Update: Disney+ has added Linux support. Learn more here.

Bad news for fans of Disney movies: the much hyped Disney+ video streaming service does not work on Linux.

There’s no technical reason why we can’t watch Disney+ on Linux — Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu all work

A prominent Linux developer in the Netherlands has shared his experience of trying to watch Disney+ at home on devices running Fedora Linux.

Sadly, unlike most Disney films I’ve seen, there’s no happy ending.

So what’s up and why?

Disney+ Linux Support & Error Code 83

As many of you will no doubt know, most major online video streaming services work on Linux via Google Chrome and Firefox browsers “thanks” to DRM and the “Widevine” plugin.

This plugin, controversial though it is, is what enables Linux desktops to access content on Netflix, Amazon Prime, and other VoD providers.

Now, in theory, there’s no technical reason why folks can’t watch Disney+ on Linux using Widevine too (Disney+ uses it on Windows and macOS).

Hans de Goede mailed Disney to explain his issues, which Disney said they were aware of and that their IT department was “working hard to solve”.

But a month on from that mail there’s been zero progress.

Why doesn’t Disney+ work on Linux?

Well, it turns out that Disney+ requires a higher DRM security level in the Widevine plugin than Linux is able to support.

“Widevine has 3 security levels,” de Goede explains on his blog.

And many devices, including desktop Linux and many Android devices only support level 1. In this case e.g. Netflix will not offer full HD or 4k resolutions, but otherwise everything works fine, which is a balance between DRM and usability which I can accept.”

It is a choice on their part, though:

“Disney+ [on the other hands] seems to have the drm features kranked (sic) up to maximum draconian settings and simply will not work on a lot of android devices, nor on Chromebooks, nor on desktop Linux.”

The weird thing is that this issue doesn’t just affect Linux users, either. The internet is awash with folks encountering the dreaded ‘Error Code 83’ on other platforms and devices and complaining about it.

Disney “advise” folks affected by Error Code 83 (and the lack of Linux support) to access the service using the official Dinsey plus mobile apps available on Android and iOS.

But that’s cold comfort to consumers running alternative systems who’ve already shelled out to subscribe to the service on the basis of it working in web browsers.

The upside? With millions of potential Disney+ customers out there running Linux and ChromeOS, Disney might yet choose to “reboot” its needlessly restrictive tall DRM requirements, just like Netflix did.

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