updated 12:19 am EDT, Tue May 15, 2012
One final release coming soon
The group of developers that had begun and maintained the Perian video-codec project over the last six years is calling it quits, and will release one more version of the popular video translator before shutting down support and posting the code on a public repository for others to (perhaps) take over. The final version "may or may not" work under Mountain Lion, and the code will eventually be posted on Google Code or Github.
The program complements the widely-used Windows Media components for QuickTime by addressing most other non-standard codecs that QuickTime doesn't natively handle and allowing QuickTime to play media files such as MKV and VP3 among many others. Between the two, Mac users generally had no more, and often less, difficulty playing exotic media file formats than Windows users.
The last release will include all fixes the team has been able to do, but will not include any significant new features. About 90 days after the final release, the group will shut down the project and post the source code on one the repositories. Several other programs, including Miro and Airfoil, make use of Perian's technology to enable some of those programs' features. There has been no comment yet from those companies on their future plans, though it is widely hoped that Perian will continue to work into future versions of OS X.
If the program does stop working, however, the developers remind users that other third-party viewing programs such as VLC will also handle many if not most non-standard video and audio codecs. The program is still available for download at the current version (1.2.3) and remains free of charge. Perian installs as a system preference pane, but mostly works invisibly to make video and audio files "just work."
Donations for the project are no longer being accepted. Those who wish to donate as a "thank you" can follow the suggestions of donating to Child's Play, Ronald McDonald House or the Electronic Frontier Foundation as mentioned by the team.