648)

Isn't moonlight supposed to solve this problem? Though I tried using it semi-recently. And I tried wine. And I tried user-agent switcher in Firefox. Couldn't quite get any combination of those to work (on Linux, obviously) such that Netflix would accept it and stream videos to me.

Re:Send the wah-mbulance. (1)

Metrathon (311607) | more than 3 years ago | (#34568196)

Netflix doesn't actually provide an open source viewer, do they?

Re:Send the wah-mbulance. (1, Flamebait)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 3 years ago | (#34568230)

They are mooching.

They have taken from the commons and aren't giving back.

that. (0)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#34568256)

mod parent up.

Re:that. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34568326)

Unless you count the very cool service they offer at a pretty freaking reasonable price. That, my ass.

What, if it isn't free it isn't good? Get a job.

Re:that. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34568416)

I subscribe to BTO's philosophy of employment. And seing as how my mutual fund almost certainly owns a piece of you, stop wasting company resources and start turning some God damned profit.

Re:that. (1)

abigor (540274) | more than 3 years ago | (#34568538)

No, Netflix does contribute back. Jedidiah is just trolling again.

Re:that. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34568732)

Until Slashdot implements a "+1, Objectively Wrong" mod, it will not be appropriate to mod up your parent post.

Re:Send the wah-mbulance. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34568310)

They aren't obligated to give back anything. That's the the whole point of open source.

Re:Send the wah-mbulance. (0, Flamebait)

luis_a_espinal (1810296) | more than 3 years ago | (#34568418)

They aren't obligated to give back anything. That's the the whole point of open source.

Exactly. Apparently (and sadly) FOSS debutantes and e-tards who thing they are the shit defenders of open source seem too stupid (or ideological) to actually understand that very important fine point of open source software. Bunch of stupid baboons, the lot of them.

Re:Send the wah-mbulance. (2)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 3 years ago | (#34568666)

It's true that they aren't obligated to give back anything, but since when is that the point of open source?

Netflix is not mooching ... (5, Informative)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 3 years ago | (#34568336)

They are mooching.

They have taken from the commons and aren't giving back.

Wrong. They contribute to the projects they use.

"Here is an incomplete sampling of the projects we utilize, we have contributed back to most of them: Hudson, Hadoop, Hive, Honu, Apache, Tomcat, Ant, Ivy, Cassandra, HBase, etc, etc."
http://techblog.netflix.com/2010/12/why-we-use-and-contribute-to-open.html [netflix.com]

Re:Netflix is not mooching ... (-1, Flamebait)

luis_a_espinal (1810296) | more than 3 years ago | (#34568442)

They are mooching.

They have taken from the commons and aren't giving back.

Wrong. They contribute to the projects they use. "Here is an incomplete sampling of the projects we utilize, we have contributed back to most of them: Hudson, Hadoop, Hive, Honu, Apache, Tomcat, Ant, Ivy, Cassandra, HBase, etc, etc." http://techblog.netflix.com/2010/12/why-we-use-and-contribute-to-open.html [netflix.com]

Yeah, but since they oh so dare to use silverlight and are not producing a Linux client, the /. in-house retard lot (including the poster of this article) decided in their infinite wisdom that Netflix is hypocrite and not contributing to FOSS. Bunch of useless, clueless fools.

Re:Netflix is not mooching ... (2)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | more than 3 years ago | (#34568720)

Don't you know that Open Source is only for Linux!?

Re:Send the wah-mbulance. (5, Insightful)

abigor (540274) | more than 3 years ago | (#34568500)

Wrong, they are giving back tons. Speaking personally, I know for a fact they have contributed to Hadoop. Their blog site claims they've contributed to lots of others.

It is against the law. (5, Informative)

pavon (30274) | more than 3 years ago | (#34568346)

The Netflix streams are all have proprietary DRM protection. To write our own client we would have to reverse engineer this proprietary protocol (which is legal, but can be difficult), and then worse, we would have hack the authorized players, and to get the DRM keys out of them. This implementation would constitute a circumvention device, and using or distributing it would be illegal under the DMCA.

Asking open source customers to break the law to use your service isn't exactly friendly to open source.

Re:It is against the law. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34568598)

You should post this a few more times.

Re:It is against the law. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34568604)

Jobs was able to get concessions from the RIAA once he had the market power behind him. Netflix is getting closer by the day to having the same clout over the MPAA et al.

Point being, the DRM situation looks impossible to overcome now. But circumstances can change surprisingly quickly.

Re:It is against the law. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34568620)

An implementation of PlayReady (Silverlight's DRM software) exists on some Samsung Android phones (iirc, Galaxy S & Epic 4G). It would probably be a bitch to interface with, considering Samsung's involvement, but a Netflix-capable Moonlight build might therefore be possible on these devices. Though, who really wants to watch/stream movies on their phone?

Re:Send the wah-mbulance. (1, Insightful)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 3 years ago | (#34568404)

Not doing something is not the same as preventing it from happening.

But selecting incompatible technologies is something they can control.

We did we turn into such a bunch of corporate apologists?

One could say the same for Google (2)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 3 years ago | (#34568098)

For example, where is my Linux version of SketchUp?

Re:One could say the same for Google (0, Troll)

ustolemyname (1301665) | more than 3 years ago | (#34568350)

Yes, Google does not treat Linux users as first rate consumers. However, they do at least acknowledge our existence (Google Earth, Picasa (kindof), chrome, Android Dev tools). What NetFlix does is completely ignore us. By some definitions you could even argue that they actively ignore us (Seriously, silverlight? WTF?).

Re:One could say the same for Google (5, Insightful)

luis_a_espinal (1810296) | more than 3 years ago | (#34568574)

Yes, Google does not treat Linux users as first rate consumers. However, they do at least acknowledge our existence (Google Earth, Picasa (kindof), chrome, Android Dev tools). What NetFlix does is completely ignore us. By some definitions you could even argue that they actively ignore us (Seriously, silverlight? WTF?).

Ignore you? Who the f* are you? Who the lot of you represent? The majority of Linux users are ... *tada* admins running heavy shit on Linux, not desktop users. First and foremost to start with.

Second, what are your contribution to FOSS? Specially compared to NetFlix.

"Here is an incomplete sampling of the projects we utilize, we have contributed back to most of them: Hudson, Hadoop, Hive, Honu, Apache, Tomcat, Ant, Ivy, Cassandra, HBase, etc, etc." http://techblog.netflix.com/2010/12/why-we-use-and-contribute-to-open.html [netflix.com] [netflix.com]

Just because they don't cater to your specific, alternative-desktop-niche needs that doesn't mean they are smooching to open source. What you are presenting here is simply an argument of convenience. No logic whatsoever behind it. Second, they are under NO obligation to actually even acknowledge your existence. Why should they? Since when open source users and contributors have to acknowledge *you*? They are in the business of maximizing delivery of copyrighted media, and maximizing does not mean catering to *everyone* but to the majority of the market segment.

Whether you like it or not, silverlight (a proprietary product that can actually allow you to create open source applications) is an excellent tool for doing just that (since it is integrated and runs on top of the CLR)... and if it runs in silverlight, it might run on Mono's moonlight (not sure on this, though. Go do some volunteer work on it if you feel so strongly about it - instead of expecting Netflix to bend to your capricious bidding.)

There is nothing in that operational scheme of things that is against producing, consuming and contributing back to open source software projects.

That people actually cry momma and question Netflix's contributions to open source because it doesn't produce a client for their private pet desktops (and without offering to volunteer in creating or working with Netflix for creating a Linux client), man, that's the apex of /. stupidity.

Re:One could say the same for Google (0)

clydemaxwell (935315) | more than 3 years ago | (#34568710)

why did you 'tada'? you didn't pull a rabbit out of a hat so far as i can see
oh, i get it. you're being a smug asshole. didn't realize that was such a trick.

GP has a point: you can't tout how awesome open-source is when you make your living off of proprietary/closed-source software and expect us to be pleased.

Re:One could say the same for Google (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 3 years ago | (#34568700)

Does Sketchup use open source components?

Re:One could say the same for Google (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 3 years ago | (#34568754)

Yep. Jean-loup Gailly's inflate/deflate, InfoZIP, and libpng, at the very least. Probably others under similar licenses, too.

Hypocrisy in summary (0)

u17 (1730558) | more than 3 years ago | (#34568104)

To be fair, one should also point out the hypocrisy in the summary: it requests a client for Linux (presumably of the linux-gnu flavour), but makes no demands on the client itself. To be consistent, should it not request an open source client? If one were written, it would at worst be a matter of time before it became portable, and thus independent from any specific system, such as those running on Linux.

Re:Hypocrisy in summary (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 3 years ago | (#34568124)

... and the problem with that is what, exactly?

Re:Hypocrisy in summary (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34568202)

And the lack of a free software client is the real issue. The lack of Linux client is not such a big deal. You can probably use the Windows one under wine any way. It just "works", just like the proprietary Linux one would. Maybe even better. Besides, it's just a bunch of Linux-using folk who are unable to use Netflix. Whether a free software client exists is more important than the ability of a handful of Linux users to use Netflix.

Oh, and there's no hypocrisy on the part of Netflix. Just because they use free software tools doesn't mean they should make their software free. It would be very good if they did, but nothing says they must, unless you think non-free software is unethical. Else, it's neither illegal, nor immoral. It's not hypocritical either.

Re:Hypocrisy in summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34568264)

Good luck getting a FOSS version when it requires DRM. NetFlix's licensors don't allow them to stream to any device that doesn't do DRM. As an example, in Windows if you install EMET (The Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit from Microsoft that allows you to turn on additional security for processes) and have EMET enable all protections for Internet Explorer or FireFox NetFlix no longer works. Because they are doing something that "looks like malicious activity" (which is what DRM is). If there was an open version of this, it would be very hard to get DRM enforced on it.

Don't worry (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34568118)

GPL v.4 will fix this little loophole........

They're a business, not a church (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34568126)

Their product is consumer-oriented, not enterprise. No doubt, they're seeking to make money, so they're targeting Windows and iOS users, not Linux users. From a first-mover, market-share and first-mover standpoint, it makes sense.

Porting is hard. (1)

Mr_eX9 (800448) | more than 3 years ago | (#34568128)

Especially when your business changed your 3rd party platform from Flash to Silverlight. Hopefully an HTML5 implementation of Instant Watch is in the works.

Re:Porting is hard. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34568274)

Meh.

It works fine on my iPad, which I assume has nothing to do with Silverlight. Perhaps they don't want to support Linux due to lack of demand/revenue drivers, rather than some religious reason around platform. I'm certain if they saw enough incremental revenue opportunity, they'd port.

Re:Porting is hard. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34568282)

Especially when your business changed your 3rd party platform from Flash to Silverlight.

Please inform me of when Netflix's Watch Instantly platform EVER ran on Flash. I'd like to see something that supports your claim. I've been using WI since it first debuted many years ago, and it never ran on Flash.

The providers of films to Netflix demand DRM (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#34568490)

Hopefully an HTML5 implementation of Instant Watch is in the works.

How would an HTML5 implementation deter people from keeping a permanent copy of a video and/or distributing copies over the Internet? The available HTML5 viewers don't have a defined digital restrictions management mechanism, and the providers of films to Netflix demand DRM.

Re:The providers of films to Netflix demand DRM (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#34568658)

How does SIlverlight deter peopl from keeping a copy? It's trivially easy.

I would say that the people who download movies habitually don't have a netflix account. Cause, why would they need to? also, you can create a none OS application for Linux.

Re:The providers of films to Netflix demand DRM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34568756)

As someone who uses NetFlix almost daily, I do download movies occasionally but only if netflix doesn't have them available via instant watch or dvd ordering.

Roku is linux (5, Interesting)

Metrathon (311607) | more than 3 years ago | (#34568132)

My little Roku box that sits next to my TV and plays Netflix is built on Linux apparently. In a developer discussion about why there was no Linux desktop player I got the impression that the sticking point was the ease of siphoning off the video stream in a system where you can compile your own kernel was the real problem.

Re:Roku is linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34568228)

Never mind that building a machine using a Linux kernel where you as the owner can't replace that kernel is an obvious breach of what free software is about in the first place.

Re:Roku is linux (5, Insightful)

carton (105671) | more than 3 years ago | (#34568398)

This is a great point: Linux isn't incompatible with DRM, but open source is. If you gave people a DRM player for which they truly had in-practice software freedom, the first thing they'd do is remove all the DRM.

The post confuses Linux and open source, but Netflix is still fundamentally an anti-software-freedom company because their entire business is built on DRM which will always be incompatible with software freedom.

Actually writing a Linux client has nothing to do with any of this. The streaming part of Netflix's business makes them into subcontractors of the Hollywood studios: they deliver Hollywood content to eyeballs with iron-clad digital restrictions management in exchange for a cut of the fees flowing back to the studios. DRM is their entire business. They will always be primarily harmful to any real movement for software freedom.

Linux actually makes a great DRM platform: TiVo invented a whole term for it, ``tivoization'', where you have all the source code and ability to recompile the kernel, but then you can't run it anywhere because the hardware only runs signed kernels.

Likewise, I think the Android app store is extending this all the way down to the userland, right? where for example Skype will only run on phones with ``untampered'' google-signed kernels and hardware? I might be wrong---hard to keep up.

Anyway, why wasn't the DRM vs. software freedom point in the first post? I thought every Linux user knew this. Do people really think Linux == $0, and that's that?

Re:Roku is linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34568684)

In a developer discussion about why there was no Linux desktop player I got the impression that the sticking point was the ease of siphoning off the video stream in a system where you can compile your own kernel was the real problem.

I can siphon off the video stream through the RGB cables on my XBOX. And hasn't HDMI/HDCP protection already been cracked? I might not have software to use the HDCP master key, but I'd be surprised if a DVD counterfeiter didn't have it.

I didn't know that (0)

gcnaddict (841664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34568146)

a significant minority of their clientèle used linux distros as their main or media center operating systems.

Since when were companies obligated to cater to groups which hardly bring any revenue? It's all about the bottom line, and anyone who doesn't understand this likely isn't running a highly successful business right now.

Re:I didn't know that (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 3 years ago | (#34568252)

"hardly bring any revenue"

That's just baseless Lemming nonsense.

Re:I didn't know that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34568406)

a significant minority of their clientèle used linux distros as their main or media center operating systems.

I saw an online petition signed by over 50,000 linux users who said they would get a netflix account if they chose to support linux. want the link?

Re:I didn't know that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34568520)

hardly bring any revenue? whiskey tango foxtrot, over....
With the company geared almost entirely towards streaming on-demand, it's their transport method.
I mean, it was the only reason I didn't use Netflix until I got a bluray player just recently. With the faults in that software, I've fallen to the Wii. I'm lucky that I have two devices that can use Netflix, but if I was an ordinary individual... I'd be relying upon my computer. If that were the case, they'd be out one more customer. I'm sure that's part of their revenue, ya think?

Open source != Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34568162)

Just because a company can say it supports open source doesn't mean it must make a Linux client or even have anything to do with Linux. To like open source doesn't mean you like Linux.

Cheese with that whine? (4, Insightful)

zn0k (1082797) | more than 3 years ago | (#34568168)

Sounds like they're letting their customers benefit from Open Source just fine:

> Here is an incomplete sampling of the projects we utilize, we have contributed back to most of them: Hudson, Hadoop, Hive, Honu, Apache, Tomcat, Ant, Ivy, Cassandra, HBase, etc, etc.

That's a lot more than many companies that use Open Source (and have Linux clients or applications) do. Contributing back to the projects benefits everyone - not just users of FOSS desktop systems, but everyone that interacts with a system built on those projects.

Re:Cheese with that whine? (2)

noidentity (188756) | more than 3 years ago | (#34568556)

Yeah, the summary is pure flamebait. Open source is about both using open things, and making one's changes to them available. It's not about supporting a particular platform even though it's (apparently) not (yet) economically viable to do so. What next, calling them hypocrites because they dont' support every open-source OS out there? I guess it was too much for the summarizer to simply accept that he was annoyed at them for not supporting Linux, and had to project it on them.

Re:Cheese with that whine? (1)

fermion (181285) | more than 3 years ago | (#34568572)

Is it any wonder that no one uses open source? You do what you can, then people still complain.

Re:Cheese with that whine? (1)

Tharsman (1364603) | more than 3 years ago | (#34568578)

Take your facts and common sense somewhere else, this is slashdot!!! Burn them for not supporting Linux playback! :P

Client vs. Server (3, Insightful)

abigor (540274) | more than 3 years ago | (#34568186)

Netflix make use of open source on the server-side. What on Earth does this have to do with supporting an open source client? They contribute back to the projects they use, which is all anyone can ask for.

It's like saying because you use Linux on your desktop, then you're a bad person for not contributing to Hadoop. Huh?

Re:Client vs. Server (1)

countSudoku() (1047544) | more than 3 years ago | (#34568276)

They do let you choose your desktop/laptop OS from Mac, Win, or Linux as an employee. Most of their in-house wares are custom built, and their Unix of choice is AIX. They are mostly an IBM shop on the back-end, I can't remember if it was Linux for the front-facing boxen though. I had a technical interview there in late 2009, which is where my info comes from.

Re:Client vs. Server (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34568340)

Lol. AIX? Seriously? Good lord why. Did I just time warp back to 1998? Also, please don't say "X shop" or "boxen". Both are very annoying.

Nothing wrong with that... (1)

lullabud (679893) | more than 3 years ago | (#34568396)

I agree completely. There's nothing wrong with Netflix running Linux servers while not supporting Linux desktops. For all we know they're not even using X.org or any GUI whatsoever. The list of projects they contribute to does not have any GUI apps in it. (Hudson, Hadoop, Hive, Honu, Apache, Tomcat, Ant, Ivy, Cassandra, HBase)

netflix linux client status (4, Insightful)

dilvish_the_damned (167205) | more than 3 years ago | (#34568212)

where's the Linux client?
Julie188 hasent started it yet.

Re:netflix linux client status (2)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#34568518)

Julie188 hasn't started the Linux client because the Netflix team has not provided protocol specifications to Julie188. And I'd bet the providers of films to Netflix wouldn't let Netflix provide protocol specifications to Julie188.

Re:netflix linux client status (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34568716)

Kill yourself.

Re:netflix linux client status (1)

luis_a_espinal (1810296) | more than 3 years ago | (#34568596)

where's the Linux client? Julie188 hasent started it yet.

And he/she/whatever never will. I can f* guarantee it!!!!

Re:netflix linux client status (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34568638)

Can you?

Waaaa! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34568236)

Open source claims to let people do what they will with their product but act all hurt and sensitive if they're not part of the open source cult? Give me a break. No wonder most of the people I knew who used Linux have since turned their back on the OS.

Love netflix (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34568248)

I have been using linux exclusively since about '98 and also a Netflix fanatic with 3 Roku devices as well as a HD Tivo that play Netflix streaming. It would be nice if I had an ubuntu based Netflix player, but not having one for my linux systems does not stop me from enjoying Netflix. The Netflix website is easily to navigate using with Firefox, Opera, and Konquer . However, I don't spend a high percentage of time on the web site, using just enjoy watching the shows.

Stupid (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34568254)

Netflix doesn't own the content. It's not their choice. If the licensors agree, or if Netflix can satisfy the existing contracts (prereq: DRM), then they can port to Linux.

Who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34568260)

Go buy yourself a $60 Roku box and be happy.

everything that is wrong with the linux community (4, Insightful)

shadowrat (1069614) | more than 3 years ago | (#34568306)

This article is everything that is wrong with the linux community. They are very vocal about touting the benefits of open source and linux, but when a company echoes those sentiments they lash out with demands and accusations of "doing it wrong"

I don't see any hypocrisy in netflix claiming it likes ant, tomcat, etc but not announcing a linux client. As far as i know they haven't said, "under no circumstances will we ever release a general Linux client."

I could be wrong. I maybe missed part of the dialog, but it seems like a saner response to the netflix post would be something more like, "Hey, you guys sound pretty progressive with this whole open source thing. There's millions of us linux users out here who would really love a linux client."

Netflix gives back to open source ... (5, Informative)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 3 years ago | (#34568308)

From the Netflix website:

"The great thing about a good open source project that solves a shared challenge is that it develops it's own momentum and it is sustained for a long time by a virtuous cycle of continuous improvement. At Netflix we jumped on for the ride a long time ago and we have benefited enormously from the virtuous cycles of actively evolving open source projects. We benefit from the continuous improvements provided by the community of contributors outside of Netflix. We also benefit by contributing back the changes we make to the projects. By sharing our bug fixes and new features back out into the community, the community then in turn continues to improve upon bug fixes and new features that originated at Netflix and then we complete the cycle by bring those improvements back into Netflix."

"Here is an incomplete sampling of the projects we utilize, we have contributed back to most of them: Hudson, Hadoop, Hive, Honu, Apache, Tomcat, Ant, Ivy, Cassandra, HBase, etc, etc."

http://techblog.netflix.com/2010/12/why-we-use-and-contribute-to-open.html [netflix.com]

I would assume... (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#34568338)

That, in addition to OSS's usual superiority on the server side vs. the desktop side, there is the ugly-but-not-at-all-little-for-Netflix issue of DRM.

You cannot build a DRM system that is both "OSS" in any useful sense and effective(you can certainly use OSS parts; but ultimately there will have to be a proprietary obfuscated portion or hardware tivoization and/or secrets if the DRM is to be more than a toy, disabled by using the --obey_DRM=no build option). There is simply no compromise to be had here. DRM attacks user freedom, OSS promotes it. Regardless of your stance on the validity of one or the other, they are not compatible.

Somebody with server operations on the scale of Netflix would be insane to not be using OSS, and it certainly never hurts to cultivate a good relationship with your suppliers; but we can expect an OSS client at approximately the point the sun expands and engulfs the inner planets(or when chinese holocube knockoffs with a bit-for-bit blu-ray rip of every movie ever made are selling for $10 on every street corner, at which point the studios might finally realize that stopping people from ripping streams is hardly worth the trouble). A tivoized linux client device has already been available for some time, and a proprietary client for linux might even appear, should linux get the market share needed; but OSS, not so much.

No hypocrite (1)

Henriok (6762) | more than 3 years ago | (#34568354)

It's not hypocracy to use open source for all it's benefits in development and deployment, while ignoring stuff that probably won't make any money. Making open source consumer software seems not to be good business practice. Or At least I've missed all the cash generating open and free software for end users that's out there. Yes I know that you can charge for stuff even if it's open source, but as I've said, I can hardly find any consumer oriented, end user stuff that uses this model. Perhaps the open source crowds should learn to accept all the downsides to an open source business model. Sometimes you just can't have it all.

What's new. Qnap touts its linux net app but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34568364)

What's new. Big companies do this sort of thing all the time. They use Linux as the OS because it is free but then make everything else Windows only.

Qnap have a range of network video recorders for use in security systems. They rely on embedded Linux. Great! But what do you need to access them across the network - Internet Explorer and ActiveX. Bingo, another sale for Microsoft.

Just because a nasty little company makes use of Linux, it doesn't mean it is a supporter of Linux.

Is the reverse also true? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34568370)

Also hypocritical: Company X that loves closed-source, proprietary software makes a Linux port? No?
Shall every company who uses Linux, BSD, Apache, Perl, Python, or whatever be required to keep mum about their satisfaction derived from the use of OSS, lest they be branded "hypocritical" for not making a linux client?
If that's the case, we use OSS only grudgingly. Exactly one individual us for Linux support. Sorry man...

Stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34568372)

This is a stupid article. Is slashdot getting stupider? Or, am I getting smarter? Whatever it is, the gap is growing bigger with each passing tweet.

No Linux for the same reason as no Android (1)

Zerimar (1124785) | more than 3 years ago | (#34568380)

It's all about DRM baby. With not consistent and enforceable DRM mechanism, the studios will not allow them to make the streams available on Linux. It's the same reason why there are Netflix viewers for iOS and Windows Mobile 7, but not Android.

Re:No Linux for the same reason as no Android (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34568466)

...it's also exactly why I don't subscribe to NetFlix. Linux box, Android phone...

Open source is not free software! (1)

RichardJenkins (1362463) | more than 3 years ago | (#34568388)

Open source is a way of building software that some folks reckon yields a better quality software product. As a side effect lots of people are tend to benefit from it.

The four basic freedoms espoused by the GNU underpin a Free Software philosphy quite different. It's quite possible to derive benefit from open source and not give a damn about the Free Software movement.

Moreover though, it is not not *not* hypocitical for a company to benefit from open source but refuse to release a Linux client for their product. You may think it immoral, unfair, unjust, and a generally slimy way to do business - but if the behaviour couldn't conceivably be summed up as "those lying bastards are bullshitting me" it's not what I would mean by hypcrisy.

Terrible summary! (5, Insightful)

guyminuslife (1349809) | more than 3 years ago | (#34568390)

Netflix doesn't open source its client. This is not something that they control. They have various deals with various content providers that stipulate that they use DRM in their streaming solution. If they made an open-source client, it would defeat the purpose of the DRM. (Yes, DRM doesn't work and blah blah blah, but this is a business requirement, not a technical requirement. If you want to get mad at them about it, get mad at Hollywood instead.)

AFAIK, Netflix generally doesn't implement its own DRM, but instead uses the DRM from whatever platform they distribute on. The do have a "Linux" version if you count Android, but the company has claimed that they've had difficulty using it due to platform fragmentation and because it doesn't implement all of the features they need to satisfy their studio agreements. They've said they have to develop for one device at a time.

And that's with Android's libraries. So when you're asking for a Linux client for Netflix, you're not just asking for a port of their Windows or Mac clients, you're asking them to spend a lot of extra dollars to develop a closed-source DRM solution for a small market that hates DRM (and closed-sourced, to a lesser extent). Where is the sense in that? If Netflix did make a Linux client, submitters would be crawling on top of each other screaming, "Netflix Trying to Destroy Linux With Evil Client From Hell."

On the other hand, it's nice that they contribute to other projects.

Re:Terrible summary! (2)

Stregano (1285764) | more than 3 years ago | (#34568524)

Umm, yeah. So, now that you said everything and left me with nothing, I am out of mod points. Can somebody mod parent up. nicely written

Ahem... (1)

drolli (522659) | more than 3 years ago | (#34568460)

probably because they estimate that the cost per supported customer would shrink the revenue to 0. *I* would be willing to pay for a linux client and *I* would be willing to pay 50% more for being able to use linux. However taken the reaction which slashdot and parts of the FOSS community have towards things like that i would not want to invest enough in marketing to overcome the negative publicity by sensationalist biased slashdot article. I would rather think that doing something like that (providing a linux client for a price which covers the costs) would actually drive away customers due to the "they are making us pay more when using Linux" argument, which exposes that more than "oh, they dont have a linux client".

Re:Ahem... (1)

sloanster (213766) | more than 3 years ago | (#34568728)

probably because they estimate that the cost per supported customer would shrink the revenue to 0.

On what do you base this statement? It makes no sense to me because first of all, linux users are absolutely the least likely of all to require hand holding and technical support.... obtw - the linux client is already done - it's been running on the roku box for years.

Open Source != Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34568482)

Sorry fan boys.

Linux opens too many possibilities (1)

zeroRenegade (1475839) | more than 3 years ago | (#34568560)

I would love for Netflix to produce a Linux client (I was outraged to find there wasn't one), even though Netflix Canada still does not have anything to watch on it, so I'm paying $8 for about one movie every month.

Unfortunately, there are simply too many distributions to support. If we pay hard earned money for something, we demand that it works always, regardless of the distribution we may be using or what else we are running.

Saying that, It would be a joke to write a Linux client, especially since they already have some experienced developers as it would seem. I imagine there may be some lobbying that is keeping the service from coming to linux. Imagine the concept of dirt cheap netflix set top boxes using embedded linux. It may even be pretty easy to make with a wireless arduino module. I imagine it would completely destroy cable distribution as we know it (not that it isn't already dying), in America at least. The fact that most people still want to watch their tv on a tv, instead of having to hook up their wireless laptop to a wired tv to stream online media. If viewers could pay 10 dollars once for a set top box and 8 dollars a month for netlix, instead of 50 for cable, and a lot more for a crappy pvr. Imagine a set top box that is just a sheva plug using external flash storage, so you tv could go with you everywhere. I know I am a a dreamer. Linux opens too many possibilities.

Linux desktops suck. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34568612)

I've been building and running linux servers for ISPs and enterprise customers for 12 years. I have servers doing web hosting, email, VPN, file and print serving, databases. But on the client, linux sucks. I've used fedora and ubuntu, and tried the others. There is nothing compelling about the linux desktop experience. at best, it's an acceptable workstation, but not better. Windows has its issues but it works and there are no formatting issues when you open a word document. recently i started rolling out macs (macbook air). So we have linux on the server and mac on the desktop as our preferred platform. but linux on the desktop? no way.

At least point the fingers in the right direction (1)

interfecio (1023595) | more than 3 years ago | (#34568650)

Microsoft. How is it Netflix's fault for Novell/moonlight not being allowed to have the proper DRM codebits from silverlight to implement into moonlight. Use google. This shit is all over the net.

Portable programming (1)

Skapare (16644) | more than 3 years ago | (#34568738)

From TFA:

It may not make business sense for Netflix to invest in a player for Linux, given the relatively small audience on the Linux desktop.

But if they were to use standardized program development models in a portable non-proprietary language, they would have minimal difficulty getting a common code base to work on BSD or Linux. Just hire programmers with BSD/Linux development experience and let them work out the remaining differences.

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