Jon Lech Johansen is perhaps best known as DVD Jon, the chap who cracked DVD movie encryption at the tender age of just 15. He may soon have to adopt a new nickname, how about iTunes Jon, as he releases software that takes iTunes out of the iPod music equation.
doubleTwist exists on the foundation that in the same way you don't have a different web browser for every web site that you visit, you shouldn't have to have different software when you use an iPod, a Nokia smartphone, a Sony device and so on. "The typical household today has many such devices" the company website says "there is a need for a simple and powerful software that connects them." Which is where the newly released software comes in, and iTunes goes out the door.
doubleTwist co-founder Monique Farantzos has even gone as far as to describe Apple as the new Microsoft, referring to a dark side that has emerged with apps being blocked from the App Store for example, and the Palm pre not being allowed to sync with iTunes. And so we now have a piece of software that has all the functionality of iTunes, but does not restrict the user to just an iPod or even just to iTunes for that matter. doubleTwist will, so I am informed, allow iPod users to buy their music from the Amazon MP3 store if they prefer. That said, it's the ability to play an iTunes library of music on any device that really appeals to me.
Apple must be getting very fed up indeed with DVD Jon, especially after an advert was placed alongside the San Francisco Apple Store back in June to encourage people to turn their backs on iTunes and the iPhone. Not forgetting the 1984 video parody made by Johansen casting Steve Jobs as Big Brother, for good measure.