On Masking Popular Packages (XMMS)

I remember xmms as well. I used to use it a lot. In fact, it used to be one of my favourite applications. I was even friends with one of the upstream devs (I used to maintain Gentoo’s ebuild for it for a while). Well, two years ago or so, upstream decided that the xmms2 project was sexier. I even got a glimpse of an early version of xmms2, and I was slightly less than impressed. For one, they moved to a different build system that didn’t play well with portage and me at the time (that may have changed by now). For two, they moved to a client/server model. Now I had to fire up two things to listen to music.

In retrospect, however, the XMMS upstream devs were being quite forward-looking. For example, they were the first project I’d heard of that was using dbus to communicate and send messages. All this happened before Gnome 2 came out, by the way. However, XMMS (1) was dead to them. They didn’t want to have anything to do with it. As a result, our patchset for it started to grow like mad.

In that light, I can completely understand Diego’s sentiment and his desire to extricate xmms from the tree (or shall I say, exorcise it from the tree?). My only complaint would the method behind his madness, as it were. As popular as xmms is out there, I think Diego did a disservice to its users, by not warning them in advance of this happening. Luis had barely announced his retirement from the project, when xmms and its plugins got masked for removal.

In the interim, Luis has decided to just go on vacation instead of quit. When he returns, he will contemplate exactly how to take care of XMMS. My guess is that he’ll stick to his original plan of putting the thing into an overlay.

So, to the users out there who are in some way pissed off, please consider a few things. While a lot of devs may agree with you, and certainly everyone sympathises with you about the loss of a favourite package, please consider that we don’t want to become the upstream maintainers for packages. The removal bug has become a place for random users to insult Gentoo developers, which really does not help anyone.

There are two ways to help yourselves and the community:

  • take over the xmms code and become the new upstream
  • embrace audacious

aybe you’re not talented enough to start hacking on xmms. That’s ok. But then let it go, please. The power you do have is in helping the audacious hackers to fix bugs in the code. You think it takes up too much memory? Well, then, report that upstream! Talk the audacious developer, who seems to me to want to go out of his way to improve the audacious experience!

Please, though, enough with the “you developers have your heads up your asses” comments. The problem is a simple one: we don’t have the time and the resources to become the upstream maintainers and resurrect a dead package.

20 thoughts on “On Masking Popular Packages (XMMS)”

  1. What the audacious developers need to do is drop that like the peice of garbage it is, and go to work on xmms. It will never have xmms’s file requesters, it uses the shit gtk2 ones, that made me want to vomit blood the first time i saw them 2 years ago. It’s default skin is compelete shit, with no contrast what so ever. Just a white pupil burning blob. I’m beyond pissed off, I want stab somebody, maybe several sombodies, right in the goddamn face.

  2. @polyhead

    ( yet another xmms-fanboy…*sigh* )

    i used xmms a year ago. but mpd suited me better. besides i already got the impression that xmms was getting stale.

    what xmms users need to do is to get over it. xmms is deprecated. obsolete. nobody cares about your whining, since nobody maintains xmms code right now.

  3. I’m beyond pissed off, I want stab somebody, maybe several sombodies, right in the goddamn face.

    Djeezes, are we talking about the removal of a music program here? Grow up and act like a normal guy!


  4. Even when Luis will return, XMMS will *not* be in the tree and not in any official overlay. Unofficial, maybe, but official not at all (unsupported software in an official overlay is bad PR).

    And you can’t say this wasn’t announced before, as the same fate was going on last year, and Luis did procrastinate on its removal for quite a while now. One month time before removal _is_ an announce.

    So no, nobody is going to remove these last rites this time. I’m sorry but Luis proved unable to actually complete the job as his “let’s take it easy” approach didn’t serve us any good, as we were still at the same exact point as we were last year.

  5. Seemant: Did you mean http://bugs.gentoo.org/show_bug.cgi?id=141046 wrt too much memory?

    === new topic ===
    Replacements for xmms:
    Maybe this sounds crazy, but I stopped using mpg321 a while back and just started using mplayer as my music player. mplayer with find…

    It’s great, I can create playlists on the fly, shuffle, sort, do pretty much anything I can do with a big media player. I love Amarok and if I already have KDE running I’ll use it to keep my music in order, but it’s mplayer ftw, once again.

  6. Seeemant, Way to just throw a fellow developer under the bus. That’ll sure make us all want to contribute more to Gentoo. In fact you went above and beyond and claimed this one developer went almost rogue. He did this to harm others and it will be remedied by a band of other developers who disagree with him. Oh and clearly Luis is the man almighty in charge and he will restore justice and peace to the Portage tree. In the 5 years I’ve known you this is the first time I’ve lost any respect for you.

    @Polyhead: Grow up and complete a sentence without cursing.

    @Seemant and his Justice League of Developers Supporting XMMS (JLDSXMMS): A mask is exactly what it is. It’s a way to cause a user to STOP, read, listen and be informed. No other communication channels are guaranteed to be read by users. A mask does not FORCIBLY remove a package from your system contrary to what many of you have made it sound like. XMMS was treated like every other package to be removed. It has a notice of 30 days. If someone wants to pick it up and stick it in there overlay, go for it. But Gentoo Linux as a whole will not have software with known QA issues in it. Every single person that has had to deal with maintenance of XMMS doesn’t want to handle it, from the original authors to the downstream packagers. Every single attempt to continue to the XMMS codebase has resulted in a frustrated developer who just gives up. If you want it, maintain it. If you’re not willing, it’s time to move on. The code has bit rotted past it’s useful life, just like fresh vegetables, you don’t want to use it once it’s rotted.

    With regard to masking time, this has been discussed for a year and half in multiple venues, it should not come as to a surprise to ANYONE.

  7. Cardoe, I don’t think you’ve actually read my post, Flameeyes’ response, or the chat that Flameeyes and I had in the channel. I think you’ve just busted a gasket here, and I think that might detract from your point (whatever it might be). I’d really love to hear your opinion after you’ve actually properly understood mine, and after you’re willing to dispense with the disingenuous name-calling and labelling.

  8. Cardoe,
    Um, I think you misinterpreted Seemant’s
    post. Your reply of “If you want it, maintain it. If you’re not willing, it’s time to move on” is nearly identical to what Seemant said in his post above. Perhaps you’re both on the same side, here?

  9. Are there any other players with XMMS’ cool plugins:



    How many OpenGL visualisations are there? And players which support them.

    Not a lot. (That I know of)

    Also, something that loads/skips missing files as fast as XMMS.

    I love putting those vis’ at the bottom of my transparent composite desktop. Just plain LOVELY.

  10. PS XMMS has been around for more than 10 years… !!! Show some respect and Fix it! Somebody! ;D

    (Or port the plugin libraries…)

  11. Audacious doesn’t support MOD files out of the box. When XMMS came out, MP3’s didn’t even EXIST!

    I’m sure most people don’t use it for MP3.

  12. Now WHY couldn’t have flameeyes, flamebait or whatever he want’s to call himself have been as gracious as Seemant??

    Seemant: Well said.

    Flameeyes: Your even showing your ignorance in here!

    Cardoe: Your one of those other Gentoo developers which is hurting Gentoo. Get a life mate!.. Oh and re-read Seemant’s post properly you idiot!

    Lets all vote to ‘mask’ and kill (sorry) rid of ignorant Gentoo developers. Top of the list so far:

    1. Flameyes
    2. Cardoe

    One last comment I have for you both:


  13. Hey now,

    Let’s not degenerate the discussion any further. I think Diego (FlameEyes) did the best he could under the circumstances. Given that he maintains some really high profile stuff that a lot of people depend on (read: xine, kde, Gentoo/FreeBSD being the most visible), I think he more than deserves some slack and understanding.

    As for Cardoe, I’ll grant you he took a shoot-first-read-later approach, but there’s no need for name calling.

    Instead, let’s focus on what we should be doing moving forward.



  14. Well, XMMS is dead and many of us are sad about it. I’ve been using Linux for a couple of years and XMMS was one of the software I used to install first. Pretending it became some piece of crap as Diego said is merely a communication fault, as it’s going to be difficult to develop such another good media player. I moved to Audacious and it seems to be another nice Winamp-like player. I wish it as a nice lifecycle as XMMS knew.

    Anyway, thanks all for developing and maintaining XMMS for all of this time.



  15. “In retrospect, however, the XMMS upstream devs were being quite forward-looking. For example, they were the first project I’d heard of that was using dbus to communicate and send messages. All this happened before Gnome 2 came out, by the way.”

    Right. RIGHT. DBus was there LONG before GNOME 2 came out. LONG LONG. (unsigned long long, in fact.)

  16. “As a result, our patchset for it started to grow like mad.”

    Well, to be honest, libmad didn’t grow REALLY that much since 1946.

  17. Hello everyone.
    Seemant, flameeyes, and all gentoo devs…well done. We all have times when projects do what projects do. They come, they live, they grow, they die.

    Tony, Cardoe, and every other person who has given these poor devs shite in here at the wiki, in the planet, on the forums… I have one thing to say.

    I use Gentoo for 18 months now.
    The last time I remember things getting this bad was either GCC3.3/3.4/4 ABI breakages, or that time when java was randomly SNAFU’d because of Java 1.5 comin out.

    Those were issues about which people had to care, for security, useability and for the continued existance of the Gentoo distro as a viable platform.

    FFS ppl. Realise that what these two are trying to address is the level of QA, or not, in XMMS.
    Which have implications for all the points raised re GCC/Java breaks. Tiger was masked for a while too. At the other end of it’s life-cycle, sure. But these things have to happen. Sorry to all.

    Flameeyes, I’m sure you did the best…

    Seemant, cheers for the even-handed reportage. It’s this sort of steering that meant ppl got over the GCC and
    Java issues. Eventually.

    Let’s not see this one turn into the same festering session as those 2 did in some parts.

    And as for XMMS vs. Audacious: The King is dead. Long live the King!


  18. > * embrace audacious

    and so I did. I installed this audacious thing and know what? It’s broken.

    It takes twice as long to load files. If you scroll onto some portion of the playlist that hasn’t loaded the playtime yet, scrolling gets stuck. The ‘jump’ feature honors case. jeeze, now I have to remember/guess what case someone used when naming that mp3 file…

    In short: audacious is as broken from a usability point of view as is xmms is (probably) from a technological one.

    What was it you advertised: “..more than 10000 packages in our Portage tree…”

    And it was one of the reasons why I use(d) gentoo.

    Does Ubuntu still have XMMS?

    Don’t get me wrong, gentoo is nice and all (as in Redhat and SUSE are not), but, when I have to build an overlay, or fiddle with replacements to get some of my tasks done that work out of the box next door, I go there.

    The way this was (or is) handled at Gentoo is not encouraging, either: Which app is next?

  19. > In short: audacious is as broken from a usability point of view as is xmms is (probably) from a technological one.

    Hi. Audacious 1.3.0 solves these usability problems.

Comments are closed.