[vlc-devel] [PACKAGERS] [RFCv2] PulseAudio removal

Rémi Denis-Courmont remi at remlab.net
Tue Apr 5 15:15:34 CEST 2011


On Tue, 05 Apr 2011 10:49:03 +0100, Colin Guthrie <gmane at colin.guthr.ie>
> Here I see that you really don't care about contributing back to other
> projects or helping things evolve for the greater good, and that is a
> real shame.

I take this as a grave unfounded accusation, Colin.


Besides my own projects, and my massive uncompensated contribution to
VideoLAN, I did send patch to say ALSA (upstream) or Phonon (downstream). I
have been doing more Launchpad VLC bug triage than the Ubuntu guys do
themselves... what else do I know. But there are things I just can't do. I
tried to fix libpulse #799 but I gave up and filed the bug instead. I tried
to help the KDE guys fix their "VLC crash" bugs as I much as I could, but I
feel like I am talking to a wall when it comes to that.

Thing is, when someone breaks the foundations, I hold him/her to higher
standards. When ALSA came, they kept OSS working no worse than the original
OSS did. When XCB came, they did not practically forbid people using Xlib.
When POSIX.2008 came out, it did not break POSIX.2001 applications. Etc.
When PulseAudio came however, it more or less broke a working VLC. It gave
two options. neither of which are backward compatible:
 - adapt the ALSA output to the PulseAudio-defined "safe subset",
 - write a completely new output.

On top of that, I had the unpleasant experience with the gstreamer-centric
b******t from the PulseAudio maintainer toward non-gstreamer stuff. And
then he untimely refocused onto some other new project, delaying the fix
and release of said bug #799 (you would know that better than I do). In the
mean time, the number of unsatisfied VLC+PulseAudio users grow. And some
*other* key VideoLAN participants have grown a very bad opinion of

And so, even though I agree Linux needs something to fill the gaps left by
ALSA, my feelings toward PulseAudio became increasingly negative. Add to
that a difficult personal situation and a notoriously big mouth of mine. So
sadly, I have become totally exasperated when I failed to solve the issues
myself the past few days.

> You complained about lacking documentation yet made zero effort to
> engage with us upstream and try and provide some input into making the
> documentation better. No emails to our list, no questions on our IRC
> channel, and obviously no patches to update our documentation.

As said, my conversations wit Lennart totally ruined my hopes of getting
any useful help on that side. I might have been wrong, and I am sincerely
sorry that this fooled me with regards to the PulseAudio project. I stand
corrected and have joined the IRC channel already.

> With regards to how this whole email was sent, you admit you resorted to
> "threats and ultimatum" (ultimati?) This was your first port of call?

I guess it is a matter of interpretation. I would think it is not the
first call. But you claim it is, and it is said that the recipient (you),
not the sender (me) is always right about the real meaning of

> (...) Did you put that out via your website or Facebook or to the
> KDE community who is now using VLC via Phonon more and more?

I must say I am not satisfied with the KDE community neither as upstream
(Phonon on LibVLC) nor as downstream (VLC on KDE desktop). My patches to
Phonon-VLC go in *and* out without explanations on their mailing list nor
talking to me. It also seems they are keen on working around LibVLC, rather
than fixing it, otherwise I wonder how they did KIO/LibVLC integration.

> Put up GSoC projects? No.

I do not decide on GSoC projects allocation. One of the person who would
said that "PulseAudio is broken by design". I will not take responsibility
for this. From a pragmatic perspective, this is too small for a GSoC so
lets ignore this.

> Did you mail me and ask me if I was planning on getting
> round to rewriting the pulse output code any time soon? No, you
> deliberately antagonised the one person who has continually offered
> help.

I could say that Lennart antagonized one of only two developers (me) who
were keen on rewriting the PulseAudio output. I know you are not him and
you are not responsible for him. But he remains the project lead and its
main spokesman.

The other developer had similar technical issues than I did, though I
guess he has much much much more restraint than I do.

> Well done. There seems to be a serious misunderstanding of how to
> leverage support in and engage with a community. I hope it's only on
> this topic and not more generally.

Fair enough. But in my opinion, the PulseAudio has similar
misunderstanding. And contrary to him, I am not forcing "my" software on
every Linux user and developer. As said, I hold PulseAudio to higher
standards due to its intrinsically irreplaceable nature.

> I do this stuff as a hobby, it's not my day job and I'm not paid. I like
> working in the FOSS movement because there is a great community spirit.
> I like working with GNOME and KDE communities (while there are often
> jibes and pokes between the communities I find the majority of people
> get on rather well, with the jibes being much the same as the ones you
> have between friends - I don't take things too seriously most of the
> time!). But I get really pissed off when people have such backwards
> attitudes to dealing with problems. You should be engaging people, not
> pushing them away.

You are not paid and I am not either. But some meaningful members of the
PulseAudio community are paid. It is only a side effect of their PulseAudio
work, but so far they have been throwing sh*t into the face of volunteer
VLC developers. Again, it's all about the propensity of PulseAudio to
breaking working things and being impossible to bypass when it gets

KDE and GNOME have not caused (that much) problems to VLC.

> I was fully intending on looking into VLC pulse as part of the KDE Randa
> sprint in June specifically because people are using VLC more and more
> in KDE. I put that as one of my goals but I am seriously reconsidering
> this now. I am not a petty man, so I suspect I will continue and take a
> look at it, but I don't want to give any credence to the fact that it's
> "threats and ultimatum" that is triggering this, hence why I have been
> so clear and open above to explain all the things I think are wrong with
> this approach.

You do whatever you want.

> I hope that Pierre who was so taken in by your previous FUD will
> appreciate the situation in a better light now and make up his own mind.

I am actually not the harshest critic of PulseAudio here. I want to be
clear that even if the inappropriate tone and attitude are entirely my
responsibility and shame, the bad feelings seem to be shared by a number of

> Here's hoping to a more positive attitude going forward.

If and when I get PA to work on my system, I may be more positive. But I
cannot speak for the rest of the VLC community. I believe there is a more
serious problem than my attitude.

Rémi Denis-Courmont

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