It was only a question of time that we will see some kind of more noise generated by some people around the Phonon topic. I already got a taste of this kind when the german pro-linux.de published an article about Phonon and a long discussion started around the topic Phonon, Gstreamer, backends, and so on.
This time Christian Schaller posted his opinion. Nothing wrong with that, except it is a flame post (*) in large parts and that does not help anyone. Well done…
While others (JuK) already (amarok) answered (KDE desktop) the technical (JuK) things (KDE developer) and thoughts in Christian’s post I take the opportunity to have a closer look at his post itself and look how we can nonetheless take usage out of it for Phonon. And, don’t bother too much with the not-so-nice tone of Christian’s post: everyone can have a bad day and write something to hard and to aggressive – whoever is without sin throws the first stone.
So let’s have a look at Christian’s doubts which can be used for Phonon:
* API limitation: The Phonon project has to make sure that they talk with enough applications about the apis which are needed. This should be documented somewhere at the page first to give other application developers the ability to check if there is something missing. Figures about how many developers and applications have been asked would be nice also.
* Broken frameworks: The question is if applications have to check somehow which backend supports what; the example here is the MP3 support of the backend and that this missing ability should not brake the application somehow.
These questions should be answered by the Phonon team – and they can be answered. They should just not forget about it because these information should be there before the first versions of KDE4 are comming out and the questions behind these doubts will be raised when KDE4 is released.
(*) Why it is a flame war post, and why I’m dissappointed by reading such stuff from a developer?
Because there are different ways how you can comment on specific topics. For example if you want to express your thoughts about a specific technical project, you can do it by raising questions or by pointing out facts and figures. Or you can just yell around and shout and claim to know it all better. Especially the first way is a good way to talk about strong concerns you have about a project and the way it is going. Asking questions forces them to answer, to discuss. The second thing, talking with figures, is usefull when you have figures. Well, Christian does not base his claims on any figures except the number of backends (“5”) which is wrong since no one ever talked about 5 supported backends and no one ever talked about 5 “bundled” backends. So no usable figures there.
Additionally there is normally a friendly atmosphere between the GNOME and the KDE developers. Like I wrote it once it is the competition of two friends. Whoever made sports with friends knows that there is nothing bad to help each other to improve and nonethelss try to win in the competitions – and still act like friends.
One of the things you can do to keep the good atmosphere is to have a look at the other side: the other side is not stupid, they have thought about their ways quite a lot, and guess what, they probably have faced the questions before, so keep an eye on their way of answering – and talk about it. Try to show what the others thought, explain your audience what the other side thought and than go along these arguments and raise questions. Nothing wrong with that, it helps the friendship, it helps both parts in finding better answers, and it makes it much easier to understand each other.
Or, for instance, you can also have a look at the fact that your own solution is probably not as perfect as you hope – amarok and Gstreamer do not work as well together as it is sometimes stated, read news from the amarok team. Same is true for JuK, btw., the first KDE-application that added gstreamer support.
Unfortunately I cannot see anything like the described behaviour in Christian’s post, the opposite is the case: he acts like he never ever even read about the reasons for Phonon (although I’m quite sure that he did). But as I said: everyone can have a bad day.