Winamp 5.9 Final Released after years of development
Two months ago, the developers of the audio player Winamp released a first release candidate of Winamp 5.9. The player, which many thought dead and buried, came back to life and users started to take notice again.
This week, Winamp 5.9 Final was released. If you have followed the release candidate review that Ashwin wrote, you know all the things that are new and changed already. If you are new, you may find the following summary useful.
First of all, you may download the final stable version of Winamp 5.9 from the official forum. There, you also find the changelog, list of known issues and other release information. You may also download Winamp from third-party sites, such as our parent company Softonic (still needs to be updated to the new release).
Winamp 5.9 Final
The last official version of Winamp before 5.9 dates back to 2018. Windows 11 was not released at the time, and many Windows users believed Microsoft's claim that Windows 10 would be the last version of Windows.
Last year saw the release of Windows 11, and one of Winamp 5.9's major changes is improved compatibility with Microsoft's Windows 11 operating system. If you had troubles running older versions of Winamp on Windows 11, or could not get some features to work properly, you are probably good now running the latest release of the media player.
You may also notice that Winamp 5.9 requires a new Visual Studio runtime, which may be installed during setup if it is missing. The change is bad news for pre-Windows 7 devices, as Winamp 5.9 is no longer compatible with devices running Windows Vista or XP.
Another major feature addition is support for HTTPS streams. More and more sites and services have migrated to HTTPS, and the lack of support meant that Winamp users could not tune in to these streams anymore because it lacked support for it. Now, this is a thing of the past.
Other improvements include updated libraries and support for new formats that have risen in popularity in the past couple of years.
The list of known fixes is long, but most will be addressed in Winamp 5.9.1 according to the release notes. It is unclear when the point release will become available though. Major issues include problems playing certain hi-res FLAC files and relying on an older version of OpenSSL due to development issues.
As far as features are concerned that are still in development, there are a few. The development tream plans to add native support for multiple formats, replace "old Gracenote features (CDDB, Autotag, etc) with e.g. MusicBrainz or MusicStory", add more default services and other improvements.
The new Winamp release works well. While the developers may have a hard time convincing new users to give it a try and drop their favorite audio player, they may have better luck getting old Winamp users to try it once more.
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