Linked by Eugenia Loli on Mon 11th Jan 2010 08:10 UTC
Multimedia, AV I followed the hype: Reddit, Slashdot's front page, months of thumbs up on my blog and various video forums by Linux users for OpenShot. Given that I'm longing for a usable Linux video editor since 2003, and given that OpenShot version 1.0 had just been released, I naturally gave it a go, by also downloading its provided dependencies on my Ubuntu Linux 9.10.
Thread beginning with comment 403501
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
A common problem
by wargum on Mon 11th Jan 2010 09:08 UTC
wargum
Member since:
2006-12-15

First, let me say thank you for your review.

It is really painful to honestly describe the state of multimedia procuction applications on Linux (and thus pretty much all Unices) today. I mean, after all those years...

Not that it should suprise anyone: This is difficult, demanding and time consuming work. OSS can't really compete even with most entry level video editing programs because the experts are working full time at a company and get paid. And if the boss says the dirty work has to be done (like hunting all those bugs), then employee has to.

The ugly thing is the people who always say that there is no problem on Linux with availability of good multimedia production apps. As soon as you say 'music', somebody will come along and say Ardour or Rosegarden. In 3D it's Blender, in image editing it's GIMP, in DTP it's Scribus, in DVD authoring it's $POSTER_CHILD_APP_X, etc...

But when you look a bit closer or actually try to do something with these apps, you often very soon encounter problems. May it be UI, lack of features, lack of stability, poor performance or incompatibilities. This is my experience and the review plays into my view. Although not everything is as bad as OpenShot.

Edited 2010-01-11 09:13 UTC

Reply Score: 5

RE: A common problem
by macinnisrr on Mon 11th Jan 2010 14:56 in reply to "A common problem"
macinnisrr Member since:
2009-11-12

Well, five years ago I would have agreed with you, although multimedia on Linux has come leaps and bounds since then. I'm a professional entertainer, and I have been using nothing but oss for the last three years. I have made 6 albums on Ardour (though I've never used much midi), several videos on Cinelerra, and countless posters, packaging, and merchandise designs with GIMP and Inkscape. Now, there certainly were things that I had to relearn when switching from Windows/Warez (when I started out my business showed a net loss, so there's no way I could have afforded Cubase, Adobe CS, or ProTools), but in the end a person can do anything on Linux that can be done (albeit in perhaps a more user-friendly way) on Windows. I've actually found Mac to be my particular sore spot. While I love some of the software that you can get only on a Mac (Logic and FCP to name a couple), in general you end up either spending twice as much as MS folks for the same functionality (and warez is harder to find), or there are no free options if you decide you want to go that route (unless you want to compile everything from ports).

But I digress, the whole point of the article is that Openshot is not ready for 1.0, which I totally agree with. And although I love Cinelerra feature-wise, I have to concede that it's probably the ugliest UI I've ever seen in a piece of software that wasn't made pre-1994 (not to mention that it's a pain in the ass to compile).

Don't believe that you can do multimedia with oss? check out dickmacinnis.com. All FOSS (even the website - made with Kompozer).

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[2]: A common problem
by DerGenosse on Mon 11th Jan 2010 16:31 in reply to "RE: A common problem"
DerGenosse Member since:
2010-01-11

Don't believe that you can do multimedia with oss? check out dickmacinnis.com. All FOSS (even the website - made with Kompozer).


No offense, but your website looks like ass. And given the fact that the content is largely courtesy of Google and ReverbNation, I really wouldn't put it forth as an example that you also can make websites with FOSS.

Besides, you miss the point. I don't think that anyone doubts that you can produce multimedia with FOSS. The trouble is that you just can't do it well. FOSS for multimedia production may be good enough, but good enough almost always doesn't cut it in the real world, which is the place that doesn't exist according to fervent FOSS advocates.

If you're a semi-pro or a pro that earns his living with multimedia production of any kind, then why would you be dumb enough to endure the pain of dealing with FOSS multimedia production software? If someone, for example, wants to break into Visual Effects and get a compositing job, is she ill-advised to learn by using Blender or Cinelerra? Hell yes! Instead, she should use the tools that are used in the business, like Combustion or Nuke, both of which are available as Learner Editions at no cost.

I really hate this ubiquitous tagline: "You can do that with FOSS, too!" At least the greater half of all FOSS software seems to be made with this in mind. The end-result: glorified, but horrible proof-of-concepts. So, sure, you can somehow produce multimedia content with FOSS, but who would want to?

Reply Parent Score: 10

RE[2]: A common problem
by Googol on Tue 12th Jan 2010 01:03 in reply to "RE: A common problem"
Googol Member since:
2006-11-24

OK I checked that link. Why am I thinking Atari Teenage Riot could do that on an Amiga 500 .. err 20 years ago? Because they could ! ! ! -- And did.

Way to go dude... btw check ATR's vids out.. (before you flame - lol)

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE: A common problem
by tupp on Tue 12th Jan 2010 01:25 in reply to "A common problem"
tupp Member since:
2006-11-12

It is really painful to honestly describe the state of multimedia procuction applications on Linux (and thus pretty much all Unices) today.

The big studios predominantly use Linux and OSS programs in post production imaging.

For example, the open source nature of Cinepaint is the main reason why the major film studios and major animation houses use it, and not Photoshop. Not only is the development a lot faster (having 32-bit color depth years before Photoshop), but they can (and do) accelerate the app's development if they need a feature.

Post production techniques are constantly developing at a rapid pace, and every minute of the average theatrical feature film costs about one million dollars to make. With that kind of money involved in every detail and with competitors writing their own image manipulation code, do you think that the studios are going to settle for the stock features of off-the-shelf proprietary programs like Photoshop? They need an image editor that they can develop in-house to their advantage. This advantage is why Cinepaint is so much more attractive to the studios than Photoshop.

Here's the NLE/compostitor, Piranha: http://www.ifx.com/products/piranha
Piranha has been around forever on Linux. Scroll down the Piranha web page and note some of the features. One could say that Piranha is slightly more sophisticated than Final Cut Pro!

Same goes for Piranha's little brother, Ant: http://www.ifx.com/ant

Another big advantage of Linux NLEs over FCP: one can change to a darker theme so that the OS's window elements aren't glaring into one's eyeballs in a dark edit bay.


The ugly thing is the people who always say that there is no problem on Linux with availability of good multimedia production apps. As soon as you say 'music', somebody will come along and say Ardour or Rosegarden. In 3D it's Blender, in image editing it's GIMP

What's wrong with Ardour? ... Blender? Both are incredibly powerful programs.

GIMP is better than Photoshop in many ways. First of all, it's easier to use. I have been able to accomplish a lot of things in GIMP, that my professional photographer friends couldn't do in Photoshop, with years of Photoshop experience. Recently, a friend of mine (who is a pro with probably eight years Photoshop experience) could not figure out how to separately extract the images in an animated gif, so he emailed it to me. I had never done it before, but, using GIMP, I was emailing him the separate images within ten minutes of when I received the gif.

The open source nature of the GIMP is an advantage. One can fork it off into new editor if one desires -- such as Cinepaint!

I can use the latest version of GIMP/Cinepaint compiled for 64-bit. Try that on a Mac with Photoshop! ;-)

Furthermore, I can put GIMP/Cinepaint on a small Linux distro on a live CD (or live USB stick) and it will boot on almost any X86 PC, so I can travel with my photo editor and I don't have to worry whether it will be comptible with the OS on the machine that I encounter.

If I use Tiny Core Linux, both the OS and GIMP combined on the live CD/USB come to only 17Mb! Try that with your proprietary software!

I can do the same with Ardour, Blender and probably with Ant and Piranha.

By the way, Photoshop relies on the open source dcraw for its Adobe Camera Raw plugin to import raw camera files (an essential function for pro photographers). Read the second sentence: http://wiki.panotools.org/Dcraw

I hear a lot of vague criticism of OSS and Linux, but when it gets down to the details, I find that it is often superior to the alternatives.

Also, give the OpenShot guy a break. He's probably been coding his NLE for less than a year, and he's accomplished a lot it that short time. No one should expect it to be perfect right now.

Edited 2010-01-12 01:43 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: A common problem
by DerGenosse on Tue 12th Jan 2010 07:52 in reply to "RE: A common problem"
DerGenosse Member since:
2010-01-11

The big studios predominantly use Linux and OSS programs in post production imaging.

Yes, many studios do. ILM runs almost exclusively on Linux. So what?
For example, the open source nature of Cinepaint is the main reason why the major film studios and major animation houses use it, and not Photoshop. Not only is the development a lot faster (having 32-bit color depth years before Photoshop), but they can (and do) accelerate the app's development if they need a feature.

No! Just, no. If something is open source or not is not important. It's important if it gets the job done. CinePaint obviously does, because it was developed with the VFX industry in mind by someone associated with that industry. But the job was done by someone first. Then the studios decided to use it, and, in some cases, contribute to it. But it didn't originate at a studio.

Your whole post is full of "moving the goalposts." Yes, the majority of the VFX industry has capitalized on Linux. Nearly every VFX software is available for Linux. But that is totally unrelated to the sorry state of consumer-grade multimedia software. Do I as a user care that ILM runs Linux? No, but I do care if the video editors available to me suck.

Edited 2010-01-12 08:02 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: A common problem
by strcpy on Tue 12th Jan 2010 07:55 in reply to "RE: A common problem"
strcpy Member since:
2009-05-20


The big studios predominantly use Linux and OSS programs in post production imaging.


Oh, yeah! This is a true classic in Linux advocacy.

Maybe you should bolster up your argument by saying also that, you know, Linux runs on supercomputers?

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[2]: A common problem
by wargum on Tue 12th Jan 2010 09:46 in reply to "RE: A common problem"
wargum Member since:
2006-12-15

The big studios predominantly use Linux and OSS programs in post production imaging.


And it is used in supercomputers, render farms, I know! You are talking about the super high end here that has soooo little volume.

For example, the open source nature of Cinepaint is the main reason why the major film studios and major animation houses use it, and not Photoshop. Not only is the development a lot faster (having 32-bit color depth years before Photoshop), but they can (and do) accelerate the app's development if they need a feature.


If Cinepaint is so great, why isn't it bundled in most distributions?

Post production techniques are constantly developing at a rapid pace, and every minute of the average theatrical feature film costs about one million dollars to make. With that kind of money involved in every detail and with competitors writing their own image manipulation code, do you think that the studios are going to settle for the stock features of off-the-shelf proprietary programs like Photoshop? They need an image editor that they can develop in-house to their advantage. This advantage is why Cinepaint is so much more attractive to the studios than Photoshop.


Again, you are talking about some people in the high end here.

Here's the NLE/compostitor, Piranha:


Man, this is so bad. Did you try to get it? For Germany they only mentioned a swiss distributor that has prices well hidden somewhere. I couldn't find it. This is a lot like when trying to buy other super high end and super expensive software like Maya.

Another big advantage of Linux NLEs over FCP: one can change to a darker theme so that the OS's window elements aren't glaring into one's eyeballs in a dark edit bay.


Yeah, whatever...

What's wrong with Ardour? ... Blender? Both are incredibly powerful programs.


Ardour is NOT a fully featured DAW like Pro Tools, Logic, Cubase etc. It has nothing to offer for MIDI.

Blender's UI is very very difficult to learn. I tried it myself, now I use Cinema 4D. I bought it and never regretted! Blender was originally proprietary commercial software. If it were better, they wouldn't be out of business by now.

GIMP is better than Photoshop in many ways. First of all, it's easier to use.

It's hard to find people like you these days. GIMP's GUI is awkward, that's common sense.

... Try that with your proprietary software!

Why would anybody do that? You travel with your laptop which contains all the software you need. Period.

I can do the same with Ardour, Blender and probably with Ant and Piranha.

The question is just: Is time worth anything to you? I mean if mentioned OSS would be all that great, why would anybody still buy software? The answer is: You glorify OSS like there is no tomorrow. But as I said, when you look a little deeper, you find problems in the OSS 'alternatives'.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: A common problem
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Tue 12th Jan 2010 23:33 in reply to "RE: A common problem"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14


For example, the open source nature of Cinepaint is the main reason why the major film studios and major animation houses use it, and not Photoshop.


Do they really use it *still*? The list of major movies its been used on is a bit dated, there hasn't been a release in some time. Its interface is gimp 1.0. The "next generation" rewrite glasgow is the most absurdly unstable piece of software I've ever attempted to use. It is *not* getting much development from major ,movie companies. If its being updated, those changes aren't making their way back into the trunk.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: A common problem
by ageitgey on Wed 13th Jan 2010 04:07 in reply to "RE: A common problem"
ageitgey Member since:
2009-11-10

GIMP is better than Photoshop in many ways. First of all, it's easier to use. I have been able to accomplish a lot of things in GIMP, that my professional photographer friends couldn't do in Photoshop, with years of Photoshop experience.


I've developed extensively for GIMP and I've used Photoshop for 15+ years. I very pro open source where it makes sense, but I also understand both applications very deeply. Claiming that GIMP is better than Photoshop is utterly silly.

Yes, there are things here and there that GIMP does better than Photoshop. Working with Animated GIFs is a good example. But those strengths are much fewer than the massive holes it has compared to Photoshop CS4.

GIMP is missing vital tools that are the bread and butter of a working photographer. This includes things like the healing brush, the patch tool, perspective image stamping, real support for actions, the quick select tool, a real brush engine, etc. The list is miles long. Trying to work as a real photographer without these tools greatly increases the amount of time spent editing.

This whole argument between GIMP and PS is out of date anyway. Most of the stuff that GIMP can handle well (color correction, cropping, basic touch ups, etc) are things that modern photographers no longer do in Photoshop. That work has all migrated to apps like Lightroom and Aperture. In fact, Photoshop is quickly becoming just a utility to photographers instead of the "main tool." There's nothing open source that is comparable to Lightroom at the moment.

GIMP is a great application to have around. It fits the needs of many amateurs and is a great utility for professionals as well. It's also a great base to build your own custom image processing tools. But saying that any real professional photographer (who gets paid for their time) could use it daily INSTEAD of Photoshop is silly. It's just not true.

By the way, Photoshop relies on the open source dcraw for its Adobe Camera Raw plugin to import raw camera files (an essential function for pro photographers).


That's misleading at best. ACR uses *pieces* of dcraw. But Adobe has added thousands of hours of their own development tweaking the raw conversion algorithms. ACR is way, way better than dcraw alone.

In any case, this is where open source really excels - producing great reusable libraries of common core functions like dcraw. Where it tends to fail is producing polished, high-end applications for niche audiences. That's no ones fault. It's just economics.

I hear a lot of vague criticism of OSS and Linux, but when it gets down to the details, I find that it is often superior to the alternatives.


I think it's impossible to say OSS is "better" or "worse" than alternatives. OSS kicks ass for low level libraries and applications that apply to a wide user base. That's why Firefox is so great. It attracts a huge number of developers to keep improving it. But that's also why OpenShot is struggling. There just aren't that many people in the world who want to develop a free high-end video editor with a pro-level feature set.

I wrote an article on this phenomenon for this very site half a decade ago: http://www.osnews.com/story/8146

Reply Parent Score: 2