After almost two years the HelixCommunity updated their pages and gives information about the current development state. The next release can be expected after June this year, but it will not feature AMD64 builds. Still, WMA and WMV seems to work…
Half a year ago I wondered if the HelixCommunity is still alive – the homepage was in large parts outdated and the development seemed to concentrate on other parts than on the players itself.I
I joined the lists and figured out that there was development in place, but without a release schedule at that moment.
Today I checked again the home page and was pleasantly surprised to see a reworked design and new information.
The first impressive information is also a sign that the HelixCommunity does has other priorities than someone might expect: the base technology is more important than the PC players because the base technology is used in more than 125 million devices – mobile phones. Pretty impressive, I think. But: the player for the Symbian OS already features the third generation of the Helix DNA client while even the second generation based HelixPlayer/RealPlayer for the PC is still in development.
But the player development was also straightened and now has a detailed roadmap. The roadmap shows that the work is currently at stage M11. Stage M13 will be reached in June, afterwards we will see the first Beta/RC1 releases which means that we might see a new RealPlayer/HelixPlayer combo this summer.
The roadmap also points out which features have been implemented/tested yet and which not. Among the tested and working features you find WMA and WMV support – I wonder how this works with the Free Software licence the HelixPlayer is released under…
But there are bad news as well: there will be no AMD64 version of the player. These users have to wait for the next generation of the player.
This is sad somehow because I had great hopes with HelixPlayer. I once hoped that it could become *the* multimedia backend for Linux. It would have been nice to have a multimedia backend supported by such a large community and with such a corporate backup. However, this chance has gone by: gstreamer conquered the gnome desktop (and has some corporate backup as well), and as it looks like xine won the hearts of the KDE people silently (amarok, kaffeine, phonon-xine).
And without functional AMD64 builds there will be no way to gain more market share again.