History of the Winamp – Part 3

Please visit our sponsor : Princess Dresses for your princess

Winamp 5
Nobody wanted to see a Winamp 4 skin (get it, foreskin), instead the Winamp 2 and Winamp3 branches were fused into Winamp 5. This version was based on the Winamp 2 codebase, and included several Winamp3 features, such as modern skins. It was released in December 2003.

Versions 5.2 onwards included built-in support for synchronizing with an iPod.

Winamp 5.5

10 years after the first release of Winamp, Winamp 5.5: The 10th Anniversary Edition was released (October 10, 2007). We now saw album art support, improved localization support, including official German, Polish, Russian and French releases) and a unified media library interface and player skin. This version is also noted for dropping Windows 9x support.

Easter eggs

Speaking of history, Winamp has always included a number of Easter eggs in their releases. Case in point: an image of Winamp’s original author Justin Frankel hidden in Winamp’s About dialog box.

Legal History

According to Tomislav Uzelac, Frankel, one of the program’s original authors, licensed the AMP 0.7 engine June 1, 1997. Frankel founded Nullsoft, Inc. in January 1998, and continued development of Winamp, which was sold as shareware for $10. In March 1998, Uzelac’s company, PlayMedia Systems, sent Frankel / Nullsoft a cease-and-desist letter, using unlawful use of AMP as its basis. At the time, Nullsoft responded that they had replaced AMP with Nitrane, a proprietary decoder, which PlayMedia didn’t buy. PlayMedia Systems ended up filing a federal lawsuit against Nullsoft in March 1999, and Nullsoft had to halt distribution of Nitrane. Later that month, the lawsuit was settled out of court, and shortly thereafter, Nullsoft began using an ISO decoder from the developers of the MP3 format, the Fraunhofer Gesellschaft.

I find it funny that the company not only thought about but actively acknowledged the 4 skin issue at all. Let us consider the series of events that must have led up to that event. Imagine for a moment if you will a companies board of directors all sitting around a big table discussing the next gen winamp. It’s all going well until Jones is hit with an epiphany which latterly makes him laugh out loud. This strange and disruptive laugh would likely have gotten the attention of the entire room. Even though they would all be thinking the same thing the question would come from right at the front of the table, What is so funny Jones? What is it that has got you giggling over there? Can you imagine for a moment the blush that swept over his face? What would you do? make something up? actually answer honestly? Well that is just what Jones did, he said I was just thinking about what we would call this version of our winamp… I got to thinking that the natural progression of things would leave us in the interesting position of calling it the winamp 4skin. Oh, wht a good laugh they all must have had…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *