[vlc-devel] Update on the VLC project

Jean-Baptiste Kempf jb at videolan.org
Thu May 3 17:10:34 CEST 2012


VLC is doing great as a product but not really much as a project.
Here are a few ideas to fix/improve the current situation.

About the VLC product, except the remaining issues we have on 2.0.x,
notably on audio clock and volume-scale+delay, we are doing fine:

 - We are approaching the 1 billion downloads,
 - We have crossed the 31M downloads bar in one single month in April,
 - The Anime community does not hate us anymore,
 - We have now a great visibility in the press, in Europe, at least,
 - We have now a very strong brand,
 - The website and services are doing fine,
 - The libVLC relicensing has been quite well welcomed, and used.

On the project side, the situation is a bit less cool.
While we have more and more contributors, we have less core
contributors, both in numbers and in proportion. And the bugs to fix are
harder than before.

Our support is not good, knowing that we have only one user on our forum
(plus a few people helping), that our documentation is still lacking and
the mailing lists are hard to answer.

On the development side, a lot of projects are going on quite nicely,
including adaptive streaming, webbroswers, Mac OS UI, translations but
many of the core tasks are lacking work (audio core, sout, libVLC APIs...)
Many of us, core dev, are getting frustrated, depressed, tired and

To not help this fact, the tone on this mailing list and on IRC are not
correct. I have made this remarks quite a few time, in public and in
private, to MULTIPLE persons, but we have to go beyond that, since the
message did not go through.

Let me remind you of a few unacceptable actions:
 - insults on mailing list operated by VideoLAN,
 - insults on public IRC channels operated by VideoLAN,
 - forwarding a private conversation to a public mailing list (videolan@
     and asso@ are private)
 - IRL insults and phyiscal fights,
 - any false accusation, or slander,
 - any kind of threats,
 - ad hominem attacks,
 - blackmail,
 - insults on forum, wiki, trac and other web services.

Let me remind you of a few unwanted actions:
 - commits and reverts wars,
 - threats of revert wars,
 - rejection of other code without explanation,
 - rejection of other code with bunky explanation,
 - modification of our dev infrastructure without notification or
   with explicit disapproval,
 - commit with explicit disapproval from other core members.
 - shouting fights,
 - fights about some bikeshedding,
 - abuse of op rights on IRC.

The tone on the repositories has been mostly fine, lately, with no
commits wars nor pushing of very discutable piece of code.

In order to avoid the same situation we've been into, I suggest a few
 - the creation of a technical arbitration committee, to avoid the
   YES/NO discussions, and whose decision will be final, like Debian or
 - a set of sanctions scale,
 - a review of those sanctions at our next meeting in Talinn and
   modification of Rules of Household, in consequence.
 - application of sanctions on this current situation.

Possible sanctions we have, on the scale:
 - Ban of mailing lists,
 - Ban of IRC channels,
 - Removal of commits rights,
 - Removal of non-profit rights, including travel and hardware donation,
   or dev program access,
 - Ban of dev machines access.

All of them can be temporary or definitive, depending on the issue.
Temporary sanctions should be automatic, in case of violation of the rules.
Recidive would increase the length of the ban.
Definitive sanctions should be voted at the next assembly.

Complaints should be done as soon as possible to abuse at videolan.org or

About the current situation, here is what I suggest (from suggestions):
 - Public excuse of behaviour of Rafaël on the mailing list,
 - Private excuse for insults on the mean of communication involved,
   by everyone who did those (last count was 5 people),
 - 1 day ban of Rémi, Rafaël and the other people from IRC channel for
 - 1 week removal of commit access for Rafaël,
 - Warn Rafaël and other protagonists that any redo or teasing will create
   an immediate stronger sanction,
 - Vote at the next meeting to enforce any sanctions in a more permanent
   way or take another set of sanction (including but not limited to the
   debarment of individuals from the association or the project).

As Laurent suggested, complete removal of git rights should be kept only
when commits are screwed up, which is not the case here.

Hoping that this could set a better way to work together...

Best regards,

PS: sorry for the late mail, but personnal matters were occupying me a
lot lately, as you might have seen.

Jean-Baptiste Kempf
http://www.jbkempf.com/ - +33 672 704 734
Sent from my Electronic Device

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