PiTiVi in Ubuntu 11.10 and beyond

sarvōdaya danny.piccirillo at member.fsf.org
Wed May 25 20:33:19 UTC 2011

On Wed, May 25, 2011 at 14:26, Jeff Fortin <nekohayo at gmail.com> wrote:
> > "We took off gimp because we don't need an editor for common cases"
> You took off GIMP because, as I remember it, you considered that apps
> like Shotwell (F-Spot, back then) would be able to handle the basic
> photo correction needs of most users. Unless you're telling me that
> Ubuntu now aims to be a distro that only focuses on consuming culture
> instead of producing it?
> Video editing is becoming increasingly popular with the rise of video
> sharing sites such as YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo, and many people now take
> culture production into their own hands using dirt-cheap hardware (such
> as point-and-shoot photo cameras or cellphones capable of
> high-definition recording). Video is now part of the web, and video
> production should be part of Ubuntu.

Absolutely, until Totem can do basic editing, or Ubuntu ships with some
other video player that does, how can PiTiVi be removed?

> "a bit crashy and not prime-time"
> Could you be more precise? All applications have bugs. Bugs in video
> editors are particularly difficult to troubleshoot, even moreso when 9
> users out of 10 reporting bugs in LP don't provide the requested
> information and the bug cannot be reproduced.
> FWIW, while it certainly isn't perfect, it is certainly good-enough for
> users to make videos such as http://www.pitivi.org/?go=showcase .
> Besides, the upcoming release is going to fix a ton of very annoying
> bugs, but more details on that further below.

This one almost was a good point, except that Unity is a bigger change, yet
that was pushed even though it was much less stable, not to mention what
Jeff brings up in "poorly maintained"

> "2.5 stars in the software center"
> You base your claim of "poor user reception" upon *ten* user ratings?
> When we have thousands of pitivi users? See also:
> https://www.ohloh.net/p/pitivi
> http://wiki.pitivi.org/wiki/Praise
> Please consider:
> - Ten ratings is a ridiculously low number for statistical significance.
> - There are inherent sampling problems with a voluntary rating system
> like yours, where a vocal minority of dissatisfied users will go rate
> the app negatively while a silent majority of users are happy with the
> app and don't spend time writing reviews all over the place.
> Some more insight into how statistics can be misleading:
> http://jeff.ecchi.ca/blog/2010/10/17/video-editors-usage-statistics-duty-calls/
> > "poorly maintained (hasn't migrated to gtkbuilder)"
> Is that the only thing you base yourself upon to say that an application
> is "poorly maintained"?
> - First, there already is a development branch that tackles the
> gtkbuilder migration in pitivi. It's not finished yet, as pitivi is not
> a trivial application (and we had a big UI redesign in the past few
> months), those things take time and it was not our absolute first
> priority, but since there is an active contributor working on it, I can
> guarantee that it will be done by Ubuntu 11.10.
> - Secondly, there have been over 900 commits since last year. While we
> are not the fastest moving project around in the FOSS world, I trust
> that we are moving at a reasonable speed given our limited manpower and
> the difficulty of the task at hand.
> Whatsmore,
> - There are *four* students working on pitivi for this Summer of Code,
> hopefully tackling all the major projects/missing features that have
> been the traditional subject of criticism towards pitivi. I haven't had
> the time to blog about this yet because I was busy with studies, LGM,
> work, and preparing the release.
> - A new release maintainer has been appointed (which should help at
> releasing more often). Over the past few weeks, we have been furiously
> merging branches and patches, fixing bugs, and testing pitivi thoroughly
> to push out a new release out of the door in the coming days. The
> announcement to remove pitivi from Ubuntu's default selection came right
> in the middle of that.

I've been playing with the prerelease, and it's great (congrats!). The only
thing i don't understand is why all of these improvements were packed into
one release-- seems like there are enough improvements for a few releases
since the last one. I guess that's hardly a criticism, just that people have
been dying for a new version and the progress being made wasn't obvious.

On that note, I am deeply disappointed by the complete lack of
> contributions and support we had from Canonical and Ubuntu. Not only are
> we told that we are "bad at maintaining our software", we are somehow
> expected to churn out perfect releases at a rapid pace (we are being
> considered "unmaintained" because we haven't managed to magically become
> the perfect video editor within *one* year of being included in
> Ubuntu?), and yet we have not seen any patches coming from @canonical or
> @ubuntu addresses (except one 1-liner patch that "removes the version
> number from the title bar").
> Given that pitivi was in Main, I would have expected some sort of
> support from Canonical. I'm not saying you folks should have been fixing
> all our bugs and doing the development work for us, but my definition of
> support is basically about being good open source citizens: "identify
> the key problems that your users/customers are experiencing with the
> software, and actually create fixes for them in cooperation with
> upstream". It is not "just package whatever point-release that comes
> from upstream, if any".
> Instead, the burden on us was increased. After a while, I discovered
> that I had to single-handedly triage all the bugs in Launchpad because
> nobody else was doing it otherwise. Yet, you won't find a better-triaged
> bug tracker than upstream pitivi (and even Launchpad, when I have the
> time).

This is the real kicker, and truly disappointing. Canonical did not deliver
at all on their end. Apps in main are supposed to be supported. This was not
the case. Anyone who thinks that just including something by default in a
major distro is automatically a favor just doesn't understand that
popularity doesn't suddenly increase development, only expectations.

I'm getting tired of us being flamed for "not doing enough" when we're
> doing our best with limited manpower and not getting any help.
> We were not even contacted about this whole situation, the only
> interaction we get from Ubuntu is "Have you got a release out? Feature
> freeze is next week" once every six months, when we're lucky. Hell,
> Edward Hervey himself was present at UDS this year and nobody even
> bothered to ask him about this! Whatsmore, nobody ever told us that the
> gtkbuilder migration was such a huge deal for you guys. Frankly, I
> expect better communication than this from now on.

Seems like it's too late now, but it'd be nice if the decision to remove
PiTiVi could be reverted. Otherwise, there isn't much to be said, except
that it's incredibly disappointing the way things have played out.

Sorry if the ending of this post sounds negative, but some things need
> to be said and I want this to be a mutually beneficial relationship. I
> want the situation to improve.
> We have a new release coming with tons of bug fixes and features (see:
> http://thiblahute.blogspot.com/2011/05/pitivi-pre-release.html ), great
> projects for the summer, and we would really appreciate help from you
> guys. Spend some time looking at the #pitivi channel... you won't find
> many channels that are so lively and welcoming for newbies, users and
> potential contributors. I spend insane amounts of time trying to attract
> contributors by lowering their barriers to entry by having good
> documentation, helping them get started, etc.
> Jean-François, on behalf of the pitivi team

Congrats on the upcoming release! I've played with VLMC, openshot, and
kdenlive, and PiTiVi really has it's priorities straight for being a solid
Linux video editor on the same level of power and usability as popular
proprietary applications.

All the best,
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