[FFmpeg-devel] (trying to be) a voice of reason

Tony Strauss tony
Mon Mar 14 17:53:32 CET 2011

On Mon, Mar 14, 2011 at 7:10 AM, madshi <madshi at gmail.com> wrote:

> Hello,
> As far as I can see, if nothing changes, there are 3 ways
> this could go:
> (1) Either Michael "wins". As a result some developers
> will leave.
> (2) Or the new leadership team wins. As a result some
> different developers will leave.
> (3) Or there will be two separate branches. Instead of
> working together some devs will work on one branch,
> the others on the other branch. This might not be so bad
> from the view of the developers working on the branches.
> But it would be a quite bad situation for users of (= devs
> using) ffmpeg/libav, because probably the branches would
> be different. One branch would have some features the
> other branch hasn't and vice versa. One branch would
> have bugs the other hasn't. Users of ffmpeg/libav might
> even end up having to use both branches to get the best
> of both worlds. Furthermore where to post bug reports?
> Two mailing lists? Two Google Summer of Code projects?
> Two sample storages? Two bug trackers? Etc etc...
> IMHO all three options are really bad.
> <snip>

> I think democratic elections are the only way out of this
> mess, because it's the only way that I see that everybody
> could accept the final outcome without losing face.

As another ffmpeg-devel lurker, I'd like to second Mathias' call for the
ffmpeg core developers to try to resolve their conflicts for greater good.
 I think that ffmpeg is one of the few critically important open source

Before any kind of vote, perhaps the 20 - 30 core developers should decide
on some kind of governance structure under which the vote will take place.
 That structure could include:
* A formal core team
* Regular core team elections (FreeBSD does this)
* Term limits of some kind

Each of the two(?) factions could pick one or two people who would negotiate
the governance structure on behalf of the rest of their faction.

This governance structure ideally would be such that the losers of the
election would not feel disenfranchised simply because they lost the
election.  The governance structure also perhaps could be incorporated into
some kind of not for profit foundation with legal ownership of all relevant
domains, logos, and rights; this way, developers could trust in the force of
law to protect their rights under the governance structure.

I really liked the suggestion that someone else had on this thread to talk
with the Debian folk (and perhaps similar entities).  They might be able to
arbitrate between the two camps and provide a settlement that most people
can tolerate.


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