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What is going on with Vorbis? (or Xiph overall)
rjamorim
post Mar 3 2007, 16:03
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Today I was checking RareWares' links page to find broken links, and happened upon Xiph's page. I noticed the "news" there were 3-4 years old.

So I was wondering, does anyone, by any chance, know what is going on there? Are they working on Vorbis2, or Tarkin, or Theora? Have they disbanded and only the web pages remain? I remember that in Emmett's time, he would feed us news non-stop, mostly from #vorbis (he was a little too loud, matter of factly :B). Now, we listen nothing but crickets.

Do we have some insider here that knows if something is going on there, at all? Maybe Coalson or Valin?

And what the hell is Emmett up to anyway?

Thanks for any info.

R.


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HotshotGG
post Mar 3 2007, 20:12
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QUOTE
And what the hell is Emmett up to anyway?


He is longer the "CEO" he is working on other projects nowadays isn't he? Do they still have there monthly IRC meetings? those were always some good indication of what was going on biggrin.gif

This post has been edited by HotshotGG: Mar 3 2007, 20:14


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rjamorim
post Mar 3 2007, 20:22
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QUOTE (HotshotGG @ Mar 3 2007, 16:12) *
He is longer the "CEO" he is working on other projects nowadays isn't he?


Actually they made a press release to announce he was departing :B
http://www.xiph.org/press/2003/ceo/

To the best of my knowledge, he worked a while at Neuros, and left soon afterwards. No idea what he's up to these days.

QUOTE
Do they still have there monthly IRC meetings? those were always some good indication of what was going on biggrin.gif


I tried to find IRC logs, to no avail sad.gif


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jorsol
post Mar 3 2007, 20:47
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Well I try to follow the progress in Xiph by the stats of SVN Xiph CIA and the Monthly Meeting.

I found that there is almost null development for Vorbis and Theora...

Tarkin is just vapourware and is not developed anymore... Theora has almost no development (sice alpha7), there is a fully functional decoder in the theora-exp branch but the main library (libtheora) is just incomplete, and over the years mainly a few bugfixes and no quality or improvements.

Vorbis II is just a bunch of ideas and graphs but nothing funcional (vapourware too) or in active development, note that the name of Vorbis II will probably not be used because Monty dont like it, it will be know as "Ghost", so the correct name for Vorbis II is Ghost...

In the mailing list Ralph Giles said that they have not merged aoTuV R1 (or probably b5) to the main libvorbis because they have to check the changes and Monty is the only one that can do that... this is what Ralph said:
QUOTE
We agree the changes should be merged. The last time that was done, Monty
was able to further improve the code on both sides. We'd like that code
review to happen again before merging the aoTuV branch into the
official reference encoder. However, Monty is the only one of the
current volunteers we trust to do that, and he doesn't have time in the
foreseeable future. So while it's on the todo list there is no schedule.
and because he has not time to do it they have not merged it yet. Is just curious that Monty don't have time to do it when I see a lot of submits from him to SVN for "sushivision"...

In other words there is no future for ogg codecs if their creators don't care about it... they work on it someting like a hobby... probably they don't even know the potential that their codecs have in the world... is a shame...

This post has been edited by jorsol: Mar 5 2007, 15:06


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rjamorim
post Mar 3 2007, 21:11
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QUOTE (jorsol @ Mar 3 2007, 16:47) *
and because he has not time to do it they have not merged it yet.


But WTF is he wasting his time on, I wonder? :-B

QUOTE
In other words there is no future for ogg codecs if their creators don't care about it... they work on it someting like a hobby... probably they don't even know the potential that their codecs have in the world... is a shame...


Shit. Somebody should just go ahead, fork everything and start a new project, bringing along people like aoyumi, Blacksword, QuantumKnot...

This post has been edited by rjamorim: Mar 3 2007, 21:12


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jaybeee
post Mar 3 2007, 21:19
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QUOTE (rjamorim @ Mar 3 2007, 20:11) *
Shit. Somebody should just go ahead, fork everything and start a new project, bringing along people like aoyumi, Blacksword, QuantumKnot...
yep, totally

Monty is a Single Point Of Failure (SPOF) to quote an IT term. But seriously, it's true. If only Monty can do what the audio community would like, then that's a bad thing. Maybe it's time to move on...


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Lyx
post Mar 3 2007, 21:22
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QUOTE (jaybeee @ Mar 3 2007, 21:19) *
QUOTE (rjamorim @ Mar 3 2007, 20:11) *
Shit. Somebody should just go ahead, fork everything and start a new project, bringing along people like aoyumi, Blacksword, QuantumKnot...
yep, totally

Monty is a Single Point Of Failure (SPOF) to quote an IT term. But seriously, it's true. If only Monty can do what the audio community would like, then that's a bad thing. Maybe it's time to move on...

This should have happened 2 years ago already - its long overdue.
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Emmett
post Mar 3 2007, 23:59
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QUOTE (rjamorim @ Mar 3 2007, 07:03) *
And what the hell is Emmett up to anyway?


I've been working on a few different things in a few different areas, but for the most part I've been writing new things and managing things here at Sonivius, which is my production company here in Philadelphia. It's nice to know that people still care. :)

As far as what Xiph is doing, I've got no idea -- I'm out of the scene as anything but a content producer.

It seems as though people are kinda pissed off about how it seems that nothing is happening over there. I can't really blame them, but I would caution against making too many assumptions. They could be hard at work on something new and interesting -- I suspect that someone 'in the know' will drop in soon enough and give a full download.

I've been thinking about the current situation of free-and-open tools for multimedia production a lot (I work with this stuff every day), and I can't help but think that it might be time to open up a research and development lab here at Sonivius to make things work a little better.

One of the things that kinda bugs me is that there's a lot of good stuff out there, but it's locked up in libraries and applications that are a pain in the ass to find, dependencies to manage... From a production standpoint, it's very annoying. What version are we using? Is there some guy halfway across the world with a better version that we should be using, and do we have to be subscribed to an arcane mailing list to know about it? Do we really need to set up a Linux box with a solid dev environment and compile things just to encode some video?

These kinds of questions are easy to answer for the kind of people that hang out on HA and check IRC and subscribe to mailing lists. I'm a producer that has that kind of connection, but I don't know anyone else like me that wants to take this kind of time to get work done. The last-mile of free and open multimedia solutions kinda sucks. Actually, it doesn't kinda suck, it sucks a lot.

Maybe it's time for me to get back in the game.

Emmett Plant
Sonivius, Inc.
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rjamorim
post Mar 4 2007, 00:17
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QUOTE (Emmett @ Mar 3 2007, 19:59) *
Maybe it's time for me to get back in the game.


Sweet happy.gif

Planning anything yet?

This post has been edited by rjamorim: Mar 4 2007, 00:18


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Emmett
post Mar 4 2007, 01:22
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QUOTE (rjamorim @ Mar 3 2007, 15:17) *
Planning anything yet?

I've got some ideas, and it seems that the folks on the Sonivius board are pretty enthusiastic about them. Maybe folks here would like to kick up some dust, as well? Lemme know, folks.

This post has been edited by Emmett: Mar 4 2007, 01:25
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vlada
post Mar 4 2007, 04:29
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Do you remember this thread?
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Emmett
post Mar 4 2007, 06:02
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QUOTE (vlada @ Mar 3 2007, 19:29) *
Do you remember this thread?


I don't, I wasn't around for it. It looks like it starts out with the same kind of thing I keep hearing (Xiph is doing nothing), but ends with a reality (Xiph isn't working on the precise thing you want them to work on). Maybe they're doing great stuff and they're just not really talking about it -- This isn't really a new condition at Xiph. It is the way things are, and the way things have been for a while.

Like I said, I'm a lot more interested in the last mile. I'm interested in working on the toolchain that gets us away from things like DirectShow filters and specific versions of specific applications using specific libraries on specific platforms. It's just not helpful. When I say, 'I want to play this file,' I need to have an answer like, 'You want Application X, you can get it at Website X, and there are copies there for Windows, OS X and Linux.'

I also desperately want that answer to be correct and for the person asking the question to be satisfied with the output of the application. You can't please everyone all the time, but if you have decent last-mile solutions that don't require people to actually know what muxing is, what DirectShow filters are and the difference between something called 'speex' and something called 'granulepos,' these tiny issues from the software-authoring stages of the game become less relevant.

I'll say this again, because I want this to be crystal-clear -- I'm not really interested in getting into a pissing contest with Xiph over your favorite potential feature being implemented in their official releases. I'm a lot more interested in bringing this technology to a place where it's easy for people to author and distribute content with these open and free technologies, and a place where it's easy for people to obtain and view this content.

There's a point at which you have to work with the best of what's there, and not get heavily involved in what I would consider to be codebase minutiae. At the end of the day, it affects me as a producer to the tune of 'nothing,' and to people that view my product to the tune of 'nothing.' It is a binary switch -- It either works or it doesn't, and I'm interested in making it work.

The demands of my company and other companies I work with are not the same demands of most codehackers and specification-junkies. We need authoring tools that work 100% of the time with a minimum investment of time and energy. We cannot be reasonably expected to compile things or hunt for stuff on rarewares for hours, hoping we've got the right lib.

I hope this at least puts some things in perspective in terms of the kind of things I want to work on, and I'm hoping to find a couple of devs interested in helping me out. The last mile is more important than you probably think, and there's a great big world out there of people to whom only the last mile is important.

Emmett
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clb3092
post Mar 4 2007, 09:04
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You know, even if Xiph has slipped into coma OGG oddly enough still seems to be vital and progressing in a very odd way. This seems to be for two reasons. First reason is because of Autovo, who has managed to evolve the codec into something very interesting. Some people seem to think that his changes are really more minor tuning than a technical "revolution." Other people seem to think just the opposite. I don't care about people's opinion of what Autovo has done. I just know that the last version sounds great! When I play back q8.5 recordings on my audio U3 I can hear things like the natural tones of the instruments of great jazz players such as Charlie Mingus or Winston Marsillas. It sure as hell kicks MP3's ass and I honestly can't say if 320kbs AAC is better. No bad for a free lossy codec.

The other reason is the growing MP3 licensing meltdown. Thompson's has raised their licensing fees to unreasonable levels for a pretty crappy codec, MP3. Add to that the recent judgment against Microsoft for 1.6 billion dollars won by lucent. So on top of paying through the nose for licensing crappy mp3 technology, you might still have to pay even more to lucent!!!! Not to mention the possibility that lucent might have a legal claim on YOUR future earnings even though you thought that you legally licensed mp3!!

This IS the sort of environment that can make a content producers find out if the rumors about some guy half way across the planet does have a better way of doing things.
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Firon
post Mar 4 2007, 09:12
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The problem with having aoTuV is that it's not official. A bunch of people don't even KNOW it exists. If it was the official Vorbis, then it'd be getting a lot more usage and Vorbis would look a lot better.

Tremor, on the other hand, uses a ton of memory (code + tables + buffer). I'd still like for memory reduction to be lowered. And maybe CPU usage. It's completely dead. Hasn't seen an actual, code-related commit in years.

I really wish Xiph would be active. I also wished they'd improve the Vorbis situation so it gets even more hardware support. Hell, Rockbox has made some improvements to Tremor, but you don't see that being merged back into the main trunk. It's a shame.

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kjoonlee
post Mar 4 2007, 11:51
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QUOTE (jorsol @ Mar 3 2007, 20:47) *
Vorbis II is just a bunch of ideas and graphs but nothing funcional (vapourware too) or in active development, note that the name of Vorbis II will probably not be used because Monty dont like it, it will be know as "Ghost", so the correct name for Vorbis II is Ghost...

I thought Ghost was Speex II, with the Vorbis I psymodel.


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eofor
post Mar 4 2007, 13:07
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QUOTE (clb3092 @ Mar 4 2007, 09:04) *
I just know that the last version sounds great! When I play back q8.5 recordings on my audio U3 I can hear things like the natural tones of the instruments of great jazz players such as Charlie Mingus or Winston Marsillas. It sure as hell kicks MP3's ass and I honestly can't say if 320kbs AAC is better. No bad for a free lossy codec.


It's good to see that you're enthousiastic about the developments, but I have to call TOS#8 here - if you make a statement like this, you need proof (ie, ABX test results).
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rjamorim
post Mar 4 2007, 13:24
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QUOTE (vlada @ Mar 4 2007, 00:29) *
Do you remember this thread?


The problem I see with that thread is that it got derailed after it was claimed that all Xiph projects are dead, jmvalin didn't like that statement and the original focus was lost.

I agree not all Xiph projects are dead, but that's mostly thanks to individual developers than Xiph itself - that is, the projects would still be alive even if Xiph didn't exist. Valin keeps Speex alive, Coalson keeps FLAC alive, and even aoyumi and Blacksword keep vorbis somewhat alive.

The issue is not Xiph's projects being dead, it is Xiph itself looking dead.


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vlada
post Mar 4 2007, 14:11
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Well it was me, ho stated that the projects are dead, which was to hard. But most project haven't announced any news since then.

I absolutely agree with Emmett regarding the last mile. There are great things available in the sources at Xiph.org, but unusable for most people. The only exception is the Ogg Vorbis format. There are many great tools to create, tag and play it. But I don't know any tool to work with Ogg files, like we have YAMB/MP4Box for MP4 and MKVToolnix for Matroska files. If I wanted to create a Ogg Theora/Vorbis file, I have no idea how to do it without using command line.

At least the playback issues I mentioned before are gone with latest Haali's splitter and ffdshow. Also if anyone wants a just-working solution to play Ogg Theora files, there is the VLC player which is available for almost all platforms. These are good news, but I think to spread the format a web plugin is needed. But I see some development in this directin, which is a good news. There is a working sample in Java.

A YouTube like server based on Ogg Theora/Vorbis would be really nice smile.gif
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Lyx
post Mar 4 2007, 14:17
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I made experience with that last-mile thing issue recently. I wanted to cut a movie (OGM container, vorbis audiostream, xvid video) into parts and then rearrange those and rejoin them. And i wanted to do that in a simple GUI app without reencoding. The only app on win32 which was supposed to do that was VirtualDubMod - but the current version would instant-crash on my coreDuo. After reading lots of messageboards, websearching and various trial and error, i found out that a 2 year older release of VirtualDubMod would not crash and do what i want. I doubt that any "normal" user would want to go through so much hassle - he or she would simply come to the conclusion "OGM sucks!".

And this was just about a container.

- Lyx
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jorsol
post Mar 4 2007, 18:24
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QUOTE (kjoonlee @ Mar 4 2007, 04:51) *
QUOTE (jorsol @ Mar 3 2007, 20:47) *

Vorbis II is just a bunch of ideas and graphs but nothing funcional (vapourware too) or in active development, note that the name of Vorbis II will probably not be used because Monty dont like it, it will be know as "Ghost", so the correct name for Vorbis II is Ghost...

I thought Ghost was Speex II, with the Vorbis I psymodel.
Ghost is somewhat being designed by Christopher Montgomery (Vorbis) and Jean-Marc Valin (Speex), the problem is that Valin wants that Ghost take another direction that Monty wants, but no, Speex II is not Speex with Vorbis I psymodel... AFAIK Speex 1.2 will have the vorbis psymodel.

Maybe Valin can help to clear the things about Ghost?


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PatchWorKs
post Mar 4 2007, 18:35
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The most active Xiph project nowdays seems to be Theora...

BTW, there are some interesting ideas for the next SoC wink.gif
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Kim_C
post Mar 4 2007, 20:08
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QUOTE (PatchWorKs @ Mar 4 2007, 19:35) *
The most active Xiph project nowdays seems to be Theora...

Of which development has been nonexistant for some (long?) time...

Log from Monthly Meeting in february
QUOTE
<rillian> theora: remains stalled

QUOTE (PatchWorKs @ Mar 4 2007, 19:35) *
BTW, there are some interesting ideas for the next SoC wink.gif

..which most are from last year's SOC. And some of those are last years active projects which had developers who somehow disappeared... (at least one did because of unfortunate accident, don't know/remember about others).

Btw, here is preliminary ideas and discussion about Ghost:
http://wiki.xiph.org/index.php/Ghost
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Emmett
post Mar 4 2007, 20:16
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QUOTE (PatchWorKs @ Mar 4 2007, 09:35) *
BTW, there are some interesting ideas for the next SoC ;)

There is one (count 'em) item on the SoC that could be considered 'last-mile,' and it's 'audio encoders in QuickTime/CoreAudio.' That's all. The other thing that maybe comes close is Theora implementation in a piece of chat software for Gnome, which borders on the incredibly unexciting as the installed base of this particular application is likely a rounding error compared to the installed base of popular alternatives.

Yes, there's interesting stuff there, but the vast majority of it doesn't overlap with the kind of thing I want to get done.

Emmett
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Lych
post Mar 5 2007, 01:26
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With all due respect to Vorbis, Theora, etc. Xiph is in bad shape. I'm glad to hear that people are still developing Vorbis on their own and are keeping the codec in active development (sort of). As for Xiph all I can say is "All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die." wink.gif

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Firon
post Mar 5 2007, 05:52
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QUOTE (Lyx @ Mar 4 2007, 09:17) *
I doubt that any "normal" user would want to go through so much hassle - he or she would simply come to the conclusion "OGM sucks!".

And this was just about a container.

- Lyx


OGM DOES suck. It's a very hacky container.
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