Older blog entries for Uraeus (starting at number 374)

3 Dec 2004 (updated 3 Dec 2004 at 18:39 UTC) »

One of those days where I did a little bit of everything and is left at the end of that day wondering what I did. Got Novell Linux Desktop installed on one machine to test, did some QA on gst-plugins, wrote a draft for a press release to go out later this month, did some research to find some more contacts and answered mails etc.

Not sure how I feel about Novell Desktop Linux. Nice graphics during boot etc., but YaST just feels like a return to the days of linuxconf on Red Hat. Somewhat better than linuxconf, but still feeling like something made long ago with a GUI glued on for show in recent years. For some reason I am not getting a list of new packages in Red Carpet, which I doubt can be correct considering how long NLD has been out.

Also installed FlashLinux onto my penndrive today. Very very nice. Think I will try to tweak it to use it as a demo tool for Flumotion. FlashLinux is in my opinion a ten times better solution than liveCD setups as it actually allows you to store stuff on it.

Party/dinner with work today, hope I manage to find the place :)

Took a look at the Planet code on GStreamer today, so now Owen FG is syndicated onto Planet GStreamer and soon bilboed will be so too :)

Think one of the hardest things when you have a cool company like ours and you have something really cool up your sleave is keeping the flytrap shut until the press release is out. Rather painfull actually. And as soon as this one is out on Monday I already have another one that needs writing which will be just as cool. Life is unfair sometimes.

Stefan Kost posted a nice new screenshot of Buzztard today in his blog/planet gstreamer. Musicians out there take heed.

Discovered that the theoreticaly fixed bug when using SVG images as background is still around due to some ugly overiding of the control center (in which the bug is fixed) by Nautilus where the bug is still reining true. Please for the love of Odin's beard can someone fix this.

Getting some guests soon so I guess this weekend will be dedicated to getting the appartment shaped up. I just hope Ismael get the city council to come here soon to grab all the old furniture etc.

First day at work without Johan. Office felt strangely empty without him, loosing my only fellow scandinavian co-conspirator. But Johan let himself be seduced by Lambada dancing girls and there was little we could do to measure up to that. Office will soon fill up again though with Wingo and Jan coming onboard. And of course we will get a short fleeing glimpse at Johan again at the Ubuntu conference latere this month.

Had the first encounter in a long while today with Mandrake, installing Mdk 10.1 on a laptop for testing purposes. The experience was a bit mixed. Some things in Mandrake are nice, like their rpmdrake tool, other things like the network config GUI felt a bit kludgy (it did work though). Not sure how big a fan I am of the menu layout either and it seems you get a rather strange selection of software if you choose to install both GNOME and KDE. Fredric was very helpful with getting me started with getting Flumotion installed and I was able to help sort out a few packaging issues. There is still a core issue with overlaying not working, but Thomas promised to look into that. Probably a bug in either the version of python_imaging they ship or with the packaging of the version they use, but we find out soon enough.

Updated everything from CVS and went through our media testsuite and tried playing a DVD with Totem. A couple of more troublesome files in the testsuite is now working and it is starting to look mostly green instead of mostly red on the testchart, and playing a DVD with Totem kinda works, sound is still a bit borked but the image is perfect. Hopefully we can set it up so Ronald borrows one of the laptops we have here in the office to have some realistic usecase to solve those issues which are CPU usage related (currently DVD sound and Matroska playback). The combination of Ronald DVD fixes for Totem and Martin Soto commiting many of his fixes upstream which he made for his python based DVD player called Seamless it seems we are getting there fast in regards to fullproof DVD playback.

28 Nov 2004 (updated 28 Nov 2004 at 22:15 UTC) »

Did various small tasks and cleanups today. Got a little bored so I tested out Monkey Bubble. Nice SVG graphics, cool tune and sound effects usin GStreamer. Perfect in my eyes in other words :). The sound seemed a little suboptimal though, with 'lags' here and there. I asked Ronald to test it out and see if he can figure out what is wrong, Monkey Bubble would be a nice showcase of GStreamer in games if it worked perfectly. If Ronald manages to get the sound perfect in Monkey Bubble I guess I should start pushing to have it included in gnome-games :). Or at least get Mathias to start packaging it in stead of frozen bubble. Anyway here is a little screenshot of the unpolished gem running on my computer.

26 Nov 2004 (updated 26 Nov 2004 at 18:09 UTC) »

Noticed a nice feature of Red Hat bugzilla today. When you update a bug which is set to 'needinfo' it automatically gets set to 'assigned' again. In GNOME bugzilla this has to be done automatically and I have often seen bugs which the maintainer have forgotten about since its stuck in needinfo mode.

Tim-Phillip Mueller announced a webpage for his GStreamer based DVD ripper today. Very cool! Early stage, but still very cool.

A new tool in FC3 is the network manager. Which for some reason I can not phantom has its binaries named with caps; like NetworkManagerInfo. I guess the tool is considered rather beta yet cause I have yet to discover anywhere in the menu or network tools on how to activate it, which I guess mean that unless you are not experienced enough to get it set up from the command line you are not meant to use it. It also seems to have a crasher bug. The network at home has the same name as the network at work (as it was the only way for me with the old system to get internet both at home and at work without having to reconfigure the network everytime.). At home the NetworkManager always crash, so I guess it gets confused or something that there is a network with the same name as one it knows with different parameters (or something like that, not sure where to look for logs that can tell my anything), probably in some weird directory called Logs somewhere :) Apart from this is works well enough :)

Have a big plan for the weekend to get a haircut. Basically I haven't cut my hair since I left Norway in June. Hope words like 'poco' and 'medio' will be enough to get a haircut within proximity of what I want.

Went through and cleaned up my papers today, have a nice binders now filled to the brim with NDA's, Patent agreements and all kind of tasty goodies :)

We are trying to challenge Wim into writing a theora decoder in assembly for C64, lets see what happens :)

We did a new release of gst-plugins today. A bit after schedule due to the freedesktop downtime, but still a nice release. Chained Ogg support and the new polypaudio plugin for instance. In addition to a boatload of bugfixes.

The release allowed Ronald to commit his backlog of patches, which among other things included surround support for selected GStreamer plugins and VCD/SVCD support.

Done a few screenshots of Totem recently one which is the new sample image on gstreamer.net, and the second showing Totem playing a Flash file using swfdec.

Been preparing a press release for the formal launch of Flumotion. Considering our pipeline I think I will get to do a press release on almost a weekly basis for a little while :)

The polypaudio debate on gnome-desktop devel has flooded over into kde-multimedia. Was especially happy to see people there voicing concern over wether there was a polypaudio GStreamer plugin or not. Which coincided well with Scott's interview where he also talks about GStreamer and KDE.

23 Nov 2004 (updated 23 Nov 2004 at 18:43 UTC) »

Turned out to be a slight caps negotioation error on the pipeline transfering information on the current capabilities of libcolorspace between Wim/Thomas and me. The word supports do not mean implemented I learned today :)

A glorious moment today as my new living room furniture arrived from Ikea today. One step closer to having the perfect appartment. Now I have no excuse to not keep the place tidyer though.

Saw the other day that Pamela Jones of Groklaw fame quit her job since she felt it was being used by SCO and MS to FUD linux and free software. That kind of dedication impress me.

Gotten some complaints that I have not made any buttons or posters for my GNOME Foundation election campaign. I appologize to any potential voters who feel unapreciated due to this.

If the puny piece of metal Nat got cost 18 000 USD, I am guessing becoming Wolverine is outside his budget.

Also very happy to see interest growing around David Schleef's liboil project. Ideally it could end up being used in swfdec, libcolorspace, libtheora and librsvg with current discussions.

Went to the cinema with Thomas and Kristien yesterday to see the new Bridget Jones Diary movie. Johan and Wim are now convinced I have a mental problem since I didn't go with Wim to see Aliens vs Predator instead.

Spider replied in his blog to my review of Vendetta. While after reading his mail I think some of my criticisms, of the level system for instance, where based on inexperience with the game, my main criticism still stands. That the game is not very good at generating a feeling of a 'living' world around you. Which was something Elite where good at. I also think the game is so alike Elite in a lot of ways including setting and gameplay that comparing it to that game is more than fair. And while I can symphatize with the fact that they are a small company and can't do everything at once, hey I work for a company with the same sort of challenge, I also feel it is fair to state what makes the game not entertaining enough for me, or at least not fun enough to start paying after my 8 hours of free play. I think the foundation is there though so I probably try again in some months to see how things have evolved.

Wim put the source to libcolorspace into public subversion today. It is an colorspace conversion library which does every colorspace known to mankind, or at least more than any other such library out there. The library is also more tuned for doing various kinds of optimizations than current libraries for colorspace conversion. Probably will be using liboil for some of the optimization work. When the first release is out we probably start looking into making it the default colorspace library for GStreamer, as opposed to the current forked colorspace library from ffmpeg. Guess libcolorspace will be our fourth default colorspace library, with Hermes, ffcolorspace, forked ffcolorspace and soon libcolorspace :)

Both Inkscape and librsvg developers are working on improving font handling. Followed the librsvg debate most closely and getting font/text handling perfect will be a though job. Current questions in a librsvg context is wether pango is suitable or if not suitable can it be made suiteable, and if it is not suitable and can't be made suiteable how can it be approached without Caleb and Dom getting an ulcer.

Got freedesktop CVS access again today, woohoo :) Now if only Iain will commit his ding caching abstraction system so we can start patching GNOME :)

A review of Vendetta Online.

Vendetta Online is a commercial MMORG game available with a native Linux client (which is why I tried it out). It is basically a modern interpretation of David Braben's classic Elite game. (which last incarnation has a Linux port. I ran that port recently (screenshot) since I used to love playing the game back when it was released.

Anyway this review will look at how Vendetta Online compares to Elite. Obviously the graphics have moved a forward by a huge leap and same with sound.

So lets start with the good points of Elite/First Encounters. The nicest thing of the game was its feeling of a huge universe which you had a real feeling of things happening in. A big part of this feeling of aliveness was the ongoing storyline presented through the various newspapers you could subscribe to. There where also a lot of quests which you could go on which tied in with these stories. There where also tons of quests which did not tie in with any background story of course. Another nice feature where the huge range of spaceships and how you could modify these ships with a lot of different accessories all with different tradeoffs in terms of usage of space and capabilities.

The bad parts of Elite/First Encounters where the real lack of logics in regards to getting attacked. Space combat is fun, but it is not fun when you are getting attacked 50 times enroute to your destination. Space combat could also be rather tedious and borinng depending on which weapon you had. I also often got blasted out of the sky before knowing what hit me due to the 'fast time' option in the game. The motivation for those attacks where also a bit unclear as the monetary cost to any would be pirate would in most time make it cost prohibitive to be a pirate, meaning the value of your goods would allways be much lower than the cost of their repairs if you just got in 1 hit. The game also seemed to favouritize doing some rather boring stuff. For instance I quickly learned that the fastest way to earn enough money to buy the bigger cooler ships where basically fly back and forth between Earth and Alpha Centauri trading goods. This route where pirate free, short and the two systems complimented eachother well on what they needed. Bounty hunting, passenger transsport, military assignments and so on could be fun in their own regards, but they often cost as much as they gave in terms money for fuel and repairs. Another boring part of the game was the time spent flying to space stations and planets. You always warped in quite a way from the space station or planet in question meaning it took time getting to the planet. There was a fast time option which would have solved it was it not for often getting you killed before being able to react.

So over to Vendetta Online. Have they managed to get the good things in elite over and the fix the bad stuff?

Not so sure. Being an MMORG they have a good chance to make the Universe come alive around you. But the newspapers which where such an integral part of FFE is not there, newspapers which they could have both generated based on what players did and even probably get some players to help out writing. There are three grouping in vendetta just like there are in FFE, but they seem more stereotypical than their FFE counterparts. Being able to buy stuff has changed a lot from FFE, in Vendetta you need to get 'licensed' before being able to buy stuff. Not sure how much I like the concept compared to the pure pricing system of FFE. I think it makes it feel more like a game system than a 'real world emulation'. To some degree the licensing system can be compared to the military assignments and leveling in FFE, but since everyone seems to be basically a 'soldier' for their respective group in Vendetta it means you have to work the ranks before being able to buy anything.

Vendetta also has less spaceship customization options than its source of inspiration. So where FFE let you trade cargo space for protection for instance so are there little tradeoffs to be done in Vendetta. For instance FFE demanded you put aside space for a tractor beam/cargo scope if you wanted to grab cargo from ships you destroy, this beam would then grab the cargo for you in you where close to the cargo. In Vendetta this is just about 'hitting' the cargo boxes with your ship.

Space combat do seem to have improved over its predecesor. It isn't forced upon you all the time and the system for doing it seems aimed at making some more gameplay out of it.

They have some nice improvements to trading, for instance so will prices start to fall if you do the jumping back and forth thing which I did with FFE. The trading system could still be improved, since they allow for universal communication they could for instance allow you to get information on good ideas for trading. I am sure that in such a future world there would be an organisation gathering prices from around the universe and selling you the information. Like a system where you could pay 50cr and be told that since you are on planet xy, you could consider these options which would earn you this or that. They do not however have the trading in illegal goods that FFE had which was another thing to bring flavour.

Never tried mining in FFE so I am not sure how it compares to mining in Vendetta. Guess the comment is that Vendetta lowers the barrier for your first mining mission.

Player vs player combat is of course a unique feature of vendeta since its a MMORG. When I was out flying on a mission I noticed an enemy ship in my sector. I tried attacking it, but I never seemed to get any hits. I didn't recived any hits either. Seem to remember reading something about having to challenge people to be able to do that, which I think is a stupid concept, at least in 'unregulated space'.

So to summarize. Vendetta is a beautiful game graphically, and I truly recomend anyone to download the free 8 hour demo to test it out if nothing else to look at the beautiful rendering of space. The technics of the game like combat and space station handling are also good IMHO, but the developers really need to work more on adding stuff to add more flavour to the game, make the socities feel more alive and vibrant. FFE beats them hands down in this area, which is a feat considering how old the game is. Moving away from the license level/ working for the group system towards Elite's system of free enterprise might also be a nice change.

Managed to get my website w3c compliant for both the html and the css. Think the w3c will feel violated by that, but hey, thats life.

The use of SVG and librsvg in games seems to be slowly growing. Learned today that the developer of Wormux is working on adding SVG support. This map map was made with Inkscape and will hopefully in future releases be rendered using librsvg inside Wormux.

Tried working a bit on gnome-themes-extras today. But I am not able to get make dist working anymore. I am getting messages like this
tar: gnome-themes-extras-0.8.0/Gorilla/icons/scalable/mimetypes/gnome-mime-application-x-gnome-app-info.svg: file name is too long (max 99); not dumped
If anyone have a clue about it please mail me on uraeus-gnome-org. I am pretty sure it is a change in some underlying system as the g-t-e package has not changed its structure recently.

Daniel linked to a fun little hack in his blog today.

Zaheer got Flumotion streaming from his Mosque yesterday. So you can now get your weekly dosage of Islam in Ogg Theora/Vorbis format. Nice to see people being able to use the work we do at Fluendo to offer services like this to their local community. (disclaimer: I am still an atheist :)

365 older entries...

New Advogato Features

New HTML Parser: The long-awaited libxml2 based HTML parser code is live. It needs further work but already handles most markup better than the original parser.

Keep up with the latest Advogato features by reading the Advogato status blog.

If you're a C programmer with some spare time, take a look at the mod_virgule project page and help us with one of the tasks on the ToDo list!