After almost 16 years of service, Winamp, one of the most popular media playback applications is shutting up shop, and AOL will be ceasing to support the program.
Winamp was created by Nullsoft in 1997 as a community supported media play and was a pioneer as well as a disruptor in the digital media space. Lead by Justin Frankel and his merry band of developers, Winamp soon became one of the most revolutionary applications of its kind. Nullsoft, acquired by AOL in 1999, also created SHOUTcast, Gnutella (open source) and NSIS (open source installer used by Winamp, Dropbox, Firefox and others). Winamp was an early leader in community developed applications and helped to spawn the open source software movement for music. You can drop by our team & alumni pages to learn more about the people responsible for creating the player, turning out new revs, maintaining the website, and fostering relations with the developer community.
At this time there has been no reason given from AOL, who purchased Winamp in 1999, for the closure which is due to happen on December 20th and the official forums are ablaze with confusion over the banner and what it will really mean which is now gracing the download page.
Whilst any current installation will continue to function as likely will any version installed on your smartphone, it does mean that you will no longer be able to download the program skins, plugins or access the previously mentioned forums via the official site, which means you will have to rely on alternative sources such as http://www.oldversion.com/ to download the software.
There are calls (and a petition) for AOL to release the source for the software so that it can be built upon and supported by the community at the time of writing the petition has just over 4000 signatures although remains to be seen what impact if any this will have.
Forum member Victhor, has tried to clear up any potential confusion with the information he posted on the forums below.
So, what remains (and can still be created / fixed):
+ New fixes (in various forms according to DrO)
+ Gracenote database (to be confirmed)
+ Crash reporter (in case of emergency)
+ New Plugins and plugins updates
+ Skins (newer and updates if needed)
+ SDK updates (80% chances to stay)
What is lost
- Online services (like Now playing, MoodAgent, etc). The good thing about it is that now people can use / create custom services to use with it, like Broser Pro / Reader already does in cPro skins.
- Shoutcast (needs confirmation, but there are alternatives like Icecast)
- Nullsoft TV (access, not the ability to play it, if you have the links you´re good, get some here)
- Winamp.com Forums (with luck it will get moved, or live trough Skin Consortium or alike)
- Winamp.com access to skins (not critical, there´s DeviantArt / 1001skins..)
- Winamp.com access to plugins (saving working plugins IS NEEDED, later it can be uploaded somewhere)
The good news (yes! there are!)
# People can now create Online services
# Winamp can still be improved by plugins. Tutorials are all over internet and there will still be some devs to ask to in case of emergency.
# There can still be "life" for Winamp after this, if enough Plugin developers join again, A LOT OF IMPROVEMENTS CAN STILL BE DONE. Now more than ever, the power to make Winamp even better is in Community´s hands.
# DrO, the main dev of Winamp 5.66 (among other things..) will keep on working on his plugins, let´s help him in what we can and don´t forget that, as usual he only does it for the love to Winamp, no money was ever gained from this.. so keep that in mind when requesting / asking.
# Last but not least, personal thinking.. if AOL is not interested any more in Winamp, then now more than ever is more likely that someone could buy it and start to do things like it should`ve been done years ago.. or set it free to the community.