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Media (Apple) Media Open Source Apple

Open Source VLC Media Player Coming To iPad 232

Posted by timothy
from the might-make-'em-temptinger dept.
Stoobalou writes "The people behind VLC, quite probably the most useful media player available right now, have submitted an iPod version to the Apple software police. VLC — which is rightfully famous for having a go at playing just about any kind of audio or video file you care to throw at it — should appear some time next week, if it makes it through the often unfathomable approval process implemented by Apple. The Open Source Video Lan Client has been tweaked to run on the iPod by software developer Applidium."
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Open Source VLC Media Player Coming To iPad

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  • I was under the impression you couldn't release the full source code of an iOS app without open-sourcing the iOS libraries.

    • Re:GPL Violation? (Score:4, Informative)

      by Wumpus (9548) <IAmWumpus AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday September 09, 2010 @03:04PM (#33525962)

      You can release the source code. You just can't distribute the binary, since you can't satisfy the conditions of the GPL and of the statically linked platform libraries.

      Although there is an exception in the GPL to allow linking to libraries that are part of the OS, or are normally distributed with it. Things like the standard C runtime library fall under that. Maybe this applies here.

    • Re:GPL Violation? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 09, 2010 @03:08PM (#33525988)

      What? You mean like how I can't release a windows app as GPL without open sourcing Windows?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by DdJ (10790)

      To add to what others have already mentioned, I'll point out that VLC is very specifically GPLv2, not GPLv3. Version 2 did not have the "anti TiVoization" stuff that version 3 has. The restrictions on what you can do really are different.

  • As VLC also plays Quicktime formats, it'll be interesting to see if Apple allows a competitor.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by The MAZZTer (911996)
      Who said they included that functionality? I assume there are QuickTime API calls on iPad already, they can just use those... VLC for PC includes QuickTime codecs for PCs since who knows if the users are going to have QuickTime installed (and AFAIK there's no Linux QuickTime). Wouldn't have that problem on the iPad, right?
      • VLC for PC includes QuickTime codecs for PCs since Apple’s QuickTime codecs for PCs suck.

        FTFY.

        And when I say they suck, I mean they are buggy and full of security holes.

      • are you implying that it'd be okay to play quicktime as long as it used the native QT libs?

        i think the no-competition clause is at the app level. that is, you can't get google maps on iOS because there's already a built-in maps app. it doesn't matter if the google maps app used the underlying iOS map services, it's that the google maps app duplicates the stock map app's functionality.

        i don't know enough to say if they'd consider it duplicated functionality. my first though it yes, because a large number of

    • Re:Quicktime? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by commodore64_love (1445365) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @03:12PM (#33526066) Journal

      They allowed the Opera Mini browser, even though it directly competes with (and is ~5 times faster than) Apple's Safari browser. So I'm betting Apple will approve VLC too. - If they do reject it the reason will be something else - like ability to hack into iPad internals (same reason the C64emultator was rejected from iStore) rather than because of fear of competition.

      offtopic:

      Why isn't SeaMonkey listed on the EU's browser choice screen? I like its old Netscape style. :-|

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by jonbryce (703250)

        The answer to your offtopic question is that they include one browser from each vendor, and firefox is the offering they include form the Mozilla Foundation.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          But seamonkey is no longer part of Mozilla. They are a separate company called SeaMonkey Council, and should be allowed to submit their own product to the EU. ----- And if the argument is: "FF and SM use the same mozilla base," that is not valid either. There are two Webkit browsers on the EU ballot.

          Back to topic:

          I don't expect Apple to reject VLC. If they do it will make them look like hypocrites.

          .

          • But seamonkey is no longer part of Mozilla. They are a separate company called SeaMonkey Council, and should be allowed to submit their own product to the EU. ----- And if the argument is: "FF and SM use the same mozilla base," that is not valid either. There are two Webkit browsers on the EU ballot.

            "SeaMonkey and the SeaMonkey logo are registered trademarks of the Mozilla Foundation."

            So, it's led by a different group... but is still a product of the Mozilla Foundation according to its own website.

      • by omnichad (1198475)

        c64emulator was rejected because it can run interpreted code, not because of low-level access to iPad hardware.

        • by toriver (11308)

          So what does the current C64 "looks like an emulator" app [apple.com] do? Have they re-implemented the games in Objective-C using CoreGraphics/CoreAnimation?

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by omnichad (1198475)

            The rejected version had a BASIC interpreter. You could type in code and run it in-app. That's what Apple didn't like.

            • Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against the parent poster. However, ... every mf time I see that answer it pisses me off like you wouldn't believe. Am I the only one that finds it completely ridiculous and an insult to everyones intelligence that Apple calls C64 Basic a real programming language in this day and age? The only possible realistic usage is for hobby purposes. WTF! What a waste!

              • by omnichad (1198475)

                It's silly but they ABSOLUTELY don't want to let anyone run any piece of software at all without it going through the app store process, and I suppose that even includes hand-typed BASIC. That is, unless it's on a web page using HTML/Javascript.

                • Well, it works on my Android box and I had fun trying commands like "POKE 53281,0". It's pure nostalgia. Why would they even want to deny anyone that experience?

                  Mmmpf, it would be interesting to see if this one worked: http://www.kingsquare.nl/jsc64 [kingsquare.nl] A JavaScript C64 emulator. I mean, what's the point. The instance you try to block something, people are going to look for ways around it. If that's too much of a hassle, they go elsewhere. I don't get the logic behind it on behalf of Apple.

              • by Lehk228 (705449)
                the market for phone games would be a lot harder to monetize if anyone with the ability to program BASIC games could deliver games to the iPad.

                their business model includes charging at the gates of their walled garden and you don't understand why they would be unhappy with a tunnel under the wall?
      • by c6gunner (950153)

        So I'm betting Apple will approve VLC too. - If they do reject it the reason will be something else - like ...

        ... the ability to play Flash?

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Guspaz (556486)

          VLC can *display* Flash videos, it can't *run* Flash videos. That's still handled by Adobe software, much in the same way that Media Player Classic (the original, anyhow) doesn't decode XviD videos; it extracts the video data from the file, passes it on to the codec, lets the codec decode it, and then displays the result.

      • "They allowed the Opera Mini browser, even though it directly competes with (and is ~5 times faster than) Apple's Safari"

        No, it doesn't compete. It works in a fundamentally different manner, with a different user experience. Displaying a pre-rendered bitmap obtained from a cloud server is not the same as fetching web data and rendering the page on-device; as such, there is much it cannot do "live".

        • The technical details surrounding how the apps are implemented are obviously irrelevant to the discussion of whether two apps compete. In this case, they are both browsers, so yeah, they compete even though one of the browsers is severely limited. There are several other browsers in the App Store, too, and they all "compete."
      • by unix1 (1667411)

        Opera Mini is not a "normal" web browser. It renders mostly static web pages that are encoded in a custom format going through and translated and compressed by Opera's proxy servers. In functionality, it is similar to BlackBerry's standard (not the new webkit) web browser but arguably a bit "better."

        It still doesn't sound like Apple would allow any real alternative web browsers through its app store.

        • by Lehk228 (705449)
          I own a Bold 9700 and tried opera mini, it is certainly not "better" than the old integrated browser (i have not tried the new webkit browser)

          unless you mean better at being crap
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by samkass (174571)

      Now that Apple publishes their app acceptance criteria, we can look this one up:

      9.1 Apps that do not use the MediaPlayer framework to access media in the Music Library will be rejected

      Oh well.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by leuk_he (194174)

        This just means VLC cannot play music form the music library. music outside the music library is no problem....
        But then, if apple thinks different you still have a problem, not apple.

        • Unless they changed this with iphone os 4 (the three letter IOS will always apply to Cisco devices in my mind regardless of capitalization) there is no file system access on the iphone. If VLC can't access the library due to Apple restrictions you would have to get music/videos on the phone through VLC itself (since the sandboxing prevents it from accessing other apps data).
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Guspaz (556486)

            iTunes allows you to copy arbitrary data to your iDevice for a specific application. I believe this is how some eBook readers get their content from PCs.

            Besides, this doesn't really matter anyhow; the primary reason to use VLC is to play media that the existing iPod software won't play. If the iPod software won't play it, then iTunes won't let you upload it to the iDevice in the first place.

            In other words, I couldn't put an MKV file in my media library even if Apple didn't have this restriction, for technic

          • Unless they changed this with iphone os 4 (the three letter IOS will always apply to Cisco devices in my mind regardless of capitalization) there is no file system access on the iphone. If VLC can't access the library due to Apple restrictions you would have to get music/videos on the phone through VLC itself (since the sandboxing prevents it from accessing other apps data).

            Wrong. Here's how I got books into Stanza [lexcycle.com] on my iPad (which I prefer to iBooks for reading my pdfs). Sure it's sub-optimal, but if I

          • by toriver (11308)

            Plenty of file system access, but each app lives in its own closed little world in that regard: You cannot access another app's file system with some very specific exceptions.

            • by DdJ (10790)

              You cannot access another app's file system with some very specific exceptions.

              But one of those exceptions is very very relevant for VLC.

              An app can register with the system to be a "handler" for files of a certain type. Then when all sorts of things try to present a file of that type, they can get an "Open in..." button that tells the OS to ship a copy of the file to the app in question so it can be handled.

              What's this mean?

              Well, it means for example that if VLC can play Theora videos, you'd suddenly be ab

          • Unless they changed this with iphone os 4 (the three letter IOS will always apply to Cisco devices in my mind regardless of capitalization) there is no file system access on the iphone.

            Starting with the very first iPhone OS, applications have been able to access the file system within an application sandbox. From that first version on there have been applications that collected and held onto and even helped view files for you - very often getting things on and off the phone via WebDAV.

            Starting with iOS3.2

        • by machxor (1226486)

          I dunno, it's pretty vague (most of the guidelines are).

          Why say "media" if it only applies to music?

          What does "access" mean? Open a stream to and then decode in your application? Or actually decode through the MediaPlayer framework (ie: no non-Apple supplied codecs).

          Overall reading through those guidelines were a waste of time for me. Most of them were common sense and the rest were so vague and subjective (I think that was the intention though).

        • But then, if apple thinks different you still have a problem...

          I see what you did there.

      • by Henriok (6762)
        Not a problem. VLC can use the MediaPlayer framework to play stuff in the Music and Video Libraries. Fine. And use whatever codecs of their own in their own library or streamed from the net. There's precedence here, like Spotify that plays locally stored and streamed OGG/Vorbis.
    • http://codecs.freeforums.org/post14945.html [freeforums.org] -- "... There are no links on the site anymore to stimulate the use and development of open-source alternatives, such as VLC and ffdshow, instead of the use of proprietary software."

  • by TheGodxxxx (1752138) <raff.mobile@NOspaM.gmail.com> on Thursday September 09, 2010 @03:11PM (#33526040)
    I was actually under the impression that u could not release a media player that is not based on the stock one at the appstore because it would be count as replacing standard functionality. Has this changed or am I missinformed at all? Having VLC on iOS could be a dealbreaker for many people who don't buy a iPhone because of the lack of divx/xvid compatiblity.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      there's a divx/xvid player already on the store. it's shit, but it was approved

      http://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/id384098375?mt=8 [apple.com]

      • by jedidiah (1196)

        With a device like the iPad, hardware acceleration of video play back is simply not an option. It's absolutely necessary.

        If you can't just "feed it to the GPU" then what you can do is going to be very limited.

        I would be surprised if VLC can do much beyond offer an alternative UI to browse QT files.

        • A primary reason for using, unto requiring, hardware video playback is power consumption. Early in the iPad's release someone noted that the reason it could handle not just an 11-hour on time, but an 11-hour video playback time, was that video was routed thru a very efficient hardware video decoder. Without doing so, battery life would be stunted to way below the near-all-day on time.

          This leads to the extrapolation to and beyond the "it's absolutely necessary" observation.

          From the just-released submission g

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Guspaz (556486)

          The iPad has a pretty capable processor. It can probably handle pretty much anything SD entirely in software, possibly even some 720p content with a very well written decoder.

          Regardless, the hardware support doesn't care about the container format, so there's nothing stopping VLC from playing an MKV file with hardware acceleration (for video, at least), so long as the h.264 stream in the MKV container is compliant with the decoding restrictions. I imagine that it could then use overlays to display subtitles

    • by grumpyman (849537)
      Currently there's yxplayer which works ok and another one (can't remember the name) doesn't work very well. I'd love to have VLC!!
    • I was actually under the impression that u could not release a media player that is not based on the stock one at the appstore because it would be count as replacing standard functionality.

      The existing player cannot play divx, therefore VLC would not be replacing existing functionality.

      Apple is more concerned with wholesale replacement.



  • In my day, we differentiated between the iPad and the iPod. Apparently in this article, the author considers them one and the same.

    Seth
  • Woo! (Score:4, Funny)

    by grub (11606) <slashdot@grub.net> on Thursday September 09, 2010 @03:20PM (#33526176) Homepage Journal

    I will send my left nut to Steve Jobs if this gets approved.

    Note to Apple: If a cooler appears on your loading dock and it has the shipping info missing please open it. If it contains dry ice and a zip-lock bag holding what appears to be a bloody walnut, please expedite it to Mr. Jobs.

    Thank you.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 09, 2010 @03:23PM (#33526234)

    RTFOA:
    http://applidium.com/en/news/vlc_media_player_available_for_the_ipad

  • It will contain code from various GPL projects and the holes in these could be exploited to jailbreak the phone.

    Of course I could be wrong. there are alternate web browsers on the iPhone now so the "duplication" of built in features isn't a valid argument.

  • I've managed to start using gstreamer-based Totem trying to play shit through VLC with bad luck (it crashes, or can't play video with sound if you attempt to seek), having had no luck with mplayer. Then I went back with Xine. Xine handles just about anything correctly, even if it's horribly corrupted; VLC doesn't handle anything with any sort of oddness correctly, and gstreamer seems halfway there.
  • I really hope that Apple gives a go for VLC for the iPad...
    There is another option that *has* already been approved that is not a bad choice at all for playing movies, etc. Its Oplayer from olimsoft and is available now on iTunes. One of its problems apparently is that Apple has locked down the access to the hardware accelerating decoding present in the iPad, so Oplayer has to do it via software -- slower and therefore less smooth playback -- I hope VLC doesn't have this problem but I am guessing that Apple

  • "The Open Source Video Lan Client has been tweaked to run on the iPod by software developer Applidium." Wow! I'll probably never have an iPad, but VLC will be really handy on my iPod.
  • Wish them luck but I doubt it'll make it through the approval process, especially given how A-hole-ish Apple comes off on today's '10 commandments' [engadget.com] notice. Gonna be pretty hard to ever navigate those waters without having an 'in' to help you out.

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