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Filed under: GNOME,GStreamer,Hacking — Thomas @ 12:24 pm

12:24 pm

I find it highly ironic that Ronald still complains about DVD menu support in GStreamer. I remember going out on a limb discussing with the release team the state of DVD playback at the end of the 0.8 cycle when Ronald did a lot of work to get it somewhat working. In retrospect I think that was a huge mistake – DVD support was only in its infancy, it wasn’t very synchronized, it only ever worked on one out of five DVD’s. Live and learn. Also, it was at the same time as Ronald was moving to the US for his studies, and it wasn’t clear at the time if he was going to maintain and improve support. It was both the release team’s and my worry that we would be announcing support for DVD playback in Totem with no clear maintenance path. Today it is obvious that this worry was justified – Ronald never touched DVD code in GStreamer since then.

I still have a huge amount of respect for Ronald as a coder. But not finishing a feature you introduced in, 0.8, and not porting it to 0.10, and then complaining about the team you have left not cleaning up your dirty work, takes chutzpah. Meanwhile, my hope is on Tim Philipp-Müller (author of Thoggen and GStreamer bugmaster) and Martin Soto (author of seamless) to work on the open-but-patent-encumbered version of DVD playback.

We’d love to have Ronald back on the team, picking up the thread where he left it in 0.8, and finish DVD support in the “free-but-not-free” version of the GStreamer stack. He’d have a much easier time doing it too, compared to the monstrous 0.8 hacks we needed to get it even somewhat working. As I’m writing this Jan is showing off his DVD player to Christian. It’s already heaps better than the 0.8 DVD support was – it follows menu items immediately, without hanging on still frames, or taking five seconds to know that it has entered a new path on the DVD. It’s not ready yet for release but it’s progressing at a steady pace now that we’re keeping Jan on-task. I’m sure a hacker like Ronald would have no problems implementing the necessary support for menu’s in the 0.10 version of GStreamer. How’s about it, Ronald ? Do us all a favour, yourself included, and finish the work you started before you left to the US.


  1. “Do us all a favour, yourself included, and finish the work you started before you left to the US”? That sure is a nice house you got there, it sure would be a shame if something happened to it.

    Comment by Rob J. Caskey — 2007-4-12 @ 1:15 pm

  2. It must have required ninja-restraint power not to say this earlier :)

    Comment by Peter Lund — 2007-4-12 @ 4:28 pm

  3. I’m currently trying to get all of Wikipedia’s “Fallacies of Irrelevance”. Your post was an excellent testing ground.

    It’s nice how you spin it so that it’s suddenly Ronald’s fault. I’m wondering, is your argument ad hominem or guilt by association?

    And of course GStreamer 0.10 is better than 0.8 even though it doesn’t play DVDs. Is believe that’s a straw man?

    Anything I’ve missed?

    Comment by Benjamin Otte — 2007-4-12 @ 8:54 pm

  4. Benjamin,

    there is no substance in Ronald’s post to address. So due to lack of content, given the choice between ad hominem or guilt by assocation, I would have to say my reply is ad hominem.

    As for spinning, or assigning fault, that’s not what it’s about. I don’t think it’s anyone’s fault at all that we have no DVD menu support in totem. As you may have noticed *I* am not the one complaining about the lack of it. All I can do is try to motivate people like Martin, Tim, Ronald, in that direction. The fact of the matter is that Ronald was one of these people working on precisely what he is complaining about, and he withdrew.

    You would have correctly identified the strawman provided that 0.8 actually played DVD’s. Apparently most people agree that it didn’t do a good job of it. Whether you want to take the statement as me saying that GStreamer 0.10 is better because of this is your choice – that is not what I said.

    I think you would have to make a strong case for GStreamer 0.8 being better than 0.10 however, provided you want to make such a comparison. I’d certainly claim so, though that was not what the post was about :)

    You definately missed “appeal to emotion – flattery” – while I do respect Ronald’s hacking abilities, I respect a lot of other people’s as well, and I don’t necessarily say so in posts. So doing so in this one definately falls under that category.

    By the way, you’re not a bad hacker yourself – are you sure the world needs Flash more than DVD’s ?

    Comment by Thomas — 2007-4-12 @ 10:10 pm

  5. Yes. The world needs Flash more than DVDs. Flash can be Free, DVDs can’t.
    And I personally have boycotted DVDs for ever because of the drm. I don’t even have a DVD playback device.

    Back to topic: I thought it’s a pity that you both start blame-shifting about GStreamer’s shortcomings when Ronald’s post was intended to be about 2.18 being boring. I think it would be nice if we could all stop producing lots of fallacies in favor of more rational discussions. Even though it’s certainly funny in a way, it’s probably bad for GStreamer the project.

    Comment by Benjmain Otte — 2007-4-12 @ 10:22 pm

  6. Benjamin, exactly. Ronald’s post should have been about GNOME 2.18 being boring, not another emotional stab at a project he left. Like I said, there is no blame for DVD not working from my point of view – it’s just an unimplemented feature and these things happen. I myself am definately not smart enough to fix that by coding.

    The fact that DVD menu’s don’t work today in GStreamer is completely unrelated to the point Ronald was trying to make – that GNOME 2.18 is boring.

    Comment by Thomas — 2007-4-12 @ 10:53 pm

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