How to Get Firefox to Play Amazon, Netflix and Hulu Vidos on Archlinux

The main reason I always install Google Chrome on any linux distro I happen to be running is that Chrome will by default play videos from Amazon Prime, Netflix and Hulu without a hitch, whereas Firefox will not. In fact, neither will Chromium.

This is because Google has built proprietary flash graphics inside of Chrome.

However, after listening to several podcasts about how Google is sharing our information and how tracker cookies are being placed on our machines without our knowledge or consent by Chrome, I decided to have another look at the problem of getting Firefox to play online video content from the above mentioned providers.

Here’s what I discovered: It’s an easy fix.

First of all, I recommend you to install yay, which is an alternative to yaourt. To do this simply go to the command line and type in the following:
$ git clone https://aur.archlinux.org/yay.git
$ cd yay
$ makepkg -si

Once yay is installed then you need to install flash as follows: yay -S flashplugin
$ sudo pacman -Syyu firefox

Next, if you haven’t already, install Firefox as follows:
$ sudo pacman -Syyu firefox

At this point, I needed to reboot and/or logout and login. I then loaded Firefox and navigated to Amazon Prime videos. Try to watch a video and it will give you an error, but you’ll notice in the upper left corner of Firefox a little message will appear that says something like “Enable DRM content?” Click yes, and from that time on you’ll be able to watch Amazon Prime videos, Netflix and Hulu all from withing Firefox.

Now you can ditch Chrome. They’re tracking you.

Plasma 5.14 Just Released – Here’s what to discover.

Virtual Desktops Have Changed in Favor of Activities

It doesn’t seem possible to switch virtual desktops with a programmable keyboard shortcut anymore, however, in my pure Archlinux KDE Plasma 5.14 install, it is possible to switch desktops by placing the cursor on a blank area of the screen and using the mouse wheel – if you have one. You can also switch to virtual desktops by pressing Ctrl-F1 / Ctrl-F2 etc.

Activities, on the other hand, can be programmed to switch with your own programmable keystrokes, AKA keyboard shortcuts.

For example, on my computer I set up four virtual desktops and four Activities. I also set up so I can switch to any activity on the left with Ctrl-Alt-Left or on the right with Ctrl-Alt-Right. I used to do that with virtual desktops, however, now activities behave much like virtual desktop switching used to but each activity has it’s own set of virtual desktops completely separate from the other virtual desktops. Therefore, I have 16 virtual desktops! These things are relatively easy to figure out how to do in the new KDE Plasma 5.15 release.

Since each activity can have a diffent keyboard shortcut, unlike KDE Plasma virtual desktops which all share the same wallpaper, it’s more like XFCE in that sense. The default (and perhaps only) animation in switching activities is sliding. I hope they change that. I like the cube.

Every time you set up a new activity you have the same setup of virtual desktops you had in the original. That’s probably a flaw that could be corrected, but who cares? I like four virtual desktops, so I set that up. Then I set up four activities, and each has four virtual desktops, and I can now switch from activity to activity with CTRL-ALT-LEFT (or RIGHT). It gives me 16 virtual desktops, if you follow me. Mind you that configuring how to switch activities is up to you.

I now have a super easy way to switch activities and a super easy way to switch to desktops within that activity. Essentially, I have 4 x 4 desktops, or 16. You can have as many or as few as you want. I think some projects might get buried or lost – like this article. I lost which activity and/or virtual desktop out of my 16 contained my article while I did research. Fortunately, I found it again!

KDE is still under development

KDE is still changing and I’m an old school Linux user. I used to use KDE but then abandoned it in favor of Cinnamon and Mate until years later. I’ve tried, of course, Gnome, XFCE, etcetera, but now I’m back examining Gnome after 21 years of Linux experience.

KDE is improving all the time. It is resource heavy, unlike XFCE which is lighting fast, but it’s prettier and more functional if you don’t mind the lag. Of course, if you’ve got a modern computer, there’s no lag. Go with KDE Plasma 5.14.

Remember, my personal recommendation? Kde Plasma 5.14!

Upgrading to Fedora 28 from Fedora 27

Upgrading is slow but definitely worth it.

I am presently upgrading from Fedora 27 to Fedora 28, which as of writing just came out.

At the stage I am at now I have already undertaken all of the command line instructions and have rebooted the computer. The system has started the upgrade process in the reboot. It’s taking a while but I think it will be worth it.

In the meantime, I am without my computer. So I’m using my new Pixel 2XL phone to dictate this article. It makes a few mistakes but that’s ok.
I was once a big fan of rolling Linux distributions but sometimes found them unstable. Sometimes certain programs would just stop working, or the whole OS, which is part of the deal with rolling distributions. I always thought I wanted the bleeding edge of Linux software, something you can get with rolling distributions.

What what I found, however, was that I really didn’t have the stomach or patience to wait for those programs that stopped working to start working again or go through tedious and confusing steps to get the program that stopped working to work again, or get the whole OS up and going again.
I am no newbie to Linux. I’ve been using Linux since 1998. So in these 20 years I have used most of the major distributions, if not all. Pretty much you name it, I’ve run it.

What I’m using now is Fedora Linux. The reason I decided to go with Fedora is that Linus Torvalds uses it and he is the creator of Linux.

Furthermore, I discovered, unlike some other non-rolling distributions, Fedora Linux can be upgraded to the next version without reinstalling the whole software. Meanwhile, you get regular updates so your programs stay fairly bleeding edge.

Upgrading Fedora from one version to the next can be done easily either from the command line or from inside the desktop environment, (which in my case is KDE).

That’s what I’m doing now. I’ve upgraded, or rather am still upgrading, Fedora 27 to 28, all from the command line. It’s easy to find instructions how to do this by a simple Google search, or if you prefer, DuckDuckGo.

At a certain point in the installation procedure the computer automatically restarts to begin the actual update process. That takes time. Be prepared not to be able to use your computer for about 45 minutes or so, which explains why I’m dictating this article on my phone rather than typing it on my computer.

So if you’re thinking of upgrading, by all means do so. Just search Google for “upgrade Fedora 27 to Fedora 28.” Be prepared that this will take some time but it will be worth it in the end.

The process is now complete. My computer is back to normal. Everything is as it was but under the hood is the new Fedora 28 version of Linux.

Revenge: Installer for Arch Linux

Even though I’ve said senior Arch Linux forum members have palpable antagonism toward Arch derivatives Antergos, Apricity and Manjaro Linux, you can still easily install Arch yourself and have a regular, pure Arch system.

The installer I have enjoyed is called Revenge. It is a fancy installer that draws what it needs only from the Arch repositories in the installation process and leaves you with an Arch installation, nothing more nothing less. There are no forums, wiki or special repositories. Revenge is not a distro or derivative. It’s an installer.
I have a theory why the creator of Revenge calls it Revenge. It’s revenge against the Arch hard-liners who want you to install Arch only using the Wiki method. Now you can install Arch in 10 minutes – graphically.
Many of these YouTube trolls who go around installing and reviewing Linux distros in Virtualbox claim that Antergos itself is only an installer. I run Antergos and this is not true. Antergos is in fact a derivative of Arch with it’s own repositories, wiki and forums.
Revenge, however, is none of that.
It’s an installer. You download it, you do put it on a DVD to install, and you wind up with nothing more or less than a pure Arch installation of Linux which you can then play with and refine on your own using pacman and yaourt to install software as you require.
Why anyone would prefer an Arch installation over Antergos is beyond me, though. I still use Antergos on my main machine and still feel absolutely secure and safe. I like that they have their (friendlier) forums, as does Manjaro Linux, and their own repositories and graphical software installer and updater.
That being said, get the Revenge installer here: download and read a detailed article about the Revenge installer by clicking here.

Too Many Options

I cannot decide. There are too many options. A Microsoft Windows person would have no idea.
It’s all the fault of Linux, or more properly “GNU/Linux” pronounced “Gah-New Lin-ux” or sometimes “Gah-New Lin-ox.” Much to the distress of the GNU people who provide all the software for Linux and BSD systems, nobody wants to say “Gan-New” before “Linux.” The harsh reality is this: the vast majority of the public just calls it Linux.
First decision: Which Linux? There are hundreds and hundreds of versions of the open-source, free operating system. It’s already running on devices you probably own, like your modem, router, Android Phone, tablet and smart TV. At my house it also runs my Desktop Computer.
I feel secure in Linux. No viruses. No compromises. Safe, functional, beautiful, incredibly powerful.
So for the first choice I decided I wanted a “rolling distribution,” or one that once installed, it never had to be installed again. It will update itself forever, including the Linux kernel. I am tired of the versions that get outdated and have limited support after an expiration date. There is no need anymore to put up with that. There are both stable and “bleeding edge” rolling versions of Linux out there that do everything that Ubuntu or Mint do. Tough it out.
Next I needed it to be functional. Out of the box working, for the most part. At least in major areas. I shouldn’t have to have a command line prompt and build the entire operating system from the ground up like with Arch or Gentoo. I have no time for that. I wanted a version of Linux which made disk partitioning easy and left me with some kind of graphical interface when I’m done installing and at the same time which gives me complete control over what I’m putting on my computer.
Finally, I wanted to be slightly off the beaten path, but not too far off. I didn’t want Debian/Ubuntu/Mint family versions, or Red Hat versions, Gentoo derivatives or Slackware. Something different. I decided on Arch derivatives, and I narrowed that down to one: Antergos-OS. I did, in the process, over the years, explore all of the above options.
Second decision: What desktop environment? This is where Microsoft Window users are lost. They just have to accept whatever Microsoft has decided for them. They can customize their desktop to some degree, but not with the flexibility and complete range of power that someone using Linux has. In Linux we have many “DEs” such as KDE Plasma, Gnome 3, Mate, Xfce, Cinnamon, Deepin, Enlightenment, Openbox, Lxde and so on. Each of them handles things a little different, look a little different, have different functionalities, strengths and weaknesses.
The Desktop Environment is where I falter.
The desktop environment sits on top and is what your Window Manager serves up to you to interact with your operating system – I think.
For years I used a well-known desktop environment called Mate, and pronounced it “Mate” like the British version of a friend. Only recently I figured out it’s not pronounced like a British friend, but a two syllable word “ma-tay,” which I have trouble getting my head around.
I also used Cinnamon, but didn’t like it so much. Mate was my DE for years.
Then I got bored with it. I tried Unity. Hated it. So I went with Xfce, which is pronounced exactly like the letters of the alphabet. I couldn’t figure out and didn’t seem to like KDE Plasma. We’ll get back to that.
Then I migrated to Gnome and discovered that half the YouTube world mispronounces it as “Nome” when the developers want us to pronounce it “Gah-Nome” because the G means something – what I don’t know, but it’s really supposed to be pronounced “Gah-Nome.”
Then I went back and looked at KDE Plasma, the most popular of all.
Now I have all three on my computer. I can switch from one to the other: Gnome, Xfce and KDE Plasma. I have them all set up. They are all beautiful, have rotating wallpapers, intense functionality and so on. I can do anything. I can place Facebook games, watch Netflix, watch Amazon Videos and YouTube, work on my spreadsheet, write and update this blog – all from any of them. It’s hard to remember which DE I’m in at the moment. Let me check … Behold – I’m in Xfce, which is weird because for the last few weeks I’ve been inside Gnome and the last two days I’ve been setting up Plasma. Xfce was my first of these three.
With it all set up so nicely, I can’t decide. I’m confused. I don’t know what to do.
I guess if you don’t like this kind of problem and like having to pay money for an anti-virus subscription just to protect your computer from software you have to download from questionable sources, then go on using MS Windows. In Linux all our software comes from trusted “repositories” and is safe and sound, and we don’t have virus problems. See my earlier post about Linux Virus protection.
So for now, if I get bored, I just switch. Why should I be nailed down to some boring window environment when I can have anything I want and complete freedom with my computer?
Those are some of my reasons I run Linux on my desktop computer.