Tanguy Krotoff from the VLC project announced early April that he developed a working version of a VLC backend for Phonon. This is the first backend for Phonon which is reported to work on all three major platforms.
The announcement at the list kde-multimedia was done on 2. April. The current status is that there are still bugs, but the backend itself is already working. The project page has some screenshots.
Additionally, Tanguy also plans to develop a MPlayer backend soon.
Both developments show how flexible Phonon is – and how flexible KDE/Qt became by using Phonon. All together there are now five different backends available for Phonon: Xine, GStreamer, Quicktime, DirectShow and VLC. And I’m pretty certain that there will be more.
The advantages are actually twofold: if you are a application developer who wants to have general audio/video playback capabilities on more than one platform your natural choice is Qt. On the other hand, in case you want to develop a new audio+video engine it is absolutely no problem to bring it to the masses – just develop a Phonon backend. All interested users could switch their entire (!) general audio/video playback to your new engine without any problem. So the necessary evolution and competition of the engines can continue without that any KDE user would have to care.
Anyway, the new VLC backend has another advantage for many Linux users: VLC is often described as the most compatible video playback engine available. Actually most Windows users use it to view there videos. By using VLC as the backend Linux users make sure they can watch almost all video types available without the need to use a player which they are not used to.
I wonder how well the other technologies – Solid, Decibel, Akonadi – will do in the long term. Phonon already showed what it is worth, and I’m really looking forward to see how well for example Amarok will work together with Solid.