So I decided to take the plunge and try Seth’s legendary GNOME blog tool. Earlier attempts failed horribly due to missing dependencies etc., but now I was able to apt-get what I needed. Had to rebuild the SRPM instead of using Seth’s, but after that the thing worked sweetly.

Was shown a very nice example of someone doing Cortado streaming. They use our applet to play a video on the net and it works very well. The cool thing is that this is free Creative commons content combined with our free GPL java applet player, using the free Ogg formats hosted on the free GNU/Linux platform :)

There was a nice interview on Gizmodo with Bill Gates where he was asked to clarify his ‘communist’ statements to CNET. What was nice about the interview was that the interviewer didn’t let Bill of to easy with just fluffy feelgood questions.

I still think Bill do not see the basic issue though. He still defends IP like it is a black and white issue. For me IP issues are like taxes. I think everyone agree that taxes are a good thing, but that doesn’t mean that having everyone paying 100% tax would be the best thing. People from different sides of the political spectrum have different ideas on what the sweet spot for taxes are, but the number who go for 0% or 100% is marginal. Bill’s argument seems to be that since 20% tax is working out so well we should jump much closer to 100% as that naturally would work out 5 times better.

So to keep with the analogy, I think most in our camp, the IP sceptics, think that we have slided towards 50% in regards to IP, especially due to rampant software patenting, and need to get back to 20% for society to work as well as possible, while Bill and his buddies wants to go to 80% or higher.

Another important item is that all things are not the same. I know how patents work out in the software world, and see that they are currently causing more harm than good. That doesn’t mean the patent system is broken for the medical research sector for instance, could very well be that it is, but I don’t know the sector well enough to say. IP maximalists tend to try to mush everything together in order to be able to say that since patents work well for ‘this’ it of course works equally well for ‘that’.

GNOME: Glad to see the GNOME Bonsai interface back, never knew how much I missed being able to view a summary of recent commits.

GStreamer/Totem: In regards to continued Totem bugfixing it was really nice to get Ronald a laptop identical to mine as he now have available a range of new reproducible issues to fix, like seeking/sync issues. He already solved the problem of the screen being black on second iteration when playing a quicktime. Also started talking with the annodex guys about getting annodex support into Flumotion, Ozone seems keen on working on the code to do so. We probably also look at getting such support into Totem.

We basically decided to pull the plug on gst-player at a meeting yesterday. So unless someone reads this blog and steps up to maintain it we will pull it from bugzilla and any mention on the GStreamer homepage. Julien has theoretically been its maintainer recently, but he hasn’t worked on it for quite some time as first he, then Ronald has instead been focusing on helping out with Totem.
Of course this being free software it might get restartet at some point, but for now its dead.

CRM: Still trying to get somewhere with the CRM system. Basically I am now looking at a vTiger which is supposed to be a better SugarCRM than SugarCRM. Secondly I am trying to get going as the web interface to that might contain enough functionality for us to solve our still relativly limited needs while providing other types of nice functionality. Unfortunatly I am having some problems getting postgres set up correctly. I guess only having been exposed to Oracle RDBMS before makes me somewhat unable to grasp a system working a little differently :) One thing we did at Oracle though which was a nice idea IMHO was provide a pre-loaded database with our system. It simplified the install a lot.

Fluendo: A big welcome to the newest memember of the Fluendo team, Jan ‘thaytan’ Schmidt! In addition to being the CEO of our Australian office he will be tackling various issues in regards to DVD support and various customer contracts. Jan will not remain our newest employee for long however as Andy Wingo will arrive on Saturday :)

Today I really need to get my appartment cleaned up as I got a rather tight visitation schedule coming up with Ronald, Andy, my mother and sister in the next couple of weeks. Things will not let up either with various events planned after that.

Happy to see Imendio hire Mitch. Congrats to both parties involved. I guess I feel a certain kindred spirits thing with Imendio, OpenendHand and ourselves, being all started around the same time with people coming from the same circles of the community. Hopefully we do better in working together than say Ximian and Eazel where able to get along :)

The GStreamer licensing advisory is getting rather nice now with its latest revisions. Ended up removing the interpretation statement suggestion after RMS almost ate his beard over it. While legally sound I guess it profilerating would have led to undermining the official intepretation of the FSF. Guess the time of putting the document onto the GStreamer homepage is growing closer.

Only problem still is that everyone developing GPL licensed software considers themselves a better interpretors of the GPL than the laywers at FSF. Which makes relicensing discussions rather outdrawn. Still Buzztard and Muine have already said they relicense or add a clause so I guess the effort is slowly moving forward. I will start on getting gst-editor etc. relicensed this week and when we clean up gst-player to use playbin we can ditch the playlist and we then suddenly have a LGPL movie playing application.

Bastien said he do some rounds with the Red Hat lawyers internally also on the question, so hopefully Totem will get sorted out soon. Personally I stopped caring what lawyer/person XY thinks about the subject, the fact that there are lawyers out there who think it is a problem is enough for me to want to resolve it in a final way. Uncertainty is a killer in these litigation heavy times.

cbj: A couple of notes on GNOME Volume Control. First of all Ronald who maintains it has requested feedback on it during its design multiple times in his blog here on advogato, so as an advogato blogger you had the chance to give input. Secondly I don’t know what version of gnome volume control you are using but the latest one being developed for GNOME 2.10 have tried to limit the number of controls. Thirdly the issue of alsa muting itself is not GVC fault and needs to be solved by the distribution maker/alsa developers. Since GVM isn’t a daemon it can’t check your ALSA setting on boot and reset them to thhe setting of your previous session.

GStreamer: Have to agree with Ronald that some of the responses on gnomedesktop are rather disapointing. Yes, it is fair to ask when we get support for xy, but when people start claiming bugs are getting ignored I feel myself getting rather annoyed. Anyone who have actually looked at the last 5-6 releases of the various components we have done see that they contain a huge list of bugfixes.
Anyone following the bug statistics of Bugzilla know we have lowered the bug count significantly over the last months.

In regards to our ongoing bugcount war with metacity and ephiphany they have taken a lead we are having some problems with closing. Not because the pace of bug closing have gone down, but because the pace of bug opening have increased. Luckily a lot of these new reports are patches for new plugins and new functionality so hopefully we will be able to overcome them and continue lowering our bug count.

GStreamer licensing advisory: Got a reply from Stallman on the licensing advisory for GStreamer. He had many objections to certain wordings and statements, but all in all I think I will be able to accomodate him on most of his objections in my next revision. I guess the biggest issue is the licensing interpretation statement, which Stallman certainly did not like and said he would oppose loudly. While I understand that having a large group of apps include a statement of interpretation which runs opposite of the interpretation the FSF supports could undermine the effort of the FSF (which I do not want) I have to balance that against the fact that some application developers have seemed much more open to using such a statement with the license than adding a clause or relicensing.

GNOME: While not strictly GNOME I noticed the new beta of Adobe Acrobat 7 is using GTK+. Being a long time GNOME participant it is nice to see major companies like Adobe use our toolkit for one of their flagship products. I am still looking forward to seeing Evince though, and that will be my primary PDF viewer when its out in a stable release. But as long as free pdf viewers sometimes fail it is good to know that even the proprietary fallback solution will integrate nicely.

Barcelona: Went to the Port Aventura ammusement park yesterday with zaheer and his wife Alia. We had a great time, and I think the roller coaster there was the biggest one I ever taken. Saw a lot of fun shows too. Did learn that Alia should not be trusted when it comes to train timetables though.

Really looking forward to Wingo coming on the 15th, he is sorely needed after Johan’s departure at work and he is a really cool guy to hang out with too :) I hope he is making sure to hassle Leif about MIDI support in GStreamer while staying with him.

So have been continuing my headlong dive into possible CRM systems. Currently it looks like we are going to go for SugarCRM as it has a very simple and straightforward install combined with most of the features we need.

bilboed pointed me to ERP5 but it seems more like a ERP solution than CRM. Thomas suggested we use a groupware solution instead as it would allow us to use Evolution more as an interface. Basically I have come to like the idea, as a solution like the very cool Noodle setup, being put together by Imendio among others, around OpenGroupwareOrg and Evolution contains a lot of the basic functionality you want from a CRM system. Unfortunatly Noodle is still a bit early age and there are functionality which I want and which I have in SugarCRM which isn’t in Noodle (as it is not actually a CRM system). What would be perfect of course was a CRM system like SugarCRM which used Noodle as its backend for calendaring, email and so on. It would make SugarCRM tens times nicer to use and make my choice more obvious. The most suprising part is that none of the CRM solutions I have found seems to support syncing with a calendaring server even.

Flumotion: One problem we would like to solve with Flumotion is that of combining video with slides. So that when you stream a conference talk you see a video of the speaker and some readable slides combined with it. The solution we are looking into for this adding an image stream to the Ogg stream. Rillian of Theora fame has some ideas on how this should be implemented so we probably try going with his approach. Anyway due to this we are wondering wether to use the established MNG format or go with the new and flashy apng format developed by the Mozilla people. Rillian is leaning towards MNG, and I got some other people expressing APNG scepticalness to, but on the other side if Mozilla is going with apng it will probably quickly be a more popular and better supported format than MNG. Which in turn might make it easier to get more people to support the planned image in OGG solution. Never any end to decisions.

I have also been working on writing up a licensing advisory/policy document for GStreamer. Part of it is just codifying established practise, but other parts are new. Sent it to the GStreamer list so far and got good response, so the next step is sending it out to the GNOME and KDE multimedia lists for wider review before making it part of the GStreamer website and documentation. Also think I try sending it to a couple of legal sources for review as I am not 100% sure about the wording of the legal intepretation statement linked from the main document. Maybe Debian legal would be a good place to get some sane feedback.

Also found out today that I am getting my mother and youngest sister on a visit closer to the end of the month. Hope I can get Thomas and Wim to shave and keep their desk tidy so they don’t embarass me in front of my mom :)

I also pulled GStreamer and associated libraries from yesterday on Eugenia’s request. She only wants GUI stuff on gnomefiles which I am not sure how much I agree with. True enough GNOME is a GUI environment and most people using gnomefiles are end users are looking for applications for their desktop, but I still think central gnome libraries are of general enough interest to warrant a listing. The again it is her website, which she has done a splendid job with so far IMHO, so I complied without too loud complaints :)

Fernando Herrera pointed me to Hipergate after my request for CRM suggestions and Gonzalo Odiard pointed out that it is possible to run Compiere on the Firebird database.
Thanks to both.

I tested the online demo of Hipergate and liked it, but trying to install it on my own machine for testing I came close to hate it.
SugarCRM took me under and hour to install and have running, while I have still not managed to get Hipergate going. The first problem was the Java dependencies. After some fidling and googling I found jpackage which seems to be a rather nice effort to package Java software for people. I think I would have given up even sooner without it. That said I got once again reminded why Java is not considered free software when trying to install it. First of all I had to go to to grab latest update to java 1.4.2. Then I needed the ‘jta’ package. I could not figure out at first why I was unable to apt-get it, but I eventually figured out that jpackage is only packaging a SRPM for it and that I had to build the RPM myself using that SRPM and the jta zip file which I once again had to download from Sun. At this point I was already cursing. And before anyone gets their shorts in a twist, I am not saying Sun are immoral for not freeing Java, I am just pointing out that their not doing so contributes to making Java systems a pain in the ass to install/use. Which in turn is a competitive disadvantage for Java using systems.

Ok, so finally I got tomcat installed and the postgres database up and runnning. Figured it be easy going from that to get the system running, but not so. Seems the tomcat dependencies where not complete as I got error messages about missing javamail and jaf packages. After a lot of find commands I was able to find out where to install the files and it seems I got it running in the end. Now we just need to get it working on the server :)

Been trying to find a nice open source CRM system for Fluendo. Being a GNU/Linux company we want something that is fully open source. One of the first I looked at was Compiere as it seemed like a rather extensive solution which had other functionality as well so it would be easy to grow with. But it only supports running on Oracle databases, which sorta killed the open source aspect of it IMHO.

Currently installing and testing SugarCRM which I saw people recommend in various forums etc. My inital testing makes it look relativly nice, but I need to try and run a full virtual sales cycle in it to get more of a feel for it before I decide. If anyone reading this have any experience with open source CRM systems and has something to recommend feel free to mail me at uraeus at gnome dot org.

Wim’s work on his branch for GStreamer 0.9 is progressing very well. He is currently demoing lighting fast seeking with on-the-fly previewing meaning it displays the keyframes as you drag the seekbar back and forth. Not everything is perfect yet of course, but it is looking very nice so far.

Zaheer is in Barcelona with his wife Alia, to celebrate her birthday. We are going out to eat with them today so hopefully we will be able to dig up a nice place that serves halal meat.

Wim, Thomas, Kristien, Zaheer, Alia and me all went to see Sky Captain yesterday. Managed to scare Zaheer and Alia with claims of it being dubbed in Spanish :) Anyway it turned out to be a rather entertaining movie. Not Oscar material I guess as the acting was maybe a bit wooden at times, but still a fun storyline and setting. I guess the Wizard of Oz clip in the beginging was rather fitting :)

Happy new year to everyone!

rbultje: I would agree with you if people where suggesting a legal ban on buying fireworks and mandatory use of the money saved to foreign aid. But if you are actually saying that sharing thoughts/discussing issues related to society and private values should never be done then I think you are not thinking of the consequences of such a ‘ban’. In fact it would go straight against your own recent blogs on the murder of Theo van Gogh.

I tried the demo for the recent Linux port of Robin Hood during Christmas week. The gameplay is very similar to the game Commandoes for those of you who have tried that. I enjoyed the game quite a lot and tried ordering the full version, but I am still not sure I was able to do so (some problems with the online ordering system screwing up my mastercard number).

Also noticed an interesting project on Freshmeat the other day. Metatheme seems to be an abstraction layer for theme engines that allows you to write theme engines that covers GTK+, Qt and Swing. I haven’t gotten around to testing it yet, but if it work the way I got the impression it works from the website I for one would push for it beeing adopted as a freedesktop shared system. Combined with the icon theming specification this could be a big step forward.

On the topic of themes, there is a new icon theme on called ChaninDjoole really nice looking IMHO.