[ogg-dev] OggPCM proposal feedback

Silvia.Pfeiffer at csiro.au Silvia.Pfeiffer at csiro.au
Sat Nov 12 14:29:21 PST 2005

Dear Arc,

I feel ashamed of the xiph community. I was always one standing up for the open audio-visual codecs and applications that were developed here and I felt part of that community by contributing. There have been an enormous number of people contributing to xiph specifications and software over the years. Your emails have been an insult to every contributor to xiph that is not in the "inner circle". You've made xiph a cult of Arc & Monty with others being allowed to contribute their ideas, their effort, their code, but ultimately everything is owned and decided by you.

Why do you think that the discussion about OggPCM had such broad input? Not because it is a format to contribute to oggstream and only live in there. But because it is creating a new uncompressed audio file format. Such a file format is of interest to everyone who's trying to work with digital audio. Therefore it cannot be your "private project" to which such lowly people as "outside audio experts" are allowed to contribute their expertise as long as it suits you.

Arc: OggPCM is a new lossless audio codec from xiph. Since the bandwidth of the Internet is slowly approaching sizes where uncompressed audio can be transferred, it will be an important codec to be used interleaved with a (compressed) video codec and other data such as CMML. I expect OggPCM to ultimately be supported by every media framework out there (not just oggstream) and by every audio application and by every audio software. Therefore we have to get it right.

I have brought in Erik because we lacked expertise to fully understand what fields are required to specify uncompressed audio. I am ashamed now to have brought in such an experienced person since you have insulted him in his first week of joining. How will we ever get other audio and video experts to join if we keep doing so?

You have also insulted Zen who has implemented Windows support for all xiph codecs and worked enless nights for this community. He has been no more offending that you on this list - in fact, your threat to exclude him from this community is a threat to everyone else here, too. It communicates that "if you try and reply to Arc in the same manner that he is replying to your emails, you'll be excluded from the list". What sort of a community is this? Why is there not a similar threat to you then, Arc, since you have behaved exactly the same?

Arc: I can see that you're trying your best to get it right and to include everyone's contributions. However, you are misunderstanding many of the things that people are trying to fix in your proposal. They get upset because they try and explain it to you over and over again but you seem to be ignoring their contributions and instead continuing to drive your own, already been multiple times criticised, approaches.

Why is it that so many design discussions on this list become controversial and then stalled for months? As far as my experience goes, it has often been the case that bad design has received "outside" criticism and improvement suggestions (by your definition of "outsiders"), which have been rejected by the "inner circle". Thus, to avoid confrontation, the matter has been left to "mature". This process in itself is not necessarily bad. What is bad though is the distinction between "inner circle" and "outsiders", where much of xiph should actually live through the "outsiders".

Arc: if after making a proposal, you could sometimes let the community fix the proposal and edit the wiki etc. without your intervention even for two or three days in a row, you might find that the community is actually alive and working and does not need daily harshing.

Ok, enough of this open letter. I also want to write some technical replies to OggPCM, since I for one still believe it has to be fixed and not just made another Arc pet project.

In all friendliness,

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