Apple Denies Linux Access To Its Movie Trailers

Apple has decided to block streaming content from http://apple.com/trailers/ for Linux users.  I say this because tonight I went to view a few of the upcoming movie trailers and was told to “Get the Latest Quicktime” in order to watch and I was denied the ability to watch them.

I hit the forums to see if others have the same problems that I have and I’ve found that many people have begun reporting the problem from around May of this year.  Not being one to give up, I decided to test things a bit to see what apple.com was doing.

I installed the useragent switcher on Firefox and switched my agent to Windows Vista and IE7.  I then watched headers as apple once again denied me despite my agent being accepted by it.  It seems that it is looking for an actual install of Quicktime on your system (I can’t tell you for sure, I just know that useragent isn’t what it is sniffing for).

How does one circumvent?  Pretty simple.  When you are given that denied message “Get the Latest Quicktime”, go to View >> Page Source.  Look for a URL that ends in .mov.  Copy that URL and paste it into a new tab.  That’s it,  you’re now watching the trailer.

I want to thank Apple for being exclusionary to Linux users when you benefit so greatly from Open Source software.  It sets a great example and shows what is really important to you as a company…and that is forcing your software onto everyone similar to Microsoft.

UPDATE:  I wanted to let everyone know my platform since everyone seems to think I’m silly enough to blog about this without installing the proper codecs.  I use PCLinuxOS 2007 as my main workhorse distro.  The apple trailers site worked for me previously until I recently checked it.  I’ve updated this
to current and have all codecs installed (w32codecs, mplayer, xine,
gstreamer, etc.).  I have uninstalled, reinstalled, and tweaked
everything I can think of tweaking to get this working.  Nothing thus
far works.  I should note that this is with Firefox 3 and I’m not sure
if that has anything to do with things.

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devnet has been a project manager for a Fortune 500 company, a Unix administrator, a Technical Writer, and a System Analyst during his 10 years working with Technology.

  • linux simpleton

    It works on mine..I use ubuntu. I didn’t do anything special….hmmm

  • http://dwasifar.com dwasifar

    I’ve had the same experience trying to watch the Get A Mac ads on the Apple website. That seems kind of counterproductive of them, wouldn’t you say? I think it’s not so much wanting to lock out Linux, as just myopically assuming that everyone watches .mov files with Quicktime.

  • anonymous

    Works fine in PCLOS/Firefox with media player plugin. Viewed
    http://www.apple.com/trailers/independent/csnydejavu/trailer/

  • nuteoh

    After a quick examination it apers that it’s http://images.apple.com/global/scripts/itmsCheck.js that looks for a cookie named “iTunesPresent” if it exists access is allowed otherwise it isn’t. Disclaimer: I don’t know javascript so I might be way off base

  • ingvar

    this “fruit” is going to microsoft. damn, i need to lose my iphone for android quick!

  • uioi

    Ok so after some fiddling around I discovered that that cookie had no effect but the actual detection is done in http://wdirect.apple.com/global/scripts/browserdetect.js however there is an easy way around if you use the mediaplayerconnectivity extension simply go to tools->mediaplayerconnectivity->extract javascript links and the problem is solved

  • http://macfanboy.co.uk Tom

    Not all open source software is to do with Linux.
    I think you need to re-examine your use of the term “Linux”.

  • http://linux-blog.org devnet

    I think you need to understand that Linux is heavily open source…and I made a loose correlation not a direct one.

  • http://macfanboy.co.uk Tom

    i don’t know how Richard Stallman feels about you just calling it Linux. Technically, Linux is completely open source, since it’s a kernel.
    But i just thought you might want to mention GNU.

  • http://linux-blog.org devnet

    No, I don’t want to mention GNU. Why? Because Linux was built by LINUS Torvalds and not GNU/Linus Torvalds. He also used Minix as his muse. He simply included GCC and other Gnu tools because they were out there AND free. Just because he added in GNU tools doesn’t mean he should alter the name.

    Honestly, this debate is so overdone it’s not even funny. You call it what you want to call it and I’ll call it what I call it. We are both talking about the same thing.

  • not_a_zealot

    Sheesh, stop whining dude.

    There’s no Quicktime for Linux and Apple has no obligation to support any alternatives. There is no Linux conspiracy, get over it.

  • http://linux-blog.org devnet

    didn’t claim there was a conspiracy. In this instance, the useragent checker looks for itunes/quicktime on the system and decides for you whether or not to stream its trailer.

    I’d like to be the one making that decision. If the stream fails it will fail…I don’t need to be lied to (the stream works fine on my system)…that I need to install something I don’t. Just give me the stream like many other sites do.

    I know apple has no obligation for quicktime on linux…I don’t care about having it there. I want them to give a stream of video AS A STREAM OF VIDEO and not make decisions for my on how I consume that stream. It’s like providing a mp3 podcast…but checking to make sure that someone has windows media player installed before they can listen to it. To me, that’s something that I shouldn’t have to worry about because mp3 is a standard that plays on multiple players.

    For apple, .mov is a quicktime format but it plays in VLC (cross platform) and other players on both Windows and Linux. So if a user has VLC installed and embedded in Windows Firefox, they should be able to watch it and not have to install a player that apple feels they should.

  • J

    Works for me with Ubuntu and the mplayer-plugin. Looks good in fullscreen.

  • http://linux-blog.org devnet

    I wish it would here J.

  • not_a_zealot

    Your argument makes no sense.

    > I’d like to be the one making that decision. If the stream fails it will fail…I don’t need to be lied to

    They’re not lying to you. Most users (i.e. 99%) probably don’t want to see error messages about streams failing, etc. and would prefer being told what they need to download.

    > they should be able to watch it and not have to install a player that apple feels they should.

    Apple DOES NOT support third party alternatives. If the video rendered poorly, or the player crashed your system then Apple would probably get blamed and their reputation damaged.

    If I decide to write my own OS and hack together a QT player, can I blog about how evil Apple is for not letting movies play on my system?

  • http://linux-blog.org devnet

    Oh, they’re lying to me. They’re telling me I need the latest version of QT to play this video. I don’t need the latest version of QT…the video plays fine when I open the URL in a new tab. If I can copy the stream URL and play it, why shouldn’t it play in the frame? Why is it giving me an error based on what I have INSTALLED on my computer? The check should be if the browser can play QT files…not if the operating system has it installed in my opinion.

    I’m not asking apple to support me. I’m wanting them to not sniff into my OS looking for QT and to just give me the stream. IF THE STREAM THEN FAILS TO PLAY…error out and give me that error message. Just a small change in how they handle the agent javascript file. They don’t have to change anything on how they “support” anything.

  • http://meteorologia.homelinux.net/claudiomet claudiomet

    1.- install mplayer
    2.- install mplayer-plugin
    3.- install w32codecs

    problem resolved.

  • http://linux-blog.org devnet

    This is PCLinuxOS 2007 and is an install over a year old.

    1. Installed mplayer in 2007
    2. Installed mplayer-plugin in 2007
    3. Installed w32codecs in 2007

    Problem still there.

  • INCSlayer

    1. install the latest version mplayer from their site
    2. install the latest version mplayer-plugin from their site
    3. install the latest version w32codecs from their site

    if that dont work get a distro that dont limit you to old packages

  • http://linux-blog.org devnet

    INCSlayer

    All versions are the most current offered by all the software providers. MPlayer (1.0rc2) is installed and is current. Everything else is current. PCLinuxOS doesn’t have old packages…it’s fully up to date: [url]http://distrowatch.com/table.php?distribution=pclinuxos[/url]

    Look at the current versions in the apt column on that page.

  • Chris Lees

    Darn, now I can’t watch Apple’s streaming-only 1080p movie trailers! But then, it’s not like anyone outside South Korea has the bandwidth to do that anyway…

  • http://www.podserver.info/ Josh

    Apple seems to love to lock users and developers out from accessing things. So, this does not surprise me.

  • Dopey Joe

    INCSlayer, let me see if I have this straight …

    You’re using an OS that you PAID NOTHING FOR … trying to access content on a company’s site which (said company) IS IN COMPETITION with the OS that you PAID NOTHING FOR … and you bitch about how they handle content on their site.

    “In the quiet words of the Virgin Mary … Come again?”

    Like many Linux users such as yourself …. Please. Go. Away.

    99.9% of the computing public doesn’t give a shit about your compatibility problems.

  • http://linux-blog.org devnet

    Further investigation seems to support that certain installs with totem have no problems with this while mplayer does on PCLinuxOS. (tried with Ubuntu and some streams work, some don’t).

    The bottom line is that the website detects whether or not Quicktime/Itunes is installed on your system. I don’t fault Apple for doing this…they want their content to work and this is the best way they know how.

    I don’t have to like it though. :) And I’ll continue to try and find a way to make apple provide a plain stream of their video minus the detection.

  • Kevin

    There was a change in the way Apple coded its pages. It required a change to mplayerplug-in to make it work. It was a simple one-liner. Needless to say, you probably need to upgrade your mplayerplug-in.

  • JimC

    Same here. I can’t play movie trailers in SimplyMEPIS 7.0 or DreamLinux 3.2 anymore (both are based on Debian), even though they were previously working just fine (and yes, I’ve got mplayer and w32codecs installed).

    Interestingly, I just tried a Linux Mint install I’ve got on another partition (Ubuntu base), and the mplayer plugin plays the movie trailers in Firefox. So, I’m wondering if it’s specific to some plugin versions.

  • Kevin

    JimC, you need mplayerplug-in 3.55 or gecko-mediaplayer 0.6.2 or higher for these Apple trailers to work.

  • http://www.mylinuxgang.com/blogs Virginia

    I had the problem too so the solution you gave was very helpful. I wander if it is something in my setting as it seems others don’t have that problem