RealNetworks releases open-source client

Last night, RealNetworks announced to Helix Community members that its Helix DNA Client source code is available to registered users.

The jury is still out on whether RealNetworks’ open source are going to make a difference. The Helix mailing lists have been dead quiet, suggesting massive disinterest. The RealNetworks licenses don’t help — for example, anyone who uses the software for anything but research purposes can expect to be hit with licensing fees. If there’s a strategy (other than hoping developers are compelled to add value to the RealSystem platform out of the goodness of their hearts), it’s not apparent to me. Is it to anyone? Link

UPDATE&nbsp&nbsp&nbspI tuned into the webcast, hoping to get an insight into RealNetworks’ strategy. Rob Glaser said that 2,000 developers had joined “Helix Community”, and claimed that that was really good. Well, this little site has around 2,000 regular readers, and that’s with basically no marketing efforts thus far. I’m thinking, “They can’t do better?”

Rob then trotted out pre-recorded clips featuring VIPs from Nokia and Palm Source. The Nokia VIP could’ve been talking about Windows Media or MPEG-4 — he didn’t say anything specific to RealSystem or RealNetworks. The Palm Source VIP read (poorly) from an off-screen card, and strongly encouraged Palm OS developers to, erm, do something with Helix DNA Client for Palm OS.

There may have been more, but just as an OpenWave VIP started to talk my RealOne Player crashed spectacularly, and by the time I was able to fire it up on a different PC they were already into the part of the webcast that told developers how to compile the code. Is a webcast really the best way to tell developers how to compile Helix DNA Client?

As I signed off, RealOne Player alerted me that an upgrade was available. Nice touch, at least until I figured out that “upgrade” actually meant “upgrade to the non-free player”. Sheesh.