Forwarding Address: OS X

Thursday, November 11, 2004


At the Jenson/Wong household, we're purchasers and fans of Panic Software so with mixed emotions I read on Steven Frank's site that they would no longer be developing Audion, Panic's MP3 player, and that they would now give it away for free. To mark the occassion, Cabel Sasser wrote a wonderful history of Audion.

I know they've already been super-generous to not simply pull Audion from their site forever but I really hope they decide to open source it. iTunes may be eating it's lunch but I bet some crazy kids would take this and run like the wind with it. The Panic dudes could put it up at sourceforge, help teach some kids about it's internals, and eventually not be embarassed by the notes littering the source tree "TODO: fix this hack!" (Remember guys, all our software has those notes). Imagine, a whole generation of hackers cutting their teeth on Audion. I think that'd be pretty awesome.


  • That was a great read.

    By pbx, at 5:47 AM  

  • I just popped over to post this an Steve beat me to it. Man, that's a good story.

    By Chris, at 7:32 AM  

  • Yep, I bought it too. Great story.

    I think they should've taken Apple up on the buyout/hire offer though. I doubt that opportunity will knock again.

    By Anonymous, at 12:05 PM  

  • StevenF mentioned this yesterday on his weblog:

    "A few people have asked if we are planning to open-source Audion. The short answer is no. I realize it's a touchy issue. I sometimes participate in the open-source community (NewTen, for example, being my Cocoa-ification of a GPL'ed command line utility) and I understand its value. I don't believe Audion is a good match."

    "First of all, there's the legal side. MP3 code is encumbered by all sorts of patent issues that probably not even I know the full extent of. There is also a bunch of contributed code that we'd have to get clearance for."

    "Secondly, there's the technical side. Audion began life on Mac OS 8, and a great deal of that legacy is still there. Not to mention that the whole thing is pretty dependent on CodeWarrior's STL implementation and their proprietary PowerPlant framework. To turn Audion into a truly modern Mac OS X application would require almost a complete rewrite anyway, a la Transmit. Preferably in Cocoa."

    "If someone really wants to start an open-source challenger to iTunes (do you? really?), maybe we can serve in some sort of advisory capacity. :)"

    By Eric, at 11:10 PM  

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