Witnesses in the MP3 uprising recognize Winamp fondly. The autonomous media player and library, released initially in the late 90s, was the go-to option for anyone who didn’t want more heavily marketed choices like Windows Media Player or iTunes. Unfortunately, the license to Winamp was passed around a bit before landing at its present owner. The last stable release of the Winamp was way back in 2013, but the latest Winamp 5.999 is now available as a release contender after four years of further development.
You can download and install the new version from the official Winamp forum, and you might feel tele-transported back to the 2000s. However, the media player still seems like an outdated media library manager. Yes, the installation still begins with a shock jock–style declaration of “It really whips the llama’s ass!”
Transformations to the player are almost entirely under the hood, with a code base updated from Visual Studio 2008 to VS2019. Unfortunately, that means you’ll require Windows 7 or later to use it.
Time hasn’t been easygoing for the brave little player. When I installed it on Windows 11 PC, the rigid segmentation of the tools appeared like something that belongs in a museum gallery. The tool’s iconic but out-of-date “skins” mean menus and icons look incredibly tiny on my 1440p monitor.
“The groundwork has now been laid,” said the creators, “and now we can concentrate more on features.” The shift to current designs hasn’t been seamless. A lengthy checklist of general issues is included in the blog post, and there’s no sign of when version 5.9.0 will come. Once a conclusive version of that release is done, the developers will start adding native support for more advanced audio formats, replacing outdated tools like Gracenote, and many more.