[FFmpeg-devel] To be or not to be working with libav (was: [PATCHv3] On2 VP7 decoder)

Vittorio Giovara vittorio.giovara at gmail.com
Tue Apr 1 16:44:20 CEST 2014

On Sun, Mar 30, 2014 at 11:19 AM, Nicolas George <george at nsup.org> wrote:
> I believe the discussion about the correct behaviour of FFmpeg developers
> with regard to libav is perfectly in-topic here, therefore I continue the
> thread. I will not be replying point-by-point though.

Thanks for keeping the discussion alive and hate-free.
I agree this title better fits the topic in a way.

> Personally, I tried at first to work with/for both sides. I tried again
> after VDD 2011. The result: it was made perfectly clear that my proposals
> were considered not interesting, but not before wasting my time on cosmetics
> (because obviously, Someone's opinion on how a variable should be named
> matters more than the opinion of the original author of the file, the one
> who will actually maintain the code).

Well I firmly remember that at VDD 2013 the Libav team tried to reach
out the ffmpeg one, but the latter neglected any interaction.
Regarding the second part, it's sad that you had a bad experience and
I don't know what part of code you are talking about, but code
authorship is not all, sometimes the overall design scheme have to
prevail and change variables' name. However is the name of a variable
*really* enough to quit a project for you?

> After that, I stopped caring whether my changes got to libav or not. I make
> no effort to make them work, but neither do I make effort making them harder
> to merge.

FWIW this "make harder to merge" is plain FUD and it'd be nice if we
got over this.

> The letter of Free Software and Copyleft requires me to make my changes
> available, and they are. The spirit of Free Software and Copyleft want my
> enhancements to be easily available to the community, and they are, through
> FFmpeg. If the changes do not reach libav, that is entirely due to them
> being unwelcome there.

Yet the letters you mentioned do not require that the code received
here has to be constantly bashed and their authors insulted. However
this is what happens on this mailing list and elsewhere, which is
shameful and no one gains anything from it.

> The only reason I still slightly care about what happens on the libav side
> is because some members of that branch have abused their double-hat as
> distribution package maintainers and forced their distribution to go with
> their side of the fork. That makes the API and ABI from that side a de-facto
> standard, even when it is actually mis-designed.

I'd like to know more about this, as I said, without references these
kind of statements do sound like free-trolling. I am sure this is not
the case, but I don't see why ffmpeg didn't try to discuss these
things before and merged those changes anyway. And this would be a
good point for a start of a constructive discussion: which problems do
you see in the current API and how could that improved?

Some other chunks I think warranted a reply

On Sun, Mar 30, 2014 at 10:30 AM, wm4 <nfxjfg at googlemail.com> wrote:
> But the truth is probably while
> they don't intentionally do this, they don't care much about making the
> merger's (MiNi's) life easier.
> And that is not very nice.

Can we get over with this? No one asked anyone to merge anything and
as I already stated this is bringing more harm to both projects than
benefit to a single one.

>> No, you decided to be a Libav downstream (and can't deny that) but
>> take any occasion to bash Libav itself and its developers. You don't
>> like that, so you have no other option than insulting and criticizing
>> Libav devs (like you do below), so maybe it's you... grasping at
>> straws ;)
> So FFmpeg is a Libav downstream?

It is, until daily merge happens. It'd be nice to see how both
projects live on their own and prosper, only users will benefit from
something like it.

> Same can be said about Libav work being merged into FFmpeg before it
> lands in Libav, like the HEVC decoder. So both sides have to work on
> their behavior.

I am here to talk but this topic is like a swamp - it doesn't matter
if you throw a stone or just put a nice gift, it will just release a
stench on being disturbed (cit).

> What do you want? That MiNi ports all FFmpeg contributions to Libav,
> and sends them as patches to libav-devel?

I would just like that the code that is merged from Libav is not
constantly bashed and their authors insulted. Ideally I would like
that the two projects could at least talk to each other, but I don't
see that happening any time soon if these email represent the current
state of affairs. I proposed a topic above, let's see how it goes.

> Keep in mind that not everyone targets his applications to run on Linux
> distros. So they will just pick one project and stick with it. And if
> that is FFmpeg (which generally has slightly more features and slightly
> fewer bugs),

Can we go past this FUD? There are bugs and features in both projects,
one could even state that a review-less project like ffmpeg could
introduce more bugs, but it's really not worth discussing it.

On Mon, Mar 31, 2014 at 9:42 PM, compn <tempn at twmi.rr.com> wrote:
> On Mon, 31 Mar 2014 06:18:16 +0200
> Michael Niedermayer <michaelni at gmx.at> wrote:
>> also, just in case theres any doubt about it.
>> iam happy to resign if the majority of the ffmpeg developers
>> want that.
> in the three! years since the split i cant think of a single instance
> where michael has reverted or threatened to revert a developers commit
> or caused any problems/fights.

You should thank Libav for the current behaviour, another fork would
be unbearable ;)

On Sun, Mar 30, 2014 at 10:47 AM, James Almer <jamrial at gmail.com> wrote:
> Both authors asked in Libav's list if they could get a list of the changes and
> know what developer contributed with what change, to properly credit them when
> they ported the fixes back to ffmpeg. Instead of a reply with the information, or
> even a negative for that matter, they got absolutely nothing. The request was
> completely ignored.

I wasn't heavily involved with that but in my honest and personal
opinion (which is not going to be popular here) if the authors really
wanted feedback, they could have sent the patch *also* to Libav and
work with the review, instead of ignoring it and waiting for
improvements from others. Moreover quoting Nicolas above "my
enhancements [have] to be easily available to the community, and they
are", so I'm not really sure this topic helps much here...

> That attitude doesn't really support your claims of trying to make things easier
> for people.

If you read Libav history is a single linear track, it's very easy for
Libav developers and users to track changes; ffmpeg history is
alternated with merges and when looking for something you always have
to ignore half of results. Again I'm not sure how this topic helps.

Maybe, can we shift the focus a little and think of the future and see
if there is room for talking, that doesn't require either project to
wilt down? Please see the topic I proposed above

Let's not forget we're all here for the purpose of contributing to the
opensouce movement not for making one project successful or for
destroying another. Communication can be hard and given how much time
one invests certain topics could hit a nerve or two, but let's try to
be constructive for once.

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