First of all a public announcement: If you have some media files that are giving you playback issues with GStreamer, please please submit a bug report to bugzilla. Ronald is fixing issues left and right and need more testcases. So if you have any kind of mediafile you want supported in Rhythmbox, Totem, Muine, Amarok or whatever please bugzilla them. bugzilla.gnome.org -> product GStreamer.
On to Fluendo stuff. I been working on product descriptions and pricing models for the last few days (in addition to having a fever and a bad cold). When you are a small company entering a market where some big players involved you need to feel confident you will be able to handle some hardball tactics. Partly wondering how the free software communtiy actually is able to compete with Microsoft considering their enourmous resources I started thinking of the community as a Â´ ‘whack a mole’ game and microsoft as someone doing the whacking. This version of the game however has the special feature that it is gradually growing as the game progress with more and more mole holes popping up. So while Microsoft are easily able to do some serious whacking on the mole holes of their choice they are forced by sheer number of mole holes and the speed at which moles pop up from said holes to leave more and more mole holes alone at any given time. And as their attention shifts between different areas of holes the moles pop back up in the mole holes they turns their attention away from. So by this analogy the way to win the game, being one of the moles, is having enough resources to survive hiding out down in the hole for those periods of time when the giant is able to focus on whacking on you, knowing that the increasing number of moles popping up elsewhere will force the giant to shift his attention soon away from your area of the board. And of course eventually even the big powerfull giant will collapse of exhaustion :) You can only whack moles for so long.
Guess we be going to the Creative Commons launch in Spain on Friday (sorry Julien it is around 10 in the morning). Part of my want to go to the Italian one in December too, as Lessig himself is supposed to be there.
Since we are using so much Python code in our software I suggested we make Fluendo boxer shorts with the text ‘Want to see my python’ written on them. Nobody else seems to like the idea.
It turns out that Johan Dahlin has seen to many of those movies about white men discovering a remote tribes in the Brazilian rainforest and then being choosen as king to be catered for in all respects by the young women of said tribe. Luckily Andy Wingo on the other side has discovered that similar movies made in an Africa setting are not rooted in reality. So things work themselves out somehow :)
So there is a
blog based debate between a Solaris kernel developer and a Linux kernel developer. The fun part of it is that it seems most people missed that the Sun guy basically changed debate in his rebutal. The Sun guy started out by saying that due to this and that cultural issue we can’t implement the features we want in Linux, instead we have to do it in Solaris. In his rebutal to the rebutal however he switched it to be a argument over wether a specific set of features in Solaris where more polished than in their Linux counterparts and also examplifying that since they have a known target in terms of hardware it is easier for them to do certain stuff (yet that would be true also for Linux on Sparc if Sun where to go that way in terms of OS).
I think the problem that Sun refuse to acknowledge is that if you cost ten times the competition then you can’t justify that price by features needed by 1% of your potential customers. The remaining 99% of custmers will just look at those features and think ‘yeah, could be useful if my company was a gigant like Coca-Cola, but for my small company the solutions that cost so basically do what we need.’
The claim that a 110% stable ABI for hardware drivers in the operating system is essential to be viable for people being able to support it is kinda funny considering how many 3rd part drivers are written for Solaris compared to how many are written for Linux :)
A good anecdote in the solaris hardware support department was that at my previous job we ended up buying a Token Ring/ Ethernet router just to connect a Solaris box to the network using its built in ethernet card since the only supported token ring card was Sun’s own and it cost 6 times the price of the router (and ten times the cost of Madge and IBM cards for Intel server).
Ok, so we have a public holiday in Spain and the whole team is gathered at the office working on trying to perfect GStreamer playback. The goal is to make sure Totem can go into Fedora 3 with a GStreamer backend which works very well for it. Kinda nerdy way to spend a holiday, but that is the sorta people we are :)
Had a cool time in Firenze at the free streaming media conference. Talked a lot with Michael Sparks from BBC about Dirac and future developments around that and about the upcoming Fluendo streaming server. Cool to see how aligned we where on a lot of ideas and issues. One thing we discussed was the need for a new open and free protocol for streaming video. RTP is ok in many cases, but as Michael’s talk showed it has some severe issues for large scale streaming. When I meet Michael again at the airport this morning I suggested that maybe the free streaming group could try to get EU funding for development of such a new protocol, so today I mailed that suggestion of to the freestreaming mailing list.
Also talked briefly with Manuel Lora from Xiph.org after his talk. It was a very nice talk from a Fluendo standpoint as it contained a lot of positive talk about Fluendo’s efforts and our sponsorship of Xiph.org.
I also completed readig Lawrence Lessig book Free culture while in Italia. It is easy to despair a bit when reading his book, but I think there are some light in the tunnel. Basically while I am begining to wonder if democracy is sustainable, or if it like all other forms of government before it will end up eating itself, I am not prepared to give up on it just yet. I think Lawrence and others are actually making relativly good progress in building understanding and mindshare for their ideas, so maybe both EU and US politicians will come around eventually. First step I guess is stopping the EU patent directive, but even if it does go through maybe through the continued effort of public education will we be able to turn the tide.
Managed to do something usefull this weekend. My main bedroom is now painted in a light light blue tone. Next step is actually buying a new bed for it and other basic furniture.
Also spent a lot of time on Saturday and Sunday just walking around Barcelona trying to learn more about the city. Managed to get lost on Saturday so it took me 3 more hours to get home compared to what I planed.
Things are going relativly smoothly at work and I am looking forward to the actuall release of the free server. As it will mean we will lock a lot more things in regards to the commercial version too.
Ok, so I finally got myself a spanish mobile phone number. So everyone reading this who have me in their phonelist can update my number to be: +34 678093464 :)
Starting to feel more on top of my tasklist. Not that is has grown much shorter, but at least I feel more confident that I will be able to deliver whats needed for when its needed.
Starting thinking again on gnome-themes-extras and what to do with it. The problem is that most of the themes are mostly unmaintained in the sense that no-one is making new icons for them. David is still working on Nuvola and has promised me a host of new icons closer to Christmas. Jimmac is theoretically still working on Gorilla. But for Amaranth, Lush and Wasp there will be no icons and I do not really get much contributions for icons. I am considering putting a request for new artist/maintainers for the unmaintained themes in the next release announcement and then remove those of the themes I don’t get new maintainers for. I would then do a new release of those unmaintaned themes standalone for people who want to continue using them even without new icons getting added. I expect that g-t-e will only contain Gorilla and Nuvolla after that, but such is life. Maybe there will be other themes which I can feel confident about being maintained that can go in.
Thomas is gone for Boston for a few days which is problematic in regards to booking the rafting. If we go the weekend of 25/26 will he be able to come, will Kristien be able to come. Do Lotte want to come? Should we ask Ishmael? Lots of questions, but no-one to answer them :)
Yesterday evening I returned from work and decided to sit outside on my balcony enjoying the evening and looking out towards the sea, contemplating life in general. Well it worked out well enough, but when I changed position in the chair as a preparation to get up the chair literally fell apart. It was one of these all white plastic chairs and obviously the plastic had become old and fragile. So instead of getting up I found myself hitting the tile floor of my balcony and getting jabbed by several sharp pieces of white plastic. Spent the next 5 minutes crawling into the living room and au oh ah au oh on the sofa. Think my landlord should be very happy he didn’t show up at that time to pick up the furniture he has promised to take away (now including the remaining white plastic chair) or he might have found himself being the target of me stress testing the other chair by hitting him with it. Today my tailbone is tender, but I think it will be ok.
Today I also went to Vodafone again to try to get a local phone subscription for my cell phone. Well when she told me she needed my account number the last time that wasn’t enough, she today told me she needed my actual reciept from the bank. I managed to keep smilling and went back to my appartment and got that. I also got my appartment renting contract and my passport (I had already given them a photocopy) to be sure I wouldn’t be sent away again.
Then I arrive at Vodafone again and suddenly they tell me that since Norway isn’t a member of the European Union vodafone will probably turn me down. What I would need is the NIE number/card in order to be approved. They would try, but still I shouldn’t expect to be approved. Aaaargh!!!
Ok, so I tried going to the police station to see if my NIE card was ready (I applied for it on 26th of August). At the police I was told I was back way to soon. 1st of October was when she thought it might be ready…
I love BCN and Spain, but sometimes this place makes me consider agressive behaviour.
Me and Thomas is going to see Miguel’s talk today, wonder how it will work out with the spanish :)
Life continues in Barcelona. Had a great evening yesterday. The Fluendo team met at thomasvs place to go through WimÂ´s plan for fixing the remaining issues in GStreamer, or rather hear what Wim had so far and provide feedback. If we are to convice the community to go with this the plan needs to be rock solid. The fun thing with Wim of course is that whenever someone had a question or worry he could show that it was already covered somewhere further down in the document :). Wim is incredible. Later in the evening we barbequed and Miguel came over. He had some problems finding the doorbell so he called someone in the US to go onto IRC and find us and tell us he was outside :). Some people would call that a geeky solution to the problem :)
He had seen Wim’s applet while browsing in the airport in Paris and was quite impressed with it. I hope he and the rest of the world will also be impressed when Fluendo release our streaming server next month. We think it is pretty impressive for a first release, but it is hard to guess what others will think.
We are planning on going to the Mono talk on thuesday, but I wonder how interesting it will be for me since it will be in Spanish. Then again considering the english skills of a lot of people here I wonder how interesting it would be for the rest of the audience if he held it in english :). Guess I need to keep going to spanish classes. And I am getting rather determined to prove my co-workers wrong on their evalution of my chances with the israeli model girl from my spanish class :) When they even bring in Miguel in on teasing me about it I take is as a declaration of war :)
Monday will be spent going through and answering all the mails the slashdotting generated and polishing up the roadmap for our products.
So we got Slashdotted in the end for the Ogg Theora port to Java. Seems we peaked at 2500 people watching the stream. We had hoped for over 4000 people connecting as that would have given us a number of connected users which we havenÂ´t yet had in other tests. Which means 3060 is still the maximum number of real world users we have had connected to a stream. Well even if Slashdot is not able to provide us with enough stress testing we will make Fluendo world leader in streaming media anyway :)
Was planning on going to Ikea today, but it turns out Barcelona is celebrating Catalunya idenpence day today which means almost everything is closed. Well guess Ikea on monday then.
One of the cool things of yesterday is that we had left the volume at zero before leaving the office. But Thomas was able to fix it from home using the prototype administration GUI :)
Yesterday evening we also did a company dinner to welcome Ronald and celebrate the start of the company. Very happy to have Ronald on board, he will make sure things start working really well in the playback department. While Ronald will be working on a lot of embeded-related tasks the pre-req for doing this is getting playback rocking in the general case. His personal goal is to make sure Totem + GStreamer kicks serious ass :) Which isn’t a bad goal :)
Next step I guess is to talk Scott into coming to work for us so we can get KDE multimedia rocking too :)
Long day at the office reading through CSS licensing terms, streaming server documentation. JulienÂ´s interview with osnews is now online talking about our plans for Fluendo. It also includes a link to our office Ogg Theora/Ogg Vorbis stream which is decoded by a Java applet. Yes, that is correct we have ported Ogg Theora to Java. Or rather Wim Taymans our turbo powered hacker did it :).
Skipped my Spanish class today to participate in a small meeting we had discussing development plans going forward. My main motivation for going to Spanish class has also been skipping classes lateley, hopefully both I and her will be back on Monday :)
We are having our first company party tommorow, or at least the first since my arrival. Ronald is flying in and it will be nice to see him again.
Guess I try dragging poor Wim to Ikea on Saturday :)