Pipelight – Using Silverlight in Linux browsers

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Pipelight, which allows to run your favorite Silverlight application directly inside your Linux browser. The project combines the effort by Erich E. Hoover with a new browser plugin that embeds Silverlight directly in any Linux browser supporting the Netscape Plugin API. He worked on a set of Wine patches to get Playready DRM protected content working inside Wine and afterwards created an Ubuntu package called Netflix Desktop. This package allows one to use Silverlight inside a Windows version of Firefox, which works as a temporary solution but is not really user-friendly and moreover requires Wine to translate all API calls of the browser. To solve this problem we created Pipelight.

Pipelight consists out of two parts: A Linux library which is loaded into the browser and a Windows program started in Wine. The Windows program, called pluginloader.exe, simply simulates a browser and loads the Silverlight DLLs. When you open a page with a Silverlight application the library will send all commands from the browser through a pipe to the Windows process and act like a bridge between your browser and Silverlight.

Install pipelight on ubuntu

Open the terminal and run the following comamnds

sudo apt-add-repository ppa:ehoover/compholio
sudo apt-add-repository ppa:mqchael/pipelight
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install pipelight

You may need to accept a license agreement for a set of fonts during the installation. After it's done just start your browser, type about:plugins in the addressbar and hit enter -- if the installation went well you should now see Silverlight in your plugin list and everything is ready to run! Pipelight will install Silverlight on the first start of your browser, this may freeze the interface for several minutes (and you may just see a blank page without any progress). There might appear some dialog asking if Mono or Gecko should be installed during the Silverlight installation -- you can safely choose no, as this is not necessary to get Pipelight running. After this step, the overall performance of your browser shouldn't be affected any more.

If you prefer to use Pipelight using your existing version of Wine and Silverlight, you need to invoke apt-get with the following parameter:

sudo apt-get --no-install-recommends install pipelight



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8 Responses

  1. George says:

    Thank you Erich and Michael for this great solution.
    I had to install it to access a section on my children high-school website
    It works perfect under Linux Mint Maya with Firefox, with Chrome, Silverlight loads but never presents the login screen.
    I have, however, a question: How can the silverlight part be updated ? If Microsoft finds a Siverlight vulnerability and issues a patch is the only option to update to remove completelly pipelight and install it again (which will hopefully wget the latest Silverlight, including patches) ?

  2. Boris Plankton says:

    Hi Michael

    Many thanks for the the how to.

    I am stuck however on

    cp /usr/share/pipelight/pipelight ~/.config/pipelight

    I get message saying ‘cannot stat ‘pipelight’: No such file or directory’. There is certainly a file pipelight in the directory specified so must be problem with ‘~/.config/pipelight’ command?

    I guess I must be making numpty mistake. Grateful for any advice.

  3. Charlie says:

    I get an error when trying to use pipelight ..
    Do you have a clue how I can solve this ?

    – ManagedRuntimeError
    – System.Collections.Generic.KeyNotFoundException: [Arg_KeyNotFound]


    Debugging resource strings are unavailable. Often the key and arguments provide sufficient information to diagnose the problem. See http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?linkid=106663&Version=5.1.20513.00&File=mscorlib.dll&Key=Arg_KeyNotFound

    at System.Collections.Generic.Dictionary`2.get_Item(TKey key)

    at System.Windows.ResourceManagerWrapper.GetResourceForUri(Uri xamlUri, Type componentType)
    – 4004

  4. john hallgeir johansen says:

    Works like a dream – I can hardly believe it 🙂 Thanx a LOT!!!!!

  5. Mike says:

    something got screwed up… how do I delete it and start over from scratch?

  6. steve7233 says:

    It will not play netflix.

  7. Mikael says:

    You need to fool netflix to believe that you are using windows.
    On firefox you can use this addon and pretend to use Firefox 24 Windows

    and on chrome this one pretending that you use firefox 15 Windows:


  8. ben says:

    I’ve followed the steps – including Mikael’s comment on the user agent spoofer for chrome. When I go to netflix, it tells me that ActiveX is not enabled. Is there something simple I’m missing?

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