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Kdenlive Developer Jean-Baptiste Mardelle Has Been Found 85

Posted by timothy
from the just-in-time-for-the-solstice dept.
jones_supa writes "A month ago there was worry about Kdenlive main developer being missing. Good news guys, Jean-Baptiste Mardelle has been finally reached and is doing fine. In a new mailing list post by Vincent Pinon, he says he managed to find Mardelle's phone number and contacted the longtime KDE developer. It was found out that Mardelle took a break over the summer but then lost motivation in Kdenlive under the burden of the ongoing refactoring of the code. Pinon agreed that there are 'so many things to redo almost from scratch just to get the 'old' functionalities'. The full story can be read from the kdenlive-devel mailing list. After talking with Jean-Baptiste, Vincent has called upon individual developers interested in Kdenlive to come forward. Among the actions called for is putting the Git master code-base back in order, ensuring the code is in good quality, provide new communication about the project, integrate new features like GPU-powered effects and a Qt5 port, and progressively integrate the new Kdenlive design."
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Kdenlive Developer Jean-Baptiste Mardelle Has Been Found

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  • Classic... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 21, 2013 @03:36PM (#45755365)

    An open source project stuck in "refactoring hell". Seems to have happened to Inkscape too. Such a waste.

    Heavily refactoring projects of this size rarely brings any benefit for the users, it's just technical masturbation. If you're lucky, you will after a few years end up with a project that does the same things as before, most likely it will have acquired some bugs as icing on the cake.

    Taking a few years to refactor your project might sound like a good idea at first, but chances are, you won't even be relevant anymore by the time you're done.

    Some open source projects would benefit from proper managers who can stop them from shooting themselves in the foot.

    • Re:Classic... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by d33tah (2722297) on Saturday December 21, 2013 @04:21PM (#45755677)
      You forgot that refactoring might decrease the maintenance costs. It's possible that the developer just found it too hard to add any new functionality to the existing codebase and figured that refactoring is the only way to go. Seriously, it's not always enough for a project to work. Actually, it usually isn't.
    • Re:Classic... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by dmbasso (1052166) on Saturday December 21, 2013 @04:23PM (#45755689)

      I just want to point out one counterexample: Blender. The work done in the 2.5 version was huge, but it allowed lots of improvements later. Totally worth it.

      • Major difference (Score:4, Informative)

        by MrEricSir (398214) on Saturday December 21, 2013 @05:22PM (#45756091) Homepage

        Kdenlive is essentially one guy's hobby project. Blender has a number of professional developers working on it full time. Both are open source, but it's really an apples-to-oranges comparison.

      • I just want to point out one counterexample: Blender. The work done in the 2.5 version was huge, but it allowed lots of improvements later. Totally worth it.

        Mozillas refactoring of Netscape enabled Phoenix/Firebird/Firefox 1.0. If you have dedicated developers, a refactoring will also make them understand the codebase fully, making it easier for them to change larger parts such as design aspects.

        Xorg is trying to do the same thing with the X11 codebase. The first step was modularizing. That's a project you can get into if you are looking for something difficult but worthwhile.

    • It sounds to me as if you're confusing refactoring, where existing, good, well tested, code is kept, and reorganized so that it's more maintainable, extendible, and better suited to current needs, with rewriting, where good code is thrown out and new code is written introducing new bugs.

      Refactoring does not take "years". Ever.

    • by hey! (33014)

      I don't think it's so simple as "refactoring is bad". I think i'ts more that 'stopping the delivery of new value to users is bad". Cleaning up as you go along is not only a healthy practice, actually accomplishing something new is healthy for refactoring. It keeps you focused on achieving flexibility that is actually needed as opposed to that which might be useful.

    • An open source project stuck in "refactoring hell". Seems to have happened to Inkscape too. Such a waste.

      Heavily refactoring projects of this size rarely brings any benefit for the users, it's just technical masturbation. If you're lucky, you will after a few years end up with a project that does the same things as before, most likely it will have acquired some bugs as icing on the cake.

      That's why when we don't like code, we should start reimplementing it from scratch immediately.

    • by rasmusbr (2186518)

      Some open source projects would benefit from proper managers who can stop them from shooting themselves in the foot.

      Or a bigger revenue stream that can help them stay motivated to burn hours on boring tasks. Of course it's going to take years if they average a tiny number of hours per month because the developer(s) are bored with it.

    • by Lendrick (314723)

      Heavily refactoring projects of this size rarely brings any benefit for the users, it's just technical masturbation. If you're lucky, you will after a few years end up with a project that does the same things as before, most likely it will have acquired some bugs as icing on the cake.

      This was wrong when people said it about Netscape. It's still wrong now. It's just that the payoff is unfortunately in years and not months.

    • Refactoring is necessary when building up on top of the existing code stops being fun. Fun motivates programmers which in turn increase productivity and quality and specially in open source projects that are not backed by some company keeps the development going.

      You might think this is all just mental masturbation but big-scale refactoring usually only starts when there is something really wrong. The main problem is that many devs when refactoring avoid the traps they triggered before but end up falling for

    • by suy (1908306)

      Heavily refactoring projects of this size rarely brings any benefit for the users, it's just technical masturbation. (...)

      Some open source projects would benefit from proper managers who can stop them from shooting themselves in the foot.

      You are missing an important point: many people that work on a software project in their spare time do it to have fun. I work as a programmer for a living, and at work I do what my employer wants me to do. I might not like the way I have to do things at work, but I do as my manager says.

      If I work on a hobby project to have fun, I want to do things the way that make me happy. It might be the case that you are happy making a killer product that has tons of users, even if the internals are crap. Or it might be

    • by murdocj (543661)

      Definitely. Just reading the mailing list entry makes this clear. It sounds like the developer was looking at doing virtually a complete rewrite in one shot, and found himself overwhelmed at that prospect. The mailing list entry just tries to break it down into some smaller projects and farm them out. Management is exactly what was needed.

    • by ghjm (8918)

      The word "refactor" has been insanely successful in getting managers to approve rewrites. Before the Agile Manifesto, when programmers wanted to take a completed function and write it again, they would ask to "rewrite" it. The manager would ask what's wrong with it, the programmers would say, "nothing, really" and the manager would decline the request. Now, the programmers ask to "refactor" the function, the manager asks what that means, and the programmers give a confused answer whose only consistent messa

  • by rsilvergun (571051) on Saturday December 21, 2013 @03:37PM (#45755375)
    it's a mature enough product that a kickstarter could probably raise the funding needed to get the work done :).
  • by Anonymous Coward

    ...you assume something horrible has happened to girlfriend.

    People like to be left alone a lot more than controlling types hope, and assume their silence must mean the worst.

    • I dunno... (Score:5, Funny)

      by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Saturday December 21, 2013 @03:45PM (#45755431)

      Sometimes when a girlfriend or wife stops speaking to you, you count your blessings and leave well enough alone.

    • by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Saturday December 21, 2013 @04:05PM (#45755563) Homepage Journal

      When this was last a Slashdot "story" somebody said, "he's probably busy - here's his phone #, why doesn't somebody give him a call?" So, somebody did that and we get another "story".

      The real "story" here is that a lead developer gave up on a project and left without communicating. Perhaps there's a good lesson here about Open Source project governance that.

      • by epyT-R (613989)

        Yes.. just like we should remember what happens to proprietary products that are abandoned, or worse, suppressed by their creators, because they conflict with new, less consumer friendly business models. SaaS is the end game for this. At least kdenlive's open source status enables the possibility of someone else picking up the project.

        • by murdocj (543661)

          Well, it's a question of which is the bigger risk: a proprietary product is abandoned because the company doesn't have the revenue stream to support it, or an open source project dies because no one wants to pick it up. Yes, there's the "possibility" that someone else will pick up an open source project, but that's just a possibility. There's also the possibility that someone will like a proprietary product enough to pay to keep it going. It's not like Open Source is a guaranteed win.

  • Would things have been better if the project was financially sponsored better? Mardelle might have been much more motivated to continue the work on the refactoring and, he might not have just disappeared because of "what's there for me in it".
  • by Ukab the Great (87152) on Saturday December 21, 2013 @05:06PM (#45755981)

    Found alive having a life. More news at a 11.

  • Code reuse? Readability? Maintainability? Wasn't OOP suppose to solve that? Isn't that why poor old Fortran (and others) are hated on? (eventhough it now too is tainted with objects)

    i'm only half mocking here...but when one reads about these code debacles you have to wonder why people are so in love with OOP.

    • They were clearly doing it wrong or something.

    • Code reuse? Readability? Maintainability? Wasn't OOP suppose to solve that?

      It was supposed to help. It turns out writing reusable software is very hard to do. Though OOP is only one technology that has promised more than it can deliver.

      I remember when I first learned about COM in the mid 80's, and how revolutionary it would be. You just plug software components together like breadboarding a hardware circuit. I thought to myself "Great! I can just unplug the editor in my IDE, plug in a Emacs component and I'll be good to go."

      Seems like we should be able to do that, doesn't it? Need

  • I'm sure he still maintains some interest in KDE and reads the tech news..chances are he saw the initial brouhaha regarding his absence and ignored it.

    Way to embarrass him...this whole adventure, from beginning to end, reeks of a serious lack of basic communication and social skills.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    If somebody pays me for three months to re-invent the wheel then I can cope with that. OTOH 'why' volunteer when so few join in and make it a party of like-minds in an orgy of better engineering?

    For me a lot of programming is like playing with a model railway. It's an intellectual and artistic diversion where detail matters... ...Which is why I can't understand the 'open for gacking' methods of Git/Guthub. I want newbies to be mentored then directed then become part of a team that knows how to jointly ow

  • There's a word that describes what happened exactly: Gafiate. [wikipedia.org] Gafiating is sort of like taking a vacation, but it's a vacation from your hobby or other spare-time activity, such as working on OSS projects. Sometimes, you just have to walk away for a while until the interest comes back. If nothing else, it's good to know that there's nothing seriously wrong.
    • Actually, I think more OSS project developers should do something like this. This is what I do all the time on my projects. If the software is working but 1) you're getting burned out, 2) you want to re-write it from scratch, 3) you're wandering off on some tangent, 4) real life happens, well, STOP.

      The code works. Leave it alone. Don't break it. Don't touch it. Take a breather. Meditate about something else. Read a good book. Don't start typing in more code until you're relaxed and refreshed and eager. If y

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