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VLC maintainer has refused “several tens of millions of Euro” (reddit.com)
446 points by iamcreasy 55 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 184 comments

That's me.

However, I am not the VLC creator, just the one working on it since 10+ years. And I created the non-profit organization.

See the AMA for more details ;)

Just the other day, I was commenting about how VLC is pretty much the embodiment of perfect settings/preferences/options. While many folks have reduced settings to just selecting a theme, VLC has settings for preferences that I don't even understand.

And that is perfect.

You've now been added to my regular donation cycle. I'd rather provide for longevity than a lump sum where I forget to keep contributing.

VLC should be the goal for most every application's settings menu. It is not just a menu to change settings, it's a menu that leads to discovery and learning. It's pretty much perfection.

Bizarre. I have completely the opposite reaction. VLC settings is UX nightmare, I have actual negative emotional response when I have to go in there.

I don't even know what half of them do. It's great!

I can just use the regular settings, or I can click advanced. If I do, I can look around and find new things. I can then take a little while to learn about what those new things are, what they do, and how they impact me.

It is pretty much perfect. I still haven't learned all there is to know about it. I still haven't tried every setting. It's just a video player - yet it has that many options.

I like complex, it gives me something to learn. I love it when I find something I don't already know.

> I don't even know what half of them do. It's great!

Believe it or not, this is stresses a lot of people out, especially considering to the average user a lot more than half of the settings aren't going to be intuitively or immediately apparent.

I'm with you, I enjoy this aspect of things - I like to pick and pull things apart to figure out how they work, to mod them and make them mine and if I'm luckily/diligent, sometimes even make them better lol; be it by way of themeing or breaking out the code editor. but not everyone is like that.

That's why there are two menus. "Simple" and "All". So you have the option, which is great. There is also a reset button in case you misconfigured something.

Why? Simple preferences is close to Firefox or other software.

Advanced preferences are complex, so it's like about:config

In the conversation where I brought up VLC as having the perfect preferences aspect, it started off with a poster saying, "the customer should be able to use the product fully without having to read any documentation."

I used that to segue into quite a rant about how I lamented the lack of complexity in software. I extended it quite broadly into things like it being a sign of declining intellectual curiosity, about how aiming for the lowest common denominator was bad for those who understand computers, and even extended it to my dismay at the lack of decent help files.

It was long and rambling, touching on many subjects, and I think I should turn it into a more formal essay.

Anyhow, VLC gets the preferences options perfect. The UI can use a bit of work and the UX is a bit rough, but the multitude of options makes up for any shortcomings it may otherwise have. I haven't even really bothered to learn the command line options, which is actually a little strange for me. I spend quite a bit of time in the terminal.

And no, no... I made it a point to inform people that I wasn't wanting computing to revert to the older days. No, software wasn't better back twenty years ago. The Internet wasn't better and computers weren't better.

What was better was that programs actually had options. They had preferences. They had multiple ways that they could be configured. They could output and process work differently.

I guess my final message was a plaintive request that developers bring back my buttons. I miss those buttons. I get a hamburger icon that expands and the entire options, if it exists at all, is actually just a theme picker. Some software doesn't even have exit as a menu option. If I want to close an app on a mobile, it may actually mean finding a task manager just to close it. It gets even worse if there is no back option and I want to begin anew at the application's start screen.

So, I just wanted to take an extra minute and explain a bit more and to thank you. I already set up a donation and the project should get a donation every month, assuming I did it properly. VLC doesn't just do what it says on the box, it inspires me to learn, to discover, and to keep being curious.

I think all of those things are much more valuable than a video player. Anyone can write a video player. It takes someone special to write one that plays videos and encourages curiosity, growth, and learning.

Which is rather a long way to say, "Thanks, again!"

> I used that to segue into quite a rant about how I lamented the lack of complexity in software.

A software that does the right thing for everyone without any settings is several orders of magnitude more complex than a software that just lazily requires its users to configure it.

> "the customer should be able to use the product fully without having to read any documentation."

I agree with this. Even if the customer is a world-class developer.

> Anyhow, VLC gets the preferences options perfect. The UI can use a bit of work and the UX is a bit rough, but the multitude of options makes up for any shortcomings it may otherwise have.

I don't see how they're even close to "perfect". Yes, there are a lot of options, but when the average user doesn't know what options he might actually want or need to enable, that's not exactly, well, helpful. Here are a bunch of issues I have with the current set of options on the Simple page:

1. Interface: "Resize interface to video size". What in the world does this mean? If I play 1080p video on my 1600x900 monitor will the video suddenly expand beyond the monitor size and I won't be able to close it? Why would I want that?

2. Audio: "Enable audio"... er, you can already mute or set the volume to zero on your computer whether globally or for VLC itself, and you can set the volume near zero within VLC just for playback too, and you can mute the volume within VLC. Why in the world is there another option in Preferences? What's the difference? Is this supposed to be intuitive?

3. Audio: "Replay gain mode: None/Track/Album" in the "simple" options... you expect a non-"advanced" user to know what this means? And the tooltip is ever so helpful: "Select the replay gain mode"!

4. Video: "Use hardware YUV->RGB conversions"... this is a Simple setting? How/why is an average user (or even a power user) supposed to care about this? Do you ever worry about it?

5. Video: "Enable video"... er, why not just let users hide the video from the video playback (e.g. drag & collapse, or with a button)? Why in the world is this a global setting for the entire player?

6. Codecs: "x264 preset and tuning selection"... even as a developer I have literally no idea what "ultrafast" and "slower" and "placebo" as well as what "film" or "psnr" or "grain" imply, or why I would ever need to change them. Isn't this a clearly advanced setting? These are the kinds of drop-down options you expect to a hastily-written GUI front-end of a command-line tool that just expects the user to "know" the right thing to do somehow.


Putting all possible options there is half the battle. The harder part is making it so the user would actually use them. VLC still has a long ways to go for the latter, unless its target audience is multimedia experts.

Same here. VLC UX/UI has been a nightmare from the start, in the early days when it was the counterpart to IIRC VLS we eventually gave up on VLC to use mplayer instead.

Don't get me wrong VLC is an incredibly useful and great software available on many platforms, both UI and UX have improved a lot since the early days but still confusing. This arguably bad UX is the reason VLC is a second class citizen to MPC-HC / smplayer on all the computers I maintain.

Sorry, but I hate those kind of posts. They are just vague and don't say anything useful...

What part is confusing? What is confusing in VLC that is not in the other ones? The main UI has max 10 buttons.

Especially when comparing with MPC-HC and smplayer and mplayer, which are 3 different look, UI and UX...

Sorry, you just sound like the usual hater...

You might find IINA on macOS refreshing: https://github.com/lhc70000/iina

(note: I understand that linking to other software might come off as offensive, but I truly feel there is a place for both. VLC is pretty much irreplaceable for many, many things)

Time to donate https://www.videolan.org/contribute.html#money

Thanks VLC team for all the good years !

I love it when the Bitcoin QR code is just right there. Donated 10mbtc

Ditto, I donated 5 mbtc. I love the zero-friction experience of paying in bitcoins. Click the link, instantly opens my wallet, type amount and hit send. Done.

No need to wait for a slow site to load and having to click through multiple confirmation screens (Paypal)...

Paypal is two clicks now. Click buy on the site you are buying from, PayPal loads and logs you in automatically, confirm the amount and click pay.

God forbid you attempt a donation to a party PayPal doesn't like, they will just seize your assets.

I can only talk about Paypal from the payer side it's virtually frictionless in my experience and transactions can be disputed via Paypal or my bank. Buying and using bitcoin adds a number of extra steps as well as transaction costs in moving dollars into bitcoin as well as giving me no dispute mechanism.

Paypal is pretty frictionless, but it still takes ~15-20 sec to do the 3 clicks through 3 slow-to-load Paypal pages (1: paypal button, 2: page to specify amount, 3: confirmation page). By contrast, a click on the Bitcoin address opens my local Bitcoin wallet which opens up instantaneously, and clicking send is also instantaneous. Total ~3 sec. The difference between ~15-20 and ~3 sec is enough to make me prefer BTC over Paypal.

I don't need the ability to dispute: I am not going to change my mind later about this donation.

I don't need to buy BTC: like many bitcoin users I already have some in my possession, ready to be spent at any time.

How long does it take for the payment to go through ? What's the fee ?

For a donation transfer speed doesn't matter, but for actual purchase it's a lot more than 30 s last I've tried

The payment is broadcasted instantly (1-2 seconds). Fee can be as low as $0.10-0.30 (eg. these donations to the VLC address https://blockchain.info/tx/99ee82b2b8f33ee22c6c51ff4ba198141... https://blockchain.info/tx/d056b36bdb81f70cf344d4489ba337ad1... https://blockchain.info/tx/445ba8e7559a4f83bcd7fd7adac30cf9f...).

It's important to understand the difference between a broadcasted transaction (tx received by most Bitcoin nodes, "0-confirmation", 1-2 seconds) versus the transaction being included in at least 1 block ("1 confirmation", ~10 minutes). Some merchants accept 0-confirmation tx, while others require 1 confirmation. But in almost all cases it's fine to accept 0-confirmation transactions:

• ordering physical goods online (an order takes more than ~10 minutes to be shipped & delivered anyway)

• ordering virtual goods/services (eg. paying for VPN: the vendor can simply cancel the service if the tx is never confirmed)

• any low-value real-world transaction (eg. paying for groceries... no one will bother with a double-spend attack to steal groceries)

• etc

PayPal also collects money in the name of charitable organizations not affiliated with PayPal who didn't ask PayPal to do so.

If they don't check with PayPal to discover this the money is given to a different organization.

Wait, what? How is that legal?!

Until they freeze your account or ban you for some silly reason.

Thanks a lot. Really cool.

I couldn't decide how much to donate, so I decided to donate RANDBETWEEN(1, 50) euros.

Thank you. VLC is a near-perfect product. I love the focus on utility, speed, and simplicity and nothing else. It is the WinAmp of video. It seems like you know what you're doing, but please resist pressure to iTunes-ify what you've built.

> but please resist pressure to iTunes-ify what you've built.

What would be iTunes-ifying it?

I imagine they mean adding a pile of content management bloat...

OK, but a media library can be lean, can it not?

Early iTunes was pretty nice — a lightweight, focused music player and not much else. Over time it became slow, unusable bloatware — an iPhone/iPad backup / sync manager, an e-commerce / ad platform (iTunes store), a social media platform (Ping), a way for Apple to automatically tag/categorize/mess up your library, among others. I'm not sure if it's better now, I abandoned it years ago.

I associate iTunes with useless bloat and loss of user control. My experience has exclusively been with windows and I've never purchased a device that requires iTunes to sync. Before iTunes came out, applications like foobar/winamp/Windows Media player were already loaded fast, used low resources, stable, and performant. iTunes was not. Before iTunes, you would copy your mp3s to your device. With iTunes you had a mysterious syncing process. Stories about requiring a 3 hour sync to add one new song or your entire collection being deleted were not uncommon. There was DRM in the early days. I surely wasn't going to switch from my pre-iTunes system to a system with DRM for literally no other additional value. If I knew that advanced options were missing, I'd include that in my complaints, too.

On te le redit ici, t'es un putain de héros mec.

Ahah. No.

Les héros de l'Internet, c'est Aaron Swartz, Jimmy Wales et Sam Hocevar. Pas moi :)


You say that some people are heroes without believing that everything they are doing is amazing. Life is not black-and-white.


I believe this is very off-topic, and I have no idea what you are talking about. And I doubt it is the right place for that.

I'm not very well informed about this stuff, but you aren't confusing Hocevar with Weev, are you? I thought he was the one accused wrt Kathy Sierra.

Hocevar was a member of Auernheimer's trolling organization, the GNAA, during that time and after.

Forgive my naivety, but which one?

Jimmy wales is not an internet hero, not even close.


And all the VLC people are.

I made a donation to VLC and encourage every people to do so.

You rock.

hey, nice seeing some of the usual suspects of the french internet here (aka the real french tech ;)

We are everywhere, there are dozens of us. Dozens !

Heard in Tokyo a few week ago from a US CEO: "Why the hell are there so many french guys doing AI in Tokyo ?!?"

Have you considered accepting money on certain terms and subsequently using that money to do improvements? A couple millions can get quite far in improving certain aspects of the software, like UX, documentation etc.

It seems to me that your response was seemingly the right moral thing to do. However, I can also see a lot of practical benefits of having a pile of cash to improve open software.

> Have you considered accepting money on certain terms and subsequently using that money to do improvements? A couple millions can get quite far in improving certain aspects of the software, like UX, documentation etc.

Yes, I did. But only if the terms are fine and moral. That never happened.

Thanks for taking the moral stance, even in the face of loosing access to millions of euros, much appreciated!

Thanks so much for doing this

I’ve been using VLC for 6 years and nothing has compared.

When do you expect the cast to chromecast feature to make it into the stable build for Mac?

I will appreciate VLC 100x as much from now on.

Merci pour le taff! fallait prendre la thune ;)

Thanks for your work, you should have taken the money ;)

Seriously it just means that your work is that valuable.

Actually reinstalled VLC two days ago, after two years without it. Still freel I use Google a lot to find settings/features I know VLC have (also one of the reasons back).

jbk, you have a lot of good submissions. To bad I haven’t seen more of them up on the HN-board.

Added to my donation list too.

> jbk, you have a lot of good submissions. To bad I haven’t seen more of them up on the HN-board.

Well, I'm not pushing a lot...

VLC is awesome! :D I use the iOS and macOS versions often. Thank you^10.

In awe of your fine work, gracias. BTW: The settings UX is my favorite aspect of VLC. It's like if NASA designed a video player.

I only have ETH in my wallet... will try to donate later.

Thanks for ending what used to be a bimonthly cycle of trying to find codecs while trying to avoid malware. VLC is now one of my first downloads on any fresh OS install.

you, sir are a legend

So, how about the several offers to have your babies, did you accept any?

Haha, no. Those people were phonies! Do you believe that?

Nah, not really. :)

Can you fix uPNP browsing?

Yep. Fixed in 3.0. Along with FTP, SFTP, SMB and NFS browsing.

Cool! Google Drive integration on iOS stopped working. Other than that, works awesome.

No, it is fixed for 2.8.4

Awesome work, sir.

Any new funding attempts btw ?

Serious people offering money? A couple. Clean business models? none.

Spyware and hacking is not a clean business model, as far as I am concerned.

But, you know, you can invest in my startup, if you prefer :)

Oh no I meant like kickstarter, or any other similar platform.

Emacs Magit author just finished one. People gave enough for him to work for about a year.

I feel like Patreon would be a good fit here.

It's the most cited in the recent months.

I’d back it!

Why? Just setup a recurring donation via Paypal or something else. Giving Patreon 30% (or whatever they take) is completely unnecessary.

Patreon also requires creators to regularly post updates and provide goodies to their subscribers. What could the VLC developers even give to their subscribers except publicly available changelogs? The devs should - and I believe also want to - rather develop the player instead of thinking about what to give to maybe 50 people on Patreon every other week.

It's aprox 5%. Are you a PayPal employee or just making stuff up for no good reason.

No, I am not, I don't even have a Paypal account because I personally don't trust them. But even 5% is too much, Paypal takes about 2% without the _mandatory_ goodie stuff for subscribers. Furthermore, Patreon actually takes 10% because of "5% transaction fees" plus their 5% share - following your logic, you must be a Patreon employee...

It's better to send donations via SWIFT anyway but most Americans here can use Paypal a lot easier right now instead of waiting for a never coming Patreon campaign or complicated wire transfers with high fees.

In the USA, people are used to 5% off the top. Relax already.

Source on 'mandatory goodies'? I know of plenty of patreon pages where the only tier is "Reward ($1.00): My thanks for your support"

Andrew Godwin who wrote South, then the built-in Django migrations library did a very successful kickstarter.


I'd actually be interested to see the pitches made by these kinds of people...


you mean she decided to leave you for him. girlfriends are people who make their own decisions, not things, and as such can't be stolen.

Of course people are not things, this is an expression.

Allow me to rephrase that: When you fuck an other guy girlfriend behind his back, you're an ass. Specially when you fuck the girl at her boyfriend place and later get her to leave him for you. VLC creator did exactly that.

He didn't get her to leave for you is what I'm saying. She would be the ass for deciding to have sex with someone else behind your back. He his surely not responsible for her decisions, as she is a human being with full decision making capabilities. And he didn't get her to leave. She chose to leave. All of this is her responsibility, not his.

I understand your point and it would make sense about a general hypothetical case, but it start to unravel quickly when you get into the real world, for example would you still consider a drunk human being as having full decision making capabilities ? Would you consider fucking a drunk girl to be some kind of abuse or that she used her full decision making capabilities and the responsibility lies with her exclusively ?

I'm pretty sure you're talking about something you don't even know the beginning of. I won't get into details, let's just say I know what happened and how it happened and that I know what I'm saying when I say what I say.

Et euh, pourquoi ne pas accepter et ten foutre car c'est open source donc qqun le forke ou tu le fais toi même ?

translate: why not accept and not care because opensource so someone fork or even yourself on the long term

Feel free to reward the man's integrity here https://www.videolan.org/thank_you.html

You probably meant to link here: https://www.videolan.org/contribute.html#money

An admirable move indeed if it was a physical object, but I'm not sure it's the right one when software is involved. Thanks to Open source licensing, a fork would have been trivial: I'd have forked the project, then taken the money and donate half of it to EFF, GNU and other freedom friendly organizations. In a few years the word of mouth that brought VLC as no.1 player would replace it with a new one. Although in different contexts, it already happened with Openoffice->Libreoffice, Owncloud->Nextcloud, MySQL->MariaDB etc. By doing so I would have helped myself and other people in need while taking money from advertisers.

No, because a huge percentage of the user base doesn't follow tech news and is likely not even technical. All of those people would only know that their experience just gradually went to hell.

How did those users come to learn about VLC Player and what would stop them from learning about the fork the same way?

Remember OpenOffice.org? That is still getting ~100,000 downloads a day in April this year [1]. That's after all the Linux distros moved to LibreOffice for years. Forks work for moving development, but not necessarily for moving users.

[1]: https://lwn.net/Articles/729460/

MySQL and MariaDB are another example, if you need one. :)

How did those users come to learn about VLC Player

A computer-savvy acquaintance installed it for them once upon a time.

It seems you never had to deal with such users, they talk about that orange thing or the traffic cone. Which should be more than enough to explain why they would not migrate.

That would take years.

I don't get the mentality of whoever offered the money. I mean, great that the money wasn't accepted, but it seems so stupid to try to force ads into something that can easily be forked and have the ads removed.

I get the impression the idiots who offered the money just don't understand logiciel libre.

They're buying the brand. People know and trust the VLC brand so they'll have an audience for a while before the forked project replaces them in the hearts and minds of the community. The new project will be less trusted because users were betrayed by the old one.

If you actually care about the openness of the project, selling it is a bad idea regardless of forkability.

I think some similar things have happened with popular plugins for Firefox, Chrome, Atom and VScode. And also for some apps for Android and iPhone.

This reminds me of the adage: "When the product is free, you are the product".

That's why you want them to be free software.

Best of luck finding people to maintain the fork with high integrity. Fwiw, I have never seen a fork of an active project succeed

Xorg is a fork of XFree86 which was made just because a relatively mild advertising clause was added to the XFree86 license. This resulted in the complete death of XFree86.

People really hate ads. With Adblock Plus, there has been no forking because it's kind of hard to tell unless you're paying attention that it lets some ads through. Either way, I think a lot of people have moved on to uBlock Origin.

Don't underestimate the outrage caused by an ad where there was none before.

Adblock Plus, despite being open source, seems to be quite a profitable business. The main point is the inertia of the user base.

Sadly, can't say I'd have such integrity. I have bills to pay.

Well, he earn his life well enough, have a really decent and cheap healthcare, and free education for his kids, what need those millions would fill? Honestly, in any european country, winning around 60k per year (as an employee) or 100k (as a business owner), if you are not living in Paris or London, is enough to provide you a carefree life. You don't need to sell yourself for more.

He does live in Paris, though.

60k would be enough in Paris, I would say :)

Is it weird when people talk about you as if you aren't there? :)

A question for you: How do you stay motivated to work on OSS projects over a long term?

> Is it weird when people talk about you as if you aren't there? :)

Very much weird. Mostly people don't realize I am the one they are talking about. It is the same on Reddit...

Often I get downvoted on Reddit about VLC, like I don't know what I'm talking about :)

> A question for you: How do you stay motivated to work on OSS projects over a long term?

You find new ideas and new challenges.

> Often I get downvoted on Reddit about VLC, like I don't know what I'm talking about :)

I've noticed this on just about every subject discussed on reddit, though it's particularly bad in tech-related subs. Objectively false information ends up being upvoted to the top, while accurate information coming from people who know what they're talking about ends up being buried in downvotes. It's pretty ridiculous.

/r/Technology would be more accurately named /r/DunningKrugerGoneWild

Happens here, too. I work on big lawsuits for a living and I get down-voted on the regular when I comment on legal threads.

> Often I get downvoted on Reddit about VLC, like I don't know what I'm talking about :)

Hilarious, but somewhat typical for Reddit (and other places with voting systems).

Democracy is a voting system too :D

Not one with downvotes, for better or worse.

> Mostly people don't realize I am the one they are talking about. It is the same on Reddit...

> Often I get downvoted on Reddit about VLC, like I don't know what I'm talking about :)

Even if you preface it with something like "Hi, VideoLAN President / VLC lead developer here ..." (or something) ?

I'd expect on the more technical subreddits, that should suffice? (maybe not on the biggest/general ones though, too many people makes for some may not even read the whole comment before voting)


Nobody is perfect.

I pay my bills with the startup I created to sustain the VideoLAN community.

We have a few other products that will come to life later. Invest in it!

Thank you for a great product. Applauds your principles.

With millions of Euros (or USD) at stake it is not about paying bills.

He might be rich. Or he might be just well-off (not rich) and he figured out that millions of euros are not going to increase his satisfaction.

And no, realizing this doesn't make you less greedy. I'll take the money even though I know it'll be a net negative in my life. And I know this very well because I have been through it.

Tens of millions of EUR/USD is not enough to qualify as poorest rich which is defined by a 400k net income regardless of having a paying job or not[1].

If you're gonna sell out, at the very least get enough money to hop into the poorest rich category.


And you think he doesn't? Besides working on VLC, he does consulting on the side to pay for his.

Well, you have some choice regarding the amount of bills you have to pay. I'm not saying I'd have such integrity myself, though.

It would be likely that anyone prone to selling out would have done so a long time ago when stakes were in the tens of thousands.

The smart move would have been to take the tens of millions of dollars, retire, and spend it developing VLC Too if you'd like. Ala Mysql > MariaDB.

No, because the user bases are completely different. If you're pulling down an open source database and setting it up there's a certain minimum technical skill level that can be assumed. The same can't be said for a consumer video player.

I'm honestly not sure what that has anything to do with making millions of dollars, and forking VLC to the next iteration like how MySQL to MariaDB was played out. Where does the user base come into the discussion? You're on a forum, whose users primary motivation is starting companies. We're here to make money. If someone offers you tens of millions of dollars for a video player, you take it, and go enjoy life.

Open source is not primarily for making money, no.

There are plenty of folks here for whom 'comfortable' money would be just fine when accompanied by 'make the world a better place, and avoid doing things that make it a worse place.'

You can do a lot more good in this world with tens of millions of dollars.

You can also enable people to make the world a significantly crappier place for millions of people by accepting that money.

If you're going to think of good or happiness as a transactional thing, you can "steal" some happiness from millions of people to increase your own (e.g. by getting tens of millions of dollars) but in doing so you've likely decreased to total happiness of the world. MAYBE you can make up the total amount of reduced happiness by spending that money to do good somewhere else, but you can never really know whether you've been successful and you can also never really know just how much you've worsened people's lives long-term.

I find it unlikely that people interested in purchasing VLC so they could monetize it would stop at a level that users would consider acceptable.

Selling out your users for money is almost always going to be a net loser in the currency of happiness in the world.

This ^^

Exactly right.

Could be me, but the headline is confusing. I thought at first that several tens of millions intended to keep VLC ad free had been refused. Thankfully we dodged that bullet.

I would rather they took the money and forked VLC. It would be big enough news that most users would switch and the development would only benefit from the extra cash.

If the initial media attention isn't enough, they could spend some of the excess on an ad campaign to inform users that "the most popular VLC fork is now [new name]".

>It would be big enough news that most users would switch and the development would only benefit from the extra cash.

You think most of VLC's users are the type who would read about a fork on a site like this? I imagine their user base is much larger than that.

Adding ads is a significant enough negative change alone to get adequate media attention outside of sites like Hacker News.

For a product like VLC? I don't know about that. The average user will put up with quite a bit of crap from their software, and I don't imagine e.g. my wife would be reading about ads in VLC on pbs.org.

But that's deceitful and wrong. There is nothing wrong with paying someone for advertising space.

What's deceitful about it? It seems like the person making this offer didn't really think this through, considering that VLC is open source.

The name is meaningless if they implement ads.

People like this keep OSS community going

VLC hasn't done much to improve picture quality. An mpc and madvr combination easily trumps it and yet you want to donate to this cookie cutter program to only maintain but not make it better? MPC was on the verge of being stopped of development until few people made the effort to volunteer and contribute to code.

I assume you're not talking about the mpd command line client of that name? At least I wouldn't know how it relates to video quality, though it plays music quite nicely. The other mpc I can easily get to does multi-precision arithmetic on the complex numbers. Also unlikely to be a match.

So there's your problem. Your software is hard to use and hard to find out about. Get it into distros so that installing it and trying it out is as painless as possible.

If I don't know it exists or have to hunt around the web for a copy, I'm unlikely to donate to it.


VLC is amazing software and I deeply thank you for your efforts :)

> Why?

Click the link to find out! The money was to put in some kind of ads or sponsored content

Awesome. Thanks a lot! Can we now add SSL to the website please, since VLC already appeared as attack vector in tools like FinFisher.

SSL is already there.

Why doesn't it auto-redirect? (Not a criticism, just curiosity.)

IE. But that is soon over.

You should see SSL from Google though.

Because of lacking SNI support? You can try an Ajax request or loading a picture over SSL and then redirect with JS if it doesn't fail. If the SSL site serves HSTS headers, all SNI supporting browsers will in the future default to HTTPS independently of the kludgey redirect (because all browsers that support HSTS also support SNI).

Sure. An unconditional redirect would be better, but that requires a dedicated IP

You can also set the favicon path to https, and put hsts headers on it. No JavaScript required.

But people with old IE won’t get a favicon that way

> You can try an Ajax request or loading a picture over SSL and then redirect with JS if it doesn't fail.

Neat idea, but wouldn't this still be exposed to ISP-level attacks? Since the user is still loading the page initially in plain HTTP, so the ISP could still inject code, remove the JS redirect, etc.

Yes, no redirect can protect the user from that. In fact, not even completely disabling HTTP can - the ISP can respond on port 80 anyway. But it can protect them if they open it on a safe connection and then bookmark the page, or keep the tab open, or send the link to someone else, and then use that link on an unsafe connection.

Or using HSTS (especially with HSTS preloading)

Good idea.

Is there an existing ticket for redirects?

Yes. But not in the VLC tracker, because it is not a VLC issue.

Key question indeed. And HSTS would be the cream on top. But let's start with redirects.

What is the point of the redirects? If the user wants to use the https version he would directly go to that (either manually or by using something like httpseverywhere). Why force to user to use a specific one?

Because most people have no idea what HTTPS is, let alone that you can manually switch between the two. Nor do they know what a browser addon is, let alone knowing that specific one exists.

In that case they should deal with the consequences of their ignorance.


I once sollicitaties for a company that did tv streaming for hotels, everything was based on VLC...

That was amazing to hear!

I think there's nothing at all wrong with differentiating into paid and free. No ads needed.

I think you're right, in that there is nothing wrong with it. But, I believe their goal is to keep it free as in beer and free as in speech. Noble goals, indeed.

I've moved on to mpv.io these days, but VLC still holds a special place in my heart.

Be sure to check out gnome-mpv if you on gnome and haven't heard of it yet.

Out of curiosity, what do you think about silicon valley startups :)

If the software had ads, it'd lose its popularity anyway...

I could have made around $1m in a few months if I'd put installware into PortableApps.com. I used to get offers almost daily. Still do every couple weeks. By the time you start to lose popularity, you've more than made your money, you just have to screw over a few million people in the process.

Off topic here - but thank you so much for PortableApps.com. I actually haven't used it much in the past few years, but it was hugely helpful to me back when I was living in a country with no home Internet connection and only outdated, virus infested software at local cybercafes. PA and the ability to execute programs from a Windows save dialog got me through those years (:

You're welcome. Glad it's helped you out over the years. If you're curious about another way to use it outside of portable drives, much of our userbase is now using it in synced cloud folders (Google Drive, OneDrive, etc) so they have all their apps synced between their desktop and laptop as well as backed up in the cloud.

But you can cash in and leave the software to die like uTorrent authors did for example.

Yeah, when you see that uTorrent is still popular[1][2], after their introduction of ads 5 years ago and the removal of important features like streaming, in a population that know how to torrent. Doubtless VLC with ads will still have an important market share for at least 10 years.

[1] https://trends.google.com/trends/explore?date=today%205-y&q=...

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usage_share_of_BitTorrent_clie...

The same people who use uTorrent most definitely use VLC.

Yes, and a lot of them will continue to use it, even if VLC introduces ads, because it's what they are familiar with. I am making the same point as you — I think.

Yes, and I would be a millionaire. But that would not be moral.

Most people today don't even know what moral is.


Someone suggested that in the AMA. Take the cash, then fork and let users migrate. OP then used the word "morale".

It is not so simple. Many users would be left on the sidelines and the trust would be damaged forever.

If something like this had happened I would have migrated the machines I maintain for sure but probably not to the VLC fork.


Yeah, and want his babies. Rockstar L11

He was asked if he ever got girls thanks to his VLC god status. He answered that, well, he actually tried... But no.

He could offer ad free, plus free with ads.

I fail to see what the problem with accepting ads would be, after all anyone who did not want the ads could simply fork the software. Even he could make a ads-free fork. Moreover I am pretty sure that all GNU/Linux distros would include it without any ads.

Also, he might have refused "refused several tens of millions of € to keep the software ads free" however he did not mind relicensing VLC for free under a less copyleft and user-protecting license so that it would be included in the apple store.

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