RealNetworks Announces Helix Community Grant Program Recipients Winning Projects Illustrate Breadth of Open Source R&D and Digital Media

Innovation in Helix Community



    NEW YORK, Linux World, Jan. 21 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- RealNetworks(R),
 Inc., (Nasdaq:   RNWK) (Booth #747), the leading creator of digital media
 services and software, today announced recipients of the 2003 Helix(TM)
 Community Grant Program. From the dozens of unique projects submitted, the
 Helix Community grant review board chose five proposals to receive funding.
 Ranging from open source codec development to integration with an open instant
 messaging environment, the breadth of proposals funded illustrates the
 excitement behind the Helix Community.
     Recipients of the 2003 Helix Community Grant Program are:
 
     1) "Supporting Multicast Functionality in Helix" submitted by Dr Kevin
         Almeroth, University of California, Santa Barbara, (UCSB);
     2) "Research, Development & Support of Ogg Vorbis & Ogg Theora Codecs,
        Including Helix DNA Platform Integration" submitted by Christopher
        'Monty' Montgomery, Xiph.org Foundation;
     3) "Distributed Multimedia Using Helix and Jabber" submitted by
        Urlich Staudinger and Justin Karenges, Jabber Foundation;
     4) "Integrated Metadata Cleanup in the Helix DNA Client" submitted by
        Robert Kaye, MusicBrainz; and,
     5) "Integration of Helix DNA with Panda3D Gaming/Simulation Engine"
        submitted by Jesse Schell, Carnegie Mellon University.
 
     The Helix Community grant program was established to support researchers
 and open source developers within the Helix Community pursue their digital
 media innovation efforts, including work on the Helix DNA Client. Grant
 program funding was open to all, including independent developers, academic
 and research institutions, non-profits and commercial enterprises. The Helix
 DNA Client today supports RealAudio(R), RealVideo(R), MP3, MPEG-4, AAC, AMR,
 H.263 and SMIL file formats and is currently available on Windows, Macintosh
 and Linux, as well as the leading wireless platforms:  Linux, OpenWave, Palm
 and Symbian. Additional porting projects are under development for the
 Solaris, HP-UX, WinCE, iTRON, VxWorks and PSOS operating systems.
     The five Helix Community grant program recipients receive partial or full
 funding for their digital media research and projects. In addition,
 RealNetworks has appointed a technical advisor to each project to assist with
 Helix platform development. A total of $75,000 in funding has been awarded
 through the 2003 Helix Community grant program.
     "We are overwhelmed with the level of interest, enthusiasm and support we
 have received from across the academic and commercial worlds as well as the
 open source and development communities," said Nagesh Pabbisetty, vice
 president, Consumer Products and Support, RealNetworks. Inc. "From the quality
 and quantity of the grant proposals we received, it is clear that passion for
 the Helix open-source digital media platform is stronger than ever and that
 exciting, cutting-edge work will continue to add to the capabilities of the
 Helix DNA platform".
     Grant recipients were chosen based on their ability to demonstrate clear
 utility in the open source community or their potential commercial
 application. Proposals were judged based on merit in one of three broad
 categories:  Advanced Research -- solving complex network challenges facing
 digital media to open the path for new digital audio or video invention,
 and/or to create compelling new digital media functionality; Implementation
 Gap Solutions -- projects to extend operating system, codec, and/or device
 support, as well secure compliance with the latest industry standards, for the
 Helix platform; and lastly, Creative Projects -- applications and extensions
 of the Helix open multi-format digital media platform that simply wow the
 global Helix Community and users.
 
     Helix Community Grant Program Recipients
 
     -- "Supporting Multicast Functionality in Helix," submitted by
        Dr. Kevin Almeroth, University of California, Santa Barbara,
        (UCSB -- www.nmsl.cs.ucsb.edu).
            The Computer Science Department at University of California Santa
         Barbara (UCSB) has specialized in multicast technologies for over a
         decade.  RealNetworks is working with UCSB to extend the multicast
         functionality in Helix to include recent advances in multicast
         technology.  In addition to program funding and an appointed Helix
         advisor, students working on the UCSB project under Dr. Kevin Almeroth
         will receive academic credit for their Helix research and innovation.
            "Multicast has long been a challenging Internet service to deploy,"
         said Dr. Kevin Almeroth of UCSB. "Recent advances in the multicast
         research community have the potential to ease deployment challenges,
         and make multicast into a commercially practical technology.  We're
         excited to be working with the Helix Community to ensure that this
         technology is used in mainstream multimedia applications".
 
     -- "Research, Development & Support of Ogg Vorbis & Ogg Theora Codecs,
        Including Helix DNA Platform Integration," submitted by Christopher
        'Monty' Montgomery, Xiph.org Foundation, (www.xiph.org).
            RealNetworks has worked with the Xiph Foundation since the launch
         of the Helix initiative in 2002.  With this latest round of grant
         funding, RealNetworks is extending its relationship with the Xiph
         Foundation.
            "We're excited to work with Real and the Helix Community to build a
         complete, seamless and entirely open source media system beginning
         with Ogg Vorbis and eventually also Theora and the other Ogg codecs,"
         said Christopher 'Monty' Montgomery, Technical Director, Xiph.org
         Foundation. "We aim to see Ogg fully supported on the client, producer
         and server side -- this will bring our Ogg system to a larger audience
         and we certainly approve of that".
 
     -- "Distributed Multimedia Using Helix and Jabber," submitted by
         Urlich Staudinger and Justin Karenges, Jabber Foundation,
        (www.jabber.org).
            Jabber is a leading open source instant messaging and Internet
         communication platform.  Over the last five years, the Jabber
         community has defined a set of XML streaming protocols, which are used
         for instant messaging and a range of other real-time applications.
         With the extension of this grant, RealNetworks is forging a new
         relationship with this important community.
            "Existing Jabber technologies will be significantly enhanced
         through integration with Helix, and Helix in turn will be enhanced by
         the real-time communications infrastructure that the Jabber protocols
         provide," said Urlich Staudinger, Principal Investigator of the Helix
         Community grant, Jabber. "This win-win synergy will help the Jabber
         and Helix communities become even more important in the Internet
         ecosystem over the next 12 months".
 
     -- "Integrated Metadata Cleanup in the Helix DNA Client," submitted by
        Robert Kaye MusicBrainz, (www.musicbrainz.org).
            MusicBrainz is a user maintained, community music metadatabase.
         Through the Helix Community grant program, RealNetworks will work with
         MusicBrainz to integrate metadata tagging features into the Helix
         client.
            "This grant will bring the Helix Community and the MusicBrainz
         community closer by integrating the technologies of both projects,"
         said Robert Kaye, Mayhem & Chaos Coordinator and creator of
         MusicBrainz.  "Helix offers an exciting new vehicle for commercial
         distribution of MusicBrainz's advanced tagging and metadata management
         features, which will enable a huge new audience of music lovers to
         communicate about music unambiguously."
 
     -- "Integration of Helix DNA with Panda3D Gaming/Simulation Engine,"
        submitted by Jesse Schell, Carnegie Mellon University.
            The Panda3D community gaming and simulation engine will use the
         Helix Community grant to integrate Panda3D with Helix.
            "The possibilities for integrating video into 3D worlds are
         tremendous. Adding Helix DNA to Panda3D will allow many researchers
         and entrepreneurs to experiment with these technologies," said
         Jesse Schell, Carnegie Mellon University.  "Panda3D's philosophy has
         always been to unify the very best open source projects to create a
         high-quality game and simulation system, so working with Helix is a
         natural fit."
 
     A detailed outline of the grant program is available at
 https://www.helixcommunity.org/2003/grants/ . More information on the five
 grant projects can be found at https://grants.helixcommunity.org/ .  Stay
 tuned for news on upcoming rounds of the Helix Community grant program.
 
     About Helix
     Helix is a platform and a community for the standardization and expansion
 of digital media. The Helix platform, Helix DNA, consists of source code for
 creation, delivery and playback of digital media developed by RealNetworks
 over the past nine years, as well as a set of interfaces for building media-
 enabled applications. Helix Community members are able to use this source code
 to build media-capable products with industry-leading technology and commonly
 used interfaces. The Helix Community offers source code of Helix DNA under
 commercial community and open source licenses. RealNetworks has also released
 a family of commercial products built on top of the Helix DNA platform,
 including the free RealPlayer and the Helix Universal Server.
 
     About RealNetworks, Inc.
     RealNetworks, Inc. is the leading creator of digital media services and
 software including the award-winning Rhapsody Internet jukebox service and
 RealPlayer 10. Broadcasters, network operators, media companies and
 enterprises use RealNetworks' products and services to create and deliver
 digital media to PCs, mobile phones and consumer electronics devices.
 RealNetworks' systems and corporate information is located at
 http://www.realnetworks.com .
 
     NOTE:  RealNetworks, Helix, RealAudio, RealVideo and RealPlayer are
 trademarks or registered trademarks of RealNetworks, Inc. All other companies
 or products listed herein are trademarks or registered trademarks of their
 respective owners.
 
 

SOURCE RealNetworks, Inc.

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