Before I move to the point I’d like to give some historical examples based on countries.
Well, as you remember in 1917-1918 there were several Ukrainian republics, most known are Ukrainian People’s Republic, West Ukrainian People’s Republic and Ukrainian Soviet Socialistic Republic. There were some other small states like anarchic republic but they are not relevant here.
So, Ukrainian People’s Republic and West Ukrainian People’s Republic willingly united in 1919 and that day is a national holiday now (later it was obviously occupied by Soviet Russia, Poland, Romania and Czechoslovakia). But why did that union happen? Because people wanted it and there was a dream for the united Ukraine since ages.
You should’ve learned about it at school (or witnessed if you’re old enough). Why did the unification happened? Because people from both sides wanted it and the Soviet union could not prevent it any more.
Moldova and Romania
These countries share common history, have the same language and people like the idea of single country. While unification has not happened yet it might happen even in this century.
Here the situation is funnier. People’s Republic of China doesn’t recognize Republic of China yet they somehow co-exist and probably in distant future they will be the one again. Why? Because PRC is changing and it’s not what it had been during Chairman 毛 times.
Here the situation is even funnier. There are two governments who think they are the only
True UpstreamKorean state, it’s just half of it is still occupied. And while there are constant talks about reunification, neither state really wants it. One country has suffered under homebrew Socialism (just look up what ‘juche’ means) for too long so it will take an enormous amount of time and money to make both parts equal (even funnier if you consider that before 1960s North Korea was industrially developed and South Korea was an underdeveloped agrarian region). Germanies got it easier (as a person paying Solidaritätszuschlag I know that). So will the reunion ever happen? I wouldn’t bet on it.
And now, to the our favourite projects.
Time from time somebody outside projects or from FFmpeg side asks about projects reunification. There are talks about it at VDDs. And yet there are no results. Have you noticed that I mentioned no such talks initiated by Libav. Why? Probably because Libav does not want to merge back. And there you have it—reunification cannot happen peacefully because you don’t have majority on both sides wanting it.
And that raises two questions: why FFmpeg wants reunification and why Libav doesn’t want it (or as a single question—what prevents it).
It seems that for some reason not clear to me FFmpeg keeps merging all stuff from Libav (feel free to enlighten me, otherwise FFmpeg developers themselves might forget it and it’ll turn into tradition) and having both projects together will solve two problems: the need for merge and the lack of skilled developers (it’s always the issue).
What does Libav gain from the merging? Relief from constant merges? Unlikely since it’s not being done there. More developers? That’s nice but Libav project seems to be happy as is. Return to the known brand and distributions? See above and here.
Let’s assume the projects decided to play nice out of nowhere and please people who’d want them to reunite. What would happen then? Multiple discussions about development process (that lead to the split in the first place), including but not limited to: reviewing process (relaxed and not applicable to some people or mandatory for any change), code standards (especially formatting), what features to have in the united tree (flat history or merges, one native decoder for certain format or two, use the code snippet like it was done in FFmpeg or in Libav). And on this stage it will all start to fall apart again.
So there you have it: clash of different development ideologies and more benefits for one side than the other. Also it’s rather hard to force people to work on the project they don’t like (and now they can choose at least).
And since this discussion cannot avoid certain names, here it is: I believe that Carl Eugen Hoyos deserves to be the next FFmpeg leader. Obviously my opinion doesn’t matter there and I could not convince anybody at VDD’15 but I firmly believe so. He’s the one with passion for the project, he cares for codec support (even fringe formats), he likes to follow guidelines, he respects Michael and is unlikely to go and ruin what he created. And at VDD he looked kinda like the most responsible adult too, so he can be the project face. Again, this is merely my opinion that won’t change anything.
Sincerely yours, NihAV project developer (it’s still vapourware, thanks for asking).