[Ffmpeg-devel] Re: time for a release?

Reinhard Tartler siretart
Fri Dec 16 19:07:06 CET 2005

Hi ffmpeg developers,

please let me introduce myself, I'm Reinhard Tartler, an ubuntu
developer caring about packages which use ffmpeg. I'd like to loose a
few words on this discussion. Sorry for breaking threads, please CC:
me, I'm not on this list.

>Michel Bardiaux mbardiaux at mediaxim.be wrote:
>>>it's been a while since the last release and since then there has
>>>been a lot of development and many new features have been added to
>>>FFmpeg along with fixes for a good deal of bugs.  In short, I think
>>>it's time to make a new release.

>It does not make sense to issue a 'release' since at the first bug 
>report regarding the 'release', the reply will be 'use cvs'.

Well, one big problem we currently have (and other distrubtions as
well!) is that ffmpeg does not provide a stable API or ABI. This makes
it very difficult to package programs which use ffmpeg. The interim
solution projects like xine and mplayer choose is to include copies of
CVS snapshots from ffmpeg. This is a nightmare to support, because for
every security update has to update each package on its own.

I really think that a release which introduces a stable API and
consisten use of sonames in a shared libraries would help a lot. If all
packages would just link dynamically to ffmpeg, updating and bugfixing
ffmpeg would not cause a painful rebuild and resyncronizing of all 

>IMHO, either a release is declared, *and* it is supported; or, the 
>cvs-only-support rule remains in force, and the only thing to do is to 
>state very it clearly in all the docs.

Do you support your last release? There is something, which is called
'formal releases' on http://ffmpeg.sourceforge.net/download.php. 

Since ffmpeg is used in quite a lot of projects, I'm pretty sure that
there actually are people interested in backporting fixes from CVS to a
stable release, which go towards a point release.

In ubuntu, we currently have another issue: Due to patent problems, we
cannot ship ffmpeg in the 'main' section of ubuntu. Instead, we
distribute patent encumbered software which include ffmpeg in a section
called 'multiverse'. It is on our mirrors, but not on the CD.

The problem now is, that we do want to support software like xine and
mplayer, but we cannot, because they include 'problematic' parts of
ffmpeg. If they could rely on a stable ffmpeg, so that they don't need
to maintain an own fork of ffmpeg, it would be a lot easier for us to
support those packages.

So please, reconsider having a ffmpeg 'release' with version numbers.
If ffmpeg does not have resources to actually support them, then say so
and try to release more often but trying to retain ABI compatibility
(soname), so that it is not necessary to rebuild all dependend packages.

And please give me cluebats in case I missed some important points.
Thank you for your attention.

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