Official linux support from Amazon also in Europe

Just discovered trying to buy a mp3 from amazon.co.uk that they actually got a native linux downloader for their music available. I guess for most this is old news, but to me it came as a positive surprise to see this pop up on my system:

Amazon MP3 downloader
Amazon MP3 downloader

Now if only Amazon would dare be the first mainstream music store to start offering their music in Vorbis format :)

CNet open source commentator not knowing history

Don’t usually bother commenting in my blog about wrong statements made in the mainstream trade press. But this being a slow period between Christmas and New Years I figured I point out why I think Matt Asay seems to have no clue in this blog post. The quote in his article that made my facepalm was this one:

The "right" model seems to hearken back to an experiment Trolltech made at the end of last millennium. Trolltech used the GPL license for its code, but added a clause requiring commercial users to pay. This, of course, wasn’t open source according to the OSI Definition, and Trolltech took heat for its position. But eight years later this is essentially the model followed by SugarCRM, Zimbra, MySQL, and others (including Red Hat, if you look closely at its business), though each company uses different means to get to this result.

First of all Trolltech did not require commercial users to pay, cause if they had done that then they had been in direct violation of the GPL. What Troll Tech did was offer the code under more standard commercial license in addition to the GPL, a license for which you had to pay. So only if you found the GPL unsuitable for your needs the option to pay to get another license came into play. That was absolutely open source according to the OSI definition and I don’t think I ever heard anyone claiming otherwise. As for Trolltech taking heat for its position, I can’t say I remember that happening either, although there was/is of course a lot of debate about using Qt for core parts of open source infrastructure due to it only being available under the GPL. To the degree that debate could be considered taking heat is was if anything some of the projects using Qt taking it (most notably KDE), not Troll Tech themselves, unless one is of the (weird) opinion that considering a library unsuitable/non-optimal for certain things due to its licensing its giving the library developer ‘heat’.

I can only assume that Asay confuses the issue and is thinking about Trolltech’s license precending their adoption of the GPL, which was a quasi open source license allowing cost free open source development on top of Qt, but which was not GPL compatible or OSI approved in any way or form.

Interview with Sjoerd Simons about Empathy and Telepathy up

Posted my third multimedia interview today, this time with Sjoerd Simons about Empathy and Telepathy. In addition to talking about the current state of development for Telepathy and Empathy we cover some of the other major issues in the world of online communication, like service and protocol interoperability and codec support. So this is your chance to learn more about XMPP :)

This will be the last interview I post before Yuletide/New Years, but be sure I will have more interviews about topics such as Pitivi, GStreamer, DVD support (yes, I will interview the super coder we like to refer to as DVD-Jan) and more.

MXF update

Thought I should give people an update on the ongoing MXF work that is happening in GStreamer. Sebastian Droge is working hard on making sure we have full support for MXF a job not made any easier by the fact that MXF is a very complex container format aimed at a wide range of use cases. We bought the full DVD of specifications from SMPTE recently for Sebastian in order to ensure he had all the documentation needed to get it right.

Thanks to many helpful people in the community we now also have a healthy collection of test files for MXF which should enable us to make sure our demuxer interoperates with all the major MXF creation tools out there. The MXF demuxer has come quite far, it has still some way left to go, so while you might be able to play back a few files already, it is to early to ask the community to jump in and try to hammer the demuxer with all their files.

Once the demuxer is in the state we want it the plan is to continue onto write a muxer for MXF, a job which should be a little easier as we can start with a minimal part of MXF and extend it over time as long as our initial part is big enough to create valid MXF files. People interested in following development should of course check out gst-plugins-bad from CVS.

MPEG TS update

On the topic of container formats I have been testing our MPEG TS muxer based on a patch provided by community contributor Vanista. The goal of the testing is making sure the MPEG TS muxer is able to generate files that the Playstation 3 is able to play back perfectly. The Playstation 3 is quite strict about what it supports, so the files you create need to perfectly match the specific profile the PS3 has support for. But once we get this sorted GStreamer should actually become one of the best tools available for creating these files as it seems even on windows people are forced to use a lot of random tools to get a working MPEG TS file with AC3 and H264 inside. My goal is to be able to store the few US DVD’s I have compressed like this on my PS3, as I no longer have a multizone DVD player at home (just using my PS3 these days to play DVD’s). Remuxing the original AC3 audio and compressing the video with H264 seems like the best combination possible for me in terms of balancing storage space use versus sound and image quality. People interested in that effort can follow this bug entry (yes I know its a little suboptimal to keep a discussion going on a closed bug :)

Interview with Bastien Nocera

So published the second multimedia interview today, this time with someone I think most readers of this blog already know quite well, Bastien Nocera. You find the full interview here on gnomedesktop in where we discuss recent Totem developments and the support for infra red devices and bluetooth under linux. Hope people enjoy this and the previous Jokosher interview, feel free to post a comment with suggestions for who I should interview next :)

New team member

So it is time to announce that Alessandro Decina has joined our video editing team here at Collabora Multimedia. He will be working with Edward Hervey and Brandon Lewis on moving Pitivi and its related technologies quickly forward. Alessandro has been contributing to GStreamer for quite some time and will be joining Edward and Wim working out of our Barcelona office. Welcome to the team Alessandro!

On the topic of Pitivi related news, Sebastian Dröge has commited his MXF demuxer to gst-plugins-bad. It is still at an early stage with a lot of files still not working, but some of the simpler MXF files out there already works. Sebastian will continue working on improving the demuxer to support all the files in our now extensive collection of MXF test files (we still need Final Cut Pro generated files if anyone got some). Once the demuxer works reliable and with the features we want the next step is a MXF muxer.