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Fetches the latest Linux Widevine binary so that it can be used by Vivaldi.
#!/usr/bin/env bash
available () {
command -v $1 >/dev/null 2>&1
# Make sure we have wget or curl
if available wget; then
SILENT_DL="wget -qO-"
elif available curl; then
SILENT_DL="curl -s"
LOUD_DL="curl -O"
echo "Install wget or curl" >&2
exit 1
# Use the architecture of the current machine or whatever the user has set
# externally
ARCH=${ARCH:-$(uname -m)}
if [ "$ARCH" = "x86_64" ]; then
elif [[ "$ARCH" = i?86 ]]; then
echo "The architecture $ARCH is not supported." >&2
exit 1
# Set Output dir
# Set temp dir
# Set staging dir
# Work out the latest Widevine version
# Error out if $VERISON is unset, e.g. because previous command failed
if [ -z $VERSION ]; then
echo "Could not work out the latest version; exiting" >&2
exit 1
# Don't start repackaging if the same version is already installed
if [ -e "$WIDEVINE_INSTALL_DIR/widevine-$VERSION" ] ; then
echo "The latest Widevine ($VERSION) is already installed"
exit 0
# If the staging directory is already present from the past, clear it down
# and re-create it.
if [ -d "$STAGINGDIR" ]; then
rm -fr "$STAGINGDIR"
set -e
mkdir -p "$STAGINGDIR"
# Now get the latest widevine zip for the users architecture
# Extract the contents of Widevine package
if available unzip; then
unzip ${VERSION}-linux-${WIDEVINEARCH}.zip
elif available bsdtar; then
bsdtar xf ${VERSION}-linux-${WIDEVINEARCH}.zip
echo "Install unzip or bsdtar" >&2
exit 1
# Add version number file
touch "widevine-$VERSION"
# Escalate privileges if needed and copy files into place
if [ "$UID" = 0 ]; then
install -Dm644 "$WIDEVINE_INSTALL_DIR/"
install -Dm644 widevine-$VERSION "$WIDEVINE_INSTALL_DIR/widevine-$VERSION"
elif [ -r /etc/os-release ] && grep -qx 'ID=ubuntu' /etc/os-release; then
echo "Calling sudo ... If prompted, please enter your password so Widevine can be copied into place"
sudo install -Dm644 "$WIDEVINE_INSTALL_DIR/"
if [ -e "$WIDEVINE_INSTALL_DIR/" ]; then
sudo install -Dm644 widevine-$VERSION "$WIDEVINE_INSTALL_DIR/widevine-$VERSION"
echo "Something went wrong installing" >&2
exit 1
echo "Please enter your root password so Widevine can be copied into place"
su -c "sh -c \"install -Dm644 $WIDEVINE_INSTALL_DIR/ && install -Dm644 widevine-$VERSION $WIDEVINE_INSTALL_DIR/widevine-$VERSION\""
# Tell the user we are done
echo "Widevine ($VERSION) installed into $WIDEVINE_INSTALL_DIR"


A bunch of people asked how they could use this script with pure Chromium on Ubuntu. The following is a quick guide. Though I still suggest you at least try Vivaldi. Who knows, you might like it. Worried about proprietary componants? Remember that is a binary blob you are taking from Chrome, so by following this guide you will have already made your distro less "pure". Also all our additions to the Chromium base are open source and our UI, while not open, is written in HTML/CSS/JS. Thus you can see exactly what we are doing (no funny business).

If you still want to run Chromium, the following explains how it is done.

Chromium setup

  • Install the package "chromium-codecs-ffmpeg-extra" to provide H.264/MP4 support (used by videos on Netflix). After install, you need to restart Chromium. You can confirm that it is installed and working correctly by going to and checking that the first video listed plays.

  • Next run the script ( This will create the file "" in "/opt/google/chrome".

  • Replace the "" provided by Chromium with a symlink to the file from Chrome:

sudo ln -fs /opt/google/chrome/ /usr/lib/chromium-browser/ 

Note: The path is typically "/usr/lib64/chromium/lib/" on non Debian/Ubuntu based distros.

You can confirm that DRM'd H.264/MP4 content is now playable by going to and trying some of the demos.

Damn you Netflix!

The final complication is that Netflix does not expect pure Chromium to be able to be able play videos and hence they do a stupid thing. If they detect that Chromium is accesing a video, they point you to install Silverlight! This is particularly dumb because: you are running Linux (no Silverlight); Silverlight is an NPAPI plugin and Chrom(e|ium) only supports PPAPI. You will need to work around this.

  • Delete any cookies or data associated with Netflix. If you have failed to play videos once, then Netflix stores information about this in a cookie and you won't be able to play vidoes, even once your system is now correctly configured. Another "WTF‽" moment from the Netflix team.

  • Via a user agent editing extention or by starting Chromium with the -user-agent switch, remove the reference to "Ubuntu Chromium/XX.0.XXXX.XX", e.g.

/usr/lib/chromium-browser/chromium-browser --user-agent='Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/51.0.2704.79 Safari/537.36'

Note: An extenstion is best otherwise you will need to start Chromium from the command line every time or edit the .desktop file to include this switch.

One final point. Every time Chromium upgrades it will replace the symlink with its own file. Thus you will need to remove it and re-create the symlink. I would also suggest re-running at that point, to check for new versions and upgrade if needed.

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