Freudian Slip?

Even if I’m no longer Libav or FFmpeg developer I still look at both projects’ development mailing lists (on FFmpeg’s one mostly in faint hope that Peter Ross submits anything awesome again).

So one day I see this message. The “former” leader calls a large share of commits they get “enemy merges” (and it cannot be humorous, it’s not mean enough to be Austrian humor). Well, nice attitude you have there. And you know what? This might be a semi-official position there.

I was present at FFmpeg-Libav discussion at VDD (since I was not noticed by Jean-Baptiste I remained while other outsiders were kicked out — here’s the recording of public part). There I even managed to ask a single question — what’s really changed since Michael’s resignation. FFmpeg people failed to answer that. Beside not making merges anymore Michael still announces and makes releases and does whatever changes he likes without reviews; he’s still a de facto leader in my opinion. I’m yet to see FFmpeg having defined rules stating something different (even Libav has something). Another fun fact from that meeting was some FFmpeg people openly stating they hate Libav merely because it exists.

Again, I don’t have to care about FFmpeg community but working at Libav in such conditions is no fun either (and it’s no fun for many other reasons many of which sadly have something to do with FFmpeg).

So I’d rather follow the advice from the great philosopher Eric Theodor Cartman — “screw you guys, I’m going home”. Developing NihAV at slow pace (i.e. when I feel like doing it) in a neutral one-developer atmosphere is much better.

13 Responses to “Freudian Slip?”

  1. paul says:

    You are simply evil.

  2. Peter says:

    Awesomeness will resume in 2018.

  3. Somebody says:

    Trying to insert to so much damning facts into one silly word on the mailing list (and trying to convince yourself it could not be a joke) tells me you are very likely strongly biased and unable to view teh matters normally anymore. I think you are inserting what you want to hear/see there to sustain old animosities.

    You don’t like the use of the word enemy, but apparently you actually do see yourslef as an enemy to those guys.

  4. Kostya says:

    @Somebody I fear you tend to over-analyze it. I don’t consider FFmpeg people to be my enemies (neither I believe that they see me as enemy), it’s more about my friends who still work on Libav. Also I’d be happy to be proven wrong (and I got a private mail from one of FFmpeg developers that moved me in that direction).

  5. gajjanag says:

    @Kostya: it is definitely not a semi-official position. I posted a reply to Michael’s message (which BTW, I personally still view as being a harmless slip/joke, but obviously can’t confirm) Please refrain from posting such selective comments.

    As for Michael being the de-facto leader, I can only speak for myself and not others. My analysis is that people in FFmpeg respect him, and are fine with the things he does, even if they lack review in some cases. He has done a lot of work fixing security issues (e.g the Google fuzzing effort), and I am very much happy that he does it, even if some of it is without review from others.

    The reason why I at least am fine with Michael’s things going in without review is because Michael’s reviews themselves are by far the best: an LGTM from Michael has far greater weight than anything I have seen in either Libav or FFmpeg: he is very, very careful about his reviews.
    I thus believe (and have not been proven otherwise) that Michael applies a similar standard to his own commits.

  6. Kostya says:

    Thank you for your quite insightful comment. I cannot agree on that comment being “selective” though — I have not seen neither reply to your mail nor Michael saying anything different in his other mails (feel free to prove me wrong and point to the mail where he honestly praises Libav and I’ll either amend this post or write a follow-up apology).

    Since you’re rather fresh FFmpeg developer (don’t worry, it will pass with years) you don’t know the history. But he has done enough stuff to be remembered ­— like this commit.

    Still it’s nice to have more FFmpeg developers explaining the situation from their point of view, so thank you again.

  7. gajjanag says:

    Thanks for your reply. I meant selective wrt to the semi-official stance: since I am a part of that committee, I do not think it is correct to speculate that it is semi-official.

    As for proving you wrong here, please keep in mind that all that is needed is not praise for Libav, but a welcoming stance for bringing back Libav developers into the fold. I of course do not know what private conversations you (or other Libav developers) have had with Michael. But to an outsider and strictly from the public record, I think: (Michael’s personal invitation to you, and general neutrality towards Libav) is reasonable evidence.
    Furthermore, also note the usage of quotes around “enemy merges”: this is why I still regard it as bona fide.

    As for not knowing the history, I admit I was not a contributor the and am not fully aware of the context. I have however trawled through ffmpeg-devel in the months leading to the fork and the immediate aftermath. I have also read Luca’s, ubitux’s, and your own remarks on this subject. In addition, I have read other miscellaneous posts on the internet. The only reason I do this is that I am very interested in getting Libav and FFmpeg together again.

    On this specific commit, please keep in mind it is rather old. I was referring to commits and reviews by Michael since 2015, and in more detail activity since I joined in ~ June 2015. I think it would be very helpful for reconciliation if the focus is on what can be done moving forward, drawing on current experiences.

  8. Kostya says:

    I’ve written this post partly to find out what FFmpeg developers thing about their project organisation. To the outsider it looks like you don’t have any official structures with clearly defined tasks (except for The Guy Who Does Merges).

    As for the stance — note that was written in 2011 when many people thought (or hoped) that Libav won’t last for long, way before there was a first talk between FFmpeg and Libav developers about rejoining or peaceful coexistence or whatever (that was September 2011 at VDD of course).

    Yes, probably I still will be welcomed back to any of the projects if I decide to return but I’ve explained why I have no such desire. some other developers are not so lucky. And the situation looks different when you observe it for a longer time (I started contributing in 2004 after all, and IMO Michael’s best work was done in around 2002-2008).

    “I think it would be very helpful for reconciliation if the focus is on what can be done moving forward, drawing on current experiences.” — it’s a pity you’ve missed that meeting at last VDD, this was discussed there. You can see the results.

  9. roger says:

    I think it’s important to realize that Michael *wants* the reunification. Yes the split was ugly and some ill feelings created, but let’s move on now 🙂

  10. Kostya says:

    I agree, let’s move on. But where to?

  11. DonDiego says:


    The Libav project and its members have been demonized and insulted by FFmpeg people many times over the years. To this day, some of them refuse to speak to us or even look at us (!) during personal meetings. That does not apply to the complete team, but nobody has ever stood up against that kind of behavior either. When you were discussing issues with the project on the mailing list, the first thing you did was assure everybody that no matter what the result of the discussion, you would never ever work on Libav. It’s hard not to read this as “Believe me guys, I’ll never join the evil people”. No statement about “welcoming back” (whatever that may be) Libav developers can be believable in that situation. There’s not that much to overanalyze IMO.
    Regarding reviews, there seems to still be one person not requiring them, thus he is still more equal than the other devs. You are fresh; let’s just say that Kostya is beyond all doubt (and both teams will agree) when it comes to judging other people’s code, other people’s reviews and reviewing himself. Just trust his judgement.

  12. Mandarinka says:


    You probably speak about Carl Eugen Hoyos, don’t you? I think it isn’t fair to bring it up as “some of them” as you do. From what I see it is pretty much *just* him, and the other people see him to a large degree as a person with extreme outlook that is silly and unproductive, but that is also something impossible to get out of him. He will keep that attitude of his no matter what. The could only “change it” if they somehow banished him out of the project completely. Which is extreme, don’t you think.

    I think it is a bit manipulative to vaguelly paint that special case as something characteristic of the whole FFmpeg, when it is pretty certain that the other people don’t side with him on that. I don’t want to say that you meant to be underhanded and propagandistic with the remark like that, but the effect is unfortunately like that. I think it is not helping when you tactfully don’t mention the actual specifics of the situation like that.

    (Note: I don’t have any connection to FFmpeg myself.)

  13. Luca Barbato says:


    A few google search with your handle get me the idea you are quite an FFmpeg fan: you spend quite a bit time on their IRC channel and you seem to be quite active on doom9 spreading not exactly precise statements about Libav.

    And no, Carl is not alone in disparaging us whenever he could.