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

Colin Guthrie gmane at colin.guthr.ie
Tue Apr 5 21:34:32 CEST 2011

'Twas brillig, and Rémi Denis-Courmont at 05/04/11 14:15 did gyre and
>    Hello,
> On Tue, 05 Apr 2011 10:49:03 +0100, Colin Guthrie <gmane at colin.guthr.ie>
> wrote:
>> 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.

Yeah, I agree. The point I was trying to make was not represented by
that statement and as I said in the other reply, I willingly retract that.

That statement was meant to be worded such that it was limited to your
interaction with with PA, not in general.

> 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
> PulseAudio.

I do appreciate your concerns and I don't disagree that Lennart's PA
sabbatical has been a pain.

I guess I didn't see #799 as a big deal as the patches were in the
stable-queue quite quickly and when I interact with distro maintainers I
always encourage them to pull from stable-queue. That was the kind of
unofficial packaging guideline for a long time. Therefore it didn't
cause any major problems from my end.

But I do appreciate that the conditional stuff you wanted to add was
hindered by the lack of a release and I apologise for that. I probably
should have pushed for that to happen but really the blame for that lies
with me rather than Lennart as I was in charge of "holding the fort" in
his absence and as I said above I didn't prioritise a release as much as
I should have. So apologies for that.

> 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.

:) I can understand why you are feeling exasperated.

>> 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.

While Lennart is an excellent source of good information when he can be
nailed down, there are many other talented people involved in PA too.
And I'm sure many of these other people won't have similar personality
clashes as can sometimes happen with Lennart (as much as I genuinely
like him personally, respect him and will often defend his actions when
I feel appropriate, I am not blind to the fact that he has an uncanny
ability to rub people up the wrong way!)

>> 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
> communications.

I wouldn't be quite as pragmatic about being right. It seemed to me to
be the case, but I wouldn't pretend that this isn't a subjective manner.

I admit I wasn't as aware as to the depth of the problems in VLC as I
could be (I'm still not fully aware of all the problems if truth be
told, which is perhaps one reason why I was also rather reactionary,
despite trying not to be - /me fail!).

>> (...) 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?
> <offtopic>
> 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.
> </offtopic>
>> 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.

Yeah, I suspect it would be too small for a project in isolation, but
there are many fringe things around it too: Stream volumes in PA,
unifying the dB display with the desktop UI, unifying the software
amplification, a system for dealing with cork requests from the audio
layer. All of which requires a bit more rework and could potentially
flesh out a project. Probably not enough over all and it's rather late
to think about it anyway, so yes, ignore it for now.

>> 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.

Fair point.

>> 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.

Again, fair point.

>> 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
> installed.

I appreciate the situation, but it's not always for the developers to
decide this. If a user feels their system runs better without PA then by
all means, they should disable it. As a responsible packager of
PulseAudio I ensured this was a ticky box away in Mandrvia and Mageia.

(out of curiosity, are you referring to people other than Lennart above?
Feel free not to answer this or answer off list).

>> 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
> people.

I don't doubt it. I have dealt with many critics over the years and have
also seen some of the fiercest convert over time when a little effort is
sprinkled in the correct places. This is obviously an ongoing process
and not finished yet!

Apologies overall for a harsher tone in my replies than I intended.



Colin Guthrie

Day Job:
  Tribalogic Limited [http://www.tribalogic.net/]
Open Source:
  Mageia Contributor [http://www.mageia.org/]
  PulseAudio Hacker [http://www.pulseaudio.org/]
  Trac Hacker [http://trac.edgewall.org/]

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