Mugshot, Jobs, SoC, Polypaudio and more


So there s3cr3t project that Havoc, Colin, Owen and others at Red Hat has been working on for the last months was revealed. Mugshot is now out and available. I don’t really get it. I have read the mugshot blog where there are some attempts at explaining what its about, but it fails to explain why I would find it interesting. And I mean that in a non-negative way, I really miss some explanation linking their technical description of how it works/what it is supposed to be with some examples of why I would find it cool to use. Along the lines of ‘You see this, and you use this feature of mugshot and then you are able to do that thing you never have been able to do before’. Currently my feeling is that linkswarm is supposed to be a continous live version of the ‘slashdot effect’ and Music Radar to be manual version of the group hitlists. Both these descriptions are probably wildly wrong, but they do examplify how incomprehensible the project is to me currently.

Nokia on a hiring spree

Actually impressed by the number of new jobs offered in Carlos latest blog entry. Nokia is really beefing up their development capabilities on the Linux side. I think we will see a lot of great stuff coming out of Nokia and going into GNOME, GStreamer and other related efforts going forward. Their participation in the GStreamer community is much more direct and active now than it was before the initial release, which is a very good thing. So if you are looking for a job doing cool stuff with Linux you should check out the list in Carlos blog.

Summer of Code

One great ideas done for this years GNOME summer of code was setting up a Planet for SoC Students. A lot of students already signed up and more to come. Thanks to Jeff and co for setting up that planet. And if you are a student working on something GNOME/GTK related for any organisation (doesn’t have to be ‘GNOME’, be sure to start blogging about your progress and get your blog listed.


Lennart Poettering released a new version of Polypaudio recently and also updated the GStreamer plugin to GStreamer 0.10. Personally I been feeling lukewarm about soundservers for a long time, but Polypaudio seems to get a lot of people to at least re-visit the sound server debate. Jan Schmidt whose opinion I respect a lot was very excited about polypaudio and even started trying to work with Lennart on getting the updated plugin into gst-plugins-good. Maybe Polypaudio
is the sound server that convince the world that sound servers aren’t such a bad idea after all. (And I hope no one asks ‘but what about JACK?’. JACK is great, but suggesting it for desktop usage makes about as much sense in my mind as suggesting someone should by a formula 1 car as a vehicle to take their family on vacation.)

The battle against bugzilla

The war to keep the GStreamer bugcount down continues without stop. It is paying off in the sense that I think people notice that we respond very quickly to bugs, which motivates people to report more. Luckily a lot of them with patches. But it also gives us a challenge in keeping up with bugzilla. This morning the statistics showed a total of 167 non-enhancement bugs, with +40 being submitted the last 7 days (and -29 closed the last 7 days). This means that over bug open/close traffic is between GTK+ and Evolution in volume, projects with over a 1000 unresolved bug reports compared to our 150+. It of course means we have to keep our eyes on the ball non-stop or our bugcount will start increasing quickly. Luckily we have a good community now with people offering patches (making resolving the bugs much easier), and also people helping us triange and reproduce bug reports. More is always welcome of course, just someone looking through our bug reports trying to reproduce issues reported and then commenting on the bugs is a great help. Especially if you are able to produce more details than the original report. For instance today I found a bug report saying that playing the WMA streams from Rush Limbaugh’s website caused Totem to stutter. After some testing (I downloaded the mms stream into a file using ‘gst-launch mmssrc location=”mms:uri-to.file.wma ! filesink location=rush.wma’) I found that we played the WMA file fine. So the problem is not the WMA/ASF elements, but most likely somewhere in Totem/playbin’s network buffering. Information like that saves time for the developers, enabling them to spend more time on fixing the bugs, and less time on investigating what the actual problem is. So even if you are not a programmer, helping your favourite project with their bugzilla is a good way to help developers and make your favourite project evolve even faster.

6 thoughts on “Mugshot, Jobs, SoC, Polypaudio and more

  1. I agree on Mugshot. I have no idea what is going on here. A screencast may be worth a thousand vague descriptions/hype.

  2. re: jack
    you may be right *now*, but for how long?
    do you not think that jack is ultimately
    a step in the right direction?
    it wasn’t so long ago that people had
    the same reaction when people suggested
    unix on the desktop…

  3. Why is Polypaudio good and Phonon bad? Aren’t they both unecessary interfaces? Would you care to coment on this?

  4. I get the feeling that Polypaudio is just a sound server, i.e., if you have 3 apps running that generate sound, it’ll combine them — and that’s about all it does. So it’s necessary as long as Linux (and similar operating systems) don’t allow more than one process to open the sound device at a time.

    Phonon looks less complete, and less orthogonal. By “less orthogonal”, I mean: it’s not just a sound server — it tries to do things that GStreamer already does. That seems to be the Qt/KDE way: Qt isn’t just a GUI toolkit like Gtk+, but also does SQL, Unicode strings, 2d drawing (like Cairo!), an XML parser, network protocols, regular expressions, etc. So Phonon is trying to be the all-singing-all-dancing media library for KDE, but that means it’s not as good as GStreamer at what GStreamer does, or …

  5. Tim,

    I don’t think you have any idea on what Phonon does… Please read somethig about it first…

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