Woah, it’s good to know people care about Fluendo. It didn’t take much time after Christian‘s announcement on his blog for people to deluge me with questions. So let’s save me some time by replying publically.
Yes – Christian, Wim and Edward are leaving as full-time employees of Fluendo. The reasons for these are many and varied, as is always the case, and I’m sure you could extract some of them with sufficient application of free beers at GUADEC :) Same goes for us. But beyond that it’s between us and them. We wish them the best of luck with striking out on their own. Tim, the GStreamer bugmaster, is joining them – he was contracting part-time for us before.
Are we dropping GStreamer ? No, GStreamer 0.10 has been a success on all accounts from both sides of the fence. I think this is obvious, given that today you can go to Fluendo, Collabora, Opened Hand, and tomorrow a new company, to get consulting done on GStreamer. A lot of big companies don’t even tell us anymore that they use GStreamer and want help – they just Do It (which amusingly is the result of your project being Free Software in the first place… The more consulting you do, the smaller the percentage of businesses that need consulting. The hope is that the absolute pie gets bigger because of the success of your project though. But I digress)
GStreamer is not going to suffer because of this. If anything, you should expect to see the community evolve, because sadly it is just too damn easy to not communicate enough with your community if a lot of the core developers are sitting next to each other holding hands all day. Maybe we can finally shut up the conspiracy theorists that claim Fluendo have stolen GStreamer :)
So what about Fluendo ? Our plans haven’t changed. We still work on GStreamer to make it better. We still make products on top of it, like our codecs and our DVD player, which we hope to sell to you guys to solve legal issues, and obviously also to get filthily rich in the process. And we’re still working on Flumotion and Elisa, and the parts that are free will be as free as they have ever been.
And what about our current customers ? They needn’t worry either. Business goes on as usual. Contracts will be completed. We’re a serious company and we respect our customers.
Is there anyone left ? This is the funniest question – somehow people think that we’re still this small five person company. And admittedly I sometimes have trouble coping with the changes over the last year. But today, Fluendo is a group of three companies, with around 25 people spread across, some of whom you’ll probably never get to know (because they’re not community people – our office manager keeps complaining about this crap called Linux) and all of us sharing the same office space.
So, what about me ? Well, I’m glad two of you care. On a personal level, it is sad to see friends leave the company. I’ve been working on GStreamer for almost as long as Christian and Wim – must be seven years now – and any hacker out there knows that this creates a bond. I still have my GStreamer shirt, one of the many high-quality shirts with actual embroidery, that Christian sprung for out of his own pocket, for everyone who wanted one. And one of my best GStreamer moments was still the GStreamer weekend in the Norwegian cabin, shared with a class of physical education students, only reachable after an hour of wading through waist-deep snow.
Before Fluendo, I would introduce myself at conferences hunching my back and saying, with a meek voice, “I hack on GStreamer, I’m sorry, don’t hurt me”. Now, any of us can proudly say “you’re welcome” when people thank us for our work, as we used to thank the hundreds of other hackers whose hard work we use every day.
And for me, learning the difficulties of starting and growing a company as I go, having a group of people leave for the first time is a coming-of-age thing. It is something you never want to happen but cannot avoid at the same time – making the business that you make one step further on the way to being a real business, and no longer a small group of friends working together.
And before I get too sentimental, it should be obvious by now that Fluendo is hiring! If you want to step into the footsteps of giants, help us fix bugs in GStreamer and GStreamer-using applications, help us write plugins for more codecs, help us support and package plugins, drop me a line at the usual place.
And for Flumotion, we are also going to be hiring the next two months – we’re looking for Flumotion developers, web developers, and a sysadmin to help manage our platform, as well as a customer support engineer and a QA engineer. (It is probably time to put stuff like this on our website, but until we have time to do so, it doesn’t hurt to put this out there and have you contact us directly.)
If you have more questions or are still worried feel free to mail any of us (at Fluendo, or the “leavers”) directly. And best of luck to our three musketeers in the next venture.
Go home; find a wench. Raise fat babies, and live a good, long life.