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VLC for the new Windows 8 User Experience fundraiser (videolan.org)
66 points by feepk on Nov 29, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 33 comments

I think it is a nice idea to finance the development via Kickstarter.

I think this could become much more common for common big open source projects, i.e. some particular interesting missing feature or redesign which might need anyway some professional designer or so - financed by the community. And if I am interested in the particular feature, I am also very open to spend a bit money there.

Also, by doing separate campaigns for separate features/goals, you could see where the user really is interested in. For example, in this particular feature (a Win8 Metra GUI for VLC), I am not interested at all so I wont really give any money there. But if it would be something which I would like to have, I definitely would.

Another thought, going even further: I would also very happy to work on many other open source projects if I would be paid for.

Maybe there could be an open platform similar to Kickstarter but maybe the users itself could suggest features and obligatory say how much money they would spend. And developers would say on what things they would want to work on. In the end, probably the project maintainers would then decide to start it and select the developers for it.

Or alternatively: People would not determine the amount of money obligatory but they would just say some amount. Developers would register for it. And then the users again would decide for what developers (or maybe other external needed resources) they would give how much money and if some constraints are given, it can be made final. That way, the official project maintainers would not have to maintain this work and many more random features on random open source projects, maybe even abandoned ones could be implemented.

Such a thing actually already exists! Take a look at BountySource: https://www.bountysource.com/

As a backer you can put cash bounties on Github issues (other trackers to come) and when a project committer accepts a pull request for that issue, the developer gets paid.

On the flip side, we're about to launch Fundraisers, which is very similar to the Kickstarter model: create a project spec and get it funded. We're building specifically for open source, rather than a generic platform.

We'd love to hear your thoughts! (#bountysource on freenode)

I used VLC since I was a kid to watch my "backed-up" videos in the days where codecs were rampant and confusing. Now that I have some income, it feels good to give back. Here's to the next generation of VLC!

I love VLC for that too, whenever I see someone farting around with WMP trying to get something to play I always just link them to the VLC download page. Haven't found a problem that this hasn't solved yet.

"VLC for Windows 8 might not be applicable for the store."

And that's a major problem. Without distribution on the Windows Store, this thing isn't going to see any kind of mass adoption. I'd be wary about funding until they work out whether their code and licenses pass the Store certification requirements.

I'm really glad they're looking to hire some design expertise, but I hope they scope it right – graphic design will definitely help, but that UX is going to have to be rethought as well if they want to truly take advantage of the design language and make a great Win8 app.

If you'll remember, Rémi Denis-Courmont made such a big stink about keeping VLC out of walled gardens that Apple was forced to remove it from the App Store. So my question is: why does VLC suddenly WANT to be in a walled garden now that Windows is following suit?

because VLC is not owned by Rémi Denis-Courmont, and not everyone agrees on his move towards AppStore.

This is the first time I've funded a project on Kickstarter.

1) It's 2012 and we still need third party software to watch videos? I understand VLC does other stuff, but the reason most people use and install it is just to watch videos;

2) This seems like an awful lot of money, not to mention the precedent it sets, just to craft an interface for what is, ultimately, a transient 'design language'. Metro is ugly and a UX nightmare. It will be replaced with something completely new come the next Windows release, with inevitably mediocre backwards compatibility.

With regard to point #1 I generally find VLC to be much more forgiving than the generic video players built into Windows or Mac OS X. VLC will often play damaged video files and all sorts of random, slightly corrupted files found on file sharing sites, etc.

With regard to point #2 it is more than just a new interface look for VLC. It will require extensive rewriting to work within the Windows sandbox using appropriate security sandboxed API's to allow distribution through the Windows Store. There is also the subsequent project to get it to work on ARM architecture, which will be a challenging project due to the reliance on low level C and assembler code.

1) Oh absolutely, I don't dispute VLC remains useful. I just think it's a shame that we still need VLC. To most of its users, VLC is "that thing that my friend told me I'd need to install to play these videos because for some reason Windows can't play them on its own"

2) I'm more worried about the precedent this sets. Is VLC going to need new cash injections every time Microsoft change the rules of the Windows Store, or release updates to Windows 8 that break the app? As I say, the next major release of Windows will undoubtedly break everything all over again.

It just strikes me as an awful lot of time, money and effort to build a solution to a problem that really oughtn't to exist in this day and age...

>the next major release of Windows will undoubtedly break everything all over again.

Not really. Windows 8 hasn't broken anything (although there have been UI changes and some apps have a few bugs that have cropped up). Rather, they have introduced, for the first time in two decades (literally), a completely new foundation on which to build apps. That foundation won't be swept away in Windows 9, and I expect it will mean less things break, not more.

1) It's probably a function of specialization. VLC is better at video because that is all they do. Windows and Mac OS X built in solutions are mediocre because they are part of a larger platform which isn't so specific. Also to be frank VLC is still relevant because it can be used to do things of dubious legality such as ripping copy protected DVD's and saving them in other formats.

2) A project which isn't getting updated to work on new platforms and with new API's is a dead project that fades from relevance very quickly. VLC is obviously looking ahead and has judged the Metro interface to be something worth investing in to maintain relevance.

Regarding #2: They might, yes, and it might be easier for a lot of people to contribute monetarily, rather than spend the time learning enough about VLC to be able to submit code.

And yes, the next version of the OS may break everything, but that's life in the big city - operating systems evolve, upgrades need to be written.

it's a shame that we still need VLC.

I agree, but the various "scenes" resolutely refuse to adopt industry standards.

x264 isn't a standard?

No, it's a program that encodes video.

H.264 / AVC / MPEG-4 Part 10 is the standard that describes the video format encoded by x264.

Nope, H.264 in Matroska is not a standard.

The TV scene people now use H.264 in MP4.

That's only for SD releases; HD still use the MKV container

>I'm more worried about the precedent this sets. Is VLC going to need new cash injections every time Microsoft change the rules of the Windows Store, or release updates to Windows 8 that break the app? As I say, the next major release of Windows will undoubtedly break everything all over again.

The FUD is so strong I don't even know where to begin. It doesn't jive with common sense, history or the rumors regarding the future of Windows.

The best description of VLC was that the icon is a traffic cone because it will actually play one. :)

You can blame the patent situation for this. There's too much risk for a big player (Microsoft, Apple) to bundle support for fringe codecs and container formats. VLC can get away with this because they're not a big enough target to be worth suing; they don't have enough money.

Sadly, it's also the patent situation that's responsible for the proliferation of codecs in the first place. Companies wouldn't feel the need to make their own (or their own custom containers) if they didn't have to worry about patent issues.

1) Since there are a multitude of codecs, profiles, and containers to encode and deliver videos in, yes.

2) That is all your opinion with no facts to back it up. It is extremely unlikely that Metro is going anywhere at this point.

If a non-profit can keep on top of all the different codecs, profiles and containers, why can't Microsoft? By all means leave the bleeding edge professional codecs to third party software, but most people only use VLC to play rudimentary formats (MPEG-2, MPEG-4, WMV, FLV, etc.)

This functionality really ought to be built into the OS these days.

"If a non-profit can keep on top of all the different codecs, profiles and containers, why can't Microsoft?"

Because Microsoft would actually be required to license every one of them that are possible to license legally.

The capability is certainly there, but the users will likely not pay for their availability. It'll be interesting to see how many users of Windows 8 do upgrade, in the case of DVD playback and the Media Center features.


Did you see that Microsoft is doing exactly the opposite these days by removing the DVD capabilities from Windows 8?

Legally being able to play those formats requires paying money to decode the patented formats. mpeg-4 and mp3, among others, are patented.

1/ It's 2012 and Windows 8 has decided it can't play DVD movies. Yes, that's right. You now NEED to install third party software just to play a legitimately bought DVD movie !

VLC is even more necessary than ever.

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