XMMS was originally written as X11Amp by Peter and Mikael Alm in November 1997. The player was made to resemble Winamp, which was first released in May that year. As such, XMMS has supported Winamp 2 "classic" skins since its release. 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 GNU General Public License.
On June 10, 1999, 4Front Technologies decided to sponsor X11Amp development and the project was renamed to XMMS - 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".
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.
XMMS has continued to use GTK+ 1.x toolkit, despite a major revision of GTK (2.x) being available for several years, and the current version being GTK3. 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:
^"About". 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.
^"History/Prehistory". As the number of applications using (or switching to) GTK2 grows, users grow dissatisfied with the XMMS team's intertia, 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.