VLC Windows 8 gets first update, source code and download stats revealed

It's been a very busy week for the all-volunteer VideoLAN team. The long awaited Windows 8 VLC media player app was finally released and now its first update should be rolling out to its users.

In a post on his blog, VideoLAN's president Jean-Baptiste Kempf stated that this first update is supposed to fix the crash bug that some VLC app users have encountered while starting it up. It also should improve the app's stability on the music side. Yet another update is planned for sometime next week. In our interview with him this week, Kempf said the VideoLAN team planned to keep on fixing bugs in future updates, along with some UI improvements, a better database and more.

The source code for the Windows 8 VLC app is available to download from VideoLAN's site, for anyone who wants to check it out. As far as how popular the app is so far, a post on VideoLAN's Twitter feed from early Saturday morning indicated that the VLC app had 38,000 downloads since it was first made available to the public on Wednesday afternoon.

The VideoLAN team still plans to offer a version of VLC for Windows RT as well as Windows Phone platforms at some point.

Source: Jean-Baptiste Kempf​ and VideoLAN on Twitter | Image via VideoLAN

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I have both the desktop and metro versions on my laptop now (kind of like Skype) can't wait for the RT version so I can really put it to use on the tablet.

This would have had way more than 38,000 downloads had it been made for the platform that people actually need it which is windows RT. Metro is made for touch screen devices so its only common sense that they work on that version first. Smh

Biglo said,
This would have had way more than 38,000 downloads had it been made for the platform that people actually need it which is windows RT. Metro is made for touch screen devices so its only common sense that they work on that version first. Smh

True dat. I am sure Microsoft will unlock all 32-bit apps/applications on RT as soon as they are happy with the compatibility.

Riva said,

True dat. I am sure Microsoft will unlock all 32-bit apps/applications on RT as soon as they are happy with the compatibility.

It's not up to them. Developer's would have to recompile for RT compatibility, which might be a hit or miss depending on demand. Personally, I could care less for Win32 applications on RT. Users don't need them sucking the life out of their devices. And those that do need them, have an x64 capable machine already.

Dot Matrix said,

It's not up to them. Developer's would have to recompile for RT compatibility, which might be a hit or miss depending on demand. Personally, I could care less for Win32 applications on RT. Users don't need them sucking the life out of their devices. And those that do need them, have an x64 capable machine already.


RT can execute some win32. eventually all of it. So you wont need to recompile unless you wanted a performance gain.

Leopard Seal said,
38,000 downloads? I thought Metro apps were supposed to be a dead end and used by no one.

in the last few months, windows store app downloads went from 1.7 million daily up to 4 million. windows phone does 12 million daily. basically what this means is there are half a billion metro app downloads a month.

Leopard Seal said,
38,000 downloads? I thought Metro apps were supposed to be a dead end and used by no one.

Who said that? The desperate Linux fan boys seeking attention as they are stuck on 1.48% market share?

Riva said,

Who said that? The desperate Linux fan boys seeking attention as they are stuck on 1.48% market share?

Hey now, Linux does quite well. As long as you put a layer of proprietary code on top of it. And a bunch of commercial services. And get the backing of a major corporation. And change the name.

/Android

Love the app - one very important thingy is missing though: play to -- I cant completely ditch Xbox Video until this feature works...
Is there any feedback form for the the VLC player?

The word "soon" in context of releasing a working and stable application for Windows 8 / Windows RT = 6 or more months AT MINIMUM.

paulheu said,
For windows Phone this is too late anyway with MoliPlayer being way ahead..
Never found that one before. Any other cool WP and W8 apps you'd recommend?

paulheu said,
For windows Phone this is too late anyway with MoliPlayer being way ahead..

I have to agree that MoliPlayer has been rather impressive. The developers optimized for WP without dragging a ton of unneeded *nix code or libraries along.

They also implemented acceleration features that are semi exposed in WP instead of waiting for the WP8.1 update that brings over more of the media foundations.

A few of our techs have had a rather good experience with the product, with all of them purchasing it, even for just the odd video format they might have stored on OneDrive.

With regard to OneDrive, it also properly registers extensions and integrates interface support operating seamlessly like an OS level App - very impressive.

Here is my personal pet peeve about VLC.

It is a cross platform project, that works from the *nix side first. This cheats the project in a lot of ways, and even increases their own development work. For example, to run on Windows, instead of retooling portions of the application to fit the OS model API set, it instead uses a fairly inefficient set of *nix libraries.

By depending on these libraries often the approach the software is taking to just stream I/O contents is can be far more inefficient on Windows.

By looking from at Windows with a *nix mindset, It also prevents the use of inherent abilities in Windows because they don't exist in OS X or Linux. There are a lot of media features in Windows that are left unused and underutilized because the project instead is trying to recreate many of them itself, as it had to do on Linux.

There are other development projects that have been very successful at working with WP and WinRT, and are still crossplatform, but they don't make the mistake of trying to make every fit into the *nix shaped hole and have developed for the OS, taking advantages of OS level features even if they don't exist on Linux or OS X or Android or iOS.

I read through some of the VLC code and just shake my head. I can see code that is making an Windows API call, and then performs five more calls that are necessary on Linux but wasted on Windows, yet they lines still run on Windows too.

This goes beyond programming. Even in the developer's understanding of Windows, you find funny little things like the use of "C:\Users\%username%\Application Data\vlc\vlcrc" which they 'ironically' changed specifically for Vista/7/8, yet is NOT the correct location path to use.


My pet peeve rant is off.

Mobius Enigma said,
This goes beyond programming. Even in the developer's understanding of Windows, you find funny little things like the use of "C:\Users\%username%\Application Data\vlc\vlcrc" which they 'ironically' changed specifically for Vista/7/8, yet is NOT the correct location path to use.

Not an isolated case... I have quite a bunch of dot files in the root of my user folder. It's like they're not even trying!

Looking at the Win8 codebase there isn't a single try \ catch.

On top of that you can catch unhandled exceptions at the app level with a 1 liner to stop the app just crashing which hasn't been done either.

Descartes said,

Not an isolated case... I have quite a bunch of dot files in the root of my user folder. It's like they're not even trying!

At least this is a small 'oops', as Windows will resolve this path out, as Microsoft throws in an "Application Data" Junction pointing to the proper "AppData" folder.

It is just crazy that they changed this line in the code to work 'better' with Vista/7/8, and they still didn't get it right. They could have just left it alone or even better yet, used a Windows variable like %LOCALAPPDATA% instead of hard coding it themselves and screwing it up.

This is what I was worried about and the very reason it took so long to port. They tried to forcefully shoehorn a very dirty code that is clearly not appropriate for WinRT.

I remember reading somewhere that even after they contacted MS support and having their technicians telling videolan to change their approach, they simply shrugged it off and tried to "prove microsoft wrong".

I always wondered why most video player related websites recommend against using VLC. I guess this is why.

off course we wouldn't need VLC if MSFT would let 3rd party codecs show up on the store and their other various sandboxed environments. In 2014 windows still doesn't know how to handle an MKV file. Now who's fault is that?

while it is cute to point out to VLCs coding feats as bad, let's point the finger at MSFT for:
1) making it impossible to add codecs or use existing codecs to windows RT, winPho, windows8 store apps.

2) refusing to support MKV, even on the xbox!

3) releasing winRT: a half backed API which is in desperate need of an update to allow folks like mozilla to make a browser, and VLC to support a proper app.

I don't blame the VLC guys. They are doing a labor of love. MSFT is charging for windows and betting consumers buy it. Why then can they not just let codecs plug into the store app video app.

neonspark said,
off course we wouldn't need VLC if MSFT would let 3rd party codecs show up on the store and their other various sandboxed environments. In 2014 windows still doesn't know how to handle an MKV file. Now who's fault is that?

while it is cute to point out to VLCs coding feats as bad, let's point the finger at MSFT for:
1) making it impossible to add codecs or use existing codecs to windows RT, winPho, windows8 store apps.

2) refusing to support MKV, even on the xbox!

3) releasing winRT: a half backed API which is in desperate need of an update to allow folks like mozilla to make a browser, and VLC to support a proper app.

I don't blame the VLC guys. They are doing a labor of love. MSFT is charging for windows and betting consumers buy it. Why then can they not just let codecs plug into the store app video app.

If you remember, Microsoft went codec crazy with Windows 7. They paid a lot of money and also tried to use as many non-license restrictive codecs as they could. Windows 7 shipped with the largest codec support of any OS in history.

So what happened? Well nobody noticed or used them. People were still installing XP/Vista era 'codec' packs.

People like yourself were also still POed that Microsoft could not LEGALLY provide support for some of the codecs and containers like MKV.

However, even though Windows 8 removed the vast codec support Windows 7 inherently had, a lot of the non-fee codecs and formats remain. It is also VERY easy to still add any codec to the OS, that then gets universal support in 'most' media players. (Yes Xbox Video Player is the horrible exception and I agree is insane that it doesn't pick put the codec support from the OS.)

The other exception of course is Windows RT (ARM), as Microsoft doesn't allow non-App or OS level codecs.

However, they DO allow codecs to be used in Apps rather easily, just as they do on WP8, which is even more restrictive.


As for VLC, it is one product and for most users was never the 'answer' to Microsoft or even a good solution. It became a 'favorite' as they did extend an olive branch for a WinRT version, and are getting there. This doesn't make their use of crazy *nix libraries a good idea or an efficient or easy way to program for Windows.

(As I have mentioned before, developers would be better off starting on Windows with NT's model and then create libraries that mimic all the extra features NT does in a library when running on Linux or OS X. You don't build on the least functional OS model and then drag along a ton of redundant and useless code to a more advanced OS model.)


I like what the VLC people are doing, I just wish they would give up the old code they have been dragging around for years and duct taping to keep it working on Windows.

I never liked the desktop version of VLC but I always wanted a fresh media player for windows. The modern ui version is spot on.

I do hope they fix the freezing what happens and poor response as well as the CPU & memory usage 40% CPU usage just having it open and coming close to 1Gb of Ram being used. I do hope optimisation is going to be a massive priority, currently compared to MPC-HC playing 720p video with madvr I get 7% cpu and around 300Mb usage.

VLC idle CPU 35% Mem usage 800Mb-1Gb
MPC-HC idle CPU 0% Mem usage 16.7Mb

reaper1576 said,
I do hope they fix the freezing what happens and poor response as well as the CPU & memory usage 40% CPU usage just having it open and coming close to 1Gb of Ram being used. I do hope optimisation is going to be a massive priority, currently compared to MPC-HC playing 720p video with madvr I get 7% cpu and around 300Mb usage.

VLC idle CPU 35% Mem usage 800Mb-1Gb
MPC-HC idle CPU 0% Mem usage 16.7Mb

VLC has never been about performance or even quality, it's just meant to play everything. While it does play everything, it plays most things in a suboptimal way.

MPC-HC, especially since they switched to LAV, is the reference video player and simply offers the best playback quality and performance you can get on any platform.

They have admitted that the Metro app is slower than its desktop counterpart, and that they're going to try to see what they can do about it.

I would expect performance to be on the agenda for the period ahead. The first release, was about cleaning up the sourcecode and being able to get the player in the store.

Consider it, achievement #1.

The next will be to ensure performance goals are hit and improve the player experience

Why would anybody need an app for a desktop computer that has a Start button?

VLC should not be wasting time on an app that is hardly used by anybody since Windows 8 market share is tiny, 38.000 VLC downloads is very very few users. Learn from Mozilla and give up Windows 8 apps, let Microsoft develop them, they created this mess.

Edited by fastcat, Mar 17 2014, 10:23am :

fastcat said,
Why would anybody need an app for a desktop computer that has a Start button?

I don't think VLC should wasting time on this instead of improving the product, they open themselves to criticism for bugs on an app that isn't needed and is hardly used by anybody since Windows 8 market share is tiny. Bad move.

What?

fastcat said,
Why would anybody need an app for a desktop computer that has a Start button?

VLC should not be wasting time on an app that is hardly used by anybody since Windows 8 market share is tiny, 38.000 VLC downloads is very very few users. Learn from Mozilla and give up Windows 8 apps, let Microsoft develop them, they created this mess.

Tiny?

Windows 8 Market Share is larger than all of OS X's share combined. And the OS X share is at one of its all time highs. I guess there never should have been any Mac software developed based on your 'expertise'.

fastcat said,
Why would anybody need an app for a desktop computer that has a Start button?

Why don't you put that question towards the people who contributed their hard-earned towards the Kickstarter campaign for Metro VLC? Funnily enough, over ten times the amount of people who contributed actual money towards the project have downloaded the app, so clearly there's some demand out there for it.

Not that you really give a rats anyway, because it's quite clear you're only trolling, but there are plenty of people out there with Windows tablets who would like to be able to use it with their touch screen devices.

Just a thought, though I know, they're just an apparition.

fastcat said,
Why would anybody need an app for a desktop computer that has a Start button?

VLC should not be wasting time on an app that is hardly used by anybody since Windows 8 market share is tiny, 38.000 VLC downloads is very very few users. Learn from Mozilla and give up Windows 8 apps, let Microsoft develop them, they created this mess.

If everyone think like this, we would get no where with technology.

Clearly a troll or has no idea what positive effect the development of this app have had on the sourcebase of VLC.

To get the app in the store, required a tremendous cleanup of the VLC sourcecode, because of all the old outdated API calls that was still happening in the sourcebase. The VLC team had to replace more than 600 API calls with their newer equivalent.

The VLC team also had to go through 8 million Lines of Code, in VLC and dependencies to move it all to Unicode and WideChars. A move that certainly had to come at some point, but would most like have been doomed "won't fix" for the next couple of years because no one enforced the requirement.

No matter how many users are going to move the "modern UI" players, the effort in making the client, have paid off in the sense of cleaning the codebase.

For more info check their kickstarter posts:
https://www.kickstarter.com/pr...perience-metro/posts/505512

But I thought only less than 1000 people were interested in testing buggy beta apps... well that's according to Mozilla and some media including Neowin /s

Anyway glad to see VLC is working on their app further

dingl_ said,
But I thought only less than 1000 people were interested in testing buggy beta apps... well that's according to Mozilla and some media including Neowin /s

Anyway glad to see VLC is working on their app further

Mozilla's stats were skewed. The Metro version of Firefox wasn't even out of beta. I know of no average computer user using a beta version of Firefox.

I think the key here is the news that they'll be updating often, one update now and another next week. If they keep updating quick then it shouldn't take long to work out all the kinks.

wow, the team plans on fixing bugs for its next release?, what a huge shock that news is,


Lucky to be kept informed

jupe said,
wow, the team plans on fixing bugs for its next release?, what a huge shock that news is,

Lucky to be kept informed

Is that comment really necessary?