[matroska-devel] Matroska public alpha release date : 1 st May 2003

Christian HJ Wiesner chris at matroska.org
Wed Apr 9 10:46:41 CEST 2003

Hi all,

i am sorry about the very long email and the long list of recipients for
this email, but to be honest i lost overview of who is subscribed to the
mailing lists and i wanted to make sure you all get this message :

The matroska project, with its predecessor/sister project MCF, was
started about 2 years ago. Our aim was to build an open standard and
open source A/V container project that was flexible and intelligent
enough to last for the next 10 years, and to achieve this we did not
just hack some code together quickly and release a first alpha into the
wild, but instead we were making a lot of considerations about what such
a container should be capable of doing, and we also tried to get advice
from many different sides, like other opensource multimedia related
projects, what they would consider as necessary and what options could
convince them to support our container in their OSS projects.

After this long time, and believe me it wasnt always easy to take this
route, the core dev team of matroska was happy and proud to be able to
release a first alpha of libmatroska, the basic input/output library
that can be used to read and write matroska files, beginning of this
year. This library was greatly accepted from guys like Julien 'Cyrius'
Coloos, the main developer of VirtualdubMod, and Moritz 'mosu' Bunkus,
and they started to work instantaneously with it, building a great set
of tools for both Windows and Linux for matroska file creation and also
playback ( Linux ). As a result we are maybe capable of releasing a
first set of tested tools soon, maybe even before the launch date named

So you may ask, what is it about the date that was named in the subject
line, the 1st of May ?? Well, unfortunately not all sideprojects are
coming along that well. We were maybe a bit naive to believe that every
OSS developer out there would stop working on his project immediately,
and start implementing matroska support into his tools. But, to be
honest, the poor feedback we get from the OSS multimedia world out there
is pretty demotivating for us, and we cant explain it at all. Its
unacceptable to us that at least 20 - 30 developers in the OSS world are
still investing their precious time into hacking strange things into AVI
( like SSA subtitles or DTS audio ), while a library exists allowing
them to create matroska files with the very wanted content, but in a
spec compliant way.

Sure, we have some very good feedback also, like Ronald 'BBB' Bultje
from the Gstreamer team announcing he might be able to look at making a
Gstreamer plugin for matroska, or Mike Melanson offering to look at
supporting at least playback from Xine, Francois 'mmu_man' Revol
compiling the mplayer patches for OpenBeOS, etc. But besides that there
seems to be not much interest from most other projects out there, and we
believ to know why this is : When looking at OGM, the closed source
container format based on Ogg ( made by Tobias Waldvogel ), its becoming
obvious that the OSS developers only started supporting it after people
were actually using it. Its interesting to see in this respect that for
doing this there was no nice, clean library, instead the developers
looking at it had to more or less reverse engineer the complete
container, being major hassle for sure. But they did it, as there were
users asking them to support it.

As a result of what is said above, we will change our strategy now.
Instead of developing matroska to a very stable status on many
platforms, and releasing it then to the public, we decided to release
whatever we have on 1st of May. This measure is mainly undertaken to
help us, the core dev team, to find the motivation again to work hard
and even harder on getting matroska used and accepted, and hopefully
that way we will also be capable of attracting the interest of other
multimedia OSS developers, so they start supporting matroska in their
apps, or maybe even contribute code to the main library.

There is one thing that may complicate releasing the matroska tools on
1st of May, and that is the missing DirectShow parser for Windows.
Without this parser filter it will be impossible to release matroska to
a broad audience.  Our friend BlackSun had always predicted that this
huge task is too much for only one person, and it seems our core
developer Jan 'myFUN' Schlenker is currently extremely busy with real
life stuff ( job ), so he cant contribute as much as necessary to
develop the filter into a working alpha status until 1st May. We
therefore created a task force yesterday to assist him in bringing the
parser filter into a workable state until then. This task force will
consist of 6 additional developers :

John 'spyder' Cannon
Ludovic 'BlackSun' Vialle ( DShow consultant, TCMP core dev )
Christophe 'Toff' Paris ( DShow consultant, TCMP core dev )
Steve 'robux4' LHomme
Jory 'Jcsston'

All of them are looking at the M$ DShow SDKright now, trying to find out
what is necessary to resolve the existing bugs in the current filter. Of
course this means that they will stop their work on the current
projects. Affected are :

spyder : MPV2MKV ; MPEG1/2 video to matroska
robux4 : libmatroska
jcsston : mpv2mkv GUI , mkvmerger GUI

I hope you all understand the necessity of this step and look forward to
the 1st of May, together with us.

Comments are welcome ( dont forget to use the 'reply all' button )




More information about the Matroska-devel mailing list