The end of Diva

Diva was a piece of software that I had put a lot of faith on. Its UI was amazing — exactly how I want to see UIs designed in general. But I don’t think we will ever see a new version of it. The Google/Novell-sponsored version 0.0.2 was released May 29th and since then we haven’t had any news at all — even its official web site went busted.

MDK, the developer of Diva, many times has made it clear that he is not happy with the way the GStreamer media framework works and it’s ultimately what keeps Diva back. This is exactly what happened with the supposedly-great BeOS Media Kit (a very common hyped opinion about BeOS). It was a proof of concept media framework and worked great “on paper” or for sound and video playback. But when you needed to actually do something truly complex with it (e.g. video editing), it was folding on its own. MDK said that he needed fixes that the GStreamer people would not or could not give him, and so eventually Diva has died. While this is not official, to my mind it’s a fact given several factors and email exchanges with people in the know.

Sure, Diva is open source and someone might pick it up, but thing is, I don’t TRUST anyone else to be able to pull off a great usability as MDK could. While a new developer might be able to pull it together and release a usable version, I am not confident that this person would be as good in UI design. There are not many people out there who have a grand vision about UIs. Diva was so good because MDK had it all (he would be one of my first recruits if I had a software company).

There are other video apps for Gnome, like Kino and PiTiVi, but none as easy to use and as to the point as Diva was. Diva was even better than iMovie, usability-wise. I had put lots of faith and hope in it and to me this was a big chance for the Linux desktop to shine over its competition in ease of use and completeness.

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Eugenia wrote on December 2nd, 2006 at 7:00 AM PST:

Diva was at version 0.0.2 and it had lots of bugs, they were not Mono’s fault. Many of the crashes also occured because it required a patched GStreamer, not a default one. If you haven’t patched Gstreamer for Diva, then the crashes you had were normal. Mono had nothing to do with this.

Luis wrote on December 2nd, 2006 at 10:06 AM PST:

It’s always sad to see a promising project die, but to be sincere, all my attempts to use DIVA have been frustrating. I could never have it open for more than a few seconds without it crashing. And I’m not sure this was GStreamer’s fault. Pitivi also uses GStreamer and it’s quite stable for the few things it can do.

Since I never liked mono, I always blamed it for the uselessness of DIVA. And now that Java went open source, I couldn’t see a bright future for mono apps anyway. So maybe this had to happen so that someone else picks DIVA’s UI (yes, those screenshots look really sweet) and builds a useful video editor.

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