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Pipelight: A Way To Get Netflix On Linux

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  • #61
    Originally posted by kermidge View Post
    I don't spend as much time here as I'd like, but even so, this has been one of the livelier and to me more informative threads of late. Thanks, all. There were easily seven or ten posts I wanted to reply to but I'm lazy and thought it to be more efficient to have one reply suffice.

    I have been opposed to DRM - the R for rights or restrictions depending where you stand both philosophically and in the product stream - since its inception. While I understand it's much more about vendor - software and hardware - lock in than anti-piracy, it stems directly from copy-protection schemes going back to 16-bit days (8-bit was more about sealed carts or looking up a word in the manual), where one encountered everything from non-standard floppy formats to dongles. As some have pointed out, DRM is sold to the naive as copy-protection, and to the insiders as the eventual locked-in silo from producer to display device.

    I believe that a working man deserves to be paid for his work. I do not believe he should get ripped off by anyone - whether it be a studio, a distribution middleman, or the user of the work. It's simple if I build someone a table or a house - I get paid for it by the first end-user.

    (My OS and almost all software is open-source and I contribute where and how I can, which usually amounts to sending a developer five bucks or so - or whatever price he sets; I buy from Humble Bundle, etc.; and buy from authors who offer their ebooks DRM-free at Baen, Amazon, and elsewhere.)

    It's more complicated if I write something. Being paid for a magazine article is one thing, and simple. If however I write a novel... I would these days likely choose to self publish and go through one of the writer- and consumer-friendly publishing houses (essentially a hosting service with nominal fee or percentage for upkeep and an "end") or the like. I would set what I consider a fair price, and offer a text-only version for direct download or a torrent link. No DRM, of course.

    With "big-ticket" entertainment comes the rub. Just as corporations started as a way to gather enough capital to do big projects, so studios - they front the production resources and take a cut. While there have indeed been some excellent fan fiction, documentaries, and such that's available on YouTube, Vimeo, Vodo, there's the middle-ground area, shows such as Sanctuary or Pioneer One, where funding of resources and post-production is a hassle. Kickstarter and others have helped but it's not yet a total answer to the difficulties.

    So for larger entertainments we're stuck with the current major-studio situation. Hence this discussion.

    W3C should have no truck with anything closed.

    We've already got nigh ubiquitous Flash, and Silverlight, even though they're being abandoned by their makers. They're there, they mostly work, and access via things like netflix-desktop and Pipelight work. I see absolutely no need and no good purpose of new standards or implementations that require more new blobs, although they're apparently going to happen one way or the other.

    Understand something: the people who know about any of this stuff, let alone care, are found in places like this and at the EFF and a few other places - and no where else. Everybody else just wants to watch a TV show or a movie, and they'll do it using iTunes store, Amazon, Hulu subscription, or Netflix, and the like. It's reality. Deal with it, however you choose to. It's one thing to try to inform people you meet about all these realities but don't bother preaching, because no one is listening.

    I use Netflix. I've been using Eric Hoover's Compholio edition to watch Netflix since last Fall on my five-year old DIY system and it works just fine. I can watch stuff easily at my convenience on my monitor in a window or full-screen. (I don't own a TV; I can't afford one and have no place to put one. (I'm saving for a new monitor.)) Even given my impure compromise, I still oppose DRM, and support as I'm able independent producers and Kickstarter projects.

    I don't generally torrent anything other than distros and the like. Not saying I never have, or may not in future; it's just that in my present situation the risk, while actually small, carries a price that is way too high. Further, to the extent that some of my fee to Netflix goes eventually to the makers is some consolation.

    Vendor lock-in, "trusted computing" - TPM, sealed and soldered chips on the mobo, proprietary BIOS and now vendor-crippled UEFI: no way. The problem for us will increasingly be in finding manufacturers who offer alternative configurations. (Btw, the whole UEFI thing - so long as the mobo maker conforms to spec you will have access and be able to enter and store keys as you choose; heck, for a $100 you can buy your own cert from Verisign and sign whatever you want to.) As for TPM - the original design and spec, while it indeed allows for total lock-in by the unscrupulous, was to try to manage a portion of a trusted chain of events from power-on to working desktop so as to preclude pwning. (Yes, I know about chains and weak links, etc.)

    Like so much these days, we have to try to protect ourselves, help each other, and resist the power-mad de facto feudal lords. Good luck to us all, and choose as you see fit.

    Btw, if y'all need something extra to get worked up about, there's always perpetual copyright and the rape of public domain. (Steamboat Willy, my ass. Even Walt basically said he 'borrowed' him.)
    Excellent comment -- and thank you for the heads-up on Compholio for Netflicks on Linux


    • #62
      Originally posted by Bernard Swiss View Post
      Excellent comment -- and thank you for the heads-up on Compholio for Netflicks on Linux
      I forget whether it's been mentioned in this thread already but Pipelight builds on the Compholio patches for Wine. The difference is that Compholio's Netflix Desktop runs the entire browser under Wine whereas Pipelight limits Wine's involvement to just Silverlight.