The arrival of an Android version of the hugely popular VLC media player has always seemed more like a question of when rather than if, especially ever since the open source player hit the App Store in September. According to lead VLC developer Jean-Baptiste Kempf, it is now just a “matter of weeks” before an Android version of VLC becomes available.
Kempf told GigaOm that VLC for Android has been in development for months now, but the team was initially hindered by the fact that Android’s multimedia output libraries are in Java. However, the recent release of an updated Android NDK has made life a lot better for the VLC team as it is now a lot easier to use native code for apps.
While most VLC libraries have been ported to Android, the developers are now working hard to ensure optimum compatibility across the largely incongruous Android ecosystem.
If you're a user of iOS devices like the iPhone or iPad, you might want to snap up VLC for your chosen device before it's gone forever. Rémi Denis-Courmont, one of the principal developers of VLC, explained that VideoLAN (the foundation that supports VLC) is not pleased with how the app is distributed. They have filed a notice of copyright infringement with Apple that may force the removal of the app.
As it turns out, VLC for iOS is developed by a 3rd party developer called Applidium. Apple's iTunes terms allow VLC to only be installed on 5 devices. This is a form of DRM, and as you may know, VLC is open source and distributed under the GPL. That means Apple's DRM scheme is unacceptable to the VideoLAN foundation.
Apple has, in the past, simply removed apps that fall into a similar category. It's spectacularly unlikely that they'd modify their terms for this one app, even if it is so high profile. Denis-Courmont contends that open source software would not be where it is today if not for licenses like GPL, and perhaps users should be looking for apps on more open platforms.