You probably remember my recent rant about Linux’s sorry state in the video editing department (where at least two Linux video editor developers agreed). I’ve cried out loud about it since 2003. Nothing has fundamentally changed since then. A few days ago I added a message at Gnomefiles.org to let developers know that there is a need for a good, iMovie-style, video editor on Linux. I got a semi-angry reply from another video editor developer who said that his app is better than I think, but when I laid out to him basic video editing abilities (e.g. writing back to the tape), his reply was the lame “well, no one requested these features”. Give me a break. This guy has obviously not used a consumer Windows or Mac video editor the past 5 years. He’s completely disconnected from the market, and what this market’s needs are (open source or not).
Usually I come out as an ass for my opinions (even when I don’t mean to), and many people hate me for that. However, there are some people who can see past through these first impressions and understand why I do the things I do, or write the things I write, the way I write them. I am passionate about things I care about. And I am a perfectionist too.
Today, Ubuntu’s Jono Bacon blogged about video editing too. He also agrees that video editing sucks balls on Linux. To me, this is the last frontier for Linux. The last application that the community hasn’t manage to create in a way that actually works without crashing every 2 minutes. It’s a very difficult task, more difficult than writing an application like Firefox, which is why it’s my belief that this is a job that Red Hat or Novell or Ubuntu must employ engineers to write, and not a disorganized developer’s community. Video editing requires so many different libraries and frameworks and support from the rest of the system, that you simply need full time engineers working next to each other, and not via the internet. It took Sony Vegas 5 years to get to a stage where things worked well. Premiere got through that stage too (back in 2001 Premiere would crash a lot too for example, ask the “Primer” director). It ain’t easy, but it’s something that’s needed, especially with HD cameras out there these days dropping in price so much.
Personally, I am not optimistic that something usable will eventually be released with target the average user. I don’t give a chance for something as complex and broad as a video editor for the community to develop properly. There’s also little in return for a commercial company to invest in it, so I just don’t see it happening.