Fluendo Eyes Windows and OS X for Open Source Multimedia
If you run Windows or Mac OS X, you probably don’t think much about multimedia codecs. More likely than not, the vendor of your device figured all that stuff out for you before you bought it, probably using a licensed proprietary solution. But if Fluendo has its way, open source codecs may soon be breaking into the closed source market as well. That, at least, is what a recent newsletter hints.
Fluendo, based in Barcelona, traditionally has focused on legal multimedia solutions for open source platforms using the GStreamer framework, which is Free Software licensed under the GPL. Fluendo’s major customers have been vendors of platforms based on Linux or other open source operating systems who need legal solutions for items such as DVD support and video and audio playback and encoding.
Into the Proprietary World
In a newsletter recently distributed to press contacts, however, Fluendo hints at aspirations for expanding more firmly into the world of proprietary operating systems. As the release states:
“… in our humble opinion, GStreamer is the BEST multimedia framework on Linux, and we want to extend its use to span Windows and Mac OS X.”
Readers familiar with GStreamer will note that the framework already supports Windows and OS X. But its primary user base is currently restricted to the open source world, where it is one of the only major legal solutions for multimedia playback. Fluendo hopes to change that by enhancing GStreamer to make it a more attractive option for vendors and end users of closed source platforms as well.
Meanwhile, the company has also emphasized its commitment to expanding its operations to a broader set of hardware devices, including the increasingly popular ARM platforms and embedded devices such as smart TVs. That initiative likely will intersect with Fluendo’s interest in becoming more involved with proprietary software solutions, which will power some of these emerging hardware platforms.
Unfortunately, Fluendo is keeping its cards close regarding its specific plans for enhancing GStreamer and expanding hardware support. It promises more updates soon.
What’s worth observing for the moment, however, is the confluence of Fluendo’s efforts with the more general trend of open source companies dipping their toes into the proprietary world. As organizations such as Canonical coordinate more closely with the likes of Microsoft, and Adobe caters to open source users, the wall separating the open and closed source ecosystems is on its way to becoming more of a widely meshed net. And that could have major implications in both channels.