Entries from May 2008 ↓

Jokosher fixes inbound

As I mentioned in my blog entry about Sebastian Dröge joining Collabora he would among other things work on some low level GStreamer issues which has held Jokosher back. Thanks to Sebastian working on improving the GStreamer audioconvert and deinterlave elements things are now looking very good for Jokosher, a big thanks to Peteris Krisjanis of the Jokosher community for testing the fixes so quickly for us. I have now even challenged Jono and Stuart about recording a LUGRadio episode using Jokosher as that was in some sense the original reason for Jokosher being created so I feel it would be a good milestone on progress :)

Sebastian still has some work on the interleave element left before he will switch over to focusing on some improvements for Pitivi mostly improving our Matroska and MPEG support.

Personal life

Starting to settle pretty good into Cambridge life I think.  My ongoing golf lessons are starting to pay off and I can now go to the driving range and feel pretty happy at what I do there. Not to claim I am at a useful level yet, but at least some of the basics are starting to fall into place. I also finally got myself moving on starting up a second activity, in addition to the golf,  so I had my second riding lesson this morning.  I am so far enjoying the riding quite a lot, apart from the dorky looking helmet and the new boots giving me blisters. Still working on finding a good timeslot for the riding though, seems the horses do not enjoy an early morning as much as my golf instructor.

The Cambridge Beer Festival is currently underway and yesterday I got to try the cutely named Norwegian Blue. Not named after the country with the fjords as much as after a parrot in a Monty Python clip :)

We are heading back there this evening with Michael Meeks joining us for some further beer sampling, travelling from the distant planet of Newmarket. We tried getting Edward Hervey also to join us, as he is actually in London currently, valiantly helping one of our customers, but even the famous beer festival cheese selection was enough to lure him away from his task :)

Heading up to Norway tomorrow evening for a long weekend in conjunction with my cousins daughters confirmation. I tried to get her to take a valiant stance for atheism instead, but the lure of presents and a big party strangely enough won out :) Its also my mothers birthday early next week and while I normally do not travel up to Norway I felt it was the right thing to do this year considering my mothers recent brain surgery with the (small) stroke that caused.

Sebastian Dröge joins Collabora Multimedia

Thought I should let the world now we have a new employee at Collabora Multimedia. I think most of you know him already as Sebastian Dröge is one of the biggest patch reviews and bug fixers in the GStreamer community already. While Sebastian will be helping out with some of our internal projects we also plan on letting Sebastian continue his great community work. In fact the first assignment we have given him is simply to try to help out with some hard bugs thats been troubling Jokosher for a long time. So a big welcome to Collabora Sebastian, and an especially big thanks for starting your new job by taking GStreamer once again out of the top 10 bugzilla list :)

Sun’s new video codec

So Sun Microsystems video codec effort is now public. Actually its been public since the 11th of April, but I missed it until today. I think it is an interesting effort and wish them good luck. That said I noticed from the comments that people where wondering why they where not instead pushing Theora or Dirac forward instead of making their own codec. Well the answer to that question is implicitly given in Rob Glidden’s blog post, Sun wanted something which they felt was 100% sure to not be under any current patents and thus they started with the sure to be patent free H261 codec (due to its age).

Of course that is similar to the approach the BBC took with Dirac, but instead of using an codec implementation they used old text books and research papers as their baseline.

That said neither the OMS video codec or Dirac can be 100% sure that there will never be any patent lawsuits, to many bogus patents for that. So all they can do is what they have been doing, which is to ensure that their prior art story is so strong that if a case ever is brought they should be able relatively easily defeat it.

And while I would of course love even more people contributing to improving out existing codecs like Theora and Dirac and think that getting new codecs launched which has used different strategies for ensuring their royalty free status is only a good thing as it gives us more angles of attack. And once one of these codecs reaches critical mass in terms of consumer adoption I think it can actually open the door to the others as it will reduce the current ‘stigma’ around royalty free codecs.

In the meantime we just need to continue improving our tools as I feel that is the next step we need to take to help push free codecs forward. My goal is that we will get Pitivi and Jokosher to a stage where we have them running on all three major platforms and thus the threshold for getting your marketing department etc., to publish their audio clips and videos with free codecs is greatly reduced. The two Summer of Code students we have working on Pitivi and the renewed Jokosher effort should help push us forward.
I am also hoping that the codec support provided in HTML5 through Firefox will open some doors. While Apple and Microsoft are still trying to sabotage it there is still hope that the market share of Firefox is large enough to make a difference and force the issue.