I have become aware of some cool stuff relating to Ubuntu over the last few days. The first thing I saw was the project called Nexenta which is putting Ubuntu on top of the OpenSolaris kernel. I have been of the opinion that this is exactly the kind of thing Solaris needs to get people to test it out.
Another thing I discovered was the launchpad stuff. Which I have seen before, but I guess I sort of resdicovered it now as the form have solidified a bit. Anyway seeing it now I was amazed and impressed with the openness of the Ubuntu development process, a big kudos to the Ubuntu team for this. As a Fedora user I wish my distro was developed in the same open manner.
Came accross this Open Office SVG theme today by Pinheiro, which was made to give OO a KDE’ish look. Anyway I tried viewing the full set with librsvg/nautilus and they all rendered perfectly for me (afaict). It gave me a good feeling as it is not that many releases ago that every new icon set released uncovered a few rendering bugs. Pinheiro also mentioned that TrollTech is working on integrating SVG support into Qt, which was nice to hear. Things have come a long way over the last couple of years, when I started looking into SVG the setup was a very spec uncompliant librsvg and a crash prone sodipodi. Today the picture looks so much better, and Inkscape especially have really caused the usage of SVG to take off. I hope the Synfig team adds SVG support to their app, it would rock to have Synfig to make SVG animations.
I have been an editor at gnomedesktop.org for the last couple of years, posting stories as time have allowed. Before that I was the editor for the gnome hosted newsite. I always felt that while gnomedesktop.org was GNOME biased in the same manner that linux journal is linux biased or Windows magazine is windows biased, we where still editorially indepdent. Learned yesterday that not everyone else in the community are willing to accept that. I haven’t discussed the issue much with Stro, who is gnomedesktop.org editor-in-chief so I don’t know how he sees it. Stro ended up pulling a story yesterday, which I have no issue with as he is the chief editor and as such it is his call, but I do not want us to end up as the GNOME version of Pravda.
Ok, so after some mail activity Benoit created a patch which displays ‘writeable memory’ in the GUI, which gives a better approximation of actual usage compared to the older numbers. Waldo Bastien pointed me to a blog entry from Lubos Lunak about a tool called exmap which displays something its calls ‘effective memory’ which Lubos thinks is a relativly decent value for describing how much memory an application actually use. I made a screenshot showing both the patched gnome system monitor and exmap displaying the memory usage of the clock applet. If those numbers are to believed the clock applet uses somewhere between 3 and 6 MB of memory, which might seem a bit on the high side. (but lets remember that the ‘clock applet’ is not just a clock, its a calendering application integrating with evolution data server giving you an overview of your monthly meetings etc.).
Anecdotaly exmap is the first app I ever used outside the Mandrake admin tools which use the perl-GTK2 bindings to write its GUI. Maybe there still is some hope for Perl :)
Not sure panel-applets are a good/easy testcase for memory measurement, so I looked at X-Chat using these new numbers too, exmap reports effective memory usage of 3.6 MB, g-s-m reports writeable memory at 8MB and resident memory of 11.6MB (resident memory number seemed to be the ‘old’ number people tended to be using when discussing memory usage).
Ok, it turned out my list of RTP projects using GStreamer was too short, there are at least two more projects in the GStreamer RTP real under development. The Xeris project have a GStreamer RTP setup using the ortp libary. And there is the Sofia project a console SIP client. Lots of good discussion on the mailing list going on where people try to coordinate the different efforts to get as much synergy effect as possible. Neat stuff.
Bloat and other madness
Jono’s article on O’Reilly caused quite a debate on lwn.net. The GNOME clock applet taking 10M of ram as proof that GNOME was bloated was brought up again. Ross Burton and Stef70 replied explaining why that number is misleading at why the actuall memory use of the applet is more something between 1M and 1.6M. Anyway I ended up chatting a little with Benoit Dejean the maintainer of GNOME System Monitor about it, thinking that even if maybe top and ps is out of our control we could at least make sure GNOME System monitor gives people better numbers. I mean if the numbers you present makes a lot of people draw the wrong conclusion then maybe the conclusion to draw from that is that you are presenting them the wrong numbers.
The problem seems to be that you can’t actually get the ‘real’ number due to the way the system works. And being the engineers we are providing users with an approximation number, (for instance by substracting SHARED memory from RESIDENT memory) violates everything most of us hold holy. So what we are left with are correct numbers which a large number of our users fails to understand/interpret correctly. On the other hand we are hesitant to provide an inaccurate number, but which still would give our users a number much closer to the number they want/expects. I hope someone manage to sort this out someday..
It is strange how things change. The GStreamer 0.8 to 0.9/0.10 change have little to do with RTP (although RTP also benefits from some of the improvements) yet where we had next to no RTP support in GStreamer 0.8 I think almost 40% of current GStreamer 0.9/0.10 development is originating in RTP related projects. There is of course the work we are doing at Fluendo in regards to adding RTP support to Flumotion, but there is also the work being done by the Farsight project which wants to add support for video conferencing interoperability with all the proprietary instant messaging clients, then there is the Tapioca VOIP project done by the guys at the Brazilian Instituto Nokia de Tecnologia. And there is of course the Maemo/770 VOIP work being done by Movial and Nokia in Helsinki. One things that is sure is that GStreamer 0.9/0.10 is becoming a RTP powerhouse :) Hopefully we can get started on the RTP implementations for Vorbis and Theora soon too, as Luca Barbato have being doing a good job of moving that effort forward.
Finally got my Vampyros Lesbos DVD, although I am noticing a sliver of scepticism among my co-workers for how good it really is. Guess they don’t appreciate quality in the same way I do.
Discovered Synfig today which is a vector graphics animation package using gtkmm for its GUI. (Source code here). It looks very promising and hopefully they will be able to cooperate with Inkscape going forward as I assume they have some overlap. The similarities in library use should also be a plus in that regard. Would be great if Synfig got support for animated SVG files so it could be used for interchange of files between Synfig and the rest of the world, including GNOME and Inkscape.