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Brain damage

Filed under: GStreamer,Open Source — Thomas @ 10:32


Tim pointed me to a bug report about GStreamer. I couldn't resist from commenting on a comment that questioned my mental capacity :)

(In reply to comment #4)
> I still wonder who invented such ugly naming scheme for gstreamer plugins?

I don't think you wondered really hard because it's not that hard to find who
did. It was me.

> Who
> is this completely braindamaged guy, who combines all plugins into several
> packs, which names says nothing about their actual content.

If memory serves, the same guy that you met in person some years ago.

> I still hope, that sometimes there will be a great developer, who will split
> these good/bad/ugly/etc packages into something more suitable for end-users.

And I still hope that some people will not assume everyone else is stupid just
because they're talking on the internet.

Whether or not the GStreamer plugin-split and its naming was a good idea is obviously debatable. I still think that we did the right thing there, and he could have read the explanation.

But regardless, people, seem to think that because it's the Internet, common courtesy isn't necessary. Especially in our communities, people can get abrasive online where they wouldn't be in real life because they have a real person in front of them.

Often, these people emulate people like Linus Torvalds, who is known to have a certain abrasiveness. Linus gets away with it because he's made undeniable and genius contributions to the community. The problem are the disciples, taking him as an example, confusing correlation with causality, and copying his abrasive style thinking it will lead to genius.

I'm extrapolating this particular bug report here - I can't or won't comment on his contributions, which are many as well. I know about a lot of them, since he interviewed here for a job a year ago. I'm mentioning this to make sure you know that the Internet is not always as anonymous or isolated as you think it is. You can't delete stuff from the net, and people will evaluate you by your online presence, for better or worse.

And if the person commenting is really interested in the plugin split, feel free to talk to me, but let's keep the chatter out of the bug report.

Now excuse me, I'm late for my CAT scan. Better safe than sorry!

UPDATE: someone commented that I breached etiquette; so I removed some details like the bug report and a part of the comment. I should have thought it through, I had no idea what I did was considered as such. My excuses.


  1. Nah, only a genius can name software subpackages after Leone’s film “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”. This is while writing python APIs… examples quoting the Monty Python Flying Circus is encouraged :)

    Comment by fer — 2010-01-26 @ 12:07

  2. Man, you’ve summarized my thoughts about lack of good manners on some of our communities. Being smart/genius/whatever doesn’t give a person the right of treat people like garbage.

    Anyway, thank you for your years of work on gstreamer!



    Comment by Lucas Meneghel Rodrigues — 2010-01-26 @ 12:45

  3. flamed! Maybe a flame war will happen now. I hope so, they are always entertaining.

    (Interesting comment snipped by me because it sounds likely to be true and I have to remove this comment as well as fixing my entry – thanks anonymous)

    The names themselves ‘ugly’ and ‘bad’ are not such nice labels to apply to peoples work. A tad abrasive.

    Comment by anonymous — 2010-01-26 @ 15:51

  4. A posting worth being printed and hang next to the monitor! :-)

    Comment by Mathias Hasselmann — 2010-01-26 @ 17:01

  5. Haha, we used to have a wall of shame with e-mails printed on them. Myself and Havoc had plenty of ones sent to us trashing D-Bus and someone even babbled on about Owen writing GTK+ code by shooting it out of the sky with a shotgun. I just take the tact that anyone acting like that on the Internet doesn’t deserve to be taken seriously anywhere.

    Comment by John (J5) Palmieri — 2010-01-26 @ 17:31

  6. You may have breached etiquette, but it’s still the number 2 result on Google when searching for “I still wonder who invented such ugly naming scheme for gstreamer plugins”

    Comment by Amedee Van Gasse — 2010-01-26 @ 17:56

  7. Manners aside, he has a fair point. The names are not descriptive at all of what’s inside them and slightly demeaning towards those than made them.

    I suggest names like h264/mpeg2/mp3/etc. with meta-packages like free/nonfree/emul

    Comment by Lucian — 2010-01-26 @ 23:02

  8. Lucian,

    I’m one of the people that ‘made them’. When we were discussing strategies nobody objected that they felt this was insulting to their code. Additionally, ‘bad’ indeed means ‘bad’ – bad quality, bad code, bad docs, bad tests – not ready yet for public consumption. It is indeed a psychological motivation to improve that plugin to get it moved.

    The names you suggest would mean having to split up source even further – something no one in GStreamer would like, and beside that some of those source tarballs would then still be a mix of code that can be freely distributed and code that can’t. Not to mention that a lot of codecs are in the gst-ffmpeg tarball anyway, and nobody would want to split those out.

    Comment by Thomas — 2010-01-27 @ 00:21

  9. This naming scheme is in fact stupid.

    Comment by Name (required) — 2010-01-27 @ 07:33

  10. You could alternatively use less polarizing names. How about ‘good’, ‘problematic’ and ‘unsupported’?

    From the description ‘bad’ does not actually mean ‘bad’, it means ‘not good’. “They might be close to being good quality, but they’re missing something”. ‘Bad’ sounds much worse than that.

    Comment by me — 2010-01-27 @ 11:14

  11. Being nice is overrated.

    If you are discussing about technical stuff, you should not need people to treat you with gloves. If you are being stupid, the quickest and more effective way to express that thought is to say so: “you are being stupid” (in case this hurts your sensitivities; no I’m not saying you are stupid, it’s just an example).

    I think you are confusing “abrasiveness” with “frankness”. Now, clearly, I can’t be honest here because if I try to do that I would need to spend a considerable amount of time finding a politically correct way to express what I really think, and I don’t have time for that.

    Comment by Felipe Contreras — 2010-01-27 @ 13:16

  12. frank is saying ‘I think you are stupid’.
    abrasive is saying ‘completely braindamaged guy’.

    If you think the latter is being frank instead of abrasive, then good luck to you :)

    Comment by Thomas — 2010-01-27 @ 13:26

  13. I’m wasn’t talking about that particular comment, I was talking about the general assertion you did about “Linus’ disciples”.

    If you want me to reply to that “completely braindamaged guy” comment; well, obviously a person like that couldn’t make such contributions to GStreamer, so I think it’s clear the guy was simply using a rhetorical device to make his point.

    Comment by Felipe Contreras — 2010-01-28 @ 02:53

  14. Totally average user here. I thought the naming scheme was fine but unfortunately I always thought good > bad > ugly because that’s the order in which they are in the title of the film.

    Comment by Roshan — 2010-01-28 @ 18:52

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