My experiments with open source, multimedia and other random stuff

Hacking A/V

The Book Of Wisdom - A/V coding for the masses

Saturday, June 6, 2009 by Jai

Its a well known fact that Open source projects tend to be heavily dependent on contributions from the community. Therefore, it becomes very important that people have access to high quality documentation to supplement their efforts. This is something which FFmpeg has been lacking in for quite some time. Code and associated doxygen markup is all we have in the way of documentation.
Another related problem is the "domain" itself. FFmpeg contributors are expected to know the basic (and sometimes advanced) concepts of A/V coding in addition to signal processing fundamentals and more importantly, how these are applied in practice.
Obviously I'm not the first person to notice this situation :) Infact, at LinuxTag 2008, Attila Kinali (fondly known as root@mphq), Mans Rullgard and Roberto Togni hacked up the framework for what is called The Book Of Wisdom (or BoW) with the aim of consolidating knowledge absolutely essential for multimedia hacking. For a better description of what we are trying to achieve, you can read Attila's announcement mail sent to the BoW list.
You can see what has happened since than by checking out the repo like so :

svn co svn://svn.mplayerhq.hu/bow/trunk

I personally believe that the BoW, alongwith The Multimedia Wiki (generously sponsored by the formidable Mike Melanson) which is a compendium of sorts of multimedia formats, will evolve to be an excellent resource for future contributors. I have been toying with the idea of contributing a chapter or two, but that will have to wait till I have some time to spare.

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