Playing Netflix on Linux still requires jumping through a few hoops, but happily, the hoops are getting fewer and farther between. Phoronix reports that the latest Chrome beta for Linux enables HTML5 Netflix playback with nothing more than a simple user-agent change.
First, you'll need Chrome 38 beta for Linux, which can be downloaded through here. Then, add your user-agent-switching extension of choice. (Phoronix recommends the aptly named User-Agent Switcher for Chrome.) Finally, camouflage yourself as a Windows user by changing your user agent to the following:
( Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.3; Win64; x64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/37.0.2049.0 Safari/537.36 )
The process is still a little more involved than simply firing up Netflix in any browser, but the steps above at least allow for native playback. That beats having to run the Silverlight plug-in through a compatibility layer—or similar workarounds. (Thanks to Slashdot for the link.)