Linux users are having trouble trying to stream content from Disney+, despite the video streaming service explicitly adding Linux support a few years ago.
So what’s up?
Well, diligent debugging by YouTuber gnifs-tech detects that the cause of the problem is a bug in the analysis code running on the video streaming site. Changing a Linux browser’s user agent string to pretend it’s running on Windows magically fixes the problem, and users can stream content from Disney+ on Linux without any issues.
However, “bug” is perhaps too charitable a label. The real cause of the problem here is monitoring, as the scanning code is configured to accept Windows, macOS and ChromeOS systems, but panic if presented with Linux – a platform that turned 31 this year, so hardly an obscure upstart!
Whatever the fault, it’s – temporarily, at least – reassuring to know that this service outage is not due to an operational change on the part of the Disney+ team in regards to Linux support more generally.
However, if you plan to indulge in a little Star Wars: Andor binging this weekend (other shows are available) and you’ll be doing it from a Linux box, be prepared: you need to change your browser’s user agent to report an operating system and serial number. “compatible” version.
Details on how to change the browser user agent string vary by browser, but a quick Google should show the relevant information.
But which user agent do you need to impersonate to access it?
Cassidy James reports from Endless OS a “working” user agent is “Firefox 83 on Windows”. This should work until the bug is fixed (if fixed) but I don’t have a Disney+ account to personally verify.
Hopefully workarounds won’t be needed for long, because not having things “just work” when there’s no real reason they shouldn’t, is frustrating to say the least!