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Justin Frankel resigns
June 4, 2003 7:31 AM   Subscribe

Justin Frankel resigns from Nullsoft.
posted by Mwongozi (31 comments total)

 
Well, good for him, I guess.

Is AOL's corporate meddling why Winamp 3 was such a letdown? I'm still searching for a replacement MP3 player.
posted by frenetic at 7:51 AM on June 4, 2003


Nullsoft are still developing Classic Winamp -- Try Version 2.91.

It's much better than Winamp 3.
posted by LMG at 7:55 AM on June 4, 2003


Most people aren't lucky enough to have their chief means of "self-expression" be the activity that earns them money.

So more power to him, but this sort of mock-serious tone, implying it's some sort of great revelation that the entity that writes the checks owns your output, is a bit off-putting.
posted by jalexei at 8:04 AM on June 4, 2003


Well, prior to now he thought he was mostly-free. He was wrong. In any case . . .

Frankel's responsible for Gnutella, Shoutcast, the new WASTE program (think a heavy-crypto DirectConnect), Winamp, the very frequently used Nullsoft Installer . . .

The man has had a serious impact in the world of software and his departure from the company can only mean good things.
posted by Ryvar at 8:11 AM on June 4, 2003


Hear hear, jalexei. You wonder if the guy read his employment contract before he signed it.
posted by Vidiot at 8:18 AM on June 4, 2003


For $100 million I'd ignore my employment contract. Throw acid on the faces of children? NO PROBLEM!
posted by Ryvar at 8:28 AM on June 4, 2003


It's entirely possible that he was given oral assurances that he would be given control over Nullsoft's output. Not that those are worth a bucket of warm spit over an employment contract, but given that he was, what 20? when he sold Nullsoft to AOL it's possible he was just that naive.
posted by trust_no_one at 8:31 AM on June 4, 2003


Did AOL get anything from buying Nullsoft? Other than paying the salary of a troublemaker (for AOL, anyway).

Hopefully, he'll start up a company and make some more products to help circumvent the RIAA and their ilk.
posted by graventy at 8:38 AM on June 4, 2003


So more power to him, but this sort of mock-serious tone, implying it's some sort of great revelation that the entity that writes the checks owns your output, is a bit off-putting.

It sounds like it is a revelation to him. He's had years now of apparently free run, where he writes whatever code he likes and does whatever he likes with it, and the company pays him for it. After that many years, which are you going to believe: the lawyerese in that long-ago employment contract, or the way life has actually worked?

Come to think of it, didn't he help found nullsoft? Maybe he never had an employment contract at all. Maybe that's how things actually worked at Nullsoft, and AOL just didn't start meddling until recently.

Most people aren't lucky enough to have their chief means of "self-expression" be the activity that earns them money.

I don't know why they put up with it. I don't know how I'd live any other way... if it came down to it, I think I'd just quit, and go wander the world, busking for a living.
posted by Mars Saxman at 8:40 AM on June 4, 2003


...must be nice to walk away from a job because your bosses won't let you do whatever you want.

Sorry, but my heart is not bleeding for the poor developer who sold his company to AOL (for a fortune) and then feels bad becasue they won't let him post software that is not compatible with very public goals.

Want self-expression? Stay independent.
posted by Yossarian at 8:42 AM on June 4, 2003


Winamp 3 was such a letdown because of Frankel meddling. It could not even install correctly.
In AOL's attempt to look cool they have received nothing in return but unfunny sarcasm, and copyright headaches from Nullsoft. Has AOL ever sold any Nullsoft product? With the millions of users they have, where is the revenue?
It seems they were thinking about it, but then they realized the 8 - 20 year olds don't pay for software. Anyone older than 20, their eyes can not read it any longer (scale just blurs it).
At least with ICQ they finally put banner ads in.
posted by imlit at 8:46 AM on June 4, 2003


Great software though.
posted by Yossarian at 8:47 AM on June 4, 2003


From Justin's site:
This is unacceptable to me as an individual, therefore I must leav.[sic] I don't know when it will be, but I'm not going to last much longer.
Just to clarify, he hasn't resigned yet.

graventy asked:
Did AOL get anything from buying Nullsoft? Other than paying the salary of a troublemaker (for AOL, anyway).
I had wondered that myself. According to news.com, code from Winamp is used in the AOL client software, WASTE may be used as an internal tool at AOL (or at least Nullsoft), and Nullsoft has developed streaming-media software for AOL. So, yeah, Nullsoft has actually been of some use to AOL.
posted by cobra libre at 8:49 AM on June 4, 2003


AOL is bleeding dial-up customers left and right, their strategy is broadband and delivering content through broadband. That delivery system is based on Nullsoft code. So while up until this point Nullsoft may not have had a huge impact on AOL, if they are to succeed in broadband, the code driving one of the biggest components of that success will be based on Nullsoft development.
posted by cell divide at 9:02 AM on June 4, 2003


Nullsoft are still developing Classic Winamp -- Try Version 2.91.

It's much better than Winamp 3.


Winamp 2.x doesn't work properly with my sound card. Winamp 3 works fine audio-wise except it's all bloated and lacks various features from 2.x.
posted by frenetic at 9:13 AM on June 4, 2003


Hear hear, jalexei. You wonder if the guy read his employment contract before he signed it.
don;t know the guy, and I *really* hate to make generalizations, but I'l do it anyway.

From what I understand he's in his twenties. So, bright as he might be, he really doesn't know jack shit about life, so having some illusions about working for AOL isn't all that surprising.

Live and learn.

(Note to all you 20-somethngs itching to defend yourselves.
Yes, there are exceptions. No, you're not one of them.)
posted by Ayn Marx at 9:17 AM on June 4, 2003


I think that this is mostly about WASTE. AOL forced them into taking WASTE down - and yes, it is a heavy-crypto P2P app for small groups of file sharers, and it works great - but not before a lot of people grabbed the binaries and the compiled windows client/server and mac osx server. It's floating around out there.
posted by luriete at 9:18 AM on June 4, 2003


As has been said, he hasn't resigned yet...maybe he's playing political games with his AOL masters....
posted by tomcosgrave at 9:34 AM on June 4, 2003


More power to him. Hopefully he'll be able to continue living while doing something he loves. I'll be happy enough just to be employed doing something remotely related to my chosen field.

(Aside because Ayn Marx doesn't have an email in it's profile): Well, isn't it nice to know that when i'm no longer in my 20's I'll not only no longer know "jack shit" about life, I'll also get to be a condescending prat? Can't wait.
posted by cheaily at 9:56 AM on June 4, 2003


Anyone know where WASTE is accessible?
posted by aaronshaf at 11:32 AM on June 4, 2003


Good for him. I don't think he's looking for anyone's sympathy. He's ready to quit, made a shitload of money off of Nullsoft, and will hopefully start a new company, putting out new anti-corporate software.
posted by gramcracker at 11:48 AM on June 4, 2003


Here it is.
posted by aaronshaf at 11:52 AM on June 4, 2003


(Note to all you 20-somethngs itching to defend yourselves.
Yes, there are exceptions. No, you're not one of them.)


Codger-filter!

Now, get off my lawn!
posted by inpHilltr8r at 12:23 PM on June 4, 2003


I think it was Wankel (or someone else at Nullsoft) that wrote a little plugin for winamp that would place an oscilloscope bit of eye candy overtop of the adverts in the AIM window.

The next day, I saw the first winamp ads running on there.. coincidence or not, at that point (2 years ago or more?) i realized their brazen attitude might end up causing problems.

oh, and Ayn Marx - bite me.
posted by shadow45 at 1:49 PM on June 4, 2003


Nullsoft are still developing Classic Winamp -- Try Version 2.91. It's much better than Winamp 3.

I have to plug my favorite audio player: Foobar2000. It's smaller, faster, and easier to use than even WA2.
posted by skryche at 2:46 PM on June 4, 2003


Thanks for the Foobar2000 plug, skryche. I think I may make the switch. It's not altogether friendly; feels more like a Unixy app than a Windows app, but that works just fine for me.

WinAmp 3 is a real letdown. What the hell is a "Thinger" and why do I have to use one in order to do certain things (like interact with some plugins)? Talk about a UI abortion.
posted by /\/\/\/ at 3:06 PM on June 4, 2003


If you don't like the standard Foobar2000 interface, try one of these: There are a lot of Foobar components available - check the 3rd party component forum and this site.
posted by Schnauzer at 4:27 PM on June 4, 2003


if it came down to it, I think I'd just quit, and go wander the world, busking for a living.

Indeed, Mars. Indeed.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:32 PM on June 4, 2003


uh, Ayn Marx? I'm in my twenties. I work for a division of AOL Time Warner, and I'm under no illusions about who owns the copyright/who gets to market/controls the projects/et cetera on everything that I work on. Then again, I also read and understood what I signed when I started working there.

I can't wait a couple more years so I'll finally be out of that awful twelve-year limbo between the US age of majority and when Ayn Marx thinks I'll know fuck-all (excuse me, make that "jack shit") about life.
posted by Vidiot at 10:40 PM on June 4, 2003


Do you not understand what "Everything I code is arguably owned by the company" means? I don't believe he's just talking about on-the-job (whatever that means for programmers like Frankle anyhow) coding. He's talking about everything he codes. How'd you like it if because you drove bus at work, your boss could control where you drive in your own car. How about if your job was to talk on the telephone and your boss had authorization on out-going calls? Frankle might have been a little too happy to sign whatever forms AOL asked for to get his money, and now he's realized it.

I don't see what makes anyone here think he's whining. He's just realized that he ready to move on.
posted by betaray at 1:03 AM on June 5, 2003


cheaily, Vidiot, shadow45: Thanks for proving my point.
posted by Ayn Marx at 1:02 PM on June 6, 2003


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