State of Diva

07 Dec 2006 » permalink

Over the past few weeks I received a lot of questions regarding the state of the Diva project. I’ll try to address them here in a slightly broader context.

It all started with a goal to create an an easy to use, “just working” solution to video editing on Linux. It started “high up” — as I personally think that our community is now too mature and too creative to just copy solutions seen elsewhere. It’s worth trying to aim high, instead of believing in the magic of incremental approach.

I spent a lot of time and sweet during the past year hacking on Diva and trying hard to get it working. To some degree it was a success — some ideas turned out really well, the overall application design & UI is something I'm very satisfied with. Unfortunately, the core video muscle powering Diva was one of the bits that never really worked as expected.

There were at least two “major engine rewrites” involved — adjusting to changes in the gst framework, trying out completely different approaches. It has been a great learning experience and a fun ride. There comes a time however, when you realize you have to stop banging your head against the wall, look around and get a bit more real.

Over the past month I was trying to wash my head fresh and get out of the “burned out” state towards the project. I realized that I still want to work on this stuff, even though my clock runs for other cool projects too. I still feel like trying to get it done, but I don’t want to repeat any mistakes. It’s a shame, that you have to screw the thing many times to learn how to do it right.

I'm going to start with replacing GStreamer with another framework. Experience tells me now, that (your mileage may vary) GStreamer cannot be used directly to build an advanced video editor. GStreamer is a powerfull framework, and I personally have a big professional respect towards people who hack on it — they deal with an extremely complex matter. GStreamer solves a lot of problems on the GNOME desktop but it doesn’t solve the problem of video editing.

Gst is a playback framework, and for video editing you need editing framework. The later is not, as it’s commonly believed, just a superset of the former. The MLT framework is an interesting example of the “video editing” architecture.

Only one thing bothers me — there are so many people who sent me nice and encouraging comments about the project, but somehow it doesn’t translate well into code contributions. I used to think this is related to the fact that multimedia is just darn scary and there are not many people who want to deal with it. But recently I realized, that maybe it’s just my fault of sending the wrong community “signals”. Therefore, I want to make one thing clear:

Your help and skills can make this thing happen. This is open-source, let’s do it together.

PS: The diva-project website ( is down because of a dos attack. I believe this is random net stuff since we had some wild spam attacks in the past. But in case someone has something to say — please, you have to make the message more clear. I'm not getting it.

I hope it’ll be back soon, but in any case — the subversion server is up and running, the diva sources can be accessed as usual on