Seven years after first launching its streaming service, Netflix officially arrived on Linux this week: Linux users can now access Netflix streams without resorting to any complicated workarounds. All they need is Google’s Chrome browser, as well as the latest version of a security library called NSS.
Accessing [company]Netflix[/company] on Linux used to require major workarounds because Netflix used [company]Microsoft[/company]’s Silverlight for streaming. The company has been moving away from Silverlight, which Microsoft is set to retire in the next couple of years. Instead, Netflix has started to embrace HTML5-based streaming. HTML5 has already been used by Netflix for some time to deliver streams to users of [company]Google[/company]’s Chromebooks, and the company made some advances in recent months to bring the same approach to full-blown Linux distributions such as Ubuntu as well.
Last month, a Netflix engineer remarked on a Ubuntu developer list that Netflix would be able to start serving Linux users once they had installed a set of security libraries. All supported versions of Ubuntu have since gotten the updated library, and users of other Linux distributions are able to install it as well, which is why Netflix removed the final roadblock this week by officially adding Chrome on Linux to the list of supported browser user agents.
Linux hasn’t been added as an officially supported platform to Netflix’s help section yet, but the service has begun to stream to Linux users without any issues, as Ubuntu engineer Alan Pope noted on Google+ this week.