VideoLAN association
A project and a non-profit organization, composed of volunteers, developing and promoting free, open-source multimedia solutions.
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10 years of Open Source

Welcome to the pages for the Celebration of our 10 years of open source

We are here to celebrate the 10 years of the open sourcing of VideoLAN and VLC.

10 days of surprises, ideas and stories will pop up here.


Day 1: a VideoLAN history

Most people know VLC, but they don't know the history of the VideoLAN project.

Well, they don't even know what VideoLAN is, and that we are not a company...

1st February 2011

Today is the 10th anniversary of the switch to GPL of the VideoLAN project applications...

But, but, but... What was before the GPL?

1996: First VideoLAN project

The network of the campus of the École Centrale Paris, one of the prestigious French "Grande École" university, has always been managed by a student organisation named VIA Centrale Réseaux.

In 1996, it had a very slow Token-Ring network, but the students wanted an upgrade. They found investors at the condition that they could justify the need for a new network...

Therefore, they decided to push Video on the network...

Remember, this is 1996, were your average Pentium couldn't decode a DVD and when Youtube and Google didn't exist...

This student project achieved his goals in early 1998, and a new network came.

1998: Second VideoLAN project

As it was successful, it was decided to go on the project.

And they restarted the project from scratch, in 1998.

But in the mind of open source and modularity.

This is when the VLC media player that you know of, was born.
If you look at the first commit of the repository, in August 1999, you'll see that the most copyright indeed is from 1998.

2001: Open Source

As VideoLAN was a student project, the university had moral rights on the software produced.

Thanks to the students and Professor Jean-Philippe Rey, the direction of the university allowed the switch of all code produced to GPL.

The letter from Mr. Gourisse was signed on February 1st, 2001.

Since 2001

Afterward, the project has went on, with students and then volunteers from around the world.

The project, has, of course, left the university and is a backed-up by a volunteer non-profit organisation.

Today, VLC averages 24 million downloads per month (including two-third of updates) and the user-base is counted in tens of million.

Support us

Since all the work on VLC and other videolan projects is done by volunteers in their free time, we welcome donations to help us manage the software. Donate now!

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