Interview with Gabucino
This is an as-is extraction of the
posted on the
Hungarian Unix Portal
on 2002.13.26 and copied here with the permission of the original
author, trey. It was translated
to English by Gabucino.
A lot of us use MPlayer. We watch our
favourite DivX, DVD or other movies with it. If I ever had any problem with
the compilation, I took a look at the documentation, and found the answer
by 99% probability. MPlayer's documentation being in this state and being
often updated (?) is Gabucino's merit. I've mailed him last night, asking
a few questions that bothered me. Let's see his answers:
- Could you tell a few things about yourself (school, work, connection
- I could never sanely answer this question :) School: nope, work: yes.
Computers: I've started at the age of 5 on a Plus/4, since then I had 286, 386,
486, and now I a K6/2. So now that I spoke about my 15+5 years... ;) Well all
that's worth to mention in this topic is my love for old computers. After all
there's a 386 laptop (Linux), 486/EGA (Linux), and a 286 (Minix) scattered
around me right now... Oh, and the K6/2 is the dream configuration for me :)
MPlayer plays everything on it (with a Matrox card, of course) - the 3D
performance doesn't bother me, I prefer (very) old games.
- Why did you choose Linux?
- Because the xMach is not ready yet ;) Jokes apart, I'm not
satisfied with the Linux (though you didn't ask but I use LFS), the last
"stable" kernel was the 2.4.9 for me, pity it has secholes.. I have restrains
for a system which developers think gcc 2.96 an useful thing.. (Linus, Cox)
- How did you meet A'rpi, and the others?
- I've been using the avifile 0.49 at that time, and I noticed that
arpi guy constantly mailing on its list (and on 3 other lists too), so I
though I'd take a look at that MPlayer he's coding.. Then I reported bugs,
afterwards it's history ;)
- When did you join the MPlayer project?
- Hmm.. I think about 0.11pre10somewhere :)
- How does the development happen? Could you tell about an average day
when you all work actively?
- Hard to answer this question, because it depends. If we're thinking
about "inner" (hungarian) developers and their doings, that's talked about
on the IRC. And reversed in CVS ;) Other developers are sending patches
on the dev-eng list, where A'rpi verifies/criticizes/forgets/commits them
(the latter is rare;) .. And I wrote the documentation for them.
- You write the documentation of MPlayer. How are these pages made?
Obviously you have to know everything about the technical details so
good man pages and tutorials will be made.
- I have to know about the workings, the structure of MPlayer, I mean
the connectivity of its parts (I won't write sentences like this ever again;).
Anyway everything just comes out by itself.. The documentation is made with
joe :) No special technique, I usually write my ideas on a TODO list, and
when I get bored I document them all. Exceptions from this rule are the
important changes, and those few days before release, when even the irclog's
size increases dramatically ;) And the rereading of the dox (well, should
- The documentation is well-written, usable. But I think there's too much
RTFM inside, and its style is belittling sometimes. What's your opinion
- Dirty accusation :) Well it was a bit freestyle some time ago,
but it has changed since. Anybody spreading this has never RTFMed :)
- Last year Barr's article caused a major uproar. He talked belittling
about MPlayer's documentation, etc. How did you feel about this?
- Bad. I hate when I see I'm right, and there ARE many lame Linux
users.. Like me ;))
- Did it cast back you in you work? And the others?
- It took us time to flame on the lists ;) Anyway nobody cared more
- I've already asked Pontscho this, but what is the reason for this
silence around MPlayer? He said there'll be a release. When will this
occur exactly? Is it going to be some big version number change?
- Yes, probably it'll be 1.0, but surely a big step. When? Well
looking at the great number of bugreports, it won't be ready until Apr 1st :)
Unfortunately. Anyway the reason is that there have been numerous large
changes in the code lately, and we have to fix their consequences.
- A few days ago Nick Kurshev has forked, and started a new project
called MPlayerXP. What were the reasons for his decision? Won't this cast
MPlayer's development back?
- Nick went mad :) I think this because he became GPL maniac :)
It won't cast back IMHO. See the next question.
- The strenght of the MPlayer is being not multithreaded. It's unique by
running on one thread. What is the meaning of this?
- It runs on one thread :) man ps :) I mean if you take a look at it,
you see only 1 mplayer process, not 20. Like xine, I've just read their list,
even pointing over a GUI button spawns a new process (thread:) And it
forgets to kill it currently :) So every player runs on multiple threads BUT
MPlayer. And we all know which one is more stable. (of course this is
demagogy, but it's true :)
- According to a mail of Kurshev, if A'rpi accepts his ideas, he's
willing to rejoin the MPlayer team, and will help to make the NO.1 movie
player on the earth. Do you see any chance for this?
- No. Anyways I tried to test MPlayerXP, but it didn't compile :) And
as I said, MPlayer already plays everything on this lousy K6/2-500, DVD, DivX,
- What do you think could be improved in MPlayer?
- I asked the very same question from myself at every release,
I won't do it again :) Anyway the direct render is complete, and is deadly..
Practically even a 300Mhz K6 will be enough instead of an 500Mhz. I mean,
as soon as the libavcodec supports it. So MPlayer is the god! Give 110% of
your tax to MPlayer's underpaid coders, doxwriters! Etc etc.. ;)
- Do you work on other projects, or only on MPlayer?
- A few months ago the design of your homepages changed. Many think the
previous was better. Do you like the current one?
- I do :) Anyway the best was my (oooold) design, it's a pity noone
liked that except me :) BTW the new design is ready, but we'll wait for
the release (as always).
- If you check movie players on Linux, which one do you think is
worth mentioning, or contains neat stuff?
- There's that MPlayerXP, and it contains that whaddyacallit player..
Ah, MPlayer! Pity they modified it :))
- Do you keep an eye on other players' features? Do you have rivals?
I mean, when XYPlayer implements "halfballeffect-accelerator-turboenhancement",
do you hurry to implement the same thing?
- We keep an eye on what is xine just steal^H^H^H^H^Hporting from us ;))
Also due of MPlayer being non-GPL, and xine is.. Anyway I couldn't tell any
feature we ported from them since their directshow loader code in C. And
that was pretty long ago ;)
- Many people asked if there'll be a Windows port of MPlayer. What's the
- "Will be"?? It WAS! :) Anyway I think it's compilable on windowz,
though probably not easy, and Vidix doesn't run on it yet. But the last
thing I'd think of would be flashing big text proclaiming a vindoz port,
InstallShield exe, etc.. After all, what could we boast to the
winnyozusers then? ;)
- What are your other tasks in the project, apart documentation writing?
- Being A'rpi's target ;)
- How do you mean that? Is there a problem around the project?
- You can read about it in the dev-eng archives :) Anyway nothing
special, he just felt I don't update the doc regularly.
- You seem to be having some problems with linux lately =). What's the
problem with it?
- I could answer your second question in loong sentences (I won't:),
but I don't understand who's spreading rumors about me? :)
- What tools do you use when you work (hardware, software)?
- 386, because its LCD is nice (better than this 10 years old 14" :),
joe on eterm because joe rulez, and eterm is transparent, and windowmaker
because it's godly.
- I've read on mplayer-dev-eng about you want to convert the documentation
into another format. There was a little disagreement about that. Care to
- There wasn't. :) It'll be converted to SGML, that's sure. It also
fits the plebs' needs. :)
- What do you do apart MPlayer?
- Let perversion alone ;) Whops, nothing else remained.
(meanwhile I read the mplayer-dev-eng list archives - trey.)
- A few days ago A'rpi complained that you rarely maintain the
documentation, and he's searching for new co- or maintainer for this
task. There were several mails about this. How are the things now?
- I though of quitting, then I realized that A'rpi is not the
targeted reader community, and the users never complained.
- For an outsider it the MPlayer project would seem to be falling apart.
Am I mistaken?
- That's also my opinion. Anyway don't feel sorry for Nick, he'll
want to come back :) Unfortunately, lately A'rpi has been flaming people more
than usual.. Like me, though he should know that it's futile to flame against
me ;) In any case, let's hope direct render will be ready before he gets
nerve breakdown ;)