Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 17th Dec 2009 00:18 UTC
Mac OS X MacNN has just published an important news item regarding the future of the Mac OS X version of the VLC mdia player. According to VLC's developers, the Mac version is at risk of being discontinued due to a lack of developers. Update: The VLC developers claim that Apple is working against them: "Apple doesn't want us on the Mac platform and is blocking us a lot, and refuses to explain why."
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Why?
by CrLf on Thu 17th Dec 2009 00:42 UTC
CrLf
Member since:
2006-01-03

I find intriguing that VLC seems to attract only unix developers. A while ago the windows port was at risk because the number of contributors had dropped down to zero, now the Mac port is at risk for the same reason.

Incidentally, the Windows port is the most popular, and the Mac port is almost crucial for the Mac platform (those "codec packs" are crap).

Maybe someone should donate a Mac to the current devs (not a Windows box, I wish that on no one). ;)

Reply Score: 4

RE: Why?
by chekr on Thu 17th Dec 2009 01:13 UTC in reply to "Why?"
chekr Member since:
2005-11-05

I dont think it is just that VLC attracts Unix (incl. Linux) devs, it is that Unix devs are more likely to want to contribute without cash reward

Reply Score: 2

RE: Why?
by ple_mono on Thu 17th Dec 2009 01:26 UTC in reply to "Why?"
ple_mono Member since:
2005-07-26

Incidentally, the Windows port is the most popular, and the Mac port is almost crucial for the Mac platform (those "codec packs" are crap).

I use QT-X for almost all of my needs (particularly the quick look component), using perian as a one-size-fits-all codec pack. Well, that and flip4mac. So I would personally disagree with you on that perian is "crap".

However, VLC is a great project and i would be very sad to see it go though!

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: Why?
by kaiwai on Thu 17th Dec 2009 01:53 UTC in reply to "RE: Why?"
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

"Incidentally, the Windows port is the most popular, and the Mac port is almost crucial for the Mac platform (those "codec packs" are crap).

I use QT-X for almost all of my needs (particularly the quick look component), using perian as a one-size-fits-all codec pack. Well, that and flip4mac. So I would personally disagree with you on that perian is "crap".

However, VLC is a great project and i would be very sad to see it go though!
"

I think alot of the criticisms regarding Perian has to do with incompatibilities between Snow Leopard and Perian 1.1.4 (latest at time of this post). I understand, however, that Perian 1.2 has apparently addressed all those short comings which hopefully will mean that it'll perform alot better.

As for VLC, it is a great swiss army knife of media players, however, you'll find that there just isn't the focus by developers because from what I see in the Mac world people are more interested in extending functionality of existing applications - Perian plugins for Quicktime being the prime example of that.

What I'd love to see is a greater push by Apple to create a large developer ecosystem around their products; extend MacOSForge to more than just Apple stuff but to also get third party projects listed on there as well - offer access to hardware, software etc. to lower the cost of entry.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Why?
by iaefai on Thu 17th Dec 2009 04:44 UTC in reply to "Why?"
iaefai Member since:
2009-12-14

I love perian, it works great for me.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Why?
by Shannara on Thu 17th Dec 2009 21:34 UTC in reply to "Why?"
Shannara Member since:
2005-07-06

Oh! I get it, that was a joke.

Reply Score: 1

SuperDaveOsbourne
Member since:
2007-06-24

Statements

1. I use and need VLC on a daily basis.
2. In the past 2 years VLC OS X had gone downhill.
3. In the prior years VLC was supreme
4. VLC today lacks quality of release (tessting and development)
5. Why have I not stepped up help VLC?

You answer, and you have figure out the issue with VLC for OS X . We are complacent.

Reply Score: 2

Tuishimi Member since:
2005-07-06

I think I agree; I ALWAYS had VLC when I had my Macs... I even installed it on my wife and kid's mac (they still have it).

Actually, I am a developer and I often wonder why I don't do more to contribute back to the open software community. I've done little things with BeOS, contribute money on occasion, but never really contributed time to a major project. Worse, if there is a problem, I am right there reporting it (not in a mean or impatient manner, but I am adding work for the developers).

:( Now I feel sad. VLC is/was a great tool.

Reply Score: 3

mlankton Member since:
2009-06-11

VLC used to be essential. Recently I have experienced two things that keep it from being so.
1. The last couple of versions of OS X VLC are not stable. 2. Quicktime now supports most of the codecs that made me rely on VLC in the past.

VLC is still essential on linux, but OS X has moved on and it is no longer a must-have app.

Reply Score: 1

dacresni Member since:
2009-08-26

as a PPC mac user, I still find it essential. Its the only thing that will play an OGG M3u stream on the mac (rainwave.cc) . Mbox doesn't play streams and quicktime (thus peren and NicePlayer) don't do streaming. Besides, wine is stupid to use in this case. these codecs have been optimized to take advantage of the mac hardware advantage and mac os technologies like CoreAnimation and potentially GrandCentral. They are certainly using LLVM.

Reply Score: 1

WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

VLC is still essential on linux

Why is it essential? I've never needed to use VLC on Linux myself; I used MPlayer until Gstreamer got mature and after that I've stuck to Totem. Totem works like a dream nowadays, atleast for me.

Reply Score: 4

mlankton Member since:
2009-06-11

We have a different perspective. That's why they make both vanilla and chocolate ice cream.

Reply Score: 1

phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

VLC is still essential on linux, but OS X has moved on and it is no longer a must-have app.


To each their own, of course.

VLC is good ... but if you aren't transcoding between video formats, there's very little reason to use VLC on Linux. The UI is horrible, and the viewing experience not much better. Especially compared to keyboard navigation in Kaffeine or Codeine. If they ever fix the keyboard navigation in DragonPlayer, there'll be even less reason to use VLC.

I've used pretty much every Unix multimedia app out there, and VLC is rarely near the top of the list of video players. (A/V transcoding, though, is a different matter.)

Reply Score: 2

v No VLC for closed-source OS...good!
by ozonehole on Thu 17th Dec 2009 02:07 UTC
tyrione Member since:
2005-11-21

Can someone please explain to me why developers should donate their time developing freeware for closed-source operating systems like Mac OSX and Windows?

As you might guess, I use Linux. Practically the whole OS and its apps are open source. I'm very grateful to the developers who have devoted such time and effort to offer a great product that is essentially free. It's a true case of altruism. The only bummer is that it's a pity that Linux (and BSD) users are still such a small minority of the total computing community.

If Apple would like to see VLC on OSX, they can afford to pay the developers to work on it. Ditto for Microsoft if they want a Windows version. If either Apple or Microsoft would devote 1/10 of what they spend on lawyers to sue people to instead donate to free software projects, they'd have amazing free products to offer their users.

Barring a major change of attitude on the part of commercial OS vendors, developers should spend their donated time and effort where they'll be appreciated by a grateful community of users.

Again, I tip my hat to the generous developers who have brought us VLC, Mplayer, the Linux kernel, and numerous other fine free software suites.


Darwin is wide open for VLC to leverage.

Reply Score: 1

Praxis Member since:
2009-09-17


If Apple would like to see VLC on OSX, they can afford to pay the developers to work on it. Ditto for Microsoft if they want a Windows version.
.


But thats the thing, they don't want VLC. They want you to use their own players they developed with all the lock in and control that implies. So they don't care about VLC at all. Of course it isn't their business what applications people install on their machine so I don't see how they enter into this story.

Developers should give their time to this project if they want a good working, stable video player on their platform of choice. Thats it. If doesn't matter what operating system it runs on or anything, all open source work is about scratching your itches. If your unhappy with the current state of things and have the ability, put a little work in along with other similar minded people and you can solve you problem and get on with your life.

I don't use a mac but I hope this call for developers get heard, it certainly never occurred to me that an application as high profile as vlc would be in such dire need of developers, but maybe thats why they need more. Its easy to forget what kind of work is needed to keep these projects going and you can run into situation where everyone assumes that someone else has it covered.

Reply Score: 5

hornett Member since:
2005-09-19

If Apple would like to see VLC on OSX, they can afford to pay the developers to work on it. Ditto for Microsoft if they want a Windows version. If either Apple or Microsoft would devote 1/10 of what they spend on lawyers to sue people to instead donate to free software projects, they'd have amazing free products to offer their users.

Barring a major change of attitude on the part of commercial OS vendors, developers should spend their donated time and effort where they'll be appreciated by a grateful community of users.



I think a lot of open source devs work on a particular project to scratch their own itch; that is to say they work on VLC for OSX to fix a particular problem _they_ have with it, or a particular problem _they_ have with using grep on Windows etc. I know the couple of tiny-weeny patches I've submitted have been to fix a bug I have personally hit.

Doing free software work for the community to benefit from is surely a noble cause, but I'm not sure that is most people's drive to work on open source.

BTW why would Microsoft or Apple give 1/10 of a crap if VLC dies a painful death on their platform? They both already supply a competing app supporting the formats they care about.

Reply Score: 3

cb_osn Member since:
2006-02-26

Can someone please explain to me why developers should donate their time developing freeware for closed-source operating systems like Mac OSX and Windows?

I imagine that most of the developers who contribute to the large collection of open source software do so because they have an interest and they wish to share their work with others. That is true altruism. To do so for politically motivated goals, such as furthering the agenda of the FSF and eliminating proprietary software, is not.

Reply Score: 5

strcpy Member since:
2009-05-20


I imagine that most of the developers who contribute to the large collection of open source software do so because they have an interest and they wish to share their work with others. That is true altruism. To do so for politically motivated goals, such as furthering the agenda of the FSF and eliminating proprietary software, is not.


Spot on. Though sadly this does not prevent a vocal group of politically motivated people to try to constantly tell others what to do with their interest.

Reply Score: 2

WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

I think it is a silly thing to do anyways, to try to deny the usage of F/OSS software on closed-source platforms; a true proponent of Freedom would want to saturate closed-source platforms with as much F/OSS software as possible so as to make the users of such platforms even just slightly bit more free.

Besides, what freedom is it that you are forced to use F/OSS platform to use F/OSS software? I call that hypocrisy, not freedom.

Reply Score: 4

danieldk Member since:
2005-11-18

I imagine that most of the developers who contribute to the large collection of open source software do so because they have an interest and they wish to share their work with others. That is true altruism. To do so for politically motivated goals, such as furthering the agenda of the FSF and eliminating proprietary software, is not.


Hear, hear. Writing software in the area you are interested in is just plain fun. Personally, I wouldn't care less how it is re-used, as long as it is useful to people and I get some credit for my work.

There are a whole lot of programmers out there contributing open source code, who do not want to push a political agenda. It's just a vocal contingent that gets a lot of attention (and I would argue, makes open software look bad).

Reply Score: 3

krreagan Member since:
2008-04-08

Can someone please explain to me why developers should donate their time developing freeware for closed-source operating systems like Mac OSX and Windows?

Because they want to develop for a desktop system that is not a PITA to get to work correctly. I used FBSD for ~10 years and decided that it was a fantastic server OS but a PITA for desktop usage (almost as bad as Linux) so I moved to OSX and have not looked back! I develop to produce well designed and effective SW. If it's used on a consumer (OSX/Windows) OS that's fine with me.

KRR

Reply Score: 2

BluenoseJake Member since:
2005-08-11

Getting users used to OSS apps on Windows and OS X is very useful. Take OpenOffice for example, a group of users start using OpenOffice, and decide that they like it. They become interested in OSS apps, and find out that Linux is also OpenSource, and runs OpenOffice. They may become interested in using Linux, and give it a try, knowing that the apps they need are there.

To limit OSS apps to OSS operating systems is short-sighted, and holds the movement back, imo.

Reply Score: 4

Too bad...
by leos on Thu 17th Dec 2009 03:22 UTC
leos
Member since:
2005-09-21

VLC rocks. It would be too bad if it died on the Mac.. Especially now that I've switched almost fulltime to the mac at home.
Might have a go at compiling VLC then. But if I have the time I'd definitely not bother with the current GUI, and instead make the Qt interface work on the Mac. Different interface just for the Mac makes no sense at all. Especially in a project that is obviously short on devs.

Reply Score: 6

.
by eksasol on Thu 17th Dec 2009 05:05 UTC
eksasol
Member since:
2009-04-05

Perian is okay, but does not encompass as much features. VLC can play corrupted videos (not even ffdshow can do that), more formats and integrated other useful features that QuickTime don't have. Besides, I hate QuickTime even if it does support all formats.

I am actually surprised that Apple even allow a competing media players to be installed to their operating system. Given the fact that they don't allow you to develop some iPhone apps that compete with their own, their aggressive behaviors such as the Psystar case, their anti-use of open source formats in HTML5. Also if you import videos to your iTunes, it only support formats like MPEG4 and H.264. So it's good that Apple even allow to playback formats other than their own in their operating system.

I had wish that they didn't stop developing VLC for WindowsMobile os, that was probably due to lack of developers too. (The only other decent video player for WinMo is CorePlayer which cost $30, and it's only decent.) If VLC does cease for Mac, you can still use the Windows version through Darwine. You can use MPC + ffdshow with Darwine also. I only use VLC when ffdshow failed to play a video, which is rarely.

Edited 2009-12-17 05:08 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: .
by daveak on Thu 17th Dec 2009 08:12 UTC in reply to "."
daveak Member since:
2008-12-29

anti use? They prefer a superior codec that has hardware decoding support in one of their main product lines over an inferior codec that doesn't? They use quicktime for the support anyway so the video tag supports any format quicktime does. Including theora if you install a codec.

Reply Score: 1

RE: .
by werpu on Thu 17th Dec 2009 12:05 UTC in reply to "."
werpu Member since:
2006-01-18


I am actually surprised that Apple even allow a competing media players to be installed to their operating system. Given the fact that they don't allow you to develop some iPhone apps that compete with their own, their aggressive behaviors such as the Psystar case

Apples behavior on their machines is way less dictatoric than on their end user gadets.
It comes down to one thing, dont clone our machines but for the rest feel free to do anything with it you want.
It is just that their anticompetetive behavior is slightly there in their APIs up until now there is no plugin infrastructure for their mediacentre, so that Elgato as prime source of real TV applications had hardware cannot hook into the official Apple mediacentre ui but has to provide its own.
But outside of that the entire OS is pretty open and apple does not disallow too much.
I own a mac myself but I would never ever get an iPhone and I have gotten rid of my last iPod years ago, exactly for the lock reasons Apple enforces on their gadets. I am so far pretty happy with my Android phone and the Apple computer combination!

Reply Score: 2

those problems are iPhone's fault?â!
by darwinOS on Thu 17th Dec 2009 07:09 UTC
darwinOS
Member since:
2009-11-02

Adium is suffering those problems too! All volunteers (opensource developers) are preferring to develop for the iPhone!!! maybe in a near future we'll see more and more ObjC developers out there. But as long as the iPhone remains a hyped platform, such opensource projects on Mac will be looking for developers

Reply Score: 3

moondevil Member since:
2005-07-08

Here in Germany there is now a magazine about Mac development.

Guess what, it speaks almost only about how to develop for the iPhone!

Reply Score: 2

darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

The conspiracy theorist part of my brain wonders if maybe, just maybe, Apple has a plan here. Attract as many devs to the iPhone away from the Mac as possible, release their tablet or whatever they plan to release built on the iPhone OS or possibly an iPhone OS-OS X hybrid, and integrate the app store into it and lock it down just as the iPhone currently is. Bingo, the app store is suddenly much more relevant than it already is, and they've got it on a much more functional device. Before most realizes what's about to happen, we have devs coding for the iPhone SDK that can now target more than one device, all conveniently going through the app store. Anyone else see the possible outcome here?
Of course, there is the possibility that I've simply stayed up too late tonight and my brain is trying to tell me to get some sleep. ;)

Reply Score: 2

close it down
by Mellin on Thu 17th Dec 2009 10:46 UTC
Mellin
Member since:
2005-07-06

cancel the mac version and tell people to use the windows version in wine

Reply Score: 5

RE: close it down
by KugelKurt on Thu 17th Dec 2009 15:57 UTC in reply to "close it down"
KugelKurt Member since:
2005-07-06

They could close down the Cocoa GUI and just use the Qt4 GUI for Mac. It won't feel as native, but better than no version at all.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: close it down
by boldingd on Thu 17th Dec 2009 16:28 UTC in reply to "RE: close it down"
boldingd Member since:
2009-02-19

If you check out the link listed in the article, that's exactly what they say they might do. Interestingly, they specifically say that, what they need are people to work on the objective-C OS X front-end. They claim the vast majority of the application is platform-neutral C, which requires no particular effort to port.

Edit: and I think that'd be perfectly reasonable. If you have two GUI front-ends targeting a platform, one of which works, has developers, and generates code that can be shared with other platforms, and the other does not... well, gee, I think I know which GUI I'd focus my efforts on.

Edited 2009-12-17 16:33 UTC

Reply Score: 3

Bad luck
by mmu_man on Thu 17th Dec 2009 11:34 UTC
mmu_man
Member since:
2006-09-30

Been using BeOS for years and vlc drops support...
Now I'm forced to use OSX, and vlc drops support ;)
I might help doing releases, but I really don't have time to maintain it.

Reply Score: 3

Shareware?
by HAL2001 on Thu 17th Dec 2009 14:30 UTC
HAL2001
Member since:
2009-12-17

VLC has a *huge* user base, why don't they work out a shareware version of the app? I have no problem paying for a tool like VLC that I use on a daily basis and I'm sure I'm not the only one.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Shareware?
by Luminair on Thu 17th Dec 2009 16:25 UTC in reply to "Shareware?"
Luminair Member since:
2007-03-30

asking mac users for money is a perfectly reasonable suggestion

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Shareware?
by darknexus on Thu 17th Dec 2009 18:01 UTC in reply to "RE: Shareware?"
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

VLC as shareware would be a nice idea, if it were possible. Fortunately or unfortunately depending on your perspective, it's not possible to make f/oss software into shareware. you see, there's this little issue of source code being available, as that is sort of the point of f/oss. So exactly how do you propose to implement a shareware system when someone could simply compile a version without whatever restrictions and messages they decide to implement and then release that modification? Isomaster still tries this for their windows version, but again, I just compile it without said restriction, and I've seen many other modified copies floating around various networks. They could've made VLC shareware if they'd done it from the beginning and, as good as it is, it very probably would've succeeded. It's too late now.
And seriously, if asking Mac users for money is reasonable, asking Windows users for money is even more reasonable and heck, asking Linux/FreeBSD/whatever users for money makes even more sense since they didn't spend a dime on their os and don't pay for upgrades and therefore would have some money to spend. ;)

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Shareware?
by dagw on Thu 17th Dec 2009 18:33 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Shareware?"
dagw Member since:
2005-07-06

Compiling is a bit of pain for most people. So given the choice between pile of zipped source files and a nicely packaged installer costing a few bucks I can see people going for the installer. There are several open source projects that do variations on this theme and it seems to work for most of them.

Also even people who are happy to compile from source might buy the official binary just to support the project.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Shareware?
by Vanger on Thu 17th Dec 2009 19:56 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Shareware?"
Vanger Member since:
2007-11-28

xchat for Windows is shareware and still is GPL.

And if you can build it on Windows you're ok to use it, and to sell your build too. Just make sure all code is shipped with.

Reply Score: 1

sad!
by siraf72 on Thu 17th Dec 2009 16:59 UTC
siraf72
Member since:
2006-02-22

VLC is awesome. Easily in my opinion one of the best open source projects there is.

Its quite shocking that the mac version finds itself in this position. I have to say i use it less and less thanks to the excellent Perian codec pack, but still i DO use it and it would be a great loss.

Here's hoping some developers grab the baton!

Reply Score: 1

Region free alternative?
by rajan r on Thu 17th Dec 2009 18:07 UTC
rajan r
Member since:
2005-07-27

One thing I will keep going back to VLC for is the fact that it can play DVDs on my Mac even when its from a different region. Short of doing something funky to the optical drive's firmware, if VLC degenerates, what alternative is there?

Reply Score: 2

RE: Region free alternative?
by siraf72 on Thu 17th Dec 2009 18:25 UTC in reply to "Region free alternative?"
siraf72 Member since:
2006-02-22

MPlayer? I'm not sure, but can't it play DVDs as well?

Reply Score: 1

RE: Region free alternative?
by darknexus on Thu 17th Dec 2009 18:31 UTC in reply to "Region free alternative?"
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

You're firmware must not have a region lockout then, since VLC cannot bypass that. My Mac's drive has a hardware region lock and believe me I've tried everything including VLC to get around it. No luck. That means your region lock is imposed by software, probably by OS X itself. There used to be a software called DVD Region X that would disable this, but I'm not sure if it's still around as it was useless for me.
That being said, if you don't mind the CLI you can get mplayer from macports and that will play DVDs just as VLC does. There used to be a GUI version of Mplayer and Mencoder, but last I checked they hadn't been updated in a few years and were still using 0.7, which is so out of date as to be almost useless.

Reply Score: 2

Am I Missing Something Here?
by jweinraub on Thu 17th Dec 2009 19:33 UTC
jweinraub
Member since:
2009-06-22

Okay, I don't fully understand what Apple is doing to prevent VLC from developing on the OS X system. Regardless of the reasoning, but what exactly is Apple doing to make it known to Video LAN that they are not wanted. Has Apple sent nasty letters? What do these letters day? What is it that Video LAN is having difficulties with?

I am trying to understand what Apple is doing, not why.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Am I Missing Something Here?
by Praxis on Thu 17th Dec 2009 21:22 UTC in reply to "Am I Missing Something Here?"
Praxis Member since:
2009-09-17

I am likewise a bit confused as to how apple could be impeding development. I can only assume this is some form of miscommunication until I get further informations, because I seriously can't think of a way apple could single out vlc and hinder their application without doing something that would also piss off a whole sea of third party devs. In which case we would have heard about before this.

Reply Score: 1

Would have contributed...
by ioctl on Thu 17th Dec 2009 20:44 UTC
ioctl
Member since:
2009-12-03

As a STB SW developer I regard VLC as an essential tool both as a lightweight streaming server for testing and as a reference playback tool. I would guess most of my fellow STB devs rely on VLC just as much as I do, but sadly (for OSX users) 99% out of them work on Linux or Windows :-)
If I was a mac user I'd seriously considered contributing. VLC is on my top 10 most useful cross-platform FOSS apps list(for whatever that is worth).

Reply Score: 1