Feeds

AOL axes Nullsoft - whither Winamp, Shoutcast?

The little MP3 player that could

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

New hybrid storage solutions

AOL split itself into four this week, and one of the casualties is the team that provided its musical credibility. And of course, we don't mean Spinner.com. After hemorrhaging employees for months, only three Nullsoft employees are left after the shake-up.

The team, which AOL acquired in 1999 for $100m - two years after the then 18-year old Justin Frankel - first released his Winamp MP3 player for Windows. Nullsoft also founded the streaming community Shoutcast, which has provided an arena for small webcasters for several years, providing 70m hours of radio a month. Nullsoft can also take the credit for AOL-disapproved projects such as P2P software Gnutella, which was released for one day only in source code form and WASTE, a decentralized encrypted file system named after Thomas Pynchon's secret postal service.

(Beta News' Nate Mook, who broke the news, has a nice recap of Nullsoft's turbulent relationship with its parent here). Frankel himself left in January.

Writing on his homepage, departing developer Steve Gedikian concluded, "At this point, I feel like I no longer have the power to make any positive impact on Winamp." He speculates that with only a skeleton staff, further development of Winamp is unlikely. The team rescued a buggy version 3.0 with version 5.0 recently, adding the ability to play Windows media files, burn discs, and organizer your porn collection: so there's really no excuse for Windows users to persist with the bundled Media Player.

"AOL's really whipped the Llama's ass on this one," wrote volunteer Mike Darrah in a posting to the Pho mailing list. Which gives us another reason to thank Nullsoft's attention to detail, and its wit. Who else could put a lyric from a much loved 350lb schizophrenic onto 100m PCs?

"Please take a moment of your day to bow your head down in thanks to the efforts and innovation given to the entire digital music revolution by the Nullsoft crew through out the years," says Darrah. We will. Politics always ends in failure, it's said, but the Nullsoft team used the channels AOL allowed them (and sometimes didn't) to maintain an important community, and valued quality to the very end - for which we're grateful. ®

Related stories

AOL buys into MP3 arena
Radio royalties: the ticking timebomb under the RIAA
Civil disobedience promised after net radio royalty bill falls
Microsoft monopoly says Apple monopoly is too restrictive
AOL kills Netscape
Browser wars suit ends with death knell for Netscape
Analysis: How MS used the WISE Trojan Horse against Unix

Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management

More from The Register

next story
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
'Windows 9' LEAK: Microsoft's playing catchup with Linux
Multiple desktops and live tiles in restored Start button star in new vids
iOS 8 release: WebGL now runs everywhere. Hurrah for 3D graphics!
HTML 5's pretty neat ... when your browser supports it
Mathematica hits the Web
Wolfram embraces the cloud, promies private cloud cut of its number-cruncher
Google extends app refund window to two hours
You now have 120 minutes to finish that game instead of 15
Mozilla shutters Labs, tells nobody it's been dead for five months
Staffer's blog reveals all as projects languish on GitHub
SUSE Linux owner Attachmate gobbled by Micro Focus for $2.3bn
Merger will lead to mainframe and COBOL powerhouse
iOS 8 Healthkit gets a bug SO Apple KILLS it. That's real healthcare!
Not fit for purpose on day of launch, says Cupertino
Profitless Twitter: We're looking to raise $1.5... yes, billion
We'll spend the dosh on transactions, biz stuff 'n' sh*t
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.