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April 19th, 1999
[3:48 PM] Apple Makes Surprise Announcement Of Open Source QuickTime Server

Apple announced today that it was adding to its Open Source efforts by releasing QuickTime Server software as Open Source. According to Apple:

NAB, LAS VEGAS—April 19, 1999—Apple Computer, Inc. today introduced QuickTime Streaming Server software, the underlying server technology that powers QuickTime 4’s ability to stream live and stored video and audio over the Internet. The technology can be downloaded by developers as Open Source software—the Darwin Streaming Server—from ( and is also available as a free update to Mac OS X Server, Apple’s new modern server operating system. Apple also announced that leading media server companies such as IBM and SGI are integrating QuickTime Streaming software into their product lines.

QuickTime Streaming Server software is available as an update for Mac OS X Server, the Company’s new server operating system, which combines the proven strength of UNIX with the simplicity of Macintosh. With the addition of QuickTime Streaming software, Mac OS X Server becomes a complete modern server operating system for the Internet. Mac OS X Server software can purchased for U.S. $499 and is also available bundled with a powerful Macintosh Server G3 for U.S. $4,999.

Key features of QuickTime Streaming Server running on Mac OS X Server include:

  • Ability to serve over 1,000 simultaneous audio and video streams at modem rate connections;
  • Simple licensing model, with no ‘per stream’ charges;
  • Support for industry-standard RTP and RTSP streaming protocols;
  • Management tools allowing full administration of the server and comprehensive reporting on performance and throughput;
  • Easy set up, with simple installer available for download from (

Darwin Streaming Server makes QuickTime Streaming Server technology available to Open Source developers. Utilizing Darwin Streaming Server source code, developers can build server products for any platform, with the ability to stream QuickTime content over networks—using the standard Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) protocols RTP and RTSP. QuickTime Streaming is already being embraced by leading media server companies and is a key component in IBM’s new VideoCharger multimedia server and SGI’s WebFORCE MediaBase media streaming system.

We spoke to Electrifier Inc's Lead Engineer, Humayum Lari. Mr. Lari said:

It's really good thing. This move by Apple will insure that people can write servers for different applications and be able to optimize them specific uses. IBM and SGI are using it, they are clearly going after different markets. IBM is focused on complete corporate markets, while SGI is completely different company with a highly specialized market.

Apple is using two very important open standards that will give QuickTime steaming video another big boost. RTP and RTSP are open standards not controlled by any one company. Apple's competitors in this market, Microsoft and RealNetworks are both using proprietary standards in their products. According to Mr. Lari:

When using Microsoft and RealNetworks products, you have to rely on their servers. The fact that Apple are supporting those protocols means developers will have more options.

Electrifier Pro will benefit from this because Electrifier Pro will have the ability to add in interactivity with streaming content.

Since we allow real-time streaming content to be created in Electrifier Pro 2.0, this allows us to add in interactivity to a live-streaming event. So we think that Apple's move will be big for our customers.

The Mac Observer Spin: Who would have thought that Apple would be in the role of Champion of Open Standards. This move by Apple certainly shows that Steve Jobs and his team continue to Think Different. In particular, embracing the IETF standards for streaming is an entirely new approach for Apple and Mr. Jobs who have, until the release of the iMac, relied entirely on technologies developed in house.

This will quite likely thrust QuickTime to the forefront of the streaming content market. This market is JUST now starting to be truly viable and QuickTime 4 will make it more so.


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