This player parses the sysfs tree and opens the corresponding i2c device directly without any additional module. It can do some setup steps which the API currently cannot handle.
So in order to avoid that someone has to disallow the usbfs and i2c-dev interface. Back then Greg Kroah pointed out that binary drivers could use that interface, it was accepted because he basically didn't clash with another developer. So binary drivers here or there is basically the same.
This was basically my try to make development liberal and not driven by one single person.
The userspace drivers used a couple of self written drivers. The drivers which everything was about are still not available in the kernel, it basically was about Micronas chips back then.
The approach aimed to have some compatibility level to the available BSD tuning modules.
Building a virtual front between developers who actually supported linux for a long time isn't healthy. But well that way I don't see any chance in officially supporting and telling people to use video on linux unless they want to depend on the video4linux Maintainer. This will be my last comment about everything unless someone starts to think clear about the whole situation.
I never dropped off anyone contributing to that project, rather helped them to get further into it and the code authors as well as the support mailinglist are a proof of that.