Llama Group Pledges to Set Winamp Free with a Windows Source Code Release

The source code for Llama Group's Windows Winamp media player is to be published as the company shifts to mobile and "other platforms."

Gareth Halfacree
24 days agoMusic / Retro Tech

Winamp owner Llama Group, formerly known as Radionomy, has announced it will be releasing the source code to the much-loved music player — though questions remain about how much freedom developers will be granted to experiment with the code base.

"This is a decision that will delight millions of users around the world," claims Winamp chief executive officer Alexandre Saboundjian of the planned code release. "We don't want to forget the tens of millions of users who use the software on Windows and will benefit from thousands of developers' experience and creativity."

Originally developed by Nullsoft's Justin Frankel and Dmitry Boldyrev and first released in 1997, Winamp became the go-to player for the burgeoning MP3 digital audio format thanks to a clean yet customizable user interface and built-in equalizer and visualization functions — and an infamous demo track that, to quote, "really whips the llama's ass."

With the last of the original Nullsoft team leaving in 2004, five years after the company was acquired by AOL, Winamp is now under the ownership of the Llama Group — formerly known as Radionomy — which has, per Saboundjian, decided to focus its ongoing development efforts on "new mobile players and other platforms." As a direct result of the company's new focus, it will be making the source code to the Windows Winamp player — and only the Windows version — available to all on 24 September 2024.

At the time of writing, however, it was unclear exactly what the company meant by "opening up its source code." A request for clarification on the license terms under which the source code would be published had not been answered prior to publication, though Saboundjian explicitly states that "Winamp will remain the owner of the software and will decide on the innovations made in the official version."

Even without access to the source code, makers have been turning to Winamp for inspiration. Earlier this year we showcased AudioWanderer's Raspinamp, a Raspberry Pi-powered physical audio player with a Winamp-themed user interface. A year earlier Cheng Liang recreated the same user interface using LVGL to create a version capable of running on Espressif ESP32 microcontrollers — using real Winamp skins as a starting point.

Anyone interested in being alerted when the source code, which will be based on the current version of the software rather than the much-loved Winamp 2.0, is published can sign up to what the company is calling "FreeLLama" on the Winamp website.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire: freelance@halfacree.co.uk.
Latest articles
Sponsored articles
Related articles
Latest articles
Read more
Related articles