THE INSTRUCTIONS BELOW ARE OBSOLETE!
USE THE PPA IN THE LINK FOR EASY INSTALLATION.
BREAKING NEWS! Netflix on Ubuntu linux works! And it works great too! A winner has been found! Back in March of this year I Heart Ubuntu put out a call to get Netflix on Ubuntu working. Somehow. Legally. Without the need to install a virtual OS and have to boot into it. Something as native as possible.
The solution? Get Firefox and Microsoft Silverlight working in WINE. Its not as easy as it sounds. A custom built version of WINE is necessary to add in several patches to get everything working properly. It currently works on 32 bit versions of Ubuntu (tested so far on 12.10). 64 bit compiling is tricky so its best to wait for the PPA coming very soon.
Want to try getting Netflix on Ubuntu working yourself? Ready to go??
There is a PPA coming out soon to make installation much easier. If you are not comfortable with compiling software in linux, I recommend waiting for the PPA.
* This build is not compatible with "vanilla" Wine, so installing this custom package will uninstall any existing Wine installation you have. Back up your current WINE folder to be safe.
** Please read through the instructions first before attempting. Reread if you experience any problems.
NETFLIX ON UBUNTU INSTRUCTIONS
(1) Downloading the latest Wine code
Download the latest Wine source code and compile it yourself. Open a terminal window and run these commands one line at a time...
sudo apt-get install git
git clone git://source.winehq.org/git/wine.git ~/wine-git
The remaining fixes are relatively simple. Keeping your terminal window open, run these commands one line at a time and patch them in like so:
wget -O part1.patch http://source.winehq.org/patches/data/91645 && patch -p1 < part1.patch
wget -O part2.patch http://source.winehq.org/patches/data/91646 && patch -p1 < part2.patch
wget -O part3.patch http://source.winehq.org/patches/data/91647 && patch -p1 < part3.patch
wget -O part4.patch http://source.winehq.org/patches/data/91648 && patch -p1 < part4.patch
wget -O part5.patch http://source.winehq.org/patches/data/91649 && patch -p1 < part5.patch
Wine has a fairly standard compilation and install procedure, but it takes a long time. Older computers might take up to two hours, newer computers? Definitely quicker! With your terminal still open, run this command...
./configure && make && sudo make install
If you get a "configure: error: FreeType development files not found. Fonts will not be built" message you can fix this by installing those files by running:
sudo apt-get install libfreetype6-dev
Then go ahead and and run the compile commands again:
./configure && make && sudo make install
(4) Installing Firefox and Silverlight
The version of Firefox doesn't matter so much and currently Silverlight 5 doesnt work yet, so you have to use Silverlight 4:
wget -O Firefox-14.0.1.exe http://download.mozilla.org/?product=firefox-14.0.1-funnelcake13&os=win&lang=en-US; wine Firefox-14.0.1.exe /S
wget -O Silverlight-4.exe http://silverlight.dlservice.microsoft.com/download/6/A/1/6A13C54D-3F35-4082-977A-27F30ECE0F34/10329.00/runtime/Silverlight.exe; wine Silverlight-4.exe /q
(5) Launch Firefox and go to Netflix
At this point everything should "just work", though the first time you pull up a movie it'll make you click "Enable" to enable the DRM component. Just go to the Netflix website, sign in with your credentials, and play something:
wine "C:\\Program Files\\Mozilla Firefox\\firefox.exe" http://netflix.com/
That should do it! Did it work for you?? I personally had problems with step #4, so I manually downloaded both Firefox and Silverlight and ran the EXE files by right clicking them and installing. All worked great after that.
If you ran into trouble beyond what was mentioned above while trying to compile WINE then you may want to try installing all the dependencies for WINE through the repositories. You can do this by running this command in a terminal...
sudo apt-get build-dep wine
The man who solved this is Erich Hoover, a computer programmer extraordinaire (to say the least). He asks that you donate to the WINE Development Fund...
Please consider donating directly to him via ChipIn.
He is also developing a simple to install Netflix App for Ubuntu using a PPA to make everything much easier (as well as installation for 64 bit Ubuntu).
We will update this article as soon as the PPA is available. Until then you will have to compile WINE yourself using the above instructions to get Netflix working.