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

Josh Allmann joshua.allmann
Mon Mar 14 21:11:40 CET 2011

On 14 March 2011 01:36, Stefano Sabatini <stefano.sabatini-lala at poste.it> wrote:
> On date Monday 2011-03-14 12:10:47 +0100, madshi encoded:
>> Hello,
>> we had a coup. Now we seem to have a re-coup. It feels
>> to me as if we were in the Dark Ages. People are fighting
>> with each other instead of working together.
>> 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.
>> I know, I'm a rather unknown person on this mailing list.
>> But maybe that puts me in the comfortable position to
>> not being partial to either leadership. I don't really care
>> who leads ffmpeg/libav, as long as ffmpeg/libav prospers.
>> Of course for that all devs need to be reasonably happy,
>> so the leadership should ideally be accepted by all devs.
>> Please excuse me for taking the liberty to write this:
>> Could I *please* ask all of you ffmpeg/libav devs to
>> take two steps back and look at the bigger picture?
>> I know it might require to swallow some pride, but please
>> think about what is best for *ffmpeg/libav* and not for
>> yourself. The project is bigger than an individual person.
> Thanks for taking care to post this, I couldn't agree with you more,
> we should avoid to split the project, the consequences for users and
> free software multimedia would be catastrophic.

+1. There are simply not enough developers to maintain two competing
forks, considering the nature of the FFmpeg codebase. Not to mention
those who have curtailed or stopped contributing because of this.

My own contributions  to FFmpeg have been small, but I am a heavy user
of the library. The drama over the past few months has left a sour
taste in my mouth, but now I'm genuinely concerned for the long-term
stability of the project.

FFmpeg is one of the more important projects in free software, and
multimedia in particular is not going to diminish in importance going
forward -- far from it. Please find a way to reconcile and re-combine,
however that may be done.


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