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I’m losing motivation

As the title says, I’m losing motivation to work on Free Software.

Why? Well, there are lots of factors, some depending on what happened to me this summer, some just general tiredness, and then there’s the Free Software environment as a whole.

So the great news of these days is that TrollTech released Phonon backends, for all the three operating systems they care to suppot (Linux, OSX and Windows.. the fact that Qt and KDE are available for FreeBSD, NetBSD and other Unix-like Free Software operating systems is often ignored, but let’s say that the Linux support is some kind of UNIX support, even if it’s not always true). Of course, they can’t use GPL backends for those, as they’d be unable to use them with their commercial Qt releases, so instead of contributing to the development of Phonon-xine (and maybe xine itself), they just decided to go with GStreamer.

I don’t like GStreamer, and I never tried to hide that; I don’t like the architecture, the complexity, but less of all I like the way Fluendo makes money from Free Software users thanks to the whole software patents idea.

Why should this change anything for Phonon-xine? It’s still the main backend for kdelibs (for now), but you all know how the binary distributions don’t like to risk with software patents, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they all would just ignore the presence of Phonon-xine and decide to go with the GStreamer backend by default.

So I’m losing motivation, because I see politics and money talking more than users lately, and I don’t really like this (and I like it even less when the same persons who think this is just fine criticise the proprietary software developers for doing… well just the same; you can expect that developers focusing on proprietary solutions would like to make the money talk (and get money), just as they plan, but if you define yourself a free software developer, or even worse a free software advocate, and you’re easy to give up users’ rights for politics, then you’re just an hypocrite – and no I’m not referring to anyone in particular, just a generic idea I see around).

I’ll probably just resign as a xine developer soon (while of course keeping the tracker available, now that it’s up); I’m also considering just looking for a different kind of job area I can take, selling off the devboxes, buying an iMac and use the computer just to surf when I have nothing else to do, and to listen to music. As it is I’m wasting my time and my life on stuff that just doesn’t matter for anyone anyway.

Comments 8
  1. Damn, this is a shame.I totally agree with your opinion on gstreamer.The Free Software community would suffer a great loss if you stopped developing xine. Hopefully this is read by those who caused it, in time to correct their mistakes.

  2. Nobody “caused” this. It’s just an environmental factor.The new free software contributors (and so-called advocates) seems to be just people that work for this or that company using free software / open source software. There are only a few developers lately that simply work on free software because they like it, and even those are usually gravitating around a project founded by companies, so end up simply thinking like they were part of that company.

  3. To be honest, I think you’re being a bit overly negative about this. It’s not like KDE are going to be using GStreamer directly. Phonon is there to give you the choice and while that choice is there, you should be happy. Okay, so the binary distros might choose the GStreamer backend over the xine one but the fact is that they have every right to do that, regardless of what you might think about it. Anyone who really cares, such as yourself, can do what is necessary to use the xine backend instead. Everybody wins.You never seem to mention having a job so I’m assuming that you’re still a student. Correct me if I’m wrong there. If that is the case then you are in no position to criticise developers who work for companies, especially ones who do anything for the community at all. The vast majority do what they do because they enjoy it. Occasionally, they may have to make decisions for the good of the company rather than the community, and chances are that they would prefer to do otherwise but the simple fact of the matter is that people need to make a living and ensuring the success of the company you work for is an important part of that. I don’t imagine that you’ll be taking up a job that doesn’t involve coding and it will be interesting to see what kind of decisions you will have to make.I’m normally very supportive of you so try not to take this comment too badly. It’s just this post didn’t sit right with me. Sorry.

  4. I’m actually no more a student myself, and I do work, albeit I don’t have a stable job.And I’m not criticising developers who work for companies just for that, but more for the fact that it seems like most of the recent developers are developing _just_ because of that.I’m quite happy for those who actually work for a company _and_ enjoy the development, as they usually make good choices for both companies and users. I’m not happy when the company’s needs are moved above the users’ needs for a free software project because that’s well away from the spirit of Free Software.I’m actually sure there are many Free Software developers happy to work on different stuff on their daily job than they do in the community; I’m one of them, as my jobs mostly consist of custom (non-free) software, none of which has to do with xine, and rarely has to do with Gentoo (in those cases, I usually get the job _because_ I work on Gentoo, rather than the other way around).Sun’s employees seems to be way better on this regard, as their company lately seems to be quite concerned with what the users and the community thinks of stuff.

  5. xine-lib will stall again if you stop developing it, but well if you are going to be happy please do that! And thank your for everything you did so far.

  6. I understand you Diego… I can outline a motivation: we started to partecipate the computers’ world too young and all our youth dreams on the future of this world now are broken..

  7. this is too sad, politics is corrupting the open source more every days. i perfectly understand you diego and do not lose another time your health due to some stupid hypocrites.

  8. Diego, I think you are missing something, GStreamer is so much more than xinelib. Yes it can do decoding and encoding, but thats only a small part. Look at something like Farsight2, using only a GStreamer pipeline, we can do multi-party conferencing with a/v sync, with transcoding, etc, etc. GStreamer is a lot more ambitious than xine, gstreamer is not just playback. And yes, its true that Fluendo sells non-free codecs, but that’s certainly not why they picked GStreamer, its because its the only free framework where they could build a complex application like Flumotion (and then they realized that they needed legal codecs.. ).

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