End of history

So libav.org is no more (and probably nobody has noticed that). From what I heard the server was essentially a dead weight so the provider (who hosted it for free) did not want to keep it running for nothing. And with this the story of Libav ends for good. And while FFmpeg/MNmpeg/CEmpeg/jbmpeg (the naming should become clearer in the course of the following posts) seems to have active development, it’s essentially dead too. Remember, dinosaurs went extinct not because of a single catastrophic even but because they’ve been phased out gradually for their inability to adapt. Originally FFmpeg was one of the tools to support popular formats in opensource (but who remembers libquicktime or avifile nowadays?), slowly becoming the tool and then turning less and less relevant as the multimedia zoo of formats people care about shrunk down to essentially two families (MPEG and Xiph+Baidu), video decoding and encoding being done in hardware and newer codecs supported in jbmpeg not natively but in the wrappers.

This seems to me as a good point to start a series of posts about different people in FFmpeg and Libav history and their impact on it, both good and bad. It may be not complete or unbiased but it should serve at least as a starting point for those curious enough and show it was not just Fabrice Bellard and Michael Niedermayer responsible for the greatness of the project but there were many others as well—and they all had various deficiencies that affected the project in a bad way too. To give an example, how many of you remember the close ties between MPlayer and FFmpeg? How many of you remember such names as Alex Beregszaszi or Justin Ruggles? How many of you know which of three Mikes of the project reverse engineered Windows Media Video 8, which one contributed just small patches and which one is responsible for the test system?

So while I’m still remembering at least some of these details, I should write it down before it’s lost to the winds of time.

9 Responses to “End of history”

  1. Commenter says:

    Kostya Taibbi-Weiss: The FFmpeg Files (Part 1)

    1. The “FFmpeg Files” will tell an incredible story from inside one of the world’s largest and most influential open source projects. It is a Frankensteinian tale of a human-built mechanism grown out the control of its designer.

    2. FFmpeg in its conception was a brilliant tool for enabling internet and digital video, making real-time global video platforms such as Youtube and Vimeo possible for the first time.

    3. But something happened….

    This series is going to be very exciting ….

  2. Kostya says:

    Nah, I can only dream of writing something like that. While FFhistory has its share of scandals and dirty laundry, I don’t believe it is that exciting (or that I’m even one percent as good as Hunter S. Thompson).

  3. *Raises hand* Oh! I know the answer to all these questions… I probably don’t count, though. 🙂

  4. Kostya says:

    No, you’re not eligible for answering about Xine history instead 😉

  5. Andrew-R says:

    > So libav.org is no more

    oh, and mailing lists too? I saw some interesting patches there, (demuxing/muxing menu part of blu-ray streams) downloaded archive to my tablet, then tablet died ….

  6. Kostya says:

    Everything is physically gone but at least you can still access ML archives at web.archive.org

  7. Paul says:

    Citations needed!

  8. Kostya says:

    This is not Wikipedia. But if the people I’m talking about will show up and talk I’ll amend the posts with their quotes.

  9. Andrew-R says:

    yeah, downloaded hopefully all gz files from archive.org.

    Patches I was talking about

    but there also was patchwork, and I referenced it somewhere else (on dynamic loading of libva, instead of build-time linking)