Victory

Re-enable Linux support for HBO Max

This petition made change with 1,616 supporters!


Why doesn't HBO work on Linux? A few weeks ago, computer users started scratching their heads as they were suddenly unable to watch "Game of Thrones,"  "Frayed," and even the beloved "Sesame Street," for no apparent reason.  

Linux has become increasingly popular as a desktop operating system over the past few years. As more and more users realize the benefits of open-source software compared to closed-source offerings from companies like Microsoft and Apple, that popularity will only grow.

As Linux becomes more popular, its users will, like users of other operating systems, increasingly use their computers for entertainment. And as streaming services like Netflix and YouTube TV take the place of traditional cable and over-the-air television, more and more users will want to access those services using their computers.

Up to now, most such services have worked with few issues on computers running a Linux-based operating system. Netflix, YouTube TV, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Philo, CBS All Access, and even Apple TV+ function as expected. And up until sometime in August 2020, so did HBO Max.

Not anymore. HBO changed a setting in the software it uses to encrypt its video library, preventing computers running Linux from acquiring a digital license to play content. Users are advised that their computers "couldn't play this title," and that trying again later may remedy the problem. It doesn't.

Although HBO has never "officially" supported Linux, the fact remains that it was supported, and it's entirely within HBO's capacity to support again. If HBO continues to block Linux machines, they'll miss out on--and alienate--a growing segment of their subscriber base. This could also set an unwelcome precedent for other streaming services not to support Linux, or to disable support that was once available.

It's also worth noting that HBO Max does support Chrome OS, which is, at its heart, a Linux variant.

We, the signers of this petition, call on HBO to re-enable support for computers running Linux, and to support the platform officially. There is no reason they cannot, and no extra work is necessary on HBO's part to re-enable support. HBO is only hurting themselves by alienating Linux users, who may with good reason cancel their subscriptions and choose to stream content from Linux-friendly providers.

HBO, stop treating Linux users like second-class citizens!

More info: https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2020/08/hbo-max-cranks-up-the-widevine-drm-leaves-linux-users-in-the-cold/



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