Real to build open source media player

RealNetworks is launching a project to build an open source media player, offering to give Linux, Unix and Solaris users the same media playback and support capabilities available from the company's RealOne Player for Windows and Mac systems.

The project, announced Wednesday in conjunction with the LinuxWorld conference in San Francisco, will be taken on by the Helix community of developers. Real introduced Helix last year as both a community and platform for the standardization of digital media. Since then, it has released source code for the server, client and producer portions of its media delivery system.

With Helix, Real is aiming to propagate the use of a multiformat system rather than a proprietary approach like that taken by Microsoft with its Windows Media format.

The open source player will be built on top of the cross-platform media engine Helix DNA client, the company said, and will have binaries for RealAudio and RealVideo. Initial versions of the player will be built for the open source Linux OS (operating system) and for Solaris, Sun Microsystem Inc.'s version of Unix, Real said.

The timeline and details of the project are available online at Real of Seattle, Washington, said that it expects the first usable release of the player to be delivered next quarter.

Separately Wednesday, Real also introduced a Helix Community grant program to support researchers and developers within the Helix community in their digital media innovation efforts. The company said that it has a project funding pool of US$75,000 to give to successful applicants. More information on the program is also available on the Helix community Web site at

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