[FFmpeg-devel] FFmpegs future and resigning as leader

Ganesh Ajjanagadde gajjanag at mit.edu
Fri Jul 31 16:40:41 CEST 2015

On Fri, Jul 31, 2015 at 9:53 AM, 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.
> 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.
> 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.
> PS2: Be carefull about who will be in charge of key infrastructure!
>      and also where power moves when thouse in charge then resign.
> PS3: I would suggest a new "leader" if there was a clear pick, a year
>      or 2 ago i would have suggested stefano or clement but they are
>      not so active currently. Maybe a good candidate will appear in
>      the future or stefano & ubitux will become more active again
>      in which case i would suggest one of them as leader if the
>      community wants to have a leader and they agree.
> Thanks to everyone, for everything they did and will do in the future
> for FFmpeg and the community !

I had been a user of FFmpeg for many years unconsciously when I used
the VLC media player.
I remember how superior it was to every other media player out there,
and was completely free.
Back then, I was too young to even appreciate the hard work behind the
scenes in supporting all these media codecs, etc.
My conscious involvement with FFmpeg started a year back, when I would
run an occasional media conversion.
Later on, I was looking for command line, simple media players, and
came across ffplay.
I was immediately hooked: the default display of a spectrogram during
audio playback appealed
to my mathematical/signal processing instincts.

My first serious encounter with ffmpeg development was a bug I ran
into with an audio filter.
I was pleasantly surprised at the professional, polite, kind, and
prompt replies from the devs.
One often hears stories of how many open source devs, although
technically brilliant, are often hostile in their interactions.
The FFmpeg community has in my experience been totally unlike such projects.
Lately I have become slightly more active, since FFmpeg development
provides a useful
distraction for me during my downtime as a graduate student in a
mathematical field.

I was not involved with FFmpeg at the time of the fork, but saw the
ugliness of it from old mailing lists,
articles, etc.
I can only guess as to how much pain it caused FFmpeg devs, especially
Michael who has given all his energy
to make better multimedia for the world at large.
I am sure his selflessness, patience, and brilliance will be missed
from his leadership days.

I can't end this without mentioning the astounding work of Fabrice who
started this project,
and who is well known for many other wonderful software.
Furthermore, thanks to everyone involved in this project for making
and upholding FFmpeg
as the best all round multimedia solution.

> --
> Michael     GnuPG fingerprint: 9FF2128B147EF6730BADF133611EC787040B0FAB
> Old school: Use the lowest level language in which you can solve the problem
>             conveniently.
> New school: Use the highest level language in which the latest supercomputer
>             can solve the problem without the user falling asleep waiting.
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