Winamp, the greatest media player the world has ever known, will disappear forever next month.
The end of an era is upon us. "Winamp.com and associated web services will no longer be available past December 20, 2013," a message on the Winamp website revealed today. "Additionally, Winamp Media players will no longer be available for download. Please download the latest version before that date. See release notes for latest improvements to this last release. Thanks for supporting the Winamp community for over 15 years."
It's a sad day indeed, and not only for those of us who have been using Winamp since 1997. Try to imagine for a moment the heartbreak felt by the dedicated, long-serving technician forced to write that announcement. The tears streaming down his face as he types; the gentle kiss on the screen as he clicks "submit"; the long walk through the office, wet eyes fixed straight ahead, holding it all in, until finally he's in his car and he breaks down, his body wracked with sobs as the grief overtakes him.
Later that night, he drinks himself into a haze while watching Titanic. "What a waste," he mutters, opening another beer. At 3 am, he drunk-dials Windows Media Player as Elton John streams in the background. "You don't whip the llama's ass!" he cries. "You can't!" It'll be weeks before he finds the strength to work on another application, but the hole in his heart is still there, an aching reminder of all that was lost - and a wound that only time can heal.
Farewell, sweet Winamp. The bedrock of your presence will soon be mere dust in the wind, but you will not be forgotten.