Blog Archives

How To – Making a Media Center Using Ubuntu 12.04 LTS

ccdf6dc794fd35c2a702751c7732b2324b66586216aee7bcad8017dd8ab508f3For quite some time I have been away from the HTPC scene (~2 years), having resigned to using a Roku Player with the Plexapp channel for home media purposes.  I recently took another look last week at the HTPC option for my home.  Safe to say, I found I could safely get 80 percent of what I wanted for a media box out of the experience.  The Dell GX755 PC slim desktop is now tucked safely into the TV stand, and it works beautifully.  How did I do it it? Why? Read on for more.  Read the rest of this entry

Fun Facts: Despite DRM, Netflix Is Built On FreeBSD

Who knew?  For all the complaining  us Unix and Linux users give closed proprietary software at times, especially heavy handed DRM solutions, it is admirable that some of theme still thank us in other ways.  Netflix is one of those companies, who obviously had to come up with a solid DRM solution to appease the movie industry, but still knows its roots.

At the core of the netflix software stack, is the FreeBSD 9.0 Operating System.   Anyone who knows the world of servers and their Unix/Linux roots, will tell you the stability of BSD when it comes to what powers the net.  Sure, a lot of Linux users are so sucked into Red Hat Enterprise Linux and similar offerings, but the BSD clan still deserves a lot of praise.

Within this core, lies the nginx web server, proven to be a highly scalable and well performing beast, as see by how well Netflix content is served up.  The audio portion of the stream is delivered over the HTTP Protocol.  With Netflix and Youtube literally consuming half of all Web traffic in North America, one has to wonder what routing methods they are implementing to handle all the gobs of data.  Thanks to the power of the BIRD routing daemon, powerful dynamic IP routing makes that possible.  Information is gathered through the BGP routing protocol.

So there you have it.  Way to go Netflix.  For all the grief you cause us as users, I am very glad to see there is some good in the perceived evil of proprietary software and DRM.

You’re doing it Right – Netflx Playback on Linux with Pipelight

The day has come! (well almost, but in my case this worked well).  Let’s take a step back in time.  The year is 2004, and I ran into several frustrations, including several proprietary plugins, programs, and utilities.  Today, many of that is either native in Linux, reverse engineered (chinese wall methods), or ran via layers such as mono and wine.  Netflix-Desktop works fairly well in several distributions, but I often grapple with it on its window placement over my other monitors.  Thanks to the Linux Action Show, I caught wind of Pipelight, and it is GRAND.  Read on for more! Read the rest of this entry

30 Days of GNU\Linux : Day 7

UPDATE: After installing netflix-desktop on my Macbook (2010), video wasn’t perfect, but it was watchable.  So in a nutshell, it depends on your CPU/GPU I would guess, as my HTPC is a little dated…

Ran into some frustration today.  One thing is for sure, and you see it ALL over google and many Ubuntu/Mint forums, is Amazon Instant and Netflix.  I have used the method to install Netflix on Mint/Ubuntu.

Here is How to install the Netflix Desktop App on Ubuntu Linux. Open a terminal and run these commands:

sudo apt-add-repository ppa:ehoover/compholio

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get install netflix-desktop

On my paricular core 2 duo box runing Mint 15 Olivia, it worked, but with choppy video. This method uses Mono + Wine to emulate silverlight and the application layer itself.

My NEXT frurstration is Amazon Instant, which is HIGHLY annoying in its inconsistancy to work correctly on Linux, even easier distros such as Ubuntu/Mint. You would think we would get better support because we actually pay good money to watch instantly…nope. I have tried countless methods, from installing hal and lib hal1 (apt-get install libhal1 hal), as well as complicated manuvers such as this.

For now, I believe your best bet is running a Virtual Machine with XP/Win7 to get satisfactory playback. I will post my results on that process tomorrow.

Till Next time!