Winamp 5 Beta

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People who are familiar are asking themselves, “What? Winamp 5?! What happened to version 4?” It was explained that Winamp 2 + Winamp 3 = Winamp 5. For those unfamiliar with the technical differences between Winamp 2.x (WA2) and Winamp3 (WA3):

Winamp 2.x: This was a continuation of the old 1.x codebase. It works, it’s really fast, it’s skinnable, and it’s just plain spiffy. There are many current plug-ins and skins for this application.

Winamp3: Winamp3 was completely rewritten from the ground-up, based around an all-new technology from Nullsoft called “Wasabi”. The Wasabi API has the potential for tremendously cool things. It supports a new style of skinning, as well as an all-new plug-in architecture. Read this article for a better explanation of the advantages of Winamp3 (and Wasabi).

There are many cool things about Winamp3 that I love, but there is one single, glaring problem with Winamp3. It’s really slow.

I’ve been using Winamp3 since it was released in December 2002, and after nearly a year of trying to get past the whole speed issue, I’ve decided to downgrade back to the latest version of Winamp 2.x, currently 2.91. As far as Winamp 5 goes, Nullsoft wants to take the best features of Winamp 2.x and integrate the skinning, plug-in, and component features of Winamp3. What does that mean for Wasabi? Well, I’m not too sure yet. I’d like to see the continued development of Wasabi (after all, it is only a 1.0 release), but that still remains to be seen.

After having installed Winamp 2.91 last night, I’m hesitant to download the Winamp 5 Beta 1 release. Normally, I jump at the chance to download, test, and provide feedback for beta software, but I’m not really feeling all that ambitious tonight. Maybe I’ll feel differently in the morning, but maybe not. We’ll see.

This here is a greater and better explanation of Winamp 2 vs Winamp 3 vs Winamp 5.

Wasabi development is not over nor dead. Think of it more as Winamp 2.x is getting Wasabified! If we do things right you’ll be able to load your Winamp3 components into Winamp right alongside your Winamp 2.x plugins, while still being able to just install Winamp 2.9 if you prefer that, or just Winamp3 if you prefer that. Basically, you’ll be able to run Winamp 2.x skins in their native skin engine, and Winamp3 skins in theirs.

Ryan Parman

Ryan Parman is an experienced software engineer, open source evangelist, and passionate user advocate currently living in Seattle. He is the creator of and , and worked on DevOps and Security at . He is now bringing learning into the digital age as an Engineering Lead and Site Reliability Engineer at . Ryan's aptly-named blog, , is where he writes about ideas longer than .