Older blog entries for Uraeus (starting at number 488)

22 Jul 2005 (updated 22 Jul 2005 at 22:09 UTC) »
GStreamer on Windows

It have has (choose either of these two verb forms, but please choose the correct one. ed) arrived. Michael Benes has created the missing plugins to make GStreamer work on Windows and ported his media player to Windows to prove it. With this GStreamer now runs on Linux/Unix/MacOSX and Windows, which makes it fully cross platform. Cool stuff indeed!

WARNING! Andy Wingo might end up suffering from violence in the near future.(He will be remembered as a martyr who died for correct style and grammar. ed)

When the world centers around Barcelona

Been a busy last few days. Matthew Allum of OpenedHand fame came to town on Monday with his wife. Yesterday Tim Ney arrived, to have some meetings with the organisers of next year's GUADEC, and Oyvind aka Pippin popped into our offices too for a visit. So we ended up going out to dinner last night at what turned out to be a good, but rather expensive resturant (45€ per person for a 3 course dinner with drinks).

I joined Tim at the meeting with the local GUADEC organisers last yesterday and they do have an impressive locale available. I think we can be sure it will be very well organised and the infrastructure is above anything we had before. The biggest challenge is sorting out GUADEC in a way which makes sure we don't drown alongside the other conference which has a daily attendance of around 2500 people last year. The organisers seemed willing to let us have the cellar for mostly ourselves which meant a footbal field size open room and 5 conference rooms. In addition to that we would have our keynotes etc., in the main room which I think had seating for at least a thousand people.

GUADEC for next year is only early planing stage now, but I think doing a GUADEC for people in or interested in joining the GNOME community in the cellar should be our goal and then try to do some more outreach kinda talks as part of the other conference, as it is already well attended by local businness and government.

I have in general been in favour of ditching the current version of our user day for quite some time, as it haven't worked very well IMHO. But for next year, where GUADEC will be part of this larger conference, keeping some remains of it around might be a good idea.

SVG going forward

Great news from the SVG camp. First of all thanks to the hard work of Caleb librsvg is now features plugable rendering backends. With Dom and Caleb doing the final needed auto*magic yesterday. Which means that instead of being tied to libart (which have served us faithfully for the last years) we are now ready to have other rendering backends implemented. Carl Worth of Cairo fame have already sworn a holy oath that he will now implement a Cairo rendering backend for librsvg. Which means we can have a gradual migration to Cairo as our primary rendering backend for librsvg. It also turned out we had a few problems with how to handle SVG icons when used as GTK+ stock icons, but Matthias Clasen fixed that just hours after I reported it to him, thanks Matthias!

GStreamer 0.9

Things are flying by in GStreamer 0.9 CVS. Core issues are being sorted out at break-neck speed. In the core the major issues are taken care of and people are commiting more polish type things currently, fixing small irritants left from the 0.8 days. New plugins are being ported over from 0.8 at a quick pace too and I expect to be able to playback most of the important video and audio formats early august at the latest.

Nokia 770

Got our hands on a couple of Nokia 770 devices yesterday. Will be interesting to get some development work done on the actual device, like getting a working Ogg implementation for the Texas Instruments DSP CPU's.

The arrival of Jan

The Spanish embassy in Sydney finally came through and Jan got his work visa yesterday. So he will be arriving here in Barcelona on Saturday. It will be great to finally have Jan around in person, as its been a long and frustrating wait for both him and us to get his work permit in order.

18 Jul 2005 (updated 18 Jul 2005 at 17:42 UTC) »
TV Slave reborn

Had a productive weekend. Started by buying myself a TV on Saturday. It is my first flat LCD TV and its kinda neat standing there close to the wall with a relativly big screen yeat not having a gigantic tube causing it to take up a lot of space.

Harry Potter

Also bought the latest Harry Potter book, which I completed Sunday morning. Ended taking the train out of Barcelona with Wingo on Sunday to check out a the beaches a little further away from downtown Barcelona. Ended up lending my Harry Potter book to Andy which he SMS'ed having completed around 21.00-22.00 in the evening. Guess the publishing house is unhappy about there not being any DRM system hindering two people in reading the same book in this way :)

Anyway, and I warn for some spoilers here, I am not to impressed with this latest installment of the Harry Potter series. First of all all the earlier books have resolved around its title in a rather significant way. The story of who the half-blod prince is is close to being completely inrelevant and when done with the book it felt like the whole half-blod prince thing had been put in as a page filler. In fact after reading the book it felt like most of the storyline leading up to the conclusion was irrelevant and meant mostly to fill a lot of pages.

The whole Ron/Hermione relationship/romance feels like it is something Rowling decided should happen, yet she has failed to 'sell it', it feels construed and artifical currently. The Harry and Ginny relationship felt a bit better developed and you could belive it, although it ended in a giga cliche 'we can't be together cause it will put you in danger', yeah right, like the damage isn't already done.

And I have to admit being tired of the unbeatable Quidich team. Personally I would love to not have to read any more about Quidich in the books, but if Rowling insists on spending more time on the topic, could at least the Griffindor team not win for once?

There where also a couple of cheap storytelling effects in the book, like Hermione having cheated another character out of a place on the Quidich team in order for Ron to get a place. In order to make the main characters not look bad from that this character was then shown to be an asshole later on in the book. Please, if you want to make your characters do something which could be said to be a bit immoral or lacking in character, stand up for it, don't try to justify their actions.

Anyway I do realize that I am not in the target demographic of Harry Potter at all, and it could be that the story have a much better appeal to the younger audience it is actually written for. Anyway, I wish George R.R. Martin would hurry up with A Feast of Crows as that is definetly targeted at my demographic and probably the book I am looking the most forward too atm.

Edward goes famous

Edward (bilboed) got his claim to fame as the LUGRadio teams interviews him in their most recent show about the Pitivi video editor. The show also hints at Jono getting very close and personal with GStreamer.

When even the pure become tainted

I complained some time ago about even free software people not releasing their stuff in free formats. Today it was pointed out on IRC that even Debian who usually presents themself as the distribution most concerned with being free and open uses mpeg for their debconf videos. I guess the purity of Debian is mostly lip service :(

A sick world

Noticed on CNN today that Hillary Clinton among other US politicians was asking for a re-clasification of Grand Theft Auto from 17+ to Adult Only, due to some hack that could be installed to have the in-game characters have sex. Never liked the GTA games much myself, but I do find it disturbing that even supposed liberal US politicians get more upset about sex in a game, than they do about the goal of the game being to run around as a crimial killing and maiming people. I don't subscribe to the school of thought that thinks books, movies and games turn kids into murderers or sexual nymphomaniacs, but if I where I would be much more worried about kids getting exposed to violence and crime than to sex. I mean for all the parents out there, what do you prefer a) your daughter having sex with the boy next door or b) your daughter having killed the boy next door. I mean what kind of sick world is this when people think the image of a female breast is dangerous for a 17 year old person while an image of a guy getting his head blown off is by comparison safe? I think it safe to say that a female breast is only potentially lethal if it hits you at a speed above 250 km/h, and based on my own observations over the last 20 years female breasts very very rarely move as such speeds. Guns on the other hand tend to have a much much higher degree of lethality.

GStreamer and Mono

Some time ago I tested Mono after struggling a long while with getting the Mono stack installed properly. Since I re-installed my machine since then Mono was gone from my system until today. Luckily I found Nrpms today which provides an extensive collection of GNOME related RPMS for Fedora Core 4 systems. So now I have Muine installed again with all needed dependencies. I was also able to test out f-spot for the first time, and I have to say its a really nice application. Got to test Sonance for the first time too, looks and feels nice, although at this point there is no special features you don't already have in rhythmbox or jamboree afaict, but who knows what the future holds.

Ian Murdock please shut up

Whenever I read an interview or article recently with Debian co-founder Ian Murdock, my respect for him degrades. Ever since Ubuntu came out he seems unable to comment on current happenings without looking like an arsehole and loser. If he wants Ubuntu involved in his so far feeble projects he would probably be more successfull if he tried asking them directly once, instead of constantly giving out snide remarks when someone bothers to interview him.

Growing the office

We got a fresh batch of desks delivered to the office yesterday. So we now have our desks split into two groups. One group of desks which are basically Flumotion and one group of desks for the rest of us, which means Pitivi, the DVD player, Noel who is doing our accounting and myself.

Guess we might need bigger offices next year :)


First day at work for Michael Smith today, he still hasn't got a blog, but I am sure we can remedy that soon. Unfortunatly due to a messup with Dell he still hasn't gotten his laptop and will have to make do with one of the stationary machines for the time being. Anyway its good to have him inhouse, when Jan arrives will will start to have a sizeable group of people. One thing I noticed is how vulnerable you are when you are just 1-2 persons working on something, it means that if someone goes away be it vacation/sickenss or whatever things tend to stop up. With our recent additions we will become more agile and able to cope easier with changing priorities and urgent customer needs, or vacations :)

I think we will need to hire additional people quite soon with the contract pipeline we have, but our current level of outsourcing is making it not urgent at least.

GNOME Themes Extras

After a long time I found in the coming I finally managed to sit down on Sunday and work through the issues of getting the new GTK+ icon themeing working. Updated Nuvola and CVS g-t-e now have a iconrc free setup. Needs a bit more polish to be perfect, in terms of adding more stock icons etc., but I think I can do a new release soon. Hopefully I be able to integrate Jimmac's Gorilla updates too.

Will hopefully be able to get going on the Open Clipart updating too with the new DMS system seemingly running, just need to corner Bryce on IRC first to get the details on how :)

Ogg continued

Saw people replying to my Ogg post, mostly stating what I somewhat expected, they really like to try using Ogg, but the tools are a bit raw yet. ffmpeg2theora or my own GStreamer based transcoding script gets the job done, but quality of the transcoding varies a lot, often leaving a unusable result as was Jono's experience. Well I hope that within a couple of months we have Pitivi working so well that distro's start bundling it and giving people a tool to transcode their DV's and other media files into Ogg. Why must world domination be such hard work to achieve....

Migrating blog

So I am still contemplating migrating my blog over to blogs.gnome.org. I guess I am waiting for someone else to migrate over from Advogato first, so I can just steal their scripts for migrating my blog history over :)

8 Jul 2005 (updated 8 Jul 2005 at 15:24 UTC) »
The dying child debate technique

A common way to evoke emotion or support for something you want to happen is to make it a matter of life and death for a specific person, preferably a child. Multiple times I have seen people trying to get politicians to spend more money on something by parading some sick kid in front of journalists. The problem of course is that its seldom as simple as these heart wrenching cases want to you think. And often the examples pulled forth doesn't hold water as they work both ways.

Now it seems this age old technique is being brought to bear on the issue of intelectual property. It started with a Bilboard article in which a Musician claim that if Creative Commons had been along when he was young then he would be dead of Aids by now. I remember reading it and thinking what a bunch of bullshit the article was.

Well the counter example is now out on Kuro5hin with a guy telling the story of how patent law is hindering his access to medicine which his life depend on.

Of course neither of the two examples are really proving anything in regards to intelectual property, except to show that the current system creates winners and losers, like any system would. And that in some cases being a winner or a loser is a matter of life or death. I guess the real debate is wether we want life and death issues to be decided on the roulete table of IP reward systems.

Promoting Ogg

Why is it that even people closely aligned with free software or Creative Commons aren't pushing Ogg encoded videos stronger? Only reason I can think of that isn't sad is that they don't have any good tools to create the Ogg files with. Hopefully when we get PiTiVi more widely distributed it will resolve that issue and much more Ogg content will appear. If Pitivi doesn't cause a large influx of Ogg material being put online I guess I need to start harassing everyone I see posting quicktime, divx, mpeg or real movies.

Often suprised by the amount of C# development happening around GStreamer. Especially suprising as the GStreamer C# bindings are still only available from the Mono CVS repository as far as I know. Anyway I was pointed to a new media player application today called the Maxima-MediaPlayer. Also of recent interest is Sonance which is licensed under the X/MIT license and also have its development sponsored by Novell.

Been playing music using the GStreamer 0.9 version of Jamboree today. Works well, with instant song change when next is pressed. Being rather experimental it do crash on me about once per hour, but still for something which only 2-3 people have tested so far it works well and is stable. Jan have hinted about having a Rhythmbox port to 0.9 ready soon too.

5 Jul 2005 (updated 5 Jul 2005 at 16:32 UTC) »
GStreamer 0.9

Things are buzzing with the 0.9 branch these days with bugs getting fixed or plugins ported non-stop. Currently have 42 plugins on my install which is a whole lot more than before I left on vacation. Also did my first successfull transcode yesterday transcoding a variable framerate video file into a static framerate videofile successfully. Since that didn't work in 0.8 it felt like an extra victory. Nice thing is that a lot of the plugins get cleaned up as part of the porting, so the quality of the plugins are increasing a lot as part of the update.

New arrivals

Jaime arrived today and so did Michael. Jaime is staying at my place while she is looking at a place for her and Jan to stay (Jan is set to arrive within a couple of weeks, all depending on how fast the spanish embassy in Sydney work). Michael will be staying at Wim's place while looking for a place to rent and he will be starting his work at Fluendo next monday. Hopefully we have the laptops and furniture ready for that :)


Yannick and Gustavo from Nokia is interviewed on the latest LUGRadio show, be sure to listen in as its quite interesting. They also talk a bit about why they choose GTK and GNOME technologies instead of going with qtopia for instance, which was already there. The freedom that the LGPL gives, used by GTK+ was an important factor for them and I think going forward we will see how important this is in many situations.

One thing that struck me for instance, who work on multimedia stuff, is that we might not be able to do opensource Qt based applications using GStreamer (or any other multimedia framework for that matter) that ships with non-free plugins. The reason for this is that the Qt license (and I think this applies to both the GPL and the QPL) demands that all software linked to it is under a compatible license. So what we have been doing for instance with sponsoring Totem development, in order to make it work better both with free software plugins, but also of course with closed source plugins we are making, is simply not viable with Qt based software. In the sense that even if the Qt-based player where under the BSD license it would still put demands on the license of GStreamer plugins. I did try to get Markey to LGPL or GPL+exception Amarok some time ago, but maybe getting him to do so wouldn't really help, as Qt licensing would kill the issue anyway. Could be that the QPL (as opposed to the GPL) would allow this in some form, which I will have to investigate at some point, my current memory of it is that its like the GPL but allows linking to OSI approved licensed software. Anyway, it just underscores why I feel core libraries like GUI toolkits etc., should be under licenses which puts no demands on other parts of the system.


Talking about licensing. I wonder if Google have managed to put themselves into the center of a licensing storm. The recently released Google player used the Videlan client as its foundation, which is under the GPL. Something Google acknowledges. At the same time I assume Google have paid the patent holder for the use of the patents regarding mp3 and mpeg4 for instance. The problem is that these patent licenses are considered to violate the terms of the GPL, which why even if they paid all relevant patent license fee, Red Hat or Novell would never consider shipping Xine or Mplayer on their desktop offerings. Well Google is doing this, which means that either have negotiated terms for their patents use which means anyone can take the google player code and use it as the basis for their own playback system, saying that they have a fully paid up patent license courtesy of Google, or anyone with a VLC copyright can sue Google for a GPL violation. I did mail the Google email address listed for questions about their code, doubt I get any answer though as their lawyers have probably asked them to shut up about it as answering can probably only get them in deeper.

Back from England

So I am back in Barcelona today after 9 days in England. Barcelona almost felt like returning to place from a distant memory when I walked out of the airport so I guess it means it have been an eventful week.


Started out with some LUGRadio live and and paintball fun in Wolverhampton. It was great to meet people like Jono, Bastien, Rob and Ronald again. The LUGRadio team had done a good job on the conference and I think everyone there had a good time.

The Sunday paintball session was quite fun although some of the bruises I aquired can still be felt :). Also managed to guilt Jono into continue playing after he tried to wimper out of the afternoon session.


The on Sunday evening it was down to Guildford to visit with Bastien for a few days. Had great time and also managed to get a haircut at Bastien's local resturant. I think Bastien felt the haircut was vanity based more than need based, and I am not sure I can argue to strong against it. Went out in Guildford on Monday evening trying to local beverage and peeking at the local life in realtime. We went into London the day after and met up with Ross and some local debianites. Ate a splendid meal at Wagamama, a Japanese Noodle resturant.


Leaving Guildford to go to Maidenhead on (not as virgin territory as the name might imply) I was put on the wrong train, cost me about an extra hours worth of traveltime. Also decided that the London train setup is a confusing mess. Seems they have 4-5 'main' train stations. Anyway Julia met me at the Maidenhead trainstation and we headed back to her house before going out for dinner at the local italian resturant.

Cambridge Went on a daytrip to Cambridge on Thursday to visit with Michael Meeks and family. Had a great time and it was wonderful to catch up with Michael again. Started to grow a little tired of slow brittish trains though. Back to Maidenhead in the evening where Julia had prepared dinner for me and two friends of hers from New Zealand. Seems moving to England for a while is a typical New Zealand thing as the two girls, like Julia, and another friend of hers called Amy who I met later in the week had all gone to Univeristy together and they where all now living or preparing to live in England.

Friday turned out to be a slow and thus relaxing day. A meeting I had set up got cancelled so I wandered abit around London and did a little shopping. Also went to see War of the Worlds which wasn't to bad. Don't understand how people can spend time shopping though, after 30 minutes at the first store I went into (happened to be the GAP) I had already spent more money than I had planned too. Chilled out in Maidenhead during the evening reading a book Bastien had lent me.

Saturday I met up with Julia and her friend Amy close to Kew Gardens. Ended up eathing lunch there before stopping by Amy's place for Julia to pick up some stuff before going downtown London to a greek resturant to meet up with Michael , another common friend from the Borneo trip. Eat some great food and drank quite a bit of greek beer.

Sunday was going home day, and me and Julia took a walk around Maidenhead as my airplane was leaving relativly late in the evening. Told Julia how I felt about her in what I guess could have been used as a scene in a chick-flick, only problem was that the result wasn't as desirable as one could have wished. To follow up on the chick-flick theme I guess they stopped making scripts like that in the sixties or something as the marketing people discovered the audience wanted happy endings. Wasn't all bad I guess, will at least let me feel I made a good attempt, and with these things its always the things you didn't do you regret.

Anyway back to the house and grab my stuff before heading off to the airport. Turned out 3,5 hours wasn't enough time for taking the trains from Maidenhead to Gatwick, so I ended the day with coughing up 200 £ for a new ticket and a hotelroom for the night..

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