Pipelight

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Pipelight is a special browser plugin which allows one to use Windows-only plugins inside Linux browsers. The main focus of the project is on Silverlight and its features, such as watching DRM protected videos. It works by creating a bridge between a Windows application, which handles the Windows-only plugin (e.g. Silverlight), and a native Linux browser plugin. The Windows application is run using a patched version of Wine, therefore requiring Pipelight users to move to this version. Pipelight can be used in browsers that support NPAPI plugins, such as Firefox. It does not work with Chromium.

Tip:
  • If you are here because you want to watch Netflix or Amazon Instant Videos, you do not need to install Silverlight/Pipelight. It is easier to install google-chromeAUR, which includes the Widevine content decryption plugin which satisfies Netflix's DRM requirements. This should move to other browsers e.g. Firefox (who have agreed to implement the HTML5 code) in due course.
  • If you are here because you want to watch BlinkBox (UK) you need to install google-chromeAUR (Requires: version 42+) and use the User-Agent Switcher for Chrome extension with a Mac UA string 'Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; Intel Mac OS X 10_9_3) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/42.0.2311.90 Safari/537.36'. Windows UA strings will result in WP209 playback errors due to HDCP.
Note: Pipelight playback of BlinkBox content (which used to work fine with the Silverlight 5.0 plugin) now appears broken.

Installation

Warning: NPAPI support has been dropped from Chrome/Chromium. Pipelight only works on a browser (e.g. FireFox) with enabled NPAPI support.

Pipelight is not presently available in the official repositories, and can be either installed from the AUR or the unofficial [pipelight] repository, maintained by the Pipelight developers.

Installing from the AUR

Pipelight is available in the AUR as the pipelightAUR package.

Installing from the unofficial pipelight repositories

Pre-built Pipelight packages for Arch Linux can be obtained from the unofficial pipelight repository, which is maintained by the Pipelight developers. Since these packages are pre-built, it does not require the time expensive task of compiling wine from sources. If you are running a 64-bit system, you will need to enable the Multilib repository first.

Managing plugins

Pipelight can be used to manage browser plugins including Silverlight, Adobe Flash Player/Shockwave Player.

Update the plugins:

# pipelight-plugin --update

To list all available plugins:

$ pipelight-plugin --help

Enable the plugin globally:

# pipelight-plugin --enable plugin

or locally:

$ pipelight-plugin --enable plugin

Plug-in(s) not visible in Mozilla Firefox

If upon starting Firefox the enabled plugin doesn't appear under about:plugins, try running the following command before starting Mozilla Firefox:

# pipelight-plugin --create-mozilla-plugins

User Agent

Since some sites (e.g. Netflix) refuse to stream to a Linux browser, the user agent may have to be changed.

Verification

There is a test page available here. Alternatively, detected plugins can be listed in about:plugins.

GPU Acceleration in Silverlight

Tango-inaccurate.pngThe factual accuracy of this article or section is disputed.Tango-inaccurate.png

Reason: /usr/share/pipelight/hw-accel-default returns no such file or directory (Discuss in Talk:Pipelight#)

Default behavior

Silverlight applets may include an option called enableGPUAcceleration which controls whether or not hardware acceleration should be used (i.e. use the graphics card for video playback). This option is under the control of specific website's administrator, but this option can also be forced from the client's side (see below). By default, GPU acceleration is only enabled on verified systems cards and pages that require it. Herein, system verification is executed through the bash script /usr/share/pipelight/hw-accel-default that checks the graphics card vendor. Note that this script depends on the glxinfo utility, which is part of mesa-demos. Make sure this package is installed if you want to Pipelight's graphics verification method.

Force hardware acceleration

To take control of the enableGPUAcceleration option yourself and enable hardware acceleration by default, perform the following steps:

# nano /usr/share/pipelight/configs/pipelight-silverlight5.1

Change the following line:

# overwriteArg      = enableGPUAcceleration=true

to:

overwriteArg      = enableGPUAcceleration=true

Disable graphics card verification

Change:

silverlightGraphicDriverCheck  = true

To:

silverlightGraphicDriverCheck = false

Custom variables

The selection of custom variables found in Wine-Silverlight and Pipelight are as following:

  1. customprefix
    • Installs Wine to /opt instead of /usr (to not conflict with wine).
  2. _prefix
    • Allows setting a custom location.
  1. _prefix
    • Allows setting a custom location. Default is /usr.
  2. _wine
    • Location of Wine-Silverlight.

For example, to install Wine-Silverlight in /opt:

  • wine-silverlight: set customprefix=1.
  • pipelight: set _wine=/opt/wine-silverlight.
Warning: Failure to do this in the PKGBUILD will result in the files having to be modified manually.

Troubleshooting

Pipelight stopped working after upgrade of chromium (version 35+)

NPAPI support has now been dropped from chromium. If you want to recompile in NPAPI support yourself, patches from Michael Müller are attached to this bug [1] The patches are originally from: [2]

Silverlight plug-in error with Firefox and apparmor

If you are running AppArmor and Firefox, you may see an error when loading Silverlight plug-in. You will need to modify or create an apparmor profile.

Videos playing very fast and no sound / bad sound quality

Note: This solution is taken from this page at the Pipelight's LaunchPad page and editted to reflect changes in newer version of Pipelight.

One of the causes of bad sound quality or laggy playback might be the use of PulseAudio. Since Pipelight uses wine to handle the audio playback, changing the audio output module there can solve some problems. A good alternative to PulseAudio is alsa and can be enabled as follows.

First download, install and run the winetricks plugin.

$ wget -O ~/.wine-pipelight/winetricks http://winetricks.org/winetricks
$ chmod +x ~/.wine-pipelight/winetricks
$ WINEPREFIX=~/.wine-pipelight WINE=/opt/wine-compholio/bin/wine WINEARCH=win32 ~/.wine-pipelight/winetricks

Choose: "Select the default wineprefix" -> "Change Wine settings" -> "sound=alsa"

Then test whether this solves your problem (restart your browser and open a Silverlight video). If not, change the audio output device in wine to analog. Run the wine configuration utility:

WINEPREFIX=~/.wine-pipelight WINE=/opt/wine-compholio/bin/wine WINEARCH=win32 /opt/wine-compholio/bin/winecfg

Open the Audio tab and change the Output device to Out: HDA Intel - ALC1200 Analog

Note: The actual device name may vary from system to system.

This may solve video lagging issues if PulseAudio was causing it. ALSA audio might still go through PulseAudio though, if you have pulseaudio-alsa installed. This is not a problem by itself, but you may have to restart PulseAudio. This is done by runnning:

$ pulseaudio -k

GNOME 3/Firefox fullscreen issues

In GNOME 3, fullscreen pipelight windows do not focus properly in firefox. This can be fixed using devilspie:

First, install devilspie from the official repositories,

Create the ~/.devilspie directory:

$ mkdir ~/.devilspie

Next, create the following file:

~/.devilspie/pipelight-fullscreen-firefox.ds
(if
    (and
        (is (window_class) "Wine")
        (or
            (is (application_name) "Adobe Flash Player")
            (is (application_name) "Microsoft Silverlight")
        )
    )
    (begin
        (focus)
    )
)

Finally we need to make devilspie autostart. This can be accomplished by creating the following file:

~/.config/autostart/devilspie.desktop
[Desktop Entry]
Name=devilspie
Exec=devilspie
Hidden=false
NoDisplay=false
X-GNOME-Autostart-enabled=true

Pipelight renders all Chinese characters as squares

Silverlight will only use ”Microsoft Yahei” font to render Chinese characters, you need to install this font (probably from other Windows OSes) to support Chinese character rendering

Other known issues and solutions are often listed in the Pipelight FAQ.

No sound when using PulseAudio

If you are using PulseAudio you may get no sound from Silverlight applications. To allow wine to use PulseAudio you have to install libpulse and pulseaudio-alsa. On 64-bit systems use lib32-libpulse and lib32-alsa-plugins. You can configure the used audio device using WINEPREFIX="/home/username/.wine-pipelight" winecfg

Tips

Test 1080p video playback

To verify your Pipelight installation and check its performance on high definition videos, you can use this video for testing purposes.

See also