Saturday, September 09, 2006

Video editing badness

The Linux video editing software Kino doesn't support AVI files natively, it works with camcorder DV files. However, it will import AVI files and convert them into DV format. I have had problems with Kino importing a 1GB AVI file.

I'm not specifically upset that after 15 minutes of processing, the temporary .DV file it created had expanded to 6GB. These things happen -- some data formats are bigger than others. I'm not even upset that processing hadn't finished -- some things take time.

But it is absolutely unforgivable that after not just clicking the Cancel button, but having quit the Kino application, the data import was still churning away in the background. What sort of jerry-built, buggy piece of crap software leaves processes running after you've not just explicitly said "Stop that!" but even quit the application?

I miss the days when Linux programmers actually had a clue. If your application launches a thread to run a job, and the user says cancel the job, CANCEL THE JOB. You don't need an IQ of 168 to know that.

As it was, I was lucky that I knew what was happening. I had launched Kino from the command line, instead of from a menu command, and the status messages were flying thick and fast in the CL window. After much to-ing and fro-ing, from process manager to command line and back again, I eventually discovered that the process in question was the ffmpeg library, and was able to stop it.

The lesson from this is not that Linux isn't ready for use on desktop PCs: this sort of behaviour is no different from what goes on under Windows, except under Windows it is even harder to track down the rogue process. I've resorted to reboots under Windows to stop software running. The lesson is that a colourful animated user interface does not make quality software. I wish application developers would spend more time on getting the basics right.

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