Building the Perfect Audio Editor

Jono Bacon blogs about the new Audio editor project he is trying to kick of. Jono has done some really nice design and planning work and I really hope he manages to get this project of the ground. It is sad that they are stuck using Windows for recording their LUG Radio show. So any developers out there who want to get involved in a really cool multimedia project should head over to Jono’s page to read up and then get in touch with Jono about contributing.

Making stuff look good

These mockups
with proposals for what GNOME could/should look like have caused some stir. Currently they do some stuff not yet possible with GTK+, but I think they are a great starting point for current and potential GTK+ developers to get an idea of what kind of features to add to upcoming GTK+ releases. I think mockups is the only plausible way to get an idea of what theming features are worth going after.

A very pleasant experience

Some time ago I asked about the ‘best’ http library to use. In the end we had to decide between libsoup and neon. I was partial to libsoup, but since part of the reason we wanted this new http element for GStreamer was to have an element to offer non-gnome projects like Amarok, the choice ended up being neon.

Anyway the incredible Edgard Lima did the hacking and today we have a sparkling neonhttp plugin in our CVS repository. It turns out however that Shoutcast servers aren’t 100% http compliant, having a slight variation of http called the ICY protocol. libneon didn’t like this very much. Luckily the libneon maintainer Joe Orton was willing to make libneon accept even ICY traffic as soon as we explained the issue to him and the next version of libneon will accept also ICY traffic.

A big thanks to Edgard for making the plugin and to Joe for being so helpful and pleasant to work with resolving the issue we had.

One step closer to world domination :)

Fluendo MP3 plugin and Sun

Also nice to see Brian and Sun looking into using our MP3 plugin with JDS. One thing which I think some people missed is that you can of course use the code to add mp3 support to your system, even without signing a contract with Fluendo, as long as you have your own mp3 license from Frauenhoffer/Thomson, which Sun do. Regarding the the other points of Brian posts, I did merge the sunaudio plugin patches to both our 0.8 and 0.10 trees yesterday, and the missing file is taken care of long ago :)

Where Creative Commons botched

I think Creative Commons is and was a great effort, but I think they made one critical mistake, the non-commerical clause. I can understand that at first glance that making it possible to limit ‘commercial use’ seems like a good idea, at least in order to get people onto the idea of copyleft style licensing, but in practicality it kills the basic purpose of the license, to allow people to freely copy.

For instance many websites which would be interested in distributing this content and provide free downloads of it, use banner adds to pay for or subsidize the cost of the servers and bandwith. Problem is that as soon as you add that banner add, you are enganging in a commerical activity and are no longer allowed to distribute anything with the non-commercial clause.

I ranted on this issue in a recent
mail to the Creative Commons license list

Mono and GNOME

Red Hat’s decision to start shipping Mono based applications and libraries have altered the landscape quite a bit in the ongoing discussion about Mono’s place in the GNOME development landscape.

Although Sun probably is still negative they do have a partnership currently with Microsoft which should make shipping Mono with their GNOME desktops less of a problem for them.

While I don’t think this makes the decision that Mono is the future of GNOME, I do think it means that Mono have a place in GNOME’s future.

GNU Flash

Frederic Crozat pointed me to a news article about GNU Flash today. My opinion is that GNU Flash is a mostly useless project due to its licensing. Flash today isn’t just playing Flash animations, it also includes audio through mp3 support and 2-3 video codecs non of them free. Which means a GPL flash library will never be usefull is large parts of the world. People should instead get involved in Swfdec which is LGPL and already made to integrate with GStreamer. If GNU thinks flash support is important they should offer it under a license that doesn’t make half their users wait 5 years before they can legally use it. Or if they wanted something to compete with Flash and which is free they should join up with librsvg and help improve it to become a Flash killer. Combining SVG with SMIL should create something very similar to Flash in capabilities.

Cleaning up our sites

Jaime Hemmett is now working fulltime on for Fluendo, fixing and developing our websites and our stream hosting backoffice solutions. So our pages will be of better quality going forward now with someone actually working on making them good. Up to now its been me or Thomas fiddling with them as time permitted (which it seldom did). One thing Jaime fixed right away was the annoying frame setup we had making linking to anything but the front page of a pain.

She is also working on improving our webstore so its ready for business.

One little webhack I did allow myself today though was adding the Europe Plus WMA stream to our directory listing.
As some might guess this also means our WMA encoder plugin will go into our beta program soon and then appear in the webshop.

Friday morning web development

To get an easy start of my day I fixed the Project Schrodinger
pages to be fully w3c compliant. Fixed a lot of other stuff as part of it too, like splitting out the header and footer for the pages into separate shared files.

Only thing I am not 100% happy about atm is the video reel’s visual appearance. They actually looked a bit better before my fixes. Not sure how to fix them properly as it was a kinda dirty trick I used to have then look ok before. I think if I could make the reels be a separate class applied to the TR element instead of the TD elements that would give me perfect looking reels, but my experiements so far have failed me (I am not a very good web developer).

Was happy to see the Schrodinger project mentioned in the LWN weekly summary as part of their development section.

Predicting the future

Always fun to make some predictions for the coming year, mostly so one can look back at the end of it and find out how wrong one was, or how innacurate. Anyway, here I go with my predictions for 2006:

  • The cultural collision between the Free Software community and the content industry will fully blossom with the widespread availability of Blue-Ray and HD-DVD devices everywhere with their new DRM systems.
  • The major players in the music industry will start to feel the pain of getting squeezed between other activities lessening the interest in music and improved distribution and marketing of independent music. Copy protection scheemes will start to look more like a liability than a tool for survival to them.
  • GNU/Linux will become a serious contented as a media platform and Fluendo will play a major part in that rise.
  • Microsoft will appear more and more like an ally of the open source community in their fight against DRM as also Microsoft sees that the increasingly draconic DRM measures requested by the content industry is killing the usability of their systems.
  • The Spanish speaking world will have many major Linux desktop deployments and come to be seen as the adoption leader for Linux desktops. They will mostly choose GNOME as their Desktop.
  • Research papers will start to get published that show that software patents are hindering growth and innovation, not promoting it. Supports of free markets like the Economist will start to demand wide patent reforms.
  • Creative Commons experiences something bad enough to open their eyes to the fact that open content is only open if its in an open format.
  • There will be people in 2006 not agreeing with my predictions
  • And last but not least, the new Spanish laws against smoking in public areas cause both Wim and Edward to stop smoking

The Dirac video codec

So the collaborative project between BBC and Fluendo is underway in the form of the Schrodinger project. We will develop a set of libraries to both decode and encode Dirac video and also make sure it can be embedded into the Ogg container format. We are really excited about this at Fluendo and I think it will be a great gift to the community once its finished as it brings a really high quality video codec to the community.

Media streaming hosting

Another cool thing which we are kicking of now is our stream hosting service which we are doing together with Cable and Wireless. It brings fast cheap Ogg streaming into the market using our Flumotion server, and we can even throw in support for non-free formats for those who need it. Radio Europa Plus is already using it, and we are discussing with multiple other radio and tv stations already. We are working hard on adding more features to our streaming services, including a very nice system for private and small businesses. I think this will ba a happy new year :)