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Home arrow Articles on toningenieur.info arrow WTF VLC?
WTF VLC? Print E-mail
Jan 15, 2012 at 11:16 PM

Words cannot explain how much headache VLC caused my over the last years. Of course, it once was one of the most promising pieces of software around, but somehow it got stuck in this promising state for the last years. Before you say something, yes, it is a piece of open source software and therefor I could contribute as well instead of doing this rant. But I'd better not - I guess the first thing I'd do is to remove any sign of the so called GUI for OS X (don't really know the one for Windows/Linux). This is one of the the worst, I repeat the w-o-r-s-t GUIs ever released out to mankind.

I just started watching a movie with "forced subtitles". That is, a movie containing embedded subtitles having one of them flagged as default. Well, I can't remember a single moment when I ever needed subtitles and there are only hypothetical situations, where these could come handy (f.e. the language switches to chinese for more than a few seconds, spontaneous but complete loss of my hearing, a new neighbor does some testing of his vibratory plate compactor etc.). In any other case subtitles are just annoying, they distract from the acting going on and blemish the image. As it's kind of annoying deactivating them each time I watch a movie with a similar configuration, I wanted to do this permanently.

Ok, well then, let's press Cmd + "," and have look at the preferences. Mhmm, nothing happens - oh, wait, something did happen, but on the wrong screen (I use more than one monitor). Mhmm, ok, so let's drag the preferences windows it over to the primary screen then. So, what do we have ... mhmm, a lot of text but no obvious option to turn off subtitles in the basic menu, ahem, ok. Someone probably had to leave early before finishing the code, I don't mind, let's switch over to "All". Like ... uhh, the preference window just disappeared - no wait, it just decided to return to it's original position, which is more than one meter away from where I wanted to have it. WTF, IIRC it's been like that for years, how comes they never fixed this behaviour? Switching between "Basic" and "All" resets the windows position every time. What is this, version 0.02 alpha or an aprils fool? Geeesh ...

Back on topic, I didn't go into preferences for fun, I wanted to switch off subtitles. So, where might this be? Ah, Video -> Subtitles/OSD ... here we go, let's search there ... oh no ... still nothing ... only completely useless options for auto detection of subtitle tracks. Wow, this must be hell of a secret option if it's not even in the advanced part of the preferences. So let's try Google for gods sake. Seems as if I'm not alone with this wish, the first hit after googling for turn off subtitles permanently VLC already looks like a winner. Unfortunately it also lookes llike 442 words article on vlchelper.com. Man, do the GUI developers ever use their own software? Following the steps in this howto, one turns off almost everything OSD related, not just subtitles, so it's no solution, I'd even better not call this an acceptable workaround.

While googling for other possible solutions I stumbeld over a cool picture of the VLC quality assurance team 2011:

Yep, this obviously got me going - a few words about audio ... is this volume slider thing in VLC really linearly scaled? LINEAR in AUDIO? Hello McFly, anybody home? Yeah, think, and then also rethink your equalizer and your dynamic compression algorithm. To me, this is a new definition of a bad sounding option you have there. You know, just because it's free it doesn't mean it has to be crap. If it doesn't work, don't release it, it's that simple. It's unusable anyway, this all has to be done externally, you know immediate adaption is an extremely important property when applying changes to certain parameters in audio signal processing algorithms, it's the way human perception works. Evolution did not allow for a concept of having system inherent delays between changes of several seconds, or even forcing restarts of the rendering engine. This applies even more if the initial parameter set was scaled so extraordinarily bad like you did and one has to start from the totally wrong order of magnitude before getting at least something out of it.

So, I'd say just get rid of all these unnecessary and dispensable options that don't work and focus on the important things. What the hell has visualization to do with audio, mhmm? And even if - what makes you think this deserves the pole position in the "Audio" menu? Why is "Miscellaneous" under "Audio" even there, when it doesn't contain anything but a blank screen?
I could keep on ranting forever, but I'm running out of time. For now I'll just delete this piece of *****fieeepp***** - again. There are different media players out there, using open source isn't anything if it causes you headaches.

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