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Netflix - Another Example of Open Source Hypocracy?

Interestingly, netflix also wants to be known as an Open Source company. Apparently, they use Open Source because it is cheaper, despite various attempts of bribes from commercial companies.

They also claim that they contribute to Open Source without mentioning any evidence. If there is some evidence, please comment about it!

At the end of the referenced blog article by netflix, they announce that they hire people and mention the open source projects they use. Could it be that they are using Open Source because they find a better pool of potential employees?

While it is certainly good that companies show to the world that Open Source is good, reliable and cost-efficient, and that Open Source enthusiasts find jobs, it would be far more helpful to Open Source if they would have the courage to give really support to the community.

In case of netflix, this would be to offer their products (i.e. the streaming of movies via the Internet) to consumers using Open Source. However, according to their website only Microsoft Windows and Apple are supported. There is not even an e-mail contact address, which could be used to ask the possibility to use netflix under Linux, or to lobby for it.

Netflix, if you really want the Open Source community to be your customer, support Open Source in the strongest way that you can, allow us to watch your movies on our Linux computers!!!

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Comments

While Linux is Open Source, Open Source is not just Linux.

Another site mentioned the DRM as one thing they need which just doesn't have an open source version available or is available up-to-snuff.

Is their client base going to be big enough to warrant the expense of trying to build a better DRM? Probably not, unless somebody shows sufficient draw from appliance devices and even then the cost may be prohibitive.

Open Source is much bigger than just Linux. There are applications for Windows and I suspect Macs, that doesn't work in Linux often due to technical issues.

It's doubtful. In any case, the issue is not one of riding on technicalities, but one of inclusiveness. The problem is that not everybody want to pay the Apple or Microsoft tax in order to be able to use netflix. It is ridiculous to force people to buy a second product in order to be able to use the one they want to use. This is clearly a case of monopoly and should be an anti-trust issue.

The DRM issue is also not a good excuse. Apple started with DRM on their online music store, and have gotten rid of it as well.

In the end it is about consumer choice. And Open Source is not only server software. One of the problems that is always cited by people not using Linux are such examples like netflix. That is why the greatest support netflix could give to Open Source is to support it where it can help it to make inroads to the desktop market. netflix is not doing that.

From the post:
"Here is an incomplete sampling of the projects we utilize, we have contributed back to most of them: Hudson, Hadoop, Hive, Honu, Apache, Tomcat, Ant, Ivy, Cassandra, HBase"

Maybe look for netflix addresses in the commit logs?

As nice as it would be for Netflix to provide a Linux client, it's up to them. You don't have to support Linux to support open source. It's still a bummer, but not hypocritical, IMO.

The consequence would be that content providers are able to limit their content to one device if they wanted to. This is historically not the case. Any device that can display a TV signal could be used to watch movies without limitations.

Why should that be different. If they do not want to support it, it should be possible to write FLOSS to be able also watch it.

They aspect of being hypocritical comes into play for using Open Source where it reduces their costs, and announcing this as if they are a "Open Source" company. If they were really interested in Open Source to flourish, they would support FLOSS where it would benefit the most, and this is at the current time the availability to use netflix on any FLOSS system. Linux is just one example, but probably the most important at this time. Ideally, the support should be their for any.

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