The Real Deal

by Edd Dumbill

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Thomas Vander Stichele's opinions on the story behind Real going GPL with Helix Player make interesting reading. Should the open source world hold Real in suspicion?

Vander Stichele works for Fluendo, a streaming media company whose products are based on the open source GStreamer framework. He was part of the team providing the world's first large scale live Ogg Theora stream at the GUADEC conference last week, where Real's Rob Lanphier made the announcement about open sourcing.

Given Real's history of decline, you might be forgiven for thinking that the move to GPL the player and embrace open source codecs is a last-ditch attempt to turn the business around. On the other hand, perhaps this is the final dawn of enlightenment.

Vander Stichele's summary is certainly pretty punchy:

The Real codecs are the carrot. The player and framework are the Trojan Horse. And inside of the horse are the suits who want to save the company from going bankrupt by selling you music.

What do you think about Real's release of their framework and player as GPL?


2004-07-08 08:11:20
Some comments from Real...
Over on /., Kevin Foreman (GM for Helix at RealNetworks, apparently) is the one posting the stories about this stuff, he's also been replying on the threads, might be of interest. His explanation:

Our business model is changed. We make our money on consumer services like Rhapsody, SuperPass and STARZ! on Real Movies and therefore don't need to pay our staff with software add-ons or advertising.

I've no connection with any of this, it just stuck in my memory seeing a suit posting on /.