Yet Another Faux-Pas by the VideoLAN Team

Sunday, 2006-05-07; 15:51:00

*sigh* Previously, I compared VLC and MPlayer on the merits of their interfaces, and concluded with why VLC's new icon (a lone traffic cone) is an utterly ridiculous icon for a media player. Today, I'm covering another really boneheaded move by VideoLAN (which makes VLC).

Version 0.8.5 of VLC was released yesterday. So I went to MacUpdate to download the update, but when I clicked on the download link, it just took me to the VLC download page on I don't think this was the case with previous versions, but whatever -- it's only a minor inconvenience. But then I saw why.

On the download page, there are separate downloads for Intel Macs and for PPC Macs. Arrrrgh!

No, no, no, that's what a universal binary is for! Users shouldn't have to care what kind of processor their computer uses, and that's exactly why Apple created universal binaries (and FAT binaries back in the 68K --> PPC transition days). Gah, I can understand if this was a beta or alpha (or test release, since VLC seems to use that weird convention), but not for a production release! Grr.

Interestingly enough, though, it does illustrate a minor feature of Mac OS X. If you download the Intel release and have a PPC machine (or vice versa), Mac OS X conveniently overlays a "prohibited" sign on the icon of any program that's not compiled to run on your architecture:

VLC Icon w/ Unsupported Sign Overlay

If you're wondering, it also displays a dialog when you try to open the application, explaining the problem:

Unsupported Architecture Dialog

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