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The good, the bad, and the ugly

Filed under: General — Thomas @ 21:59


When I tried to play common audio and video files, such as MP3 songs, I was told I had to first download special files called codecs that are built into Windows and Mac computers. I was warned that some of these codecs might be “bad” or “ugly.”

From this article

I laughed out loud when I read this - it's amusing that these names I settled on for the GStreamer plug-ins have made their way into a pundit review, by accident. In hindsight, I still think it's one of the best things I did as a GStreamer release manager. By and large, the good and ugly plug-ins are good quality, and the bad ones get new stuff in quickly, and people seem to complain less about crashes in bad plugins because they got what they asked for (though they complain more, obviously, about plugins not moving to good fast enough). For reference, Here's the story behind the names.

We don't call them ugly because we like them less. Does a mother love her son less because he's not as pretty as the other ones ? No - she commends him on his great personality.


  1. If it’s causing even a little confusion, then they’re probably not as good of names as you’d like to think. I’m not sure why you wouldn’t opt for the much, much clearer:


    Comment by Sean — 2007-09-13 @ 23:26

  2. “I was told I had to first download special files called codecs that are built into Windows and Mac computers.”

    The reviewer it seems has never tried to play Quicktime, Realvideo, DivX or any one of the many other formats Windows does not play out of the box.

    Comment by Alan — 2007-09-14 @ 03:29

  3. dikke nek!

    Comment by fons — 2007-09-14 @ 08:00

  4. @fons, stop trolling

    Comment by Thomas — 2007-09-14 @ 09:27

  5. What about


    Comment by pvanhoof — 2007-09-14 @ 11:23

  6. LOL!
    Keep it up the good work, dude!

    Comment by Deus Ex — 2007-09-14 @ 13:43

  7. @sean: I don’t think the names cause the confusion. The confusion users experience is “why does this not work out of the box”. The fact that ubuntu shows names of packages to install is the usability issue. What a package is named should not matter – does a user know what a “kernel” package is for ?

    @pvanhoof: that would have worked, just a bit longish :) As a release manager I prefer shorter names since I get to type them a lot.

    Comment by Thomas — 2007-09-14 @ 14:31

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