RealNetworks Debuts Open-Source Media Player

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2003-08-06 Print this article Print

RealNetworks Wednesday announced the launch of the Helix Player project, an open-source effort to deliver an open media player for Linux, Unix and Solaris.

SAN FRANCISCO—RealNetworks Inc. Wednesday announced the launch of the Helix Player project, an open-source effort to deliver an open media player for Linux, Unix and Solaris. In addition, Kevin Foreman, general manager of the Seattle, Wash., company said the Helix Player will feature the companys RealAudio and RealVideo binaries to take to Linux, Unix and Solaris the same type of media playback capabilities that Windows and Macintosh environments enjoy with RealNetworks RealOne Player, which is available for free. Foreman spoke to eWEEK at the LinuxWorld confence here. Foreman said RealNetworks is looking to add to the ranks of the Helix community, which includes both commercial and open-source developers. Indeed, Foreman said the Helix community has grown to more than 20,000 developers as of this week, which marks the anniversary of the launch of the Helix community effort. Helix is a platform and a community for the standardization and expansion of digital media.
The Helix Player will be an open-source, collaborative effort, Foreman said. The media player is being built on top of the Helix DNA Client following standards and the GTK+ toolkit. GTK is the GIMP Toolkit, and GIMP is the GNU Image Manipulation Program.
"We have about three people leading developments, and here at the show weve already had about 50 people offer to help us do quality assurance for all the different Linux distributions," Foreman said. Meanwhile, RealNetworks also announced Helix Community Grant Program, which is aimed at growing the pool of developer talent among independent developers, academic and research institutions, non-profit organizations and commercial enterprises. Foreman said applications for the Helix Community Grant Program will be accepted until October 30. Those accepted for the grants will receive funding from a pool of $75,000. The grant program proposals must be in one of three broad areas: advanced research, solutions to implementation gaps, and creative projects, Foreman said. "Of all our RealPlayer users, Linux users are treated like second-class citizens, and we want to treat them like first class citizens," Foreman said. "From an engineering and integration point of view this is where its all happening," Foreman said spreading his hands to indicate the technology and exhibitors on the show floor.
Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.

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