X Multimedia System (XMMS) is an audio player for Unix-like systems released under a free software license.

Developer(s)XMMS Team
Initial releaseNovember 1997 (1997-November)
Final release1.2.11 (November 16, 2007; 16 years ago (2007-11-16)) [±]
Preview releasenone (none) [±]
Written inC, C++ (GTK+ 1.x)[citation needed]
Operating systemUnix-like
TypeAudio player



XMMS was originally written as x11amp by Peter and Mikael Alm in November 1997.[1] The player was made to resemble Winamp, which was first released in May that year. x11amp received Winamp skin support in version 0.7 on May 6th, 1998.[2] Though the original release was made under a license that did not provide any access to the program's source code, it is now released under the GPL-2.0-or-later.

On June 10, 1999, 4Front Technologies decided to sponsor x11amp development and the project was renamed to XMMS[3] - the name being an acronym for X MultiMedia System. Most XMMS users take this to mean "X11 MultiMedia System" or "X Window System MultiMedia System"; the official interpretation of the "X" is "Cross-platform".[4]

In 2002, Peter Alm initiated the XMMS2 project, aiming to produce a successor to XMMS using all new code and devoted solely to audio playback.[5]



XMMS has continued to use GTK+ 1.x toolkit, despite the current version being GTK 4. The primary reason for this reluctance to upgrade is that many XMMS plugins (written by third parties) are dependent on the older version of GTK+ to properly function, e.g., "about" boxes and configuration dialogs. Many software developers also consider the XMMS codebase to be poorly designed and difficult to maintain. These factors led to various forks and related projects:

  • The Beep Media Player, a fork of XMMS code that uses GTK+ 2, started around 2003
    • Youki, the remade continuation of Beep Media Player, started around the end of 2005[6]
    • Audacious, a fork from Beep Media Player started around 2005 when Beep Media Player development ceased in favor of Youki
  • A GTK+2 based fork by Mohammed Sameer, named XMMS2. It is unrelated to the current XMMS2 project, which uses a new codebase and client/server architecture not derived from XMMS.[7]


XMMS's default theme. Here the three windows have been docked together. The top left box is the main control panel; the bottom left is the optional equalizer, and the right box is the playlist editor.

XMMS currently supports the following audio and video file formats:

  • AAC support is provided by the FAAD2 library, supporting m4a files
  • APE Monkey's Audio Codec .ape files — support provided by the mac-port project plugin
  • Audio CD, including CDDB via FreeDB lookup
  • FLAC support is provided by a plugin in the FLAC library
  • Icecast and SHOUTcast streaming supported, and is compatible with Winamp 2 skins.
  • libmikmod supported formats (including .XM, .MOD, .IT) See: MikMod's Home
  • JACK plug-in for support of the JACK Audio Connection Kit.
  • ModPlug plug-in for playing .MOD, .S3M, .XM, .IT and other famous tracker formats.
  • mp3PRO support is provided by a third party plugin (which does not support SHOUTcast title streaming)[8]
  • MPEG Layer 1,2 and 3 (Also known as MP3), using the mpg123 library
  • Musepack support using XMMS-Musepack plugin.[9]
  • OGG Vorbis support is provided by a plug-in provided by xiph.org[10]
  • SHN support is provided by a plug-in provided by etree.[11]
  • speex high quality & ratio speech compression format via plugin
  • TTA support is provided by a third party plugin
  • UADE plug-in provides support for most Amiga music formats
  • WAV
  • WavPack with support provided by a third party plugin
  • WMA Limited support provided by third party plugin.[12]


Xmms skinned with imported wsz on Ubuntu 11.10 with cue info activated.

XMMS has a default skin provided, but it is also possible to use any WSZ classic skins to enhance the graphic attractiveness of the player. (see attached image)


Xmms with xmms-coverviewer in action on Ubuntu 11.10.

xmms-coverviewer is an XMMS plugin which allows XMMS to display album art and further enhance the graphical interface of the player. (see attached image)


  1. ^ "Discussion with XMMS developers". SlashNET. 1999-06-13. Archived from the original on 2007-08-28. Retrieved 2006-11-04.
  2. ^ "X11AMP [Previous news]". 1999-04-17. Archived from the original on 1999-04-17. Retrieved 2024-02-18.
  3. ^ "Press Release". 4Front Technologies. 1999. Retrieved 2006-11-04.
  4. ^ XMMS - X Multimedia System: A Cross platform Multimedia Player
  5. ^ "About". Archived from the original on 2010-04-17. Retrieved 2015-05-26. XMMS2 is a project started (in late 2002) by one of XMMS's original authors - Peter Alm - to produce a "kick-ass music player" (much like the world's 347349739921 other music player projects). In short, XMMS2 is the next generation XMMS. So, XMMS2 is definitely an audio player. But it is not a general multimedia player - it will not play videos. It has a modular framework and plugin architecture for audio processing, visualisation and output, but this framework has not been designed to support video.
  6. ^ "Youki - Audio Player". Ubuntu Forums. 2009. Retrieved 2010-05-18.
  7. ^ "History/Prehistory". As the number of applications using (or switching to) GTK2 grows, users grow dissatisfied with the XMMS team's inertia, regarding GTK2 support. Milosz Derezynski forks XMMS to begin the Beep Media Player project, while Mohammed Sameer does the same and names his effort 'XMMS2'. Sameer's project is eventually abandoned, and he relinquishes the 'XMMS2' name.
  8. ^ all4mp3.com - Thomson mp3PRO Plugins
  9. ^ Musepack - Plugins
  10. ^ xiph.org - Vorbis audio compression
  11. ^ Etree - xmmms-shn — SHN plugin for XMMS
  12. ^ http://mcmcc.bat.ru/xmms-wma/ Index of /xmms-wma Archived July 15, 2013, at the Wayback Machine