E.4. Joe Barr

Joe Barr became infamous in december 2001 by writing a less than favorable MPlayer review called MPlayer: The project from hell. He found MPlayer hard to install, and concluded that the developers were unfriendly and the documentation incomplete and insulting. You be the judge of that. He went on to mention Arpi negatively in his 10 Linux predictions for 2002. In a followup review of xine called A streaming media player for the rest of us he continued stirring up controversy. Ironically at the end of that article he quotes his exchange with Günter Bartsch, the original author of xine, that perfectly summarizes the whole situation:

However, he also went on to say that he was "surprised" by my column about Mplayer and thought it was unfair, reminding me that it is a free software project. "If you don't like it," Bartsch said, "you're free not to use it."

Almost two years later in october 2003 he wrote another review called Mplayer revisited (wrong spelling preserved). In it he came to the following conclusions:

I would have to say that there have been improvements in the number of features, in performance, and in documentation. It's still not the easiest install in the world, especially for newbies, but it's a little better than it used to be.


But more importantly, I didn't notice any recent comments about user abuse. I think I deserve some of the credit for that, even if I do say so myself. Arpi and the rest of the project team must feel that way too, because they have taken care to remember me in a special section of the documentation included in the tarball. Like I said at the start, some things haven't changed at all.

We could not have summarized our feelings towards Joe Barr better: "It's still not the fairest or best researched article in the world, but it's better than it used to be." Hopefully the next time around we will meet each other's expectations. However, the credit for maturity goes to our increasing age only, and maybe to being weary of flame wars.