• VLC player rocks, and Jean Kempf talks about it!

    VLC media player is one of the most well known and successful open source projects. From day one, VLC has “invaded” the multimedia world, providing the users of all platforms an easy, simple, free and libre way to playback all kinds of multimedia on their desktop and not only… This Monday, we meet Jean-Baptiste Kempf, in an effort to learn more about an application we all love to use.

    Tell us a few things about you, and when/how you got involved with VLC.

    I am a 29 years old French geek, living in Paris. I am one of the main VLC developers and I am the President of the VideoLAN non-profit organisation. The VideoLAN project was started at the Ecole Centrale Paris, where I was a student. However, I only started to work on VLC after I finished my studies, in 2006, when I was bored during an internship.

    It’s been 14 years since the first version of VLC, and it is now maybe the most popular media player for all platforms. What was the big gap in the media players market that VLC filled successfully?

    I think the biggest point of VLC was that it was simple to use, without any codec packs to install and was working quite fast. It was done by geeks for the users, without marketing, just direct and straight to the point.

    Give us some details regarding the legal matters of developing a media player that supports playback of many different file types. As far as I know, closed proprietary formats are ownership of the companies or the people who patented them. So whoever wants to play or convert files of such formats must pay a share to the owner. How can an open-source and free of charge media player like VLC even exist, especially for MacOS and Windows where we see the codecs included to the VLC installer?

    This is quite simple, to be honest: We are based in France. In France, Software patents are invalid. Therefore the license fees for patents do not apply to us (smiling).

    Are there any technical differences between the different platform versions of VLC? Is VLC performing/working better for any reason on a particular platform?

    Yes. VLC works better on Linux, because that is the OS that the majority of the developers use. Even the Windows port is developed on Linux. There are technical differences in VLC on the platforms, notably the way we display the video and how we output the audio, because those things are very linked to the APIs of the OS.

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