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Real goes open source

Becoming more and more the 'anti-Microsoft'...
Written by Paul Festa, Contributor

Becoming more and more the 'anti-Microsoft'...

RealNetworks has made good on its promise to release code to the open source community, with the first instalment now available. The first release reveals the source code to the Helix DNA client, which will let consumer electronics makers and other third-party application providers license the source code under one of two licences - a "community" licence for commercial use, and a "public" licence for non-commercial use. Analysts say RealNetworks' server business has suffered not only from the general economic downturn, but from the formidable threat of Microsoft's Windows Media Player alternative, which comes free with the purchase of the Windows 2000 operating system. RealNetworks, by contrast, charges for its server and on a usage basis. RealNetworks' strategy to manoeuvre out of Microsoft's way has two components. One has been to support as many different streaming formats as possible, an effort that involved reverse-engineering in a clean-room environment Microsoft's technology, giving it the ability to serve and play back Windows Media files. The second part of the new strategy is to introduce products and services to make the technology attractive to large corporate networks and ISPs. In that respect, the company is hawking its Universal Server as more of a telecommunications infrastructure product than a garden-variety streaming solution. Paul Festa writes for News.com
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