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Topic: devs, users, 9.5.3 & broken components (Read 6061 times) previous topic - next topic
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devs, users, 9.5.3 & broken components

Hi all

Friends can be very good at helping you see things from a different perspective.

I've been quite critical recently (wrongly, I now realise) of the way foobar has been going since 9.5 regarding the breaking of a number of components (an example here).

I talked to a very bright friend of mine about recent foobar developments (and why I found them so interesting). My friend quickly realised that I was looking at things from a self-interested user's perspective. She made a good analogy tailored for a musician (so I could understand) ...

It was this:

Let's say you write a truly great piece of music, one which is balanced and perfectly concise, with a wonderful, highly distinctive and beautiful melody; a sublime piece which anyone would be proud of.
You leave 2 bars open for others to improvise (as a kind of open source cadenza).
The music spreads around the internet (which is fine), and someone writes in a massive extension to those two bars (not as you'd expected or directed), this then becomes the framework for the development of some kind of open source symphony with many contributors and new extentions.
This symphonic free-for-all couldn't exist (or sound half decent) without the original piece's distinctive melody, rhythm and strucure.
Yet very soon these symphonic variations and their offspring distort your original vision to such a large extent they become a kind of grotesque and bloated charicature of the original. 
Soon, people are saying "listen to my symphony", and in a way, they are claiming it as theirs, taking for granted the original upon which their "masterpiece" is based.
The hundreds of bars and innumerable variations now sound so removed from the original piece you are left hating the music you created, as it is now considered "merely" the basis for many people's idea of what a piece of music should sound like, and worse still, some showcase it as though it were the product of their own creativity, or somehow representative of your original vision.

The question my friend asked me was: "In such circumstances, what would you do?"

I said I would completely disassociate myself from this symphonic free-for-all that I, with good intentions, accidentally initiated, and would re-do/re-claim the piece, but this time I would not allow others to take advantage of the "2 bar hole".

i.e. when it came to a decent analogy in an area meaningful to me, I adopted a position far more aligned to (what I think is) Peter's position than to mine (prior to my friend's analogy). [By the way if the analogy is a poor one, that will be down to my poor communication of foobar's development].

I wanted to post this as an example where self-interest blocked this user from seeing things from the developers' point of view; and to be honest I feel a bit bad for taking an overly critical position, where really I had no right to.

I'd said earlier to my friend that, if it made people happy, shouldn't that be a good enough reason to let foobar continue to be developed in this (to quote Peter) "bend the existing thing and break the rules" manner? But when I thought about it in terms of creating music, I answered my own question with a resounding NO; it's my creation and that's that. Musicians/composers create music and if people don't like it, then tough; developers create software (and especially when it's free) - the same applies.

So I've completely changed my opinion, and only wish Peter success in whatever he wants to make of HIS creation.

That said, I'm going to stick with version 9.4.3 as it does everything I want an audio player to do. So I'm one of those "listeners" (in the analogy) who prefer my piece of music as a bastardised symphonic free-for-all; an amalgam of others' "musical" interventions (although MY foobar looks like Columns UI, it does use components that "bend the existing thing and break the rules").

Hopefully one day a player will come along or someone will write a stats/ratings plugin that can do some simple maths with user defined play stats and then perhaps I'll move over to that - it may yet be foobar2000; afterall I have no idea where Peter & co. are taking it. All I do know is, it's their right to take it wherever they please.

C.
PC = TAK + LossyWAV  ::  Portable = Opus (130)

devs, users, 9.5.3 & broken components

Reply #1
While an interesting analogy, it is a bit incomplete:

1. Asume that for whatever reason the symphony which you created AND their variations, requires certain constant upkeep costs - i.e. asume that the symphony and their variations all get hosted on your server with you paying for all the traffic. Now asume your original symphony clocks in at 6mb, while said bloated variations clock in at 60mb, so that at some point, most of your "maintenance effort" is saturated with said mods.

2. Asume that in addition to this, you found ways to improve certain aspects of your original symphony - but you cannot do that without this new version breaking some of the mods.

3. Asume that in addition to this, some of these mods do not respect the license under which you released the symphony.

So, you have the following scenario: A number of mods completely distorting your vision, requiring unreasonable upkeep costs from you, breaking the license of the original, and you having ideas on how to improve the original, though breaking said mods - what would you do?
I am arrogant and I can afford it because I deliver.

devs, users, 9.5.3 & broken components

Reply #2
1. Asume that for whatever reason the symphony which you created AND their variations, requires certain constant upkeep costs - i.e. asume that the symphony and their variations all get hosted on your server with you paying for all the traffic. Now asume your original symphony clocks in at 6mb, while said bloated variations clock in at 60mb, so that at some point, most of your "maintenance effort" is saturated with said mods.

I don't think this particularly effects any of your additions, but the idea was that the original piece was much lighter than a symphony, but became a sluggish and fat symphony due to the abuse of the "2 bar inlet" (via SDK) i.e. mods, plugins etc.

My fault,  I wasn't clear about that. But like I say, I don't think it effects anything you've said.

C.
PC = TAK + LossyWAV  ::  Portable = Opus (130)

devs, users, 9.5.3 & broken components

Reply #3
Well, admittedly, part of me is occasionally tempted to post something like I'VE WRITTEN TITLEFORMATTING FUNCTIONS THAT WILL ALLOW FOOBAR2000 TO DO MY TAXES AND YOU CAN'T STOP ME! AHAHAHAAAAAAAA! Fortunately, I rarely listen to that part of me.

(Note: The above is a joke. foo_uie_taxform.dll is nothing more than a figment of my diseased imagination. So far.)

Seriously, I don't think anyone would deny that Peter has the right (and perhaps even the responsibility) to design a product with which he is personally and professionally satisfied, first and foremost. And that's pretty much the bottom line, here.

I suspect that, beyond the simple pragmatic concern of some things just not working any more, there's a perception that concerns people (maybe justified, maybe not) that the devs kind of wish this whole third-party add-ons thing had never happened. (Please read what I said carefully: I am not saying that *I* think the devs hate 3rd-party developers. I am saying only that there probably *are* people who think that, and that there are actions and words from the devs that could be interpreted that way but which could also be interpreted rather more charitably than that.)

Admittedly, I have my own frustrations about the philosophy here, though in my case that's more along the lines of my belief that successfully making a tool (which is, in the end, what a piece of software is) do new and unexpected things is one of the coolest things that humanity can accomplish, and not something to be discouraged.

However, the reality, if I'm understanding (and bear in mind that I am *not* a programmer, I'm just a guy who knows enough of this technical stuff to be dangerous, largely to myself) is that the removal of this particular API hasn't actually made anything that's been done already impossible. It's just asking developers to find a different way of accomplishing certain tasks. And I think that's a pretty reasonable request.

Heck, if this change really *were* about breaking certain controversial addons...you know what, screw being coy, if this were really about breaking Panels UI, I think it would have, y'know, *broken* Panels UI. (Yeah, two functions apparently don't work any more. Whatever, it still mostly works, and, bluntly, 'it mostly works' is about as good as it gets with Panels UI, as impressive a piece of work as it is.)

To be honest, I've come around a bit on this point myself. And (this being the other side of my insane optimistic above-referenced belief that the inventive spirit of humanity is indomitable, and that discouraging it is both undesirable and futile) I'm pretty sure that, where the things that have been lost are concerned, if an official component or newer version of the core doesn't replace those functions, someone, somewhere, will find a way to do so. (And they might even find a way of doing so that doesn't cause our esteemed developers to pull their hair out with frustration!) With respect to the people who see this move as something to be lamented, a nail in the coffin of Foobar2000, I say bah. Bah! The best days of this program are, I believe, ahead of us, not behind us.

In the meantime, well, there's nothing stopping anyone from using an older version and keeping all their old components. That's what I'm doing for the time being. I feel confident I won't need to do so forever.

devs, users, 9.5.3 & broken components

Reply #4
I guess there's just going to be a lot of people (myself included) sticking with old versions that do what they want, until good replacements are developed.  Nothing so terrible about that.

devs, users, 9.5.3 & broken components

Reply #5
It happened before with 0.8.3. The old versions will work, just like the old versions of Panels UI that stopped being developed. They might contain security holes and might have several bugs. But they will work.

Look at how easy the Default UI is to configure. If Panels UI took that approach, the sky would be the limit, and it would even be accessible for casual users. Maybe the casual users won't even be scared away by title formatting! It's the massive, complicated scripts that turn people off from title formatting and its possibilities.

If someone developed an open-source UI for foobar2000, that could be added onto and modified to anyone's heart's content. But the code belongs in the component, not as title-formatting. foobar2000 has extensive abilities to add new services and features. There are dozens of possibilities! Instead everyone pours their effort into title formatting scripts that are difficult to maintain, alter, understand, and create. Why not use a language designed for making this kind of thing easy? It would probably take much less effort!

Simplicity does not imply lacking in power. Some of the most powerful user interfaces are also simple.

devs, users, 9.5.3 & broken components

Reply #6
> Simplicity does not imply lacking in power. Some of the most powerful user interfaces are also simple.

I propse Automatical Fill Values as an example for this one -- two user input fields providing an *insane* amount of power. I actually wish it wasn't so hidden, but rather a tab in the properties dialog.

Just to assert myself as a certain type of user:
I'm not much of a foobar power user, I suppose. I've seen several people going bonkers over the new search query syntaces, but I never use them. I just hit F, type something, and foobar finds it.

devs, users, 9.5.3 & broken components

Reply #7
> Simplicity does not imply lacking in power. Some of the most powerful user interfaces are also simple.

I propse Automatical Fill Values as an example for this one -- two user input fields providing an *insane* amount of power. I actually wish it wasn't so hidden, but rather a tab in the properties dialog.

Just to assert myself as a certain type of user:
I'm not much of a foobar power user, I suppose. I've seen several people going bonkers over the new search query syntaces, but I never use them. I just hit F, type something, and foobar finds it.
I didn't know about the AFV function for a while, but when I did I stopped using tag&rename and mp3tag instantly. Foobar is a great app, but it's not a pick-up and play type of app.

 
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