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Comment A different view from a developer (Score 5, Interesting) 398

(This message may be seen as inflammatory, but I assure you that it is just my opinion and not particularly anybody else---I don't speak for the projects on which I participate).


I am not a developer of VLC, but I am part of the LAME team (that MP3 encoder that a good amount of people use). I see similar problems regarding LAME as those described by the VLC team: lack of continuous power and resources.

Some users just magically think that "oh, this program won't exist anymore, so let's use this other one". The sad thing here is that they are shortsighted in the fact that they, by doing nothing (just receiving the programs), are not giving the incentive for the projects.

What about if the proposed alternative dies a few days from now? The amount of alternatives is finite.

Not only that, but the major players out there all share the same codebase: there are "incestuous" (in a good sene of the word) relations with VLC, xine, and mplayer: the all use, to some extent or another (well, in some cases, to the full extent) some common libraries: ffmpeg, libmp3lame, theora, vorbis, dirac, x264 and so on.

Usually, also, the players also send some feedback to the people writing the libraries and, without them, the libraries would not be as good as they are. And the feedback that developers provide is, not infrequently, in form of patches, or constructive suggestions. Some users, like the one above, just cares less and, honestly, where would you just "grab the extra codec" if they all, come, essentially, from the first place?

If you didn't know, perhaps it is a good reminder to put here that people from the VLC project developed the nice libdvdcss library, which benefited xine and mplayer, while people in the other projects have directly or indirectly benefited the others.

I would not like to have the "Linux desktop" mainstream with a "community" with a person that doesn't want a community. For people that are more altruistic (and that show it, instead of just playing in slashdot all day), I am open to a more open talk.

[Gee, from what I wrote the above, it seems like if I only saw Linux---I actually value the other Unix-like operating systems as much].

I guess that what I meant to say here is: "Talk is cheap. Show me the code. Don't wish the death of what you may proudly use and not even know".

Regards, Rogério Brito.


Submission + - Mozilla and JPEG2000: any possibility? (doesntexist.org)

Rogerio Brito writes: "Perceptual encoding of audio (like Vorbis, MP3, and AAC), images and video (like Theora) is one of the most popular ways to compress data, providing a balance between file sizes and what humans perceive as "verisimilar".

The current JPEG format, widely used by almost every page to show "potographic" images (and many other applications) shows poor compression rates while a given "quality ratio" is specified. Also, it performs poorly when low "quality ratios" are selected.

The JPEG2000 format is a more efficient format based on Wavelet Transforms rather than Discrete Cosine Transforms to compress data. The "quality ratios" can be selected very low and the images still show good quality, among many other features that JPEG does not have (like being a lossy compression format with support for transparency).

(As a side note, you can check which image formats your browser supports at browserspy.dk).

There are implementations of the JPEG2000 format that are Free/Libre Open Souce but not widely used. The perceived reason for this has the nature of a "chicken-and-egg" problem: no browsers support it (apart from Apple's Safari, with the use of Quicktime), and no users have still employed it, leading to little support in browsers.

There is a very long-lived bug in Mozilla's bugzilla system (almost a decade ago) that asked support for the "new" file format to be supported.

Yesterday, this long-standing feature request was closed with the "WONTFIX" tag, citing the the "chicken-and-egg" problem. This has caused many replies from both the developer and user community, and even a comment from Mark Shuttleworth stating "We'd consider a patch for the Ubuntu builds of Firefox." and Mike Hommey, one of the principal maintainers of Iceweasel for Debian."


Submission + - Debian adopts time-based releases

Rogério Brito writes: "The Debian Project is well known for having long development cycles, which has, split the opinions of users with those that prefer a stable, reliable release, and those that want newer features (including support for hardware that was sold after the stable version of the distribution). While the development cycles of Debian were mostly driven by the "it's ready when it is ready" philosophy, the project has decided to adopt time-based relases, with the duration of 2 years, freezing the distribution at December of each odd-numbered year and releasing the distribution in the beginning of the next year.


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