Category Archives: General

Third week in Brno

Into my third Red Hat and Brno week now, Enjoying it a lot, but of course there is a lot of initial ramping up that needs happening and a lot of new faces and names to remember :)

As for Brno I am getting a bit more settled, got an appartment now that I can sleep in (although no furniture atm :), got myself a local bank account and a local phone sim and this morning internet was connected in the flat. So I guess I got the basics sorted for now :)

Looking forward to going to GUADEC next meet, to meet up with old and new friends and discuss plans for the coming year. It will also be my first chance to talk in person with many people from the Red Hat desktop engineering team since joining the company.

Things will be busy going forward though with a trip to Munich planned just as I return from GUADEC and then the GStreamer Conference at the end of August. Hoping to get the full program online within the next few days to allow people to see the great schedule we put together this year and book their trips to San Diego :)

GStreamer and the Google Summer of Code 2012

A big thanks to Google for making GStreamer part of also this years Google Summer of Code. For those of you who might not know the Google Summer of Code it is basically a program that lets you do a summer internship with various leading open source projects and get paid for it (if you are a student).

So if you always wanted to get involved with the GStreamer project and become a multimedia wizard, this is a great way to do so. The process is quite simply, you write a proposal for what you want to do (some possible suggestions and info found here) and submit it to Google when the application period starts on the 26th of March. Before then you would do well to speak with us on IRC or email lists to discuss your project to maximise your chances of getting selected.

We have a special Google Summer of Code student information page with information on what the GStreamer project specifically expects of you and your proposal. So for those interested that should be a good starting point.

Hope to see many great applications this year on either GStreamer itself or GStreamer using projects. And remember, you don’t have to feel bound by our suggestion list, if you have a great idea for a project that involves GStreamer, then we are happy to mentor it, just be sure to talk to us as soon as possible so we can let you know if we think it is a suitable Summer of Code project.

Collabora and Fluendo partners to invest in GStreamer

So working up to MWC in Barcelona this week we just announced a great new effort by Collabora and Fluendo around the GStreamer project. The goal is to ease adoption of GStreamer by making sure that no matter what platform you are in, there are well tested and easy to install and use binaries of GStreamer available. This means that not matter if you are running Windows, MacOS X or Linux, you will have a GStreamer SDK available to use. Eventually we will also cover various embedded platforms with this SDK, making it easier than ever to use GStreamer to create great cross platform multimedia applications. You can find out more about this effort by checking out the press release which have all the relevant details.

Summary of GStreamer Hackfest

So as I talked about in my last blog post we had a great GStreamer hackfest. A lot of things got done and quite a few applications got an initial port over to 0.11. For instance Edward Hervey ended up working on porting the Totem video player, or rather trying to come up with a more optimized design for the Clutter-gst as the basis port was already done.

Another cool effort was by Philippe Normand from Igalia who put a lot of effort into porting WebKit to use 0.11. His efforts where rewarded with success as you can see in this screenshot.

Jonathan Matthew had flown up all the way from Australia and made great progress in porting Rhythmbox over to the 0.11 API, a port which became hugely more useful after Wim Taymans and Tim-Phillip Muller fixed a bug that caused mp3 playback not to work :).

Peteris Krisjanis made huge strides in porting Jokosher to 0.11. Although like Jason DeRose from Novacut and myself on Transmageddon he did end up spending a lot of time on debugging issues related to gobject-introspection. The challenge for non-C applications like Jokosher, Novacut, Transmageddon and PiTiVi is a combination of the API having changed quite significantly due to the switch to gobject-introspection generated bindings, some general immaturity challenges with the gobject-introspection library and finally missing or wrong annotations in the GStreamer codebase. So once all these issues are sorted things should look a lot brighter for language bindings, but as we discovered there is a lot of heavy lifting to get there. For instance I thought I had Transmageddon running quite smoothly before I suddenly triggered this gobject-introspection bug.

There was a lot of activity around PiTiVi too, with Jean-François Fortin Tam, Thibault Saunier and Antigoni Papantoni working hard on porting PiTiVi to 0.11 and the GStreamer Editing Services library. And knowing Jean-François Fortin I am sure there will soon be a blog with a lot more details about that :).

Thomas Vander Stichele, who also wrote a nice blog entry about the event, was working with Andoni Morales Alastruey, both from Flumotion, on porting Flumotion to 0.11, but due to some of the plugins needed not having been ported yet most of their effort ended up being on porting the needed plugins in GStreamer and not so much application porting, but for those of you using plugins such as multifdsink, this effort will be of great value and Andoni also got started on porting some of the non-linux plugins, like the directsoundsink for Windows.

Josep Torra from Fluendo ended up working with Edward Hervey on hammering out the design for the clutter-gst sink at the conference, but he also found some time to do a port of his nice little tuner tool as you can see from the screenshot below.

Tuner tool for GStreamer 0.11

George Kiagiadakis kept hammering away at the qtGStreamer bindings, working both on a new release of the bindings for the GStreamer 0.10 series, but also some preparatory work for 0.11.

In addition to the application work, Wim Taymans, Tim-Phillip Müller and Sebastian Dröge from Collabora did a lot of core GStreamer clean ups and improvements in addition to providing a lot of assistance, bugfixing and advice for the people doing application porting. All critical items are now sorted in 0.11 although there are some nice to have’s still on the radar, and Wim plans on putting out some new releases next week, to kickstart the countdown to the first 1.0 release.

As for my own little pet project Transmageddon, it is quite far along now, with both manually configured re-encodes and profile re-encodes working. Still debugging remuxing though and I am also waiting for the deinterlacer to get ported to re-enable deinterlacing in the new version. For a screenshot take a look at the one I posted in my previous blogpost.

GStreamer Hackfest in Malaga update

Things have been going really well here at the GStreamer Hackfest in Malaga. Thanks to the help of Ara and Yaiza from Nido Malaga, we have a great venue in downtown Malaga and they have also helped us greatly with sorting out food.
We have a great group of people here and are making great progress, and by tomorrow I hope we will have screenshots of quite a few applications running with GStreamer 0.11, for instance both Rhythmbox and Jokosher for instance is already screen shootable, if not fully functional :)

GStreamer Hackfest Malaga 2012
GStreamer Hackfest Malaga 2012

Also making good progress on Transmageddon, even if the move to GObject Introspection bindings are making things a bit more complicated. Screenshot below of the progress so far.

Transmageddon at Hackfest in Malaga 2012
Transmageddon at Hackfest in Malaga 2012

Also a big thanks to Fluendo who is sponsoring the lunches at the hackfest and Collabora who is sponsoring tonight’s dinner. Ensuring that no hacker is left hungry during this hackfest.

Update: Yaiza took these photos from the hackfest

GStreamer Hackfest in Malaga

Tomorrow I will be heading off to attend the GStreamer Application Porting Hackfest in Malaga, Spain. I think we have managed to pull together an absolutely incredible group of people for this event and I have great hopes that by next weekend we will have squashed a ton of bugs in GStreamer 0.11/1.0 and also have initial ports of a long range of important applications and bindings. This is the first time in GStreamer history that we are trying to hold a hackfest focused on application developers, but hopefully it will be the first of many and that they can become a good way for the core GStreamer community and the application development community to interact and collaborate more closely.

Also want to say a special thanks to the community members attending the event on their own and also to the companies sending their employees to the hackfest; Collabora, Fluendo, Flumotion and Igalia and finally a special thanks to the GNOME Foundation for sponsoring some of the attendees.

Hopefully I will be able to post some screenshots of a fully functional GStreamer 1.0 Transmageddon next weekend :)

Transmageddon runs with GStreamer 0.11

After updating GStreamer and doing a couple of small fixes I managed to make Transmageddon work with the GTK3 and the 0.11 branch of GStreamer. Obligatory screenshot below. As you might guess from looking at the screenshot there are still some issues that needs solving, but
I am happy that I managed to get this far.

Screenshot of development Transmageddon
Transmageddon running GTK3 and GStreamer 0.11/1.0

Hopefully it is a sign that the upcoming GStreamer hackfest in Malaga will be a great successful everyone who is participating.

I hope the remainder of the porting effort will be relatively simple as I would love to get back to working on real features instead of just updating old functionality to use a new backend to do the same. Having had a need for Transmageddon for a couple of work related tasks recently a couple of items, like batch job programming has moved up my priorities list.

Are you in Malaga, Spain? Or know someone there?

I am desperately looking for someone familiar with Malaga, Spain, maybe a local LUG or similar. The reason is that we are interested in doing a GStreamer 1.0 application porting hackfest there in late January. So getting hold of someone with local knowledge who would be able to help us find a suitable venue would be great. Please get in touch with me on christian.schaller(at) if you are in the area and willing to help or know someone would probably could help us.

What kind of economic system do we have?

Mathias Hasselmann posted a blog entry called ‘on populism’ commenting on the earlier blog post by Josselin Mouette called ‘A message to liberals’.

First of all the first entry was using the term liberals, which I would suggest avoiding, because while in Europe it tends to mean people who are on the right wing of the political spectrum, because they are liberals in terms of economic policies, in North America a liberal is someone on the left side of the political spectrum as they tend to liberals in terms of social policies like gay marriage, abortion etc. Due to this I tend to try to refer to these groups as either social liberals, economic liberals (or libertarians if they are both for a free market and have socially liberal views.)

Anyway, I think the original article by Josselin was quite silly in its tone. There are a lot of reasons we have the current set of problems in the world economy, and economic liberal policies have only a small part of the blame. First of all the problems in Europe is, as Mathias says in his rebuttal, that you have mostly left leaning governments budgeting year after year after year with huge deficits, covering the deficits by pulling their countries deeper and deeper into debt. So when a crisis hits and it always will under any system, they have nothing to fall back on as they are already debted to the neck. Personally I think Keynesian policies is probably what is needed in a situation like this, but that is based on an assumption that they governments have made sure to have reserves or have low debt before a crisis hits, so they can use these reserves to help pull the economy through. In Europe the problem was that the governments where already so deep in debt that when they tried to stimulate their economies they just make it clear how much money they actually owed and how unable they would be in ever getting back on track again.

The US did something even more silly, they cut taxes and increased expenses at the same time. This idiot policy was called Reaganomics. And while it was definitively right wing in origin, I am not sure it can be easily placed in a libertarian versus socialist context. No matter if you are left wing or right wing, the most basic rule is that you keep your books in order. That means that if you want to increase spending you need to also increase your income, and if you want to decrease taxes and thus your income, you need to decrease your spending. The left wing governments of Europe only increased spending, but not income, and the right wing governments of the US only cut income, but not spending.

As for the depressed wages around the western world they are caused by a lot of different things, but the biggest of them all is that new technology combined with free trade agreements have undermined our ability to keep the rest of the world down in poverty and unable to develop their own industries. I assume we all accept this as a good thing in principle, but yes it does cause transitional pains and wage pressures here while we wait for the cost levels in the BRIC countries to catch up with us.

As for deregulation of the banking sector, which can be said to be a economically liberal policy, to be part of what caused the recent upheaval, yes it probably did play a part. But it does strike me as quite hypocritical that when the political drive to get people into the housing market, which was supported everywhere by people on both the left and the right, ends up getting banks in trouble due to the so called sub-prime loans collapsing, it is all about the banks and not about the politicians who supported such lending habits to support their own social policies. Subprime loans is not something impossible to understand, it is basically loans to poorer people. And politicians on both side of the aisle felt that encouraging house ownership was a great way to help raise such people into the middle class. And it worked quite well for a while in regard to improving the standard of life for a lot of people, but as we all know now, it was a bubble that had to burst at some point. Anyway, lending money to poorer people who might not be able to afford it, in order for them to buy their own house, doesn’t seem to be a clear fit under the headline ‘liberal economic policies’ to me.

I think most people agree that a ideologically pure system of any type is not likely to work or be deployable. In my view, the problem these days is that the system has moved from being one leaning towards being a free market economy, supporting entrepreneurship and healthy competition, to one of protecting established players. So we have policies through things like the tax system, government aid and the patent system, in most western countries, functioning in a way that protects established companies and disadvantages small companies who try to compete with them. I would rather define that as government lead capitalism and not free market liberalism.
So it doesn’t matter if we are talking about North America or Europe here, most times when politicians talk about new policies to help the economy or stimulate job growth, it is policies to support big established companies or groups. So every year these companies and industries grows more bureaucratic and less efficient, while more innovative and nimble startups faces an uphill struggle against the establishment.

So while I readily admit that there are a million other factors also playing in and that the root cause of issues wary from country to country somewhat, lets avoid silly name calling and pretend that populist policies is what is needed to improve the situation. Because if there is one ‘ism that is to blame for where we are at, it is not liberalism or socialism, it is populism. The populism supporting 5 minute news cycle which means politics is about 10 second long snazzy slogans and handsome faces, and not in-depth discussion or detailed review.