VideoLAN proposes VLC native Windows 8 version

VLC has been my and many others’ preferred video playback software for a number of years now. While others might prefer Media Player Classic and codecs, I’ve been satisfied with VLC to be able to handle just about everything I throw at it without making the setup any more complicated.

With 6 days left, VideoLAN has a Kickstarter project going to try funding a native Windows 8 version of the application. It is currently less than £2,000 away from its goal.

The proposed project is a native app for Windows 8 which will allow it to work on Windows RT. You can still download and install VLC in desktop mode for Window 8 and Windows 8 Pro.

The main reason given for kickstarting the project is to hire graphic designers in order to polish the user interface to match the Windows 8-style.

In contrast to the built-in media player, VLC for Windows 8 we intend to add support for DVDs and VCDs out-of-the box as well as unencrypted Blu-Rays. All the features known from our current releases will be retained like a full fledged equalizer, video filters and superior support for subtitles.

The promotion notes that the application has recently been relicensed to be compatible with various app stores like the Windows Store.

Any code touching the user interface created within this endeavor will be licensed under the GNU General Public License Version 2 or later (GPLv2+), possibly with an exception for the Windows Store if needed.

Low level libraries and contributions to VLC’s existing code base will be licensed under the GNU Lesser General Public License Version 2.1 or later (LGPLv2.1+) following the recent developments in the VLC project.

Check out the project’s Kickstarter page in order to support the project and find out more information about it.

A major hurdle for us is to take VLC for Windows 8 and get it to run on ARM based Windows RT devices. This is because there is currently no stable toolchain available that supports all the features we need in order to cross-compile the libVLC library for Windows RT. While Microsoft provides its default development environment, it is not of much help to us at the lower libVLC level, which uses advanced features of the C language as well as custom, hand written assembly code. Both of these are incompatible with Visual Studio, so we will be required to adapt a mingw-w64 derivative for this purpose. This is feasible, since this is what we used for the past 10 years to provide VLC on Windows, but it will take time.

A major benefit of this subproject will be a working mingw-w64 environment for all the other projects with their roots in the UNIX/Linux world.

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