[FFmpeg-devel] FFmpegs future and resigning as leader

Roger Pack rogerdpack2 at gmail.com
Mon Aug 24 22:51:25 CEST 2015

On 7/31/15, Michael Niedermayer <michael at niedermayer.cc> wrote:
> Hi all
> Ive been in FFmepg since 14 years and been the leader since 11 years
> and i feel that iam not the best person for the leader position.
> I had hoped for a long time that the fork situation would resolve and
> both sides somehow merging back into one team. All the Libav developers
> joining FFmpeg again. But even now as the last distributions are
> preparing to remove Libav, still theres no hint of that happening.
> Maybe even the opposite.
> The community is split and its very difficult to be the leader when
> one is on one side of this split and the other tries everything to
> push me out
> I hope my resignation will make it easier for the teams to find back
> together and avoid a more complete split which would otherwise be
> the result sooner or later as the trees diverge and merging all
> improvments becomes too difficult for me to do.
> also before my resignation, i offer all maintainers who dont yet have,
> direct write access as i likely will not comb through the ML anymore
> or not as frequently to apply patches, please send me your public SSH
> key if you are de facto maintaining or working on some part of FFmpeg
> or are listed in MAINTAINERs.
> If people want to continue merges from libav, someone else will have
> to do these. Indeed i fully admit the work and pressure caused by
> the merges is a main reason for my resignation.

Hey thanks sooo much for your work on FFmpeg over the years.  I'll
admit it's one of the few communities that actually has felt
maintained (mostly by yourself).  I also understand that leading is
lonely work.  It always is unfortunately...

I guess most of the decision making will be decided in person or
something like that [?]
Once there's general concensus around what to do I will follow it,
please post an announcement or something :)

> FFmpeg belongs to the FFmpeg developers and the FFmpeg community!
> will i ever return ? ... i might ..., if theres a nice and friendly
> environment, no hostile forks or at least none i have to interact with.
> But i will certainly not return as leader, this is not really a role
> i ever truly liked, more one i ended up with.

OK so I take this to mean that even if the general concensus was
"let's just keep them split, and quit the merges from libav" you would
still step down at this point?  (I guess my real question is "what's
the major objective? To reunify, or to make things more amenable to
Michael?" My assumption is that it's to reunify the community?)

I will also admit my one other concern: that without Michael there
won't be enough active leadership *total* to "fix all the annoying
bugs" and everything.  I.e. it will just become a worse muck.  But if
the hope is that the guys at libav have enough time/energy to do it
all then the community as a whole would benefit, agree.

Glancing randomly at
It appears that most active on the mailing list is
Luca Barbato and Anton Khirnov and Martin Storsjö(?)
though I don't know much about it I'm sure there are others lurking.
I suppose though if we combined forces between the FFmpeg people
together with them it might be enough leadership.  Or at least easier
than it is now [?] and definitely less duplication of effort.  So
possibly a net win.

I'll admit one of the thoughts I had for "recombining" was (cough)
basically directing new patches to libav, then somebody [michael? not
as a committer, just contributor] going back through the last 4 years
of commits and trying to get them committed to libav.  Fun fun (not
really--just a lot of work).  And possibly not an option dunno.

> Especially as somehow "leader" is being interpreted by everyone as
> "the guy who does all work noone else does, and takes all
>  responsibility noone else wants to take"
> am i still available for consulting jobs releated to FFmpeg?
> yes, of course i cant gurantee it for the very distant future but
> currently yes. And in the very distant future, its a maybe, so just
> ask if theres something ...
> what about root, git admin roles, ...?
> Well iam happy to pass them on to whoever the community chooses and
> trusts. But please be very carefull who you choose!
> until someone else is choosen i can continue doing the basic things
> like security updates and opening git accounts, aka theres no urgency
> in choosing someone, rather please choose wise than quick.
> what about GSoC? I agreed to mentor and admin that and i will of
> course finish that for this summer. I may or may not be available
> in future FFmpeg GSoCs.
> If you now think "ohh god what should i do, michael resigned"
> very simple, FFmpeg is yours, that is everyones. try your best to
> make FFmpeg be the best.
> Post patches, review patches, apply patches, discuss code and design.
> Report bugs, bisect, debug and fix bugs, add features, help users.
> Do friendly merges, and if you like do hostile merges.
> Its all up to you now!
> PS: To push a merge, i think this wasnt documented, you need to
> add a "Merged-by:" to the commit message, thats the only check, i have
> no special premissions or anything to push merges.

I would recommend moving the main repo to github--people understand it
(and permission issues, etc.) more readibly.  But that's just me.  And
it depends on what the concensus is for "combining" the forks (for
instance, will it to be mothball FFmpeg [i.e. only security patches]
and start doing all new commits to libav [and slowly cherry picking
old commits from FFmpeg -> libav]? if so then it doesn't matter too
much what happens to the FFmpeg side of things.

Anyway happy to see the community moving forward, and many thanks
again to Michael for herculean efforts over the years.  Definitely
FFmpeg would not be where it is without his work.  (Another random
thought: put an add on the ffmpeg.org website "somebody please employ
michael full time" to alleviate the stress, but again, it may not be
about the stress, just the community, which is a separate issue).

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