Back in October of 2010, iOS developer Applidium brought VideoLAN’s legendary VLC media player to the App Store. Unfortunately, the universal app had a short shelf life, as it was pulled at the request of VideoLAN a few months later. The issue revolved around VLC’s General Public License (GPL) licensing agreement. Because VLC is open source software, it was technically illegal for Applidium to sell a port in Apple’s DRM-restricted App Store.
Fast forward more than a year later, and a change in VideoLAN’s licensing means that VLC can be legally brought back to the App Store in all of its glory.
The VideoLAN group has switched to the Lesser General Public License (LGPL), meaning developers are now free to distribute the software in a closed ecosystem like the iOS App Store. VideoLAN president Jeann-Baptiste Kempf told French publication PCINpact that the new license means we could see an app “similar to VLC” in the App Store now.
VLC has long been considered the swiss army knife of video players. The Mac app is great for playing all kinds of formats that are unsupported by standard players like QuickTime. There’s also the ability to live convert a video as you watch in the rare case that VLC doesn’t already support a random format. I downloaded VLC in the App Store before it was pulled, and I still use it every now and then to play files I would have to otherwise convert for Apple’s QuickTime-based Video app.
Here’s to hoping we see VLC back in the App Store soon!