Archive for November, 2006

Decodebin2 has landed in CVS !

Tuesday, November 28th, 2006

Spent yesterday and today doing the last cleanups in GstDataQueue, the multiqueue element and decodebin2. Mostly adding documentation, making sure the API of GstDataQueue satisfies all future requirements, etc…
… and finally commited it to gstreamer and gst-plugins-base ! So you can either grab cvs and start testing it, or wait for the 0.10.11 releases for those two modules, which should happen next week.
On a side note, Colin, a friend of mine with whom I graduated last year, is now working part-time for the Elisa team at Fluendo ! And today he also released his first album, go check it out on his website.

The "Gringo" is back from Brazil

Thursday, November 23rd, 2006

Last week, I went over to Recife, Brazil, to give a advanced GStreamer training course to the INDT folks. Despite it being the first training I ever gave (I already did several lectures and practical courses, but nothing this intensive), it was IMHO a real success. First of all, because of the attendees who were ALL extremely motivated and interested by the subject, asking the smart questions, digging deeper and deeper. Satisfying their thirst of knowledge was the other rewarding part. I discovered I knew more about GStreamer than I thought, and I deeply enjoyed transferring that knowledge.
I staid at Andre‘s place during that week, and it of course involved lots of going out, drinking, and yes even a hackfest ! All in all it was excellent. I’m looking forward to going back there, for work or for leasure. You can see some photos from the trip here

Anyway, I’m now back in colder Barcelona, and after a little personal review the decision was made to concentrate myself more on PiTiVi and direct GStreamer hacking. Don’t expect me to be as reactive as I was before to fixing bugs in various plugins or gst-python, it won’t happen until I get PiTiVi to a stage where you can do editing, namely cutting, resizing and moving around sources as you can see in the UI Mockups. I think it’s better both for all the end-users who’ve been waiting so long, and also as being a more productive Fluendo employee (Being paid to work on PiTiVi doesn’t come for free, but it’s a price I’m willing to pay).
Last of last, for the past 2 days I’ve been going over decodebin2 even more, fixing some last issues, testing its behaviour with the gst-media-test against current decodebin and it’s now performing as well, takes less memory, and doesn’t leak any memory. So expect it to land in cvs tomorrow. I’ll also patch playbin so that you can use playbin with decodebin2 if you have the proper environment variable set. Unfortunately, in the long run playbin is going to have to be modified/rewritten in order to benefit from some new features that decodebin2 proposes… which might be a good thing considering playbin hasn’t changed much in the port to 0.10, and it might be time for a clean rewrite.

dead cheap 20Mb/ADSL … at what cost

Monday, November 6th, 2006

Over 6 months ago I got a 20Mbit/s ADSL2+ connection with ya.com here in Spain. Of course you never get 20Mbit/s with those connection but I got a nice 15Mbit/s. Perfect for getting something immediatly, watching HQ streams without bothering about somebody else using the net in the house, etc… All in all, I was really pleased about it…
…until a month or two ago, where starting from 6pm the speed drops down to 512kbit/s (if I’m lucky) with very high ping. Of course that is the time where I want to watch some streams to chill out, maybe do some work from home… GRRR
After further investigation, it’s caused by my DSLAM server being saturated at those times. And by looking on spanish user forums, I’m far from being the only one with a saturated DSLAM.
So my question is : How long are those ISPs going to carry on with all that saturation without doing anything ? Switching ISP is not an option, since it will be using the same DSLAMs except if I switch to Telefonica (state operator) which has its own DSLAMs… at 150euros a month for the same connection (yes, that’s 6 times more than what I’m paying).
Calling doesn’t seem to change anything (except for being charged 30mins of wait on a premium number). Was there anybody in the same situation ? What did you do to pressure the ISPs to add DSLAMs in saturated regions ?

Decodebin 2 : less cruft, more zing !

Sunday, November 5th, 2006

Christian blogged some time ago about me working on decodebin2. And it’s finally landed in bugzilla for your reviewing pleasure.

You will need the following 3 patches:

  • GstSafeQueue : an GObject that contains all the threadsafe queuing functionnalities of a GstQueue. This allows elements to use such an object to add some queuing features, without having to worry about thread issues. The patch also contains a patched version of GstQueue using GstSafeQueue (notice how small it becomes, and no more explicit use of locks !). Patch #344639.
  • GstMultiQueue element : A GstElement that acts like GstQueue except that it controls several streams. If all you streams are linked, it won’t differ that much from several GstQueue. But where it gets nice, is that if one of the source pads isn’t linked (because there are two different language audio streams going through it and you only listen to one at a time), then the multiqueue element will continuously try to send data downstream in the same order it arrived in multiqueue in regards to the other streams. This means that if you switch to listening an different audio stream… you won’t loose any data. Patch #347785.
  • decodebin2 element : Same goal as decodebin, written from scratch, using the notion of groups and multiqueue to cope with some functionnalities which have always been broken : chained-oggs, multi-audio-tracks, choosing non-raw streams… You can have a look at the decodebin design document for more details. Patch #370092.

The next step, apart from testing decodebin2 even more, is to scrape out all the cruft in playbin which is not needed anymore with this new design (queuing, audio switching, chained oggs, ….). Feedback is welcome as usual.

It’s alive !

Friday, November 3rd, 2006

… seriously

Yes, I’m still alive, kicking and well. I can’t believe the last post is from 1 year ago :( Lots of stuff has been happening, too much for a blog entry.

Fluendo and PiTiVi

Working at Fluendo is rocking as usual, lots of stuff happening. I am now the maintainer for gst-python, gnonlin and gst-ffmpeg. The later being a total pain in the *ss to maintain (ever tried supporting a library that constantly changes API and ABI, doesn’t make releases, … ?).
I’m about to go and give an advanced GStreamer training course for one of our biggest clients in a couple of weeks. It’s very challenging to go and explain first-hand how you can make the most of GStreamer for advanced issues, like using the base classes, proper use of time and newsegments, qos, … This should grow the number of knowledgeable GStreamer hackers nicely. More about who it was for and what they’re doing after I’ve done the course.
Event though I have not been hacking directly on PiTiVi for a while, a lot has been happening that makes it even better. Thanks to all the feedback from the Jokosher team and their use of GNonLin, a lot of bugfixing/enhancements are making GNonLin rock-solid. All the bugfixing gone into GStreamer core and the various plugins also means PiTiVi can use a LOT more files than it could 6 months ago, and can render in even more formats.
A few weeks ago, I spent a few days with Christophe, the new Fluendo graphist, thinking about the simple UI, what was needed, how people would use it, … and we came up with some good design ideas for the simple mode (a-la iMovie). The huge svg file is here , but I’ll post it soon on the wiki split up in smaller pictures with the ideas behind it. All efforts are now concentrated on making the simple UI solid as a rock !

Life

We finally got fed up with Emma about our previous flat, and got a new one. We’ve now got the last floor of a building in the middle of Barcelona. 75sq meters, with two terrasses and fully furnished. Making barbecues whenever you want, in the middle of a city just plainly ROCKS :) I also finally bought a projector and a living-room computer to go with it. I’m looking forward to use Elisa with it (til then it’s terminal and keyboard).
Emma is finally working full time at the French School in Barcelona as a kindergarten assistant. Very demanding, but she loves it. Only problem is that we can’t take our holidays whenever we want, and it means paying outrageous prices for plane trips (on average, 4 times more than leaving outside of school holidays, even when you book 3 months ahead !).