VideoLan (makers of the popular VLC media player) has been ported by Applidium and the the makers of the software are pleased. It's been submitted to Apple, but the question remains, will they [Apple] allow a video player that's not directly tied to their software, shopping service [iTunes] or their preferred codec, H.264? If they do, it could be a major win for the open source community on the platform.
VLC is a free and open source, cross-platform multimedia player and framework, that plays most multimedias files as well as DVD, Audio CD, VCD, and various streaming protocols. It has been around for a very long time and is a rather useful piece of technology as far as I'm concerned. But will Apple see it as such?
The thing is, VideoLAN's projects (VLC player being their most well-known) are free and open source and released under the GNU General Public License. That means that Apple would have little control over what sorts of streams could be played in the player and that might cause them some consternation since people wouldn't be as locked into iTunes and Apple's efforts to push H.264 as the HTML 5 codec of choice. If iPad users are suddenly given a wider range of tools, free and open source, with which to view video, listen to music, etc, they might opt out of pay services like iTunes and head for other places like Netflix or Hulu. This could seriously cut down on the iTunes revenue stream.
According to Applidium:
After several month of porting, we are proud to announce the release of VLC for the iPad! This application stands out for two reasons. First, it will be available for free on the AppStore. But thats not all. VLC is an OpenSource project. We are currently preparing our patches for submission to the main VLC tree. And obviously, we will release our current working tree when the app will hit the AppStore. If everything goes well, VLC for the iPad should be available next week.
In regards to video, VLC is one of the most robust players available today:
VLC also does a good deal of streaming as well:
Will Apple Approve the VLC Player App Submission?
So you can see the sudden and rapid expansion of video that would be readily available to iPad users if Apple approves the application. But will they?
Apple doesn't exactly have the best track record when it comes to approving apps that might compete with their built in stuff like Safari and stuff that duplicates their iTunes functionality. They've also claimed that an app alters the iPhone and have applied some skewed sense of ethics to their decisions.
If this app gets denied it would hardly be surprising to me. After all, with all of the built in functionality of it, why would you ever use another app that can do a fraction of what the VLC for iPad might do.
While the world waits to see how Apple responds to this new threat to their vice-like grip of control over content and applications for their portable devices, I've pulled in a bit of a backgrounder for you on the VideoLAN project.
The VideoLAN Project & The VLC Player
The VideoLAN project is a project, lead and composed by a team of volunteers, that believes in the power of open source when dealing with multimedia. The VLC media player is the most well-known VideoLAN project, but they do have many other video-related projects that are mostly aimed at developers.
The project started as a student project at the French École Centrale Paris, in 1996. After a complete rewrite in 1998, it then became an Open Source project, thanks to the agreement of the École Centrale Paris, in 2001.
The VideoLAN project is now a worldwide project with developers from more than 20 countries around the world and is backed by an autonomous non-profit organisation.
If all goes well, VLC for iPad is expected to hit the AppStore in the week of Sept. 15 and to celebrate the release (if it gets approval), Applidium is going to give away 5 copies of the VLC version in pre-release before it is available. In order to participate, you merely need to follow @applidium on Twitter and they will be randomly selecting 5 followers to send them an exclusive version of VLC.