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Re: Considerations for 'xmms' removal from Debian

On Wed, Jul 11, 2007 at 02:23:35PM +0000, William Pitcock wrote:
> José Miguel Parrella Romero <joseparrella <at> gmail.com> writes:

>> The maintainers of the xmms package in Debian are proposing the
>> removal of the aforementioned package. Please read on.

>> * Other distributions have already discussed XMMS removal. Gentoo
>> hardmasked the package based on the same rationale [1]

> Yes, and Gentoo's user committee fucked over the entire image and
> public view of Audacious' direction.

>> Other packages just depend on xmms as a mere multimedia player, and
>> therefore we recommend the maintainers to adjust their dependencies
>> to bmpx, xmms2 or audacious.

> That's fine as long as you respect our requests with regards to
> handling the PR of this.

Would a mention of the "different direction of audacious" in the
release notes of lenny, the next Debian release, fulfil your "PR
handling" request? Something like

 4.5 XMMS removal

 Due to concerns over its high number of bugs, unmaintained status
 (and hence bugs will not get fixed), usage of old, unmaintained
 libraries (gtk+ 1.2) and no UTF-8 support, xmms has been removed from
 Debian. We suggest users of xmms try 'bmpx' and/or 'audacious' for
 media players that may feel familiar to them. You may also want to
 give xmms2 a shot: it is by the same upstream than xmms, albeit feels
 very different.

 The developers of audacious would like you to know that the direction
 of audacious is very different than the direction xmms had when
 actively developed. See http://audacious-media-player.org/MANIFESTO
 for details.

This supposes you would create a manifesto on your website, I haven't
found any. (Or a an explanation to how you differ from xmms's
goals. All I found is a news item along the lines of "people who say
that audacious is just like xmms annoy us a lot, please don't do
that", but no articulation of your "absolutely different goals".)

I say that, because while I really don't intend to make you angry, as
a casual user of xmms, I don't see the difference. As far as I'm
concerned, xmms's goal was to be a sound player. And your goal, in
your FAQ is to develop a "media player". But from a cursory glance I
don't see audacious playing any other media than audio (no text, no
hypertext, no video, no images, ...), so I see it as an audio player,
not as a all-purpose all-around "media" player. (You handle only one
medium, sound.)

You know why I was using xmms as opposed to any other audio player?

 - it takes less screen estate
 - it plays any sound format I have thrown at it
 - doesn't crash / lockup / ...
 - no annoying bugs *I* run in

And, lo and behold, I launch audacious, it takes the same screen
estate. I'd be very surprised you wanted to voluntarily restrict sound
formats it supports, nor make it crash or buggy, so as far as my
criteria are concerned they are equivalent in their goals. I'm sorry
if this annoys you. Would you like me not to use audacious because of
that? I'm just a guy that wants sound-play to just work. I'm not
passionate about it, I never spent a lot of thought on how an audio
player should be designed to rock; for me the ideal sound player is
the one I don't need to think about. It is "infrastructure" to
me. But I'm very happy that other people are passionate about it, so
that they take the effort to develop one and I can use it. Thanks for

All this respectfully of your efforts and "platform". I'm just saying
that if you want people to "have a new understanding of this project",
you need to explain them the project. People are not all psychic or
intimately familiar with the "audio player developers community" to
just know out of the blue what your goals are. Or interested enough to
analyse all features and design choices and reverse-engineer your
goals from that.

Best Regards,


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