High-End Lightworks Video Editor Finally Says Why They Didn't Go Open-Source Yet

Written by Michael Larabel in Multimedia on 18 July 2020 at 11:50 AM EDT. 45 Comments
Way back in 2010 it was announced that Lightworks would be going open-source as this high-end, non-linear and cross-platform video editor solution. This video editing system has been used by many films over the years from The Wolf of Wall Street to Bruce Almighty to Moulin Rouge to Pulp Fiction as well as many other movies and television shows while also being approachable enough that it's used by less advanced video editing enthusiasts. Lightworks going open-source would be a big win, but ten years after their failed plans were announced they finally have shed some light on why such move away from being a proprietary application never materialized.

Over the years the hopes of their open-source plans faded with no reported progress on the matter, topics inquiring about it were frequently locked in their communication channels, etc. We've been left wondering whatever happened to Lightworks as open-source while the closed-source video editor continues advancing, including for its Linux support.

Lightworks Product Manager Matt Sandford finally commented on the matter yesterday in their forums. The expressed reason for Lightworks not being open-source yet at least is either due to vague issues with their source code whether it be poor coding standards, middleware licensing, or similar problems that accumulate when building a commercial, proprietary code-base over many years for a large application. A decade later they are still said to be cleaning up their source code for a possible open-source release in the future, but frankly at this point I wouldn't hold my breath. At least for those not minding binary blobs, Lightworks does continue supporting Linux for this first-rate video editing system.
We have always envisaged Lightworks becoming Open Source, however, when we delved deeper and deeper into the code base of Lightworks it became evident that it was not viable to make the solution Open Source at that point in time, especially with all the other work that was required.

We have spent numerous years cleaning up the code base to bring it right up to modern day standards and this of course takes a very long time. We still hope to announce something in the future but I cannot give you an estimate of when that might be at this stage.

I appreciate this may not be the update you all hoped for but hopefully it is not all doom and gloom.
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Michael Larabel

Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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