Is VLC for OS X in danger?

Lex Friedman
18 December, 2009
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VLC for OS X could go MIA PDQ unless some Mac developers step up ASAP. That’s because VLC media player, the (for-now) cross-platform software from the VideoLAN project, reportedly now has a whopping total of zero Mac developers, according to MacNN. But it’s not time to worry just yet.

The VLC download page now includes a message stating that the VideoLAN project is “looking for more for developers for the Mac OS X port,” stressing experience in C, Cocoa, and Xcode. Until more Mac developers join the project, the 64-bit version of VLC for Mac has been suspended indefinitely. But VLC’s developers posted a note when this story first broke Wednesday, stating that Mac VLC isn’t going to die, just that it’s suffering from a “lack of manpower on the current Mac interface.” The developers also add, somewhat cryptically, that “Apple doesn’t want us on the Mac platform and is blocking us a lot, and refuses to explain why.”

Apparently, though, a new, more Mac-like interface is on tap for VLC, and the developers hope to have a beta version available next month.

VLC’s key claim to fame is that the software can play just about any video file you encounter; when QuickTime Player can’t, VLC generally can. Of course, QuickTime does support external codecs, and the vast majority of video files you encounter today work well enough with Apple’s built-in software. But if you don’t love Apple’s player, or if you encounter files that QuickTIme can’t handle, VLC’s absence could be pretty rough.

If you need a 64-bit version of VLC—to use with the 64-bit version of HandBrake, for example—you can still download VLC 1.0.2 or the latest (and perhaps unstable) nightly build of 1.0.3. Luckily, it looks like the player will stick around, even if 64-bit development is currently gasping for air.

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