Late last night (CET), we reported on the story that the VLC project needed more developers for the Mac version of this popular video player, or else the Mac variant may disappear. Just about every website out there reported on this issue, but it turns out it all got a bit exaggerated (on the internet? Surely you jest…). We spoke to VLC developer Pierre d’Herbemont to clarify the issue, and they’ve also put up a wiki page about the so-called demise of the Mac version of VLC. He also detailed what, exactly, they meant by “Apple is blocking us”.
So, how dead is the Mac version of VLC, really? Well, they surely do need developers, but the port certainly isn’t near death. The problem is that while the core of VLC is properly maintained, the old Cocoa graphical interface (1% of VLC’s code) for VLC is not. This is why there were problems in the latest VLC 1.0.x version.
They explain that the reason for this lack of maintenance is that the interface is currently being rewritten, in a project called Lunettes. This is done because the current interface “isn’t Mac enough”. Lunettes aims to solve this problem by using VLCKit, which is “pure Cocoa, Objective-C 2.0 with bindings support”. They state this will help them concentrate on features. In addition, the entire graphical appearance of this new UI can be changed using CSS. Their aim with this is to make altering the UI easier in the future.
Lunettes will also bring a number of other new features, such as the ability to continue a video where you left off when you closed VLC. It will also come with better media discovery, and you can scroll through your playlists and/or TV channels when in full screen mode. Last but not least, Lunettes is 64 bits.
Lunettes is currently still under heavy development, and more developers are most certainly welcomed. You cna take a look at Lunettes here.
So, what about the comment regarding Apple? The VLC developers stated that “Apple doesn’t want us on the Mac platform and is blocking us a lot, and refuses to explain why.” d’Herbemont clarified this for us. “This actually means that Apple doesn’t want to list VLC on apple.com/downloads,” he told us via email, “We don’t know why. That’s all.”
I’m glad this has all been cleared up.