Virtualbox + XP + Firefox = Netflix in GNU/Linux

virtualbox-icon-512x512Having recently wrested control of my machine from Windows Vista, I’ve had to implement a workaround for Netflix streaming media. Netflix, unfortunately, has yet to see the mistake in building their streaming architecture on Microsoft’s near-dead Silverlight platform. Until they recognize the error of their ways, I need a workaround. I’ve settled on virtualizing XP, as Silverlight (and Moonlight, for that matter) will not successfully run Netflix in WINE. (As a side note, WINE runs Excel 2007 — one of my must-have Windows apps — flawlessly and, ironically, faster than my Windows installation used to.)

So, I installed VirtualBox OSE from the Lucid repo (a few versions behind current, but no worries) and installed my XP Pro SP3 image on a small virtual hard disk. It took entirely too long, although I had shortcut the process by ripping the CD to my hard disk using dd (+1 for GNU!):

(Seriously … dd is bloody brilliant. One of the most useful tools in the GNU suite.) Anyway, it works like a charm and I’m not without my new love, Archer, despite no longer running Windows.

  3 comments for “Virtualbox + XP + Firefox = Netflix in GNU/Linux

  1. December 22, 2010 at 07:05

    Thanks for posting captivus. However, I am running into problems with such a setup –

    Ubuntu 10.10 host
    virtualbox_3.2.8_ose
    Windows XP SP2 guest
    Silverlight 4.0.50917.0
    Firefox 3.6.10 or IE Explorer 8.0.6001.

    Netflix starts up fine, but after a minute or two, the video freezes and audio stops playing, but the video “download amount bar” continues to download video.

    Could you post your exact configuration?

  2. March 30, 2011 at 22:22

    I found that with WineD3D built from the latest Wine source from the Wine git repository will allow Netflix to use OpenGL acceleration for smother video and allows for HD streaming.

    I have uploaded a release to my website which can be downloaded from
    http://overcaffeinated.no-ip.biz/wined3d/
    This is much newer than the releases found at http://www.nongnu.org/wined3d/.

    I tried it under Windows 7 x64 under VirtualBox 4.0.4 and it seems to work well.

  3. April 11, 2011 at 10:35

    I have the same issue, no work around yet ill keep you posted.

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