Answering questions…

(This was initially posted as a reply to a blogpost regarding PiTiVi being proposed as a default application in the upcoming Ubuntu Lucid. That comment was removed for an unknown reason, so I thought it best to put it here, and it would also be interesting for other people)

What a depressing post (in some aspects). I’ll answer the various questions/comments/rants all the same.

PiTiVi doesn’t support DV/mpeg4/whatever-format

Where did you get that idea from ? PiTiVi doesn’t come shipped with codecs, it relies on GStreamer to provide the needed plugins/decoders/etc… If you load a DV file in pitivi and you don’t have the plugins, the application missing-plugin system should appear proposing you to download the needed plugin.

Collabora pushed PiTiVi aggresively into ubuntu

That’s 100% totally wrong. I personally had chats with Jono and Rick Spencer about having PiTiVi shipped as a default application, and canonical were interested by the idea of having a video editor shipped by default. All of this was far from being enforced, or us (Collabora) going out of our way to have PiTiVi shipped by default. And nothing’s engraved in stone at this point. If we (pitivi development team) get feedback/help on improving what’s bothering people by the Lucid release date and people deem it good enough to be shipped by default, great ! If we get no help… well.. PiTiVi won’t die and people will still be able to use it via PPAs.

Why ship PiTiVi as default app and not another video editor ?

I’d say the main reason is that all the dependencies (except for goocanvas, which is pretty slim) are already shipped by default : GStreamer, GTK, python. All the other editors would require bringing in more dependencies. I’ll let Canonical/Ubuntu confirm that or not.

lack of features …

On this part we have always taken the stand of making sure features are as solid as possible before adding new features. In terms of video editing, that means you do need to have input/output format support rock solid, trimming/cutting rock solid. Check out how many clips/movies/documentaries/… out there and see how much of them make use of video effects, for how long, and how many don’t.
The two features we find critically missing are : video transitions and overlaying. I just merged yesterday the videomixing branch yesterday to master which enables setting transparency on every video streams (like Sony Vegas does). It still has some issues, but having it in master will force/speedup the bugfixing process.
Video effects are not a top-priority. Getting those… without being able to do the features above are pointless. We won’t diverge from that point of view. Helping us get the above rock solid as fast as possible … will mean you will see video effects faster.

To people throwing generic rants about <video-editor-name> sucking

Write a video editor (or any non-trivial multimedia applicatoin), then come back and rant about other people’s application sucking. Then we might have a proper discussion. In the meantime… you’re not improving the situation.

PiTiVi is dead or no longer maintained

The 3 main developers (who also happen to be hired by Collabora and that includes myself) have been working on some other company work in the meantime. Keeping Collabora hiring those 3 developers, means ensuring they have time to be paid to work on it also. (I’d personnaly love to have people working 100% of the time on PiTiVi … but you need to take into account the reality of running a business).
We’re progressively getting more company time for PiTiVi (Brandon has been back on it full time for the past frew weeks for example). It’s far from being abandoned/dead, just that we do it at our own pace. It’s freely available (LGPL, no copryight attributions required) and will always stay that way. We always welcome contributions and are pretty fast to review/commit patches.

Drop in on #pitivi on or send us a mail on and come and give your feedback, what can be improved, what’s good and should be kept and … who knows … be part of the pitivi team 🙂

Edward Hervey: PiTiVi creator/maintainer, GStreamer hacker, Collabora Multimedia co-director

17 thoughts on “Answering questions…”

  1. I was in the bar at UDS last night when a fellow Ubuntu user (and Canonical employee) asked me how to edit a video down and re-encode it for uploading to a popular online video site. We installed Pitivi and it took next to no time for me to show him how to use it. Pitivi is a great app an I look forward to it being in the default Ubuntu application set.

    Keep up the great work guys.

  2. I love Pititvi. It’s incredibly simple and stable and works very well with Theora/Vorbis video. The lack of transitions, such as, fades and gamma crossing of tracks are the only things keeping Pitivi from being a killer app. You have already tackled what most people need in an editor. Excellent work so far. 🙂

  3. Just so any readers here don’t get the wrong impression regarding Omg!Ubuntu! – the comment was re-written up into a separate article so that the conversation could take place it it’s own thread as it didn’t deserve to be buried away 50 comments down a page! This was communicated to Mr Hervey.

    I’m not out to distort or needlessly detract from the hardwork that goes into an application or its development, which is slightly the taste you’re leaving in peoples’ mouths. We have a great relationship with many developers and projects and regularly interview developers and maintainers, feature brand new apps and highlight projects.

    I don’t want people left with the impression that because we had dared to express an opinion and that because we moved one comment into the view of a greater number of people that we’re some project-hating blog – we’re not the perez hilton of linux!

  4. While I don’t agree with the original overly harsh critisism, I do agree that PiTiVI is not ready.

    It’s like FSpot with less features (and features are what is necessary here…). All you can do is cut and paste pieces of video and audio. That’s it. I don’t see pitivi improving exponentially to the stage where it would be worthy to include in Ubuntu and thus as a promoted video editor to millions of users to be impressed or regularly used by.

  5. I for one look forward to the inclusion of transitions and overlays to PiTiVi. Once I can title my videos then I can be happy. Effects aren’t as big a deal to me, but it’d be nice anyways.

    PiTiVi is getting there.

    For those interested in a more advanced Gnome video editor, check out OpenShot:

    Its got transitions, effects, and overlays. And it’s pretty damn stable for being cutting edge. And having more choices is always a good thing.

  6. For me Kdenlive works best, but PiTiVi is not that far away. What I’m really missing in PiTiVi is transparency for overlay images. But I’ll check the next version.
    Keep up the good work.

  7. Pitivi will be realy great… with a transition support. Cut tansitions are ugly.

    In my dream, i’d like to see more interaction beetween f-spot (banshee/rythmbox ?) and pitivi. Most of numeric camera allow us to make movies. But after this… nothing. I can’t class them, can’t tag them, can’t edit them, can’t send them to {youtube, picasa, vimeo}. But, as a « normal » user, it’s exactly what I want to do with my daily’s videos.

  8. It’s not negative energy… it’s critism of it being included in Ubuntu by default, because it’s not ready yet.

    (like fspot, but with less features).

  9. @d0od

    “I’m not out to distort or needlessly detract from the hardwork that goes into an application or its development, which is slightly the taste you’re leaving in peoples’ mouths.”

    Wasn’t it you who wrote “PiTiVi sucks”, eh? 🙂 So after a calm response to your rant you suddenly pretend to be a nice guy? Man, if you really want to be a good journalist, learn basic skills like critical review of your own stuff before clicking “Publish” button.

  10. Dude I agree 100% on the prioritization of effects. I mean very, very few movies actually use effects. Most of the time they are completely unneeded, beyond a saturation feature and often times just appear corny or terrible. I realize you don’t need justification but i’m just saying its a good call. And although openshot and Kdenlive have more features they are much much less stable.

  11. I think some of the criticism is a reflection of the strong desire to have an iMovie app in Linux. The fact is I agree with the PiTiVi developers on making sure all features are released when they have been properly tested and are stable. I have tried Openshot and it crashes under certain loads.

    PiTiVi is rock solid and integrates very well into the Gnome desktop. So I must echo a strong appreciation for all the hard work done on PiTiVi and I do look forward to the new feature when they are ready.

    I will give a plus1 on trying to create some integration between PiTiVi, Banshee, and F-Spot to create an awesome suite of tools home users will use every day.

  12. I’m running Debian Lenny, gnome. PiTiVi v0.10.3 is missing a timeline.
    I compiled the latest sources (PiTiVi 0.13.3) won’t run though. Some python module is missing but no word on exactly what and where to get it.

    I installed Kubuntu 9.10 and installed PiTiVi 0.13.3 from Ubuntu repositories. It also would not run.
    I googled with the error messages. Many folks had the same problem. No answers on how to correct.

    I really want a simple, easy to use video editing program.
    No criticism intended. I could not write a video editing program if my life depended on it.

  13. @Alan, heathenx, AllDayInVirginia : yay, glad to see the simple use-cases work flawlessly. That’s the spirit behind pitivi. Making it solid step by step.

    @d0od : hopefully no harm done. No need to defend yourself if you have done nothing wrong.

    @Ben Foote, Tobias, nemolivier, antistress : I merged my videomixing branch to git master a few days back, which brings generic transparency/mixing support to PiTiVi. There’s still some bugs to flatten out… but basically it works. Will do a screencast of it soon.

    @Stephane Delcroix : … man… you totally made my day back then 🙂 Merci

    @Vadim : I’m 100% fine with criticism, comments, feedback, etc.. I do on the other hand totally despise having “ sucks” which is childish at best since it doesn’t provide the author/developer with anything to base themselves on.

    @prokoudine: no need to put more oil on a fire which never was there 🙂 All is good.

    @Jimy: color correction comes just after videomixing/overlay/transitions in the todo list 🙂

    @AllDayInVirginia: Integration between the various applications you mentionned comes down to solving one problem which imho is critical : Content Management. We need a system to be able to manage all this content (Audio/Video/Photo/Text/..) which is available on your computer… and also remotely. It’s a tough problem imho. But still… you can drag-and-drop your photos/music into pitivi… so it’s a start.

    @Allen: 0.10.3 is definitely no longer supported. You might want to try debian experimental (latest pitivi/gstreamer is always updated there within 24hours of releases). If you get 0.13.3 installed and you still have problems, you should file a bug on the pitivi bugtracker and not here (where it will get lost).

    And for everybody.. I just dug out a photo from the pitivi t-shirt from 2007… my feeling hasn’t changed 🙂

    Thanks to all for your feedback, let’s make PiTiVi rock even more !

  14. Ed,

    I hope you did not take my comment as criticism – just to make clear – I love PiTiVi and the fact you want to take the time to make a quality product. I work in the financial management consulting and in the development of financial management applications and know how important good solid code is.

    My whole comment about application integration is applicable to the Linux desktop in general and I agree Gnome/KDE need to provide that framework to make it easier for application developers to include this capability in their software.

    Thanks again for all you do.

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