Friday, April 19, 2024

VLC vs. the App Stores

VideoLAN (via Hacker News):

App Stores were a mistake.

Currently, we cannot update VLC on Windows Store, and we cannot update VLC on Android Play Store, without reducing security or dropping a lot of users…

For now, iOS App Store still allows us to ship for iOS9, but until when?


If you do wonder why we don’t update VLC on the Windows Store or why VLC/iOS can’t connect properly to OneDrive shares, it’s because Microsoft Kafkaïesque bureaucracy refuses to help us.

We’re only trying to contact someone since 2years…

VideoLAN (Anisse, Hacker News):

If you wonder why we can’t update the VLC on Android version, it’s because Google refuses to let us update:

  • either we give them our private signing keys,
  • or we drop support for Android TV before API-30, and all our users on TV API<30 can’t get fixes.


VLC cannot even enter the Mac App Store, because of the restrictions…

Look at all those platforms competing to benefit users.

Florian Mueller:

This here is a European app store for Android and Google’s YouTube has just killed their channel. It’s obviously a problem if you depend on the incumbent’s platforms all the way.


Update (2024-04-26): President of VideoLAN (Hacker News):

On Android, we can either give Google our private (!) key or not support existing Android versions, and there is (as usual for Google) no one to discuss this with.

On Windows, they changed soo many times the backend of their store, that even with support from the top of the hierarchy, we cannot even update our desktop apps (change a URL, not even a binary…)

Apple, so far, is less annoying, but to support old versions (iOS9 or 10) is an always on battle.

Apple AppStores does not allow GPL, Microsoft does not allow GPLv3 and Unity does not even allow LGPL…

It’s very frustrating and time consuming, but because we don’t make money out of those, and we are on more platforms than anyone, we can complain publically…

11 Comments RSS · Twitter · Mastodon

I know nothing of the licensing issues they're facing, but when the common thread is VLC, Occam's Razor leads me to believe the issue is with them, not every other app store. Surely they're not the only open-source-based app out there.

Rather reminds me of the ongoing spat between and CloudFlare ( When something works for everyone else and not you... the problem might be you.

Is there an article about what restrictions exclude VLC from the Mac App Store but not the iOS App Store?

Probably they don't want to sandbox the Mac version, there is no additional limitation specific to the Mac App Store.
Even the Android version wants full disk access, which is really horrible.

Last I tried to sandbox my Mac app (and gave up) it’s really horrible for file access. VLC wants to do things like auto detect and auto open a subtitles file adjacent to the video file. No can do, without annoying user prompts. There’s no middle ground between full disk access and single file access. Sibling file access is not a thing.

Sibling file access is possible, but limited to files with the same name but a different extensions.

I understand their delay in updating the Google Play Store version. Why is the F-droid entry 14 months behind?

> Sibling file access is not a thing.

I think there are some hardcoded exceptions eg. for SQLite databases, because they seem to work despite relying on sibling files. (I might be wrong about this, it's been a few years since I tried it.)

galad, oh, cool, that's progress I guess. I haven't re-tried App Sandbox since 10.10 or so. Maybe I'll give it another try.

The youtube channel appears to not be taken down.

I bought my third ios app last year because VLC was so shit.

@Joshua Ochs
I think many apps have concerns with app store distribution and VLC has been one of them from the beginning. App stores can be user focused, but iOS and Google Play are not two examples of them. Not developer focused either. At least Android largely allows side loading (I think some embedded stuff tries to disable it though).

F-Droid is a better example and not sure why, as @Rito mentioned, the F-Droid version is so far behind?

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