The very capable, and conversion-headache-preventing (HUH?), open-source VLC player is one of the very first things I install on any new Mac, after Firefox. If you’re playing anything that isn’t a straightforward .AVI file, and especially if you want to play the notoriously tricky .MKV format, VideoLAN’s multiplatform player is an absolute necessity. Sadly, it might not be around for much longer.
VLC’s OS X incarnation is in danger, according to VideoLAN, due to a lack of developers working on the project. Right now, the total number of active devs on the OS X port of the software is exactly zero, which is threatening official support of the software beyond version 1.1.0. VLC’s current version on the Mac is 1.0.3.
The dearth of willing developers has already led to the 64-bit version of VLC being put on hold, which is really unfortunate because thanks to Snow Leopard’s improvements, such an upgrade would improve the overall performance of the media player by a fair margin. All hope is not lost, though. VideoLAN is looking for qualified volunteers to help keep VLC for Mac alive. Anyone with knowledge of C, Cocoa and Xcode who’s inclined to help out should check out VideoLAN’s official wiki to see how to get involved.
The VideoLAN Foundation mentioned that “Apple doesn’t want [them] on the Mac platform and is blocking us a lot, and refuses to explain why,” according to PC World. At least part of that stonewalling involves the Mac maker’s refusal to list the player on the software downloads section of its official web site. It probably makes it much harder to garner support from the community without the Apple (s aapl) bump.
I, for one, will be very sad if VLC’s Mac support ceases, but unfortunately I am not a developer. If you are, and you have time, consider lending a hand.