Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Netflix Open Source (netflix.github.com)
98 points by Garbage on Nov 13, 2012 | hide | past | favorite | 50 comments

I love Netflix ... with the brief exception of splitting shipping and streaming accounts, they've shown a corporate culture of innovation and still kept things "fun". It's rare that a big company embraces openness this way.

Thank you Netflix

Ugh. I hate these websites where you have to hover over things to get at any useful information.

You'd probably like this interface better: https://github.com/netflix

Mystery meat navigation - please see www.webpagesthatsuck.com

In addition to the normal github page working, they're trying to be fun and bring their normal brand to open source software.

I'm just thankful they've opened sourced so much of their infrastructure, and did it with some humor! Kudos to netflix!

Cute, but this interface is terrible.

For the ubernerd, we have this too: https://github.com/netflix

for what it's worth, 3 of the 9 top level comments are distaste for the layout. i realize you'll be hard pressed to create a landing page that satisfies everybody, but this is a pretty textbook poor experience. very concretely: the only content that's actually surfaced (repository name and movie poster) is useless.

i won't give any advice here. i'm sure netflix has a more informed design and experience team than HN. my only intent in responding was hoping to bring to light the severity of the issue: why make a custom landing page at all if you're going to redirect half the audience to something more functional?

edit: upon refresh, the page refuses to load and it can't get the data from the Github API. none of the repositories are listed under "our repositories", and the console error is Uncaught TypeError: Object #<Object> has no method 'forEach' commits.js:50. this looks to be because the Github API is not returning any repositories, and instead returns this error: "message": "API Rate Limit Exceeded for [my client IP]"

edit 2: also, depending on window browser size, there are other javascript errors. i can't tell if these actually manifest problematically since the first issue is already preventing any content from loading: Error: Invalid negative value for <rect> attribute height="-33" netflix.github.com:274

We were getting throttled by Github. We're now caching the content and this shouldn't happen anymore.

It's just an Easter Egg. We thought it would be fun. Enjoy if you like it. Go to the main Github page otherwise.

I was really hoping for something that would give you access to their streaming service so you could write your very own player, stupid me.

Exactly. Associating "Netflix" with "opensource" is kind of ironic considering they still haven't been able to deliver any workable streaming solution for the free OS.

Saying Netflix can't be associated with open source because they don't have a Linux client is very close-minded. Netflix sent an engineer to a recent BSD conference to talk about some of the custom caching servers they use in their CDN. He went into detail about how they designed the system and what they learnt. They've published a huge amount of information about how they've built on top of AWS. What about these actions indicates that they're not dedicated to open-source? Probably the only reason they haven't been quicker to develop for Linux is the same agreements that allow them to carry so much content - the developers have been quite clear that they would love to have a Linux client.

Not everyone who advocates opensource is a developer. I am an end user of Netflix. I would like to see Netflix run on my Linux laptop and I don't care if Netflix talks about the underlying architecture in open source conferences (M$ does that too) or how they use opensource for their infrastructure. The only reason they don't support Linux is because they know it's a small user base. If they really want they can come up with a solution just like they did for Android (and ChromeOS too I guess ?) Even if I do agree with your reasoning about the inverse relation between content and Linux, why haven't they yet come up with something that provides altleast limited access to their content for Linux users ?

Because it's still not worth it. I find it inconvenient too, so I'm not disagreeing with you that it would be great, but I disagree with the attitude I've seen in several comments that this Netflix isn't being open here. They've released everything they feasibly can. They're under no obligation to develop a client for the operating system you and I happen to use.

edit: I just noticed you did acknowledge the small user base. So, that being the case, are you actually arguing that some executive at Netlifx is like, "Nah - screw open source - we totally have the spare resources to develop a Linux client that will have a negligible return on investment, but they can suck it?" If it's not worth it, they won't do it. It's like accusing Linus Torvalds of not being open because he hasn't yet supported your feature-of-choice from some other OS.

The reason I won't accuse Linus of not being open even though he doesn't support my feature-of-choice is because while he ditches my idea saying it is crap, he still gives me the source to mess with. So, I or a friend can make the change for me and I can be happy and content.

Here's another analogy : It's like Microsoft Studios talking about how the development team used a Linux based compile farm and testbed for their new game but nevertheless, the game itself won't run on Linux.

If Microsoft Studios released the sourcecode to any modifications they used, or even just documented the setup they used for that compilefarm, I'd be grateful for the contribution. Yeah, it's not as good as opensourcing the game and porting it to linux, bsd, solaris et all.. but it's still a contribution to the community that they had no need to make.

For the record, I was a netflix subscriber and canceled a long time ago because of inaccessibility of their instant video service--If it won't run on xbmc, I'm better off getting it somewhere else like amazon Prime. I even told them as much. I still appreciate them releasing all of this stuff though.

Netflix has to make business decisions on what platforms to support via which DRM technologies work for them and their Hollywood suppliers. I'm just thankful they still exist at all and I don't have to rent DVDs anymore.

They don't "owe" anyone anything. It's a for-profit company, and they're being generous with their infrastructure source.

Delivering a software solution for linux does not make one a contributor to opensource. Open-sourcing technology does. One could make nothing but software for Windows, or OSX, or OS2 for chrissakes, and still be a contributor to open-source by contributing the source of their code. The point is in giving, not whether or not you care to receive.

Unfortunately their hands are tied on this one. The DRM is a part of their licensing agreement with their content providers. I'm sure if they could move off Silverlight for their desktop streaming platform, they would in a heartbeat.

Interestingly enough, they use FreeBSD for their servers.

was there any reason other that what I'm assuming are MS incentives that they even chose silverlight over flash

Doesn't seem at all ironic. Linux doesn't have a monopoly on open source, and they have no obligation to open source their software nor provide a steaming experience for Linux.

Oh yeah Apple and Windows have monopoly over open source. Way to go Apple and Windows. BTW Netflix does have obligations to their paying members.

Yes, Netflix has an obligation. An obligation to provide what they say they'll provide and nothing more.

Netflix has always said they have no plans to support Linux. It may suck for Linux users but they're being honest about it. I think it's a big stretch to imply that they have an obligation to support such users.

Of course, obligation in moral sense and not legal-boundation sense.

I'm streaming Netflix on my Android tablet. Not quite sure what you mean.

I think they're talking about GNU/Linux.

Ironically that's what Android is built on.

What does the free OS mean?

Netflix only functions on desktop operating systems with Silverlight, a Microsoft plugin for some browsers that only is supported on modern OS X versions and Windows. Additionally, there is a native Android and iOS version. People who want to watch it on Linux, are forced to something extremely impractical like emulate Android - it is a closed system.

This proposal is really important to cross platform vendor agnostic support:


The free operating systems?

Sorry for being melodramatic. I meant Linux :D. And evinugur has listed exactly what my problem with Netflix is.

You can see a better list of the available repositories here: https://github.com/Netflix/

Support chrome/firefox/whatever on Linux and I will be impressed. Open source is great, in this case though, being cross platform is better.

This proposal is really important to cross platform vendor agnostic support:


Why not release a standalone Linux app, a la Android/iOS/Boxee/Roku/etc? Seems that would be possible.

Honestly I'd prefer it to using my browser anyway.

Yes! I would really like to subscribe to Netflix, but the lack of Linux support is stopping me. It would be nice to have a web client, but a native client would be a blessing for those of us that find web clients to decrease performance system wide.

It is strange to me that we should need a native client for performance reasons. There are numerous html5 games that have "native" feels. I understand the security concerns with exposing lower level access like OpenGl to the web and I understand why on browsers (both mobile and desktop) some hardware is not allowed to be accessed directly (and with good reason) but it is frustrating that performance is still the major driving force between native and web considering the obvious cross-platform-ness of web based approaches...

Most corporations would NEVER do this. Hats off to Netflix for taking a bold step forward.

BTW, Linux is an edge case (< 1%, let alone << of 1% of paying traffic for Netflix!), and companies have to prioritize their resources.

I actually think the interface is a cool and creative use of their app's interface.

Wow, almost all of them are written in Java (2 in Scala, 1 in Groovy, 1 in shell).

We're mostly a Java company, but certainly not only a Java company.

We have a core of folks who use Python (like me), we just haven't open sourced any of it yet.

FYI - we've added a list view for those that prefer that.

New Arrested Development coming soon too.

I will forever have a bitter taste towards Netflix in regards to their deceptive/dishonest marketing tactics.

Explain please.

I didn't want Netflix service, though since I was gifted a month I thought I'd try it. Had to put my credit card details in for a free month I was gifted. First had to signup for the free trial month, putting in my credit card at that point. The gift month wasn't added. After 2 or 3 phone calls to Netflix support, and over an hour later the second month was added.

I had asked and was promised that I would be getting an email letting me know 1 week before that the renewal period was approaching. No email ever came of course.

Might seem small, but doing these kinds of tactics on a large scale, with tens of millions of users - they know the recurring rate will be higher, and many people will keep getting billed without remembering or realizing, even if it's for 3+ months. It's dishonest.

There are other minute details I've not written out because I don't care to put the energy into it.

That's not marketing. That's poor customer service.

Seriously. I don't even work for Netflix yet I feel embarrassed that everyone here is trashing them for being generous with their code in a creative way.

Thank you Netflix for releasing core components that would take a lot of my team's resources to replicate!

Applications are open for YC Summer 2021

Guidelines | FAQ | Lists | API | Security | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact