I still remember when I first met you, VLC. It was the early 2000s. The family computer had a hard drive measured in megabytes, and it was impossible to find a good bit of software to play video files I… acquired. But, in my darkest moment, you appeared and helped me watch a grainy rip of a South Park episode.
And you know what? You’ve never let me down since. Thank you, VLC. I love you. Dearly. Forever and forever, you and me, running through the fields into Valhalla. Together.
Yes — on February 1, one of the internet’s finest institutions turned 20. Clap. Cheer. I SAID CLAP AND CHEER. Stand up. Louder. LOUDER.
A tiny bit of history. VLC — run by the VideoLAN non-profit — was founded in France all the way back in 2001, a time when the majority of Americans didn’t even have internet access. Even in regular human terms, 20 years is a long ass time, but online? That’s geological.
What’s even more impressive is how VLC has navigated these past two decades. In that time, the internet has changed beyond recognition; from a scrappy, creative upstart, to a moneymaking machine that sits at the center of our society. Yet, amidst this, VLC has remained true to its core values. The software remains open source, free to download, has no adverts, and includes no bloatware — it simply plays video files and, to this very day, is the very best at it.
It’s not simply this commitment to its values or its efficiency that makes me love VLC so much, it’s our history together. Since I first downloaded the software all those years ago, it’s rarely left my computer. One of the first things I do with a new machine is install VLC.
The software has been a constant companion on my most personal possessions. It has never let me down and has been instrumental in what must be months of entertainment at this point.
So, happy 20th birthday, VLC. Here’s to many, many more. Love you.