The HeliOS Project is now.....

The HeliOS Project is now.....
Same mission, same folks...just a different name

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Sunday, May 24, 2009

NetFlix Where Art Thou ?

OK...I think we can put the old wive's tale to bed that Linux Users just don't spend money.

2DBoy will be the first to punch a pin in that bubble.

I could have linked the same data with a personal quote from Kyle from 2DBoy in my blog but that wouldn't have proven much. The fact that Linux Users absolutely destroyed all previous first-day sales of World Of Goo by 40% is a powerful indicator.

What has been proven though is that Linux users will shell out a few bucks for what they want. We have another non-believer in our midst.


This blog is to the point. Help us get the petition link out to as many people as you know.
Pathetically, less than 400 signatures reside on the petition at the time of this post. You don't think it will make a difference?

Oh, let me show you if the Acer deal didn't show you your power.

A few of weeks ago, we highlighted the story of Mark Van Kingsley and his quest for a Dell Studio XPS with Linux pre-installed. Now mark isn't a militant sort of guy...well, yes he is when it comes down to it but he really didn't do anything to merit being transfered to "TEAM BLACKHAWK". Obviously a special ops customer service division to handle Linux Militants. In a word, Mark raised hell over the fact that he couldn't get the machine he wanted. When the agent invoked the Microsoft Licensing Agreement as the reason that he couldn't get said product with Linux, Mark asked them:

"So you mean Microsoft dictates to Dell what they can and cannot sell me?"

The tech responded: "Well you could look at it that way..."

Yeah, I guess we could Mr.-Team-Blackhawk-handler-of Linux-Militants. How else would one look at it?

And just so you know...I realize that Team Blackhawk probably has a completely legitimate roll...somewhere. I can appreciate someone else with an over-used sense of the melodramatic.

Mark wasn't the only one that contacted Dell about this. After we published the story, we received just over 3 dozen emails either asking for the right email address and phone number to Dell or communications telling us that they had already contacted Dell about this silliness.

Just over three weeks later....Voila!

That was just enough time for their techs to get the hardware kinks out of it. Now I cannot with a straight face sit here and try to convince you that we did this...the evidence is empirical at best and with Dell choosing not to answer out calls about it, I guess we will never really know.

But ya gotta wonder....ya really gotta wonder.

So if you would, give us a hand in letting NetFlix know we would very much appreciate joining in on the party. Between the Acer Debacle and the Studio XPS thingy...I think we're on a roll. And you should finally realize the strength you possess.

I'll bring the popcorn.

All Righty Then...


Anonymous said...

I understand the importance of getting Netflix to support GNU/Linux in the sense that it shows we still are an end-user market; however, isn't this the wrong outlet for that synergy? The Netflix videos (according to what I have read) are overflowing with DRM. What this petition essentially says is:
"Dear Netflix: Please port your proprietary software to our otherwise open operating system so that we may bury ourselves in your DRM."
Wouldn't it be a better idea to advocate for driver companies to write (or improve) hardware drivers for GNU/Linux, or try to convince Adobe to open up Flash player? I just don't think the world needs any more DRM or proprietary software at this point.

Anonymous said...

Done and done Helios.

I was just b******* to my wife about having to use Windows to use this feature, never once thinking that we could have an impact. Am sending their customer service this link now.

Unknown said...

@ trombonechamp

I could not agree with you more.

You can only eat the giant one bite at a time. Let's win this battle and then move it forward to it's logical conclusion. We face formidable challanges in accomplishing what you state...and astutely so. I have reason to believe that Adobe is on the verge of making Flash Free Software. When that happens, many, many gates will open for us.


DigitalPioneer said...

@Blog of Helios:
Flash going Free Software? As in Open Source? Can you give me a link about this? All I can say is, it's about freaking time! :D I've been wishing Gnash were up to par for a long time.

As to Netflix, I signed the petition, but I agree with Trombonechamp: I'm not going to use it if it has DRM involved either. What's the point in DRM these days anyways? The studies already show that media with DRM has an equal or greater piracy rate than media without DRM. For a lot of people, I'll bet it's more about jailbreaking the media than actually pirating it. You tell someone what they cannot do, and what's the first thing they do?

Anonymous said...

knowing helios as I do, I am willing to give him full credit for realizing a potential possibility here.

Just put it on the table. DVD Jon will do the rest.

Anonymous said...

"Now I cannot with a straight face sit here and try to convince you that we did this...the evidence is empirical at best and with Dell choosing not to answer out calls about it, I guess we will never really know."

Career suicide here to sign my name but trust me on this, they do know who you are here. You are not popular with some but that's only because your readers squeeze them to do things they just don't want to deal with now. The power of the blog is indeed immense helios. You haven't yet induced any chair-throwing but it came close once.

I will email you off list sometime and we'll talk.

Unknown said...

@ Digital Pioneer

Flash going Free Software? As in Open Source? Can you give me a link about this?

Email me @ helios@fbl

Anonymous said...

I like Netflix. For a relatively small amount of money I can get a DVD delivered to my door from a huge library of DVDs. This has allowed me to watch things that I would otherwise never have access to.

Occasionally they send emails asking things like "when did you mail this disk?" I keep waiting for them to send an email asking why I don't use streaming video. I think a screenshot of KDE would be sufficient. :)

In response to trombonechamp: Considering that this is streaming, I would have less problem with DRM than if it were purchased, but I agree I'd rather have no DRM at all. And no, I wouldn't pirate the content.

I had no idea the petition existed, but I'll be adding my signature...

Anonymous said...

I appreciate your blog for having called this MAJOR problem to NETFLIX' attention.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I signed the petition. I am a Netflix subscriber and also use Linux. I have the "ROKU" which works fine. I am not so concerned about streaming DRM as I would be with DRM on a personal device or media copy that I actually owned. Netflix (and several other companies, ABC comes to mind) needs to officially recognize Linux users by supporting us. We and Linux are not the problem. THEIR lack of support is the issue.

Anonymous said...

I'm a Netflix subscriber and Linux user and Roku box owner. I wouldn't worry about any of this until the streaming movies provided don't suck. Use VirtualBox with Windows.

Bob Robertson said...

Netflix isn't the only one. is also a "Windows or Mac Only" shop.

At least with Netflix I can "manage" my account even with all those scripts in FireFox. Konqueror chokes.

When I checked into Netflix streaming for my wife's Windows machine, I found it was based on Microsoft Silverlight (or whatever they call it today). I didn't finish the process because I object to the "License Agreement" that comes with it, that pretty much lets Microsoft do whatever they want with everything they can learn about my machine.


Anonymous said...

The issue is Netflix's use of Silverlight rather than Flash for streaming. Moonlight, the open-source port of Silverlight, is in beta stage for version 2.0. By September, this should be available and will allow access to Netflix, etc. I tried the current 1.9 (/2.0 beta) and it works for some silverlight content, but not Netflix yet (it does try if you broadcast Firefox/Win rather than FF/Linux with the plugin installed).

That said, I do agree that Flash is a better choice for streaming since it works very well and cross-platform support is years ahead of Silverlight. Why would a media company pick a stream that works on only a few platforms rather than ~ all platforms? They don't want to reach more customers? Making less money is preferred? It's a mystery....

anthony said...

Lets not be so hardcore about DRM just yet.
One battle at a time. I think it would be just nifty to watch streaming videos on my linux box.

Lets get that first. Then we can move on to the DRM issue.

Anonymous said...

I thought Netflix has switched to silverlight? And if so, is it the newer version or the moonlight compatible one?

Anonymous said...

"I think it would be just nifty to watch streaming videos on my linux box."

Until Netflix gets their act together, there is
Hulu It runs great on Linux and has a good selection of TV and Movie content.

kozmcrae said...

I think my number was 789.

Anonymous said...

ROKU is running linux

Unknown said...

I signed the petition, #1087 -- Check that out, dudes, a prime number -- wihoo! Linux rocks.

Anonymous said...

The Netflix on Linux is probably not going to happen due to the CEO of Netflix being on the Microsoft's board of directors.

Microsoft is trying to totally dominate the pc world by locking OEMs into licensing deals.

Microsoft had to really pay big to control the entertainment website Netflix by making the CEO a board member and pay a "salary" to the CEO of Netflix so that there is no competition against Microsoft. Apple is the only exception because they exclude their OS to their hardware, but allow Microsoft to be installed on their machines.

Anonymous said...

Netflix is just a website, why can't they just make it work like every other website. Get rid of Silverlight and use Flash like the rest of the world!

-Jimmy Burnett

Anonymous said...

@trombonechamp: whole-heartedly agree. There seems to be a disturbing convenience-before-freedom trend in the GNU/Linux community right now.

@all: Asking for Netflix on Linux is like inviting your worst enemy over because you think he will bring his PS3. For those who think that DRM doesn't matter, it's one of the single greatest threats to the free and open source software that makes Linux run. You want Netflix? Get a Mac. "Free as in freedom, not as in beer."

Anonymous said...

Apple isn't freedom, in fact they are the opposite.

This is part of their development agreement, thus the reason Flash will never be part of the iPhone or iTabblet.

"An Application may not itself install or launch other executable code by any means, including without limitation through the use of a plug-in architecture, calling other frameworks, other APIs or otherwise…. No interpreted code may be downloaded and used in an Application except for code that is interpreted and run by Apple’s Published APIs and built-in interpreter(s)."

Freedom? More like communism.

Shannon VanWagner said...

Thanks for pointing this out Ken. I just wanted to mention that your efforts have not gone to waste, as the saga for Netflix to come to the GNU/Linux Desktop continues... Most recently stirred up again by Joe Brockmeier..

Me, I dumped Netflix and switched to Amazon Prime and Hulu Plus instead. Here are some blog entries I wrote about it:
and (I mentioned this post on this one):

It's amazing what can happen when just 1 person speaks up about something...