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AOL Open Sourcing Audio & Video Technology

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the giving-back-to-america dept.

America Online 224

daria24 writes "BetaNews says that AOL is open sourcing Winamp AVS and Milkdrop, two popular Winamp plug-ins, and its Ultravox streaming media platform (the successor to Shoutcast). 'Despite helping to launch the Mozilla Foundation and releasing the code to its AOL Server software, America Online has never been synonymous with open source. But a number of new initiatives could change AOL's proprietary image, as the company strives to reach a broader audience on the open Web.' The next-generation AIM release will also be an open platform, which AOL says 'could rival even Mozilla due to its scale and the massive AIM user base.'"

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You BASTARDS! (2, Funny)

nagora (177841) | more than 8 years ago | (#12715218)

What have you done with the real AOL?


Re:You BASTARDS! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12715394)

Yes but like Java, Javascript surely uses a garbage collection concept meaning it is the browsers responsibility to free memory, and any leaks are thus due to the browser.

Re:You BASTARDS! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12715441)

Don't be an @$$. Remember how annoying it was when people said that sites only displayed right in IE 5.5 or "better"? Yeah, you do. Did that get you to use IE? No, it didn't, unless it was your bank or something. So guess what? 90% of people won't go to your non-IE site. Period.

Re:You BASTARDS! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12715475)

but during the browser wars wasn't it IE producing functionality that hadn't even been drafted by the W3C yet?

Yes, and that was the whole damn problem.

The point of HTML was universal interoperability (so Tim Berners-Lee's collegues could all read each other's stuff no matter what computer setup they had). But Microsoft sacrificed this in order to obtain control and market share. They encouraged web developers to use their proprietary markup, which forced people into using their browser if they wanted to access this content.

This was not a benevolent gesture from Microsoft- it was nothing but a power-grab. Open, agreed-upon standards are the foundation of interoperability, and Microsoft always stands against this when it thinks it can monopolize a technology./p

Leaks from other topics? (1)

HawkinsD (267367) | more than 8 years ago | (#12715535)

I know this is off-topic, but... Does anybody else see significant numbers of posts that appear to belong to other topics sprinkled throughout Slashdot today?

The other replies to "You BASTARDS" seem to belong to the article regarding IE memory leaks.

Maybe it's just my browser.

Re:Leaks from other topics? (1)

Talking Goat (645295) | more than 8 years ago | (#12715581)

Yes... This story's comments are a trainwreck. Half are regarding AOL, the other half are regarding IE vs. Firefox memory leaks. Something's b0rk3d.

Re:Leaks from other topics? (1)

falsified (638041) | more than 8 years ago | (#12715587)

Nope. It's definitely happening to me, too. A couple other things are acting up on the site as well.

It must be evil.google.com acting up again.

Re:Leaks from other topics? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12715588)

I haven't been reading /. too heavily these last few days, but before that I had started noticing that -- totally unrelated replies, that seemed to belong to other topics. I believe they are always from ACs, so that leads me to believe it's someone's script trying to create havoc in /. (if it weren't for the AC factor, I could see it as being a server error and the replies were being sent to the wrong article).


Re:Leaks from other topics? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12715709)

It's definitely a script, and likely you have to look no further than the_mad_poster for the culprit behind it.

Personally, he / she / it / whatever should be banninated.

Re:You BASTARDS! (1)

RicktheBrick (588466) | more than 8 years ago | (#12715627)

I think AOL is going through a slow death. I was a member for over 5 years until I moved to an area that had no local access. I have since moved on to broadband(verizon dsl) and would never even consider going back to AOL even if they did have a local number. I live in an area where 7 miles from where I live they have SBC and they offer broadband for $14.95 a month which AOL charges for access with another carrier. I see no use for AOL unless they get their own means of access(wi-max or stratolite) and offer more services(smart home, security, and medical alerts).

Re:You BASTARDS! (1)

Nefarious420 (883303) | more than 8 years ago | (#12715714)

It is about time AOL became just another portal pushing their name recognition to get advertising sales. Its fucking ridiculous to think they could maintain all these overpriced dial up users for any long stretch of time with Broadband becoming so cheap and mainstream. Then again it is probably too late, they should have done this 2 years ago or more. http://reiclubli.info/InvestorsJournal/ [reiclubli.info]

1st post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12715220)


Pixie-dust projects (3, Informative)

Scorillo47 (752445) | more than 8 years ago | (#12715232)

Yet another example of pixie-dust projects [msdn.com]...

Re:Pixie-dust projects (1)

Synbiosis (726818) | more than 8 years ago | (#12715341)

I'm no open source fanatic (I actually think most of it is crap), but I think the fact that the blog is on MSDN is funny as hell. =P

Re:Pixie-dust projects (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12715417)

Is such an approach also useable for finding firefox leaks? As a user (not developer, alas) I'm noticing that it invariably gets sluggish after some period of time, even with few pages open.

Re:Pixie-dust projects (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12715448)

Haven't noticed the memory issue, but i can confirm the cpu usage being 99%. In my case it was caused by an embedded Flash movie on the site. As soon as i closed that (or even rightclicked within the flash movie and choose 'stop' or whatever) things went back to normal.

Huh? (3, Funny)

TheSpoom (715771) | more than 8 years ago | (#12715240)

Wait, does this mean that we're supposed to... like... AOL?

But... it just feels wrong somehow... :^(

Re:Huh? (1)

dknj (441802) | more than 8 years ago | (#12715320)

I think we're just supposed to hate the ISP aspect of AOL, even though that is getting better too. Their software has never been half bad. I have been a big fan of AIM (up until 5.2 or so when they included the WildTangent crap), and even the original design of the AOL client was quite interesting. AOL Server proved itself, but it wasn't free. Now that AVS is open, we can see some more interesting projects spawned off of it (xmms/noatun plugins anyone?). I think they're trying to show the world that we shouldn't hate AOL, just the users.


Re:Huh? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12715390)

As I understand it, Firefox makes aggressive use of unused resources. If you're not having any slowdowns, then take a deep breath and realize that it's just doing what it's supposed to do.

If you do have accompanying slowdowns, then you have a specific, rare problem. See the other replies you've gotten so far for suggestions.

Re:Huh? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12715402)

>>It's laughable to mock IE for memory leaks when Firefox is X (where X > 1) times worse at sucking up and retaining memory.

Thanks, I'm glad someone pointed this out. My system has been up for many days now and IE and Firefox are both consuming about the same amount (90-something MB).

Re:Huh? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12715449)

It's all about features.

See, first you ball all of the security patches together, and have them all download, even if the user already has them. That way, because it takes longer and is bigger, they think it's a more substantial application.

Second, you add some new features. Like stealing compression code from Stacker, MS will just steal one of the "Tabbed browsing in IE" Plugins and muck the variable names up a bit.

Finally, you tweak the theme. You gotta make it LOOK like a new browser. This is more important than anything else. If it LOOKS the same, people will assume it IS the same. This is why the OS has gotten so much eye candy with each release, it's to make sure the users KNOW they're on a new OS by it LOOKING cooler.

But fixing actual bugs? There's no real Return on Investment on that, so it won't be done.

Re:Huh? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12715669)

Thats great if you want to turn the library into a bookstore. Dropping $15 (or whatever) for a book is no big deal for some people and they will feel no obligation to return the book.

Re:Huh? (2, Funny)

doombob (717921) | more than 8 years ago | (#12715351)

Yeah, that's ok... it's just their customers we're not supposed to like.

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12715401)

me too!!!!! 1!!111!!!

Re:Huh? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12715429)

because it's your job?

I don't know why you geeks have such a downer on Microsoft for writing buggy software. If it didn't, do you have any idea about how many of you would be out of a job? The capitalisation that flows from Microsofts inability to write good operating systems is immeasurable. If it worked first time - would there be any engineers?

It's sort of analogous to cruise liners. Used to be, because ships weren't terribly well made, a clipper had a huge crew of dirty, scurvey suffering swabbers. Nowadays, you have one captain and a big computer. Currently, IT graduates, computer consultants and systems administraters are that huge crew of disease ridden reprobates, serving on the creaking, rotten, old fashioned Microsoft vessel. And all you want is to be out of a job?

Where's the logic in that??

Re:Huh? (1)

superpulpsicle (533373) | more than 8 years ago | (#12715374)

I am convinced more people on slashdot know what to do with AOL than the AOL-management team. Therefore, no... you shouldn't like the company.

Re:Huh? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12715391)

We have a kiosk running an html application in IE6. It uses lots of javascript and the front page reloads every couple minutes when idle. It's been running for 6 months on 64mb of ram with no issues. The same browser window has been open all that time.

I remember one time writing a page which by accident, hit a memory leak in Mozilla (before there was a FireFox) which consumed about 1mb of ram a second. All the page did was draw a bouncing line, by creating a div for every line pixel of every frame and displaying them by setting the innerHTML property of another div. IE had no trouble with the page, except that it required some ugly hacks to make the page display correctly, unlike Mozilla, which displayed it perfectly as I had specified in the CSS, albiet leaky.

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12715423)

If you work around a problem, it hides from the user that the problem exists. The demand to have it fixed, therefore, dissipates and developers accept the onus to repeat work-arounds everytime they deploy something. Ultimately, the browser fails to improve, and the costs of errors are passed from the vendor (Microsoft) who never fixes the problem to the public (developers that waste time with work-arounds).

Anyway, if you write things specifically for IE -- then you've already got a more serious problem that you have to address first. There's no excuse for what you already know to be dismal practice.

Re:Huh? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12715517)

The true source of IE memory leaks?

Korean outsourcing

Re:Huh? (1)

Cruithne (658153) | more than 8 years ago | (#12715578)

It makes sense when you think about it. Open source as a business model is basically about embracing service-based revenue streams rather than product-based ones. AOL has always been a service-based company - the two fit perfectly. This is why MS is so anti-OSS, all they do is sell you a product :)

Why is it (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12715246)

that most of the stories posted here nowadays just seem like so much flamebait?

fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12715261)


Props to them (2, Interesting)

m50d (797211) | more than 8 years ago | (#12715269)

Anyone know how portable the code is? Any chance we could see milkdrop for xmms (yes I know there are clones around, none of them are as good as the original).

Re:Props to them (1)

Crimson Dragon (809806) | more than 8 years ago | (#12715340)

It would truly depend what they used to write it. It seems difficult to say at this stage of the game.... I would guess some kind of C, but the question of what they use to render the visualization is suspect. Do they use Direct X? OpenGL?

Unless they truly use some concoted scheme for the other logic, only the way in which the vis is rendered is an issue.... I never used the winamp plugins, but writing software all day, if my boss plunked that on my desk that would be my first thought..

Re:Props to them (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12715395)

There were many, many leaks in Firefox, and many have been fixed for 1.1 (do a search on their Bugzilla for "memory leak"). Hopefully, the situation is now much-improved, but I suspect it will be the case that long periods of heavy-browsing will require you to to restart Firefox for quite a while yet. For this reason, I always recommend the Session Saver extension - makes closing and restarting Firefox less painful.

Memory fragmentation is a big issue for modern desktop systems as the heap used by programs written in C/C++ can't be compacted, and most memory allocation systems weren't necessarily designed to support programs that would be continually allocating and deallocating memory for days on end. Robert Love gave a (fairly detailed and technical) talk on it at while back, with some suggestions for combating it on the Linux desktop, which I recommend to anyone who is interested. It's about 126MB, Ogg format.

http://stream.fluendo.com/archive/6uadec/Robert_Lo ve_-_Optimizing_GNOME.ogg [fluendo.com]

Re:Props to them (1)

ktulu1115 (567549) | more than 8 years ago | (#12715440)

Milkdrop uses DirectX AFAIK, projectM uses OpenGL (written in C).

Re:Props to them (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12715488)

I'm sure our underfunded libraries and overworked librarians will find this system easy to implement.
These fingerprint scans for PC use are a stupid idea implemented by some town in Ill. I've never heard of. I'm sure that program won't fly...

I would LOVE this thing if it were implemented. I could go to public libraries when travelling! I could borrow a book I really need for my schoolwork when I forgot my regular library card, etc.

This is a great idea, not only for privacy, but for convenience. You get to use the ressource without the hassle, and it doesn't cost you a fortune, you loan them money, they loan you a book, you exchange it back when you are done. Everyone's happy!

Let's stop creating solutions for problems that don't exist. We have enough real problems in the US that need solutions...

Why don't you [wikipedia.org] go work on solving them instead of posting on slashdot then?
Don't know where to start? Go volunteer to help out your local "overworked librarian", I'm sure they'll appreciate it.

Re:Props to them (2, Interesting)

m50d (797211) | more than 8 years ago | (#12715597)

It's been around for a while, so it's probably not depending on new directx, so even if it is directx perhaps it could be compiled against winelib? I'm more concerned about the code assuming everything is windows (\ for directory separator, etc)

Re:Props to them (1)

ktulu1115 (567549) | more than 8 years ago | (#12715384)

projectM is a Milkdrop clone which has ports for WinAmp, iTunes, and XMMS. It does a pretty good job replicating Milkdrop's functionality, been using it for awhile now on X... although there are many features it is lacking. It's great to hear Milkdrop is finally being open-sourced, let's hope projectM can work better as a result.

Re:Props to them (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12715406)

Thanks for your comment! This has been driving me nuts. I installed firefox on various hardware, and on low and machines, it really really sucked. So I've been arguing for some time that the gecko engine (I notice the cpu-usage spikes as well) is really slow, compared to ie, opera or khtml. And always someone replied that he or she tried it, and it wasn't slow, like here [slashdot.org]

Re:Props to them (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12715415)

during the browser wars wasn't it IE producing functionality that hadn't even been drafted by the W3C yet?

You say that like it's a good thing(!)

"Internet Explorer's architecture made this app fairly easy to build." as testament to the browser?

No; for some pretty obvious reasons: one obvious one being, you exclude anyone not using that particular browser. I thought everyone realised that was a Bad Thing - or maybe you haven't been one of those people who can't use their online bank because the bank decided to arbitrarily depend on IE. One can only hope that accessibility laws will put an end to such stupidities.

It's not surprising that both browser products have memory leaks. However one could reflect deeply on the differences in responsibility and approaches to remediation. In Firefox's case - being open source - you have complete transparency; you can file a bug on it, check the bug db, or even fix it yourself (don't laugh). In M$'s case, all you can do is kiss your money goodbye and hope they fix it "one day".

The same goes for all the rest of their system, too. It is not always obvious what a disturbing abdication of rights using a closed system is. A friend recently told me of a Visual $tudio crash triggered by a few \b backspace characters in a print statement. Not such a big deal, I thought at the time; but I found myself reflecting on his story later. Eventually the true horror of the situation sank in, which is that we have to completely trust the ability and goodwill of the vendor to deal with any and all issues in their O/S. That is no small responsibility and there is not much evidence that M$ is capable of fulfilling their end of the bargain. I would postulate, after RMS of course, that no closed and proprietary system on the scale of M$ products can be adequately maintained by one vendor. And of course maintenance becomes irrelevant when major "rewrites" are involved, such as have been prescribed by Longhr0n to fix W1ndows' fundamental ills (ref Spolsky on rewrites, Things You Should Never Do [joelonsoftware.com] what a dead-end that is, and for putting in place viable alternatives./p

Non-open source? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12715277)

They created Mozilla as open source.

This is probably the number 1 open source program on Windows.

Re:Non-open source? (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 8 years ago | (#12715447)

More accurately Netscape did when it was still a largely autonomous company.

Does it really matter? (4, Insightful)

Elecore (784561) | more than 8 years ago | (#12715278)

'The next-generation AIM release will also be an open platform, which AOL says 'could rival even Mozilla due to its scale and the massive AIM user base.' It could rival in pure numbers, but I'd bet that MOST AOL users don't really understand or care what open source is. Most people who do stay clear of AOL to begin with.

Re:Does it really matter? (2, Interesting)

Synbiosis (726818) | more than 8 years ago | (#12715386)

"It could rival in pure numbers, but I'd bet that MOST AOL users don't really understand or care what open source is. Most people who do stay clear of AOL to begin with."

AIM has an obscenely diverse user base. It's available on all platforms, and virtually everyone (except for Jabber guys who refuse to friend anyone not on Jabber) uses it.

Granted, there will be some people who don't care about open source, but there's definitely quite a few people who would be willing to switch to something less RAM hungry and ad-free for their IMing needs.

As for currently existing open source projects, there's Gaim & Miranda. Gaim is deent, but it's a ram hog and uses GTK, which is the bane of anyone running 1024x768 or less. Miranda IM is the exact opposite, but it's missing key features like *working file transfers*.

Re:Does it really matter? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12715455)

I'm fairly certain there's a leak somewhere in teh FF javascript handler - I've noticed memory usage rocketing on some pages which use JS.

Re:Does it really matter? (3, Insightful)

dcclark (846336) | more than 8 years ago | (#12715459)

Not to mention that the "open platform" actually consists of letting some outside developers license certain aspects of AIM and its protocols. In particular, there will be some sort of plug-in architecture -- so no chance of getting better access to the protocols for 3rd party use. They aren't actually doing much "opening up," so much as making more business opportunities for themselves.

Re:Does it really matter? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12715473)

While I don't think MSIE is inherently evil, I think I could argue that a browser that allows web pages (a resource that should not be trusted) to cause memory leaks is itself flawed. Part of the browser's job is to not expose the user to risk or instability while interpreting documents of unknown maliciousness and quality.

Re:Does it really matter? (1)

lav-chan (815252) | more than 8 years ago | (#12715577)

I wonder if 'open platform' means AOL will let me use Miranda to connect to their service without suspending my account every week.

Quality Reporting (2, Funny)

conner_bw (120497) | more than 8 years ago | (#12715280)

Faced with extending its core business strategy beyond its walled garden and rapidly falling subscriber numbers, AOL is looking outward -- rather than inward -- to bolster its arsenal of content and services.

LOOK OUTWARDS! Why didn't we think of this before?!

Re:Quality Reporting (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12715410)

Everytime I try to download ten things firefox goes up to 300 megs of memory usage and 99% cpu usage. And I took the screenshots to prove it.

Frankly, I think you can find problems and features you hate in most programs of a certain size, what matters is that you find the tool for the job that you consider the best match for your needs.

Good (1)

mindaktiviti (630001) | more than 8 years ago | (#12715296)

More competition is a good thing (and by competition I mean releasing source, and striving to compete with the likes of mozilla, as opposed to being just a rotting corporation that no geek would bother with).

Re:Good (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12715431)

But your inflammatory tone would be really cool if our open source alternative in Firefox were somehow better. Right now, Firefox is using 373M on my computer (334M resident) with three windows open, none of which have anything bigger than this /. page. Mozilla is using 279M (I'm also running it) with a single page open. Firefox usually gets up to around 600-700M over the course of 3 or 4 days, after which it generally just dies. Otherwise, I have to kill it due to its slowness.

Why not leave IE to Microsoft; put your effort toward something you can actually fix rather than being an ankle-biting ass.

AOL does contribute to open source software (5, Interesting)

fitsy (22336) | more than 8 years ago | (#12715306)

AOL does contribute to useful open source software. AOL developers contribute to SQLite [sqlite.org] and have helped produce numerous useful additions to SQLite.

Quote: The primary purpose for version 3.2.0 is to add support for ALTER TABLE ADD COLUMN. The new ADD COLUMN capability is made possible by AOL developers supporting and embracing great open-source software. Thanks, AOL!

Re:AOL does contribute to open source software (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12715413)

Without being too familar with Javascript I am reasonably sure Javascript uses Memory too like any other programming language on the planet.

Re:AOL does contribute to open source software (1)

Perl-Pusher (555592) | more than 8 years ago | (#12715596)

That has to do with AOL & SQL Lite how?

Ignore those (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 8 years ago | (#12715692)

it appears to be either someone, or some bot that is reposting old postings. they are either being themselves (an asshole), or it is designed to decrease the signal to noise ratio so as to drive ppl off this site. For some odd reason, I suspect the later.

Jabber (0)

labratuk (204918) | more than 8 years ago | (#12715353)

The next-generation AIM release will also be an open platform, which AOL says 'could rival even Mozilla due to its scale and the massive AIM user base.'

Just use XMPP you retards.

Re:Jabber (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12715464)

It seems to me people are now attacking IE now from 3 major angles:

  • Memory and resource usage
  • Rendering and adhering to web standards
  • Security

IMHO, It's laughable to mock IE for memory leaks when Firefox is X (where X > 1) times worse at sucking up and retaining memory.

People have relentlessly said the reason IE is faster to load than IE on Win32 is because it is "embedded into the OS" and somehow brushed off this advantage in favour of it's debateable disadvantage in terms of security. What's next? Will slashdotters crying out something along the lines of "WOW! IE, an embedded part of the Windows, has memory leaks! What does that say for the Operating System? You better use Linux!"?

IE may be guilty of having a buggy implementation of web standards such as CSS2.1 but during the browser wars wasn't it IE producing functionality that hadn't even been drafted by the W3C yet?

Isn't that "Internet Explorer's architecture made this app fairly easy to build." as testament to the browser?

This tool is interesing and useful for developers and I thank jgwebber for writing it as I'm sure it'll be useful even to lowly personal developers like me.
On the other hand i'm a bit baffled as to why this article wasn't simply written as "Hey IE has memory leaks, checkout this new tool [blogspot.com] by jgwebber and see for youself. Let's discuss how sucky Internet Explorer is and cover up all the flaws in competitor browsers".

It would have had the same effect as CowboyNeal's unnecessary "(ha!)"'s and claims of IE's "horrendous memory leak issues" without a link giving some evidence for these claims for those of us without first-hand DHTML development experience.

I truly wasn't aware of any serious IE memory leaks..i'm going to, go off and Google for information now using the cumbersome Firefox. Any links would be much appreciated since CowboyNeal didn't bother.

Re:Jabber (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12715513)

Why? So dialup users can have uber slow connection while chatting? So chatting takes up more bandwidth, RAM, and CPU? So blah blah blah, XML sucks, yadda yadda.


Re:Jabber (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12715650)

I use Jabber, and I use it to talk to, on average, 5 people at a time with a 32 person contact list.

I also have dialup.

So I don't understand how you're coming up with such a lame troll that XMPP somehow makes dialup connections slow.

Three letters (1)

mikefe (98074) | more than 8 years ago | (#12715633)


Jabber is "Not Invented Here". So that makes it worthless and crappy.

Just because they are open sourcing some of their tech does not mean that they are willing to give up on something they have invested *years* developing.

CONFTROLL (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12715360)


Reminds me of History (1)

Dink Paisy (823325) | more than 8 years ago | (#12715362)

Does this mean that AOL is about to go the way of Netscape? I wonder if someone will pick up the software pieces and make something decent of them. Winamp is ok, but AIM is a much larger piece of the AOL hegemony. AIM has quality issues that make Microsoft look sweet and refreshing.

Personally, I'm very surprised that virus and worm makers haven't homed in on IM clients yet. I imagine AOL will be very hard hit when they do. Although, an open source AIM client that really was bigger than Mozilla might be able to turn that around.

Re:Reminds me of History (1)

halltk1983 (855209) | more than 8 years ago | (#12715409)

maybe it would look similar to GAIM...

Re:Reminds me of History (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12715495)

Also, libraries do not like to be treated as book stores. A lot of them have problems with people checking out books and then deciding that they like them and keeping them and deciding to pay the library for the book. A lot of libraries have been charging processing fees to replace missing books in order to deter this practice.
Remember, a majority of the people who work there are volunteers, they don't need to constantly be worrying about how to re-stock a book someone borrow-purchased. THe scheme in TFA would make a perfect book rental store(with a few dollar rental fee) but it sounds like the scheme somebody who is only thinking of themselves and not hte library.

Re:Reminds me of History (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 8 years ago | (#12715514)

The new AIM client is based on a framework called Boxley. Now that I would like to see open sourced. As it was described way back, it is somewhat like XUL + Javascript without some of the horrific bits like RDF.

Re:Reminds me of History (1)

javaxman (705658) | more than 8 years ago | (#12715583)

Does this mean that AOL is about to go the way of Netscape?

What, you mean, be bought by AOL, found to be expensive to maintain and impossible to make money from, then released as open source to die a slow death or be resurrected through the hard work of people unrelated to the original product creating entirely new code?

It's possible, except with the bonus that they don't have to buy anything...

And no, unless by "AOL" you mean the AIM client and a Winamp plugin or two. That's all this is about. There's plenty to AOL that's going to forever remain proprietary and will have to live or die on it's own. One does have to wonder how much AOL is finally figuring this out, and how much new content is being lost in Rainman-only development v.s. newer HTML initiatives, though.

The sad, important thing to keep note of is that it's just the IM _client_ that's being opened. Big deal. We have better clients already.

Finally... (4, Funny)

PenguinBoyDave (806137) | more than 8 years ago | (#12715375)

I can rush out now and subscribe to AOL. I was just waiting for them to support open source. I'll be the first guy in my lug to have an AOL address. I rock.

Re:Finally... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12715465)

Because A) Not everyone who uses a library frequently has the $$$ to plop down on a book, even temporarily. One of the benefits of libraries is that the books are for everyone and not just us rich snobs who go to barnes and nobles every day. B) Sane people will not appreciate the library holding their dough unless they credit a decent amount of interest. Sure, it's only for a few weeks, but that money can add up fast (see: Office Space, Superman, etc).

Re:Finally... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12715491)

I'm sure our underfunded libraries and overworked librarians will find this system easy to implement.

These fingerprint scans for PC use are a stupid idea implemented by some town in Ill. I've never heard of. I'm sure that program won't fly...

Let's stop creating solutions for problems that don't exist. We have enough real problems in the US that need solutions.../p

Re:Finally... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12715647)

First of all, the 'value' of the material you check-out should be increased from the purchase price. I regularly use inter library loan to get materials that are next to impossible to find otherwise. If this system was anonymous and the price of CD say was $15, then all of the obscure music would quickly vanish from circulation. You would need to increase the value to say $60 to discourage stealing.

The way that libraries counteract stealing now is that they have a dollar limit above which they do not lend further materials out to you and you can only have one library card per name address pair. So even if the value is comparable to real world cost, the fact that you can only steal a limited amount before you can return to steal more, and the fact that if you steal enough at one time they will put you in collection work well enough to prevent casual theft.

Already at that increased value rate for the card, this would turn-away most people. But say that they did not mark-up the value, just wait until you have three kids like I do. Right now I have some twenty odd books/videos/CDs checked-out from the library near my home. I also have two movies, two books, and 11 CDs that I am returning today to the library near my work. I do not even know how much my wife has checked-out, but she is a pretty voracious reader too. Think about how much money we would need to set aside for that.

So why is this being proposed? It looks like it is a solution to the wrong end of the problem. The real problem are the laws that force libraries to turn-over information. So guess what the solution is? Yes that's right, change those laws.

Ah AOL... (4, Insightful)

DrXym (126579) | more than 8 years ago | (#12715389)

AOL is run by a bunch of geniuses. I've never seen a company that can invest millions in technologies such as browsers, music & video players, only to shitcan their (superior) solutions in favour of (inferior) ones developed by their main competitors.

I just look at WinAmp and shake my head. There's a programme that could have been iTMS before such a thing even existed. It could still be iTMS rival now, two years too late. And the integrated NSV means it could deliver TV and VOD too with a little work. So why the hell isn't it?

Because AOL is run by a bunch of geniuses.

Re:Ah AOL... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12715500)

i have an interesting story regarding my friend's incident at the airport security. at the security checkpoint, my friend was about to walk through the metal detector. he had on white sneakers, which usually aren't required to be taken off.

the metal detector guard asked if my friend wanted to take off his shoes. he didn't request it, just asked if he wanted to. my friend, being lazy, of course said he'd rather just walk through. the moment he expressed this, he was asked for follow the guard and they went into one of those corners and he closed the drapes around him and did a full body search (no cavity search though).

either way, by saying you want an anonymous card is similar to this situation, where you have the option to, but you'll be more suspicious for them to check you out, probably finding stuff about you that they wouldn't have else known.

yay (1)

Apreche (239272) | more than 8 years ago | (#12715405)

Maybe now AIM file transfers will work reliably in gaim.

Re:yay (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12715509)

Yeah, having to throw down $20 or so for every book I take out would just cut into the budget too much. However, I wouldn't mind seeing this as just an option to other ways to take books from a library.

Doing a little dance!! (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 8 years ago | (#12715416)

Oh HELL YA! Milkdrop has got to be THE best plug-in developed. Geiss is genius. How he is able to program the AI to do the things Milkdrop does just blows me away. And now, it's open source! Sweet mother of holy bliss!

http://www.geisswerks.com/ [geisswerks.com]

Re:Doing a little dance!! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12715499)

Why is this modded up?

What do you expect libraries to do? Give out a load of books to anonymous people with no collateral. That is basically saying anyone can come in and steal whatever books they want.

Anyone that cannot afford the $20 can still go in the library and read the book.

And what bank are you with that the interest on $20 for a few weeks is actually an appreciable amount?

Re:Doing a little dance!! (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 8 years ago | (#12715572)

WTF are you talking about? Ryan Geiss no longer has total control of the program when he started working with AOL (Winamp devision). So now that it's AOLs property, they can do what the hell they want with it. Personally however, I will donate some money to Ryan to pay my respects.

Hmm... (1)

hubang (692671) | more than 8 years ago | (#12715425)

I guess they're too busy with their RIAA and MPAA initiatives to worry about attacking open source.

where's the aol client for linux then? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12715466)

So ok, AOL is all 'bout open source now. Then why is it there is no official aol client for linux?

My mother uses aol, and I have to spend ages fixing security issues in windows and generally keeping it going. I'd far rather she used Linux for the web, she'd be safe from 99% of all web exploits, and it would make admin easier for me. Plus I wouldn't have to keep cleaning up all the garbage windows collects on her system.

It took long enough to get her on the web, weaning her from aol is not something I can do. The simplest solution by far is for aol to have native linux support (note, I mean official support, not the linux aol dialer projects)

Keeping Milkdrop from going stagnant (1)

VanillaDeath (825103) | more than 8 years ago | (#12715467)

I was disappointed that development of Milkdrop had died two years ago. At least now it will be able to be under development again, which is a good thing considering it's my favourite vis and the favourite vis of all of my friends nerdy enough to know what a vis is (and aware that Winamp actually has preferences to change it).
I remember when I first started using it my computer was a Pentium 233 with 64MB of RAM, but since I had a 3D graphics card it ran at a reasonable framerate and I have been hooked since. It especially complements Pink Floyd's DSotM, but now I'm getting too offtopic :P

Milkdrop? (3, Funny)

coyotecult (647958) | more than 8 years ago | (#12715468)

Oh my god, I LOVED that. It was approximately my favoritest audio visualization ever.

Reasons Why Milkdrop Kicks Ass:
  • Milkdrop is the reason I've never needed to take any hallucinogenic drugs.
  • Milkdrop's my daddy.
  • Milkdrop also fathered my superhuman genius baby.
  • Milkdrop isn't God like Dan Bukvitch, but is probably pretty high up there. Like the Holy Ghost or Jesus or something.
  • Milkdrop is that irresistable creature with an insatiable love for the dead.
  • If Milkdrop conferenced the Middle East, peace would be achieved.
  • Milkdrop is actually a gift from a mind-sucking alien race intent on sucking the awe right out of our skulls.
  • Few people know this, but Milkdrop is actually nature's suction cup. Watch this. See? It sticks

It's time to learn how to port that sucker to the *Nixes (Linux, BSD, OS X)! I haven't been in Windows enough to enjoy it for a very long time.

recompilation/proting of Winamp code (2, Interesting)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 8 years ago | (#12715493)

My wish is for an experienced hacker to port Winamp to Linux the moment the code is open sourced. Will this happen? I do not see any Linux native application that can stand in place of Winamp.

I know we have the likes of AmaroK, XMMS...but none of these does any video!

Open source abandonware? (4, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | more than 8 years ago | (#12715496)

This sounds more like open sourcing of abandonware at its end of life. After all, that's what they did with Netscape.

Does this mean Freeamp can start using its own name again? AOL made them change their name to Zinf [zinf.org] or something like that, and they were never heard from again. Especially since one of those directory spammers took over their "freeamp" domains, and AOL did nothing about that.

Re:Open source abandonware? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12715620)

...I can't afford a library card.

But seriously, are you suggesting we should have universal anonymity with universal trust? You must be mad. Did you follow the 'white bicycle' and 'green bicycle' experiments?

Anyway, the 'rich' (in this case those with 20 bucks to spare) only get to be anonymous by forfeiting access to some of their money.

You might as well complain that parking schemes are only for the benefit of those who can afford a car.


if AOL really wants to live, they need to head ... (2, Interesting)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 8 years ago | (#12715507)

to OSS. But even more than offering OSS, they would be wise to do a Linux connection, even possibly a Linux disc. One idea would be to work with major distros geared towards the desktop such as Novell, Mandrake, and Linspire.

AOL / Milkdrop (1)

slamden (104718) | more than 8 years ago | (#12715543)

What does AOL have to do with the open sourcing of Milkdrop? Milkdrop was written by Ryan Geiss, the supergenius who wrote the old skool 'Geiss' screen saver. It totally rocks, and according to geisswerks.com, he opened the code up almost a month ago now.

But I can't see how that anything to do with AOL, other than the fact that it was only a Winamp plugin before...

Re:AOL / Milkdrop (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12715616)

How would walking around with an anonymous library card with cash collateral tied to it be any different from walking around with (anonymous) cash?

Some people prefer not to, and get a card with features that reduces their potential loss at the cost of it being possible to trace transactions, and other prefer to walk around with anything from a few small bills to large wads of high denomination bills.

Why does it have to be either/or?

Modern WinAMP for the Mac? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12715626)

Any hope that WinAMP itself might go open source and
we see an up-to-date WinAMP for the Mac?

Zonk (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12715637)

I sincerely think slashdot should get rid of Zonk. He is not the typical editor and chooses story really badly. His also famous for putting too may dupe stories as well as deleting stories when he finds it out. Mod be down if you want, but you can look at the quality of posts when Zonk is posting here.

That could be very clever (1)

NickFortune (613926) | more than 8 years ago | (#12715641)

The next-generation AIM release will also be an open platform, which AOL says 'could rival even Mozilla due to its scale and the massive AIM user base.'"

Which could be the cleverest thing AOL have done for a long time, depending on whether the company can muster the will to see if through to the end. MS lost money for years trying to destroy AIM and AOL. For their part, AOL lost the top spot in the messenger wars, but kept a large userbase.

By opening AIM, AOL stand to gain a lot of new users, and to force MS into re-investing in MSN just when they'd really like to divert resources back to IE.

As I say, it all depends on whether they have the will to see the process through to the end. And I suppose, upon what they mean by an "open platform". Open Source a la mozilla would be fine, but the proposal may wind up being watered down into something akin to MS's "shared source" mockery. A shame if so, since they could be onto something with this.

hi i am aol (2, Insightful)

demon411 (827680) | more than 8 years ago | (#12715649)

aol head: "hey i don't think spamming people aol cds is working anymore what can we do?"

"let's buy netscape"

AOL buys them and now AOL has a deal with Microsoft for using IE.

later ...

aol head: "hmm that didn't work what should we do now?"

"umm. how about buy winamp for 100 million dollars"

Justin Frankel (winamp creator) resigns

5 years later ...

aol head: "we are still broke, whatever happened to that winamp stuff we bought?"

"um we are working on some cool plugins! hey maybe we could make it open source! i hear mozilla is doing well and they are open source"

aol head: "good idea, we can make aim open source too"

a close-source AOL will be better (0, Flamebait)

rozz (766975) | more than 8 years ago | (#12715656)

the best thing AOL can do for the international community and for the Internet, is to "close source" their users .. just keep them on a sepparate "AOLNet" and everybody will be happy
i'm ready to pay a monthly subscription to AOL for that ! ;)

AOL Open Sourced Milkdrop? I think not... (1)

inmate (804874) | more than 8 years ago | (#12715679)

actually, milkdrop was opensourced by geiss himself in may this year.
see http://www.nullsoft.com/free/milkdrop/ [nullsoft.com] for more details.

I think it a rather poor show that AOL grabs the bragging rights. AFAIK, they had nothing to do with it!

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