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		   Video for Linux Mailing List Archives

List:       linux-video
Subject:    [video4linux] New API spec
From:       Bill Dirks < dirks () rendition ! com>
Date:       1998-07-24 20:37:46

Hello, everybody discussing the API spec.

I had a lot of ideas about what I would like to see added or changed in
the spec based on my experience, and I started writing it down. But
because of all the recent activity on this list, now its turning into a
rewrite of most of the spec.

I am eagerly soaking up all the suggestions and comments people are
posting and trying to incorporate all of it together in a consistent
way. Including streaming capture, capture-to-frame buffer, compression,
select, and more. I am trying to keep it simple so it's easy and fun to
use and program, but still have it be full-featured, scalable and
extensible.

I hope to make it available in the next couple days. I could not attempt
to define everything, but I hope to create a basis with everything
assembled together that we all can flesh out.

Alan, is there a deadline for when we should have the new spec hammered
down?

Bill.
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List:       linux-video
Subject:    Re: [video4linux] New API spec
From:       Alan Cox <alan () cymru ! net>
Date:       1998-07-25 17:34:24

> Alan, is there a deadline for when we should have the new spec hammered
> down?

A week or so would be nice. Im hoping we dont change anything drastically
and cause breakages.

Aaln

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List:       linux-video
Subject:    Re: [video4linux] New API spec
From:       "Bill Dirks" <dirks () rendition ! com>
Date:       1998-07-26 1:25:45

-----Original Message-----
From: Alan Cox <alan@cymru.net>

>> Alan, is there a deadline for when we should have the new spec
hammered
>> down?
>
>A week or so would be nice. Im hoping we dont change anything
drastically
>and cause breakages.


I think we can make some very worthwhile improvements, but it will cause
breakages. But they will be easy to fix.

We can keep the old bttv spec in place separate from Video for Linux if
you need the legacy bttv stuff to continue working.

I posted an early draft of some proposed changes to the spec under the
subject "New API spec proposals". It includes, for example, an improved
video image format structure. Obviously adopting that will break
existing code, but, jeez, it's not hard to adapt code to the new
structure!

Most of my proposed new or changed data structures have 'reserved'
fields in them, so in the future changes can be made without breaking
anything. So part of the proposal is about avoiding this very delimma.
In the long run it's worth it to make these kinds of changes before tons
of applications have been written/ported.

There will never be better time to fix the API. Now is our chance. I
know it's painful to have to modify working code. I have to modify my
driver too. It's not fair to the people who will be writing (and
porting) v4l applications and drivers in the future for us to ship a
spec that we know has problems we can easily fix but don't because we
don't want to break a couple early programs. I think everybody
understands that the current spec is experimental and subject to change.

I would really like to see Video for Linux be a solid, well-thought-out,
high quality foundation for all kinds of video applications. Video
applications on personal computers have been novelty or niche items in
the past, but I think they will become more and more commonplace and
important in the near future. There are many applications that could be
applied to Linux if the foundation were there. Linux is highly respected
for many kinds of applications; it should be true for digital video too.

Have a look at the proposals. If everyone agrees the proposals are a bad
idea, I'll drop it. Or else we can work out something we all agree on.
Keep in mind that *if* the initial spec is well designed and
sufficiently extensible we can add more features and refinements later
without breaking code anymore. And that will mean we don't have to solve
every problem this week.

Bill.

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