Netflix HTML 5 Is Coming to Linux Soon

Jonathan R. Clauson

Netflix HTML 5 is coming to Linux desktop computers soon. While this may not be an earth shattering revelation for most readers, Linux is what lies at the heart of many devices you likely own including the Roku, of which you can read The Inquisitr's review of here, many GPS devices, and of course Android. And while many savvy Linux users have been able to hack their way around the restrictions set by Netflix, the ongoing implementation of HTML 5 for video streaming on Netflix means that Netflix based on HTML 5 will soon be available on the Linux OS.

Paul Adolf, a senior software engineer, posted on the official Ubuntu forums yesterday stating that Netflix with HTML 5 will play with Google's Linux version of Chrome on Ubuntu 14.02 and if NSS version 3.16.2 or greater is installed. The average end user on Linux will likely not be sure what this means, but for those who like to peak under the hood, NSS stands for Network Security Services. NSS is a security standard for developers that is developed by a partnership between Mozilla, Google, and RedHat.

Ubuntu is currently at version 14.04 but is running a slightly older version of the NSS plug-in. The upcoming release of Ubuntu, as detailed by OMGUbunto, shows that the 14.10 Ubuntu version will feature NSS 3.17 and allow for the Google Chrome browser to run Netflix using HTML 5 playback.

Most users who watch Netflix on their home desktop or laptop will doubtless be familiar with the persistent reminders to update the Microsoft Silverlight plug-in. Silverlight was billed as the less system intensive alternative to Adobe's Flash service. Silverlight allowed for Netflix to stream its library to your computer screens while keeping the movie studios happy with appropriate security measures.

With Windows 8.1 and the latest Beta builds of OS X Yosemite, Netflix has starting phasing out the aging Silverlight plug-in in favor of the HTML 5 video playback standard using the EME security standard. Simply put, HTML 5 means no more Silverlight plug-in updates.

What does this mean for the average user who watches Netflix on their home computer? Not much. The prospect of Netflix HTML 5 being available on RedHat, Ubuntu, and Arch will not shake the average PC user to their core. Linux may be the foundation for a great deal of devices, corporate infrastructure, and scientific applications, such as the Large Hadron Collider, but the end result is that loyal Linux users and their command lines will have and end to an almost 7 year wait for Netflix to support HTML 5 on their home computers without having to hack the system.