[vlc-devel] Christian Santa Hat removal?

Rob Whelan rob-jc at charter.net
Sat Dec 19 06:06:47 CET 2009

Ah, here I find points of agreement and with open source software debate is
good and agreement is even better.

I indeed am no more privy to 'the average user' than anyone else.  I'm going
on the numbers.  Population, projected internet access etc.  In those terms,
there are more people who are not celebrating a strictly Christian holiday
than who are.

I agree that potentially the cosmetic feature could be improved by including
holiday images from other cultural backgrounds, but the idea that you're
going to go through all the coding needed to accommodate holidays from
cultures and religions the same way we try to do with languages is quite

It is clearly best to simply allow the developers to provide whatever
inclusion they wish so they are pleased and productive and merely include an
'opt out' for people of cultures and faiths which differ from those of the
development team.

The issue at point has utterly nothing to do with the application function
and involves (based on my review) about 20 lines of code to provide an
optional disable.  That's the only issue here...options.  It is difficult to
argue that an open source program should purposefully limit user options on
an item that is purely cosmetic and purely the result of cultural issues.

I reiterate yet again that I agree that 'Santa' is not a religious symbol,
but is indeed a symbol of a religious event.  I fail to see how that is in

You mention Google which is an EXCELLENT example.  The Google logo is
dynamic, which means they can change or disable it at will as opposed to a
hard coded icon.

Also, the Google logo is not identical from country to country....meaning
NO, China does not get the same display as the US and Europe.  The Christmas
wreath image does NOT appear if you pull up Google in Beijing.

Plus, as I've seen in the past, the Google logo normally includes Christian,
Jewish and African American imagery in the glyph.  They make at least some
effort to include more than the obvious.  Also, I have seen some effort to
include holidays and events on Google which do not reflect strictly Western

I feel like it's only Christian zeal that makes this any contentious issue
whatsoever. If this were an issue with the package that was functional in
nature, there would be wide support for making a change to provide
additional user options.  It is difficult for me to picture Muslims ( and no
I'm not one so I'm guessing ) being pleased with a Santa hat, though it
seems easy for some to say 'no one really cares'.

If no one really cared, I wouldn't be here doing this.

I'm Buddhist, consecrated and vowed.  We don't celebrate Christmas and while
I deeply respect the holiday and the faith, I fail to see why my video
player needs to emphasize it to me and fail to do so for the holidays of my
own religion.  I haven't yet seen a little Buddha pop up to celebrate any of
the days I worship.

Why are your faith and celebrations more worthy of notation than mine?  Is
this not a universal project? Are users in non Christian countries and
cultures less valued than others?

It is easy for some to dismiss this, but it is a significant statement from
the development team and the vocal members of the user community that some
pigs are more equal than other pigs.  One must consider the slope on which
one stands.

-----Original Message-----
From: vlc-devel-bounces at videolan.org
[mailto:vlc-devel-bounces at videolan.org]On Behalf Of Michael Schultz
Sent: Friday, December 18, 2009 11:04 PM
To: Mailing list for VLC media player developers
Subject: Re: [vlc-devel] Christian Santa Hat removal?

On Fri, Dec 18, 2009 at 10:10:03PM -0500, Rob Whelan wrote:
> This is not a 'feature' that is to be improved over time.  It is a choice
> designers to introduce a non functional endorsement for a holiday that is
> not shared by most of the world.

Well I must disagree with that.  I think the feature *could* be improved
over time.  I can't speak for all the developers, but if people started
submitting patches with other holiday icons (I'll emphasize the point that
a Santa hat is not religious), they would be included.

The fact is, these unexpected items of note bring a smile to the developers
faces when they use the program they worked so hard on.  I can guarantee
that a happy developer is a more productive developer.

> I am not sure who comprises the 'vast majority' of users as you put it,
> I am not at all certain that you are privy to that data.

I believe in your original message, you claimed that "many users" don't
think the icon is a good idea.  I'm not certain that you are privy to that
data either, so I'll invalidate both the pro-santa and anti-santa points.
My money is on most users don't care either way.

I'm not sure if this is a battle you'll want to continue fighting.  Perhaps
you should redirect your efforts towards Google, a public entity that also
changes their logo during holidays.


Michael Schultz

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