Older blog entries for rbultje (starting at number 103)

Dutch referendum for the European constitution
In response to the new hype on Planet GNOME-NL, I'll also give my opinion on the proposed European constitution, for which several countries will be having (or already had) a referendum in the next few weeks.
The European union is now commonly referred to as Europe, which is a great thing for our common identity. After two world wars, this collection of individual countries is now able to work together at strengtening their own and each others' economy, and thereby increasing common wealth of every single person in this continent. To add up to this, "we" (the shared identity of all European citizens) are all able to freely travel between countries without requiring additional papers or visa fees, or even requiring currency exchange (OK, so the introduction of the euro also lead to price increases, but I don't think you can blame the euro for that an sich; rather, the situation was abused by industry). So far so good.
Recently, however, this liberal giant was degraded to a social development platform by allowing new countries to enter the union without meeting the previously set requirements, instead of helping those countries to develop without already giving them membership. Instead of them being a featureful addition to the union, they were accepted for the mere reason that it was good for themselves. Imagine this in the meritocratic world of free software development. Would Red Hat package Blackbox on the Hurd and sell that because it's good for the GNU? Of course not. They sell GNOME on Linux because that's good for them; the relevant communities benefit from the newly added development power, leading to mutual benefit and happiness for both.
We don't need the European union for social benefits; the individual member countries are more than capable of doing this on their own. They've always done it like this and should always do it like this. The purpose of the European union is to add something up to that, so that all members benefit from it.
The constitution will generalize international relations by having a common minister of foreign affairs, a single leader of the commission (the president), all things that I don't think the European union was originally set up for, and that I don't think it's fit for. Also, it will lead to continuation of the developments that lead to the acceptance of countries into the union that should, as far as I'm concerned, have had more time to fit well with the rest of the European union.
I am in favour of Europe, I'm in favour of liberal economies, I'm in favour of free travel, shared currency, shared identity and all that; but currently, I see little reason to vote in favour of the constitution.
Pitfdll
Did a first release of Pitfdll. Let's hope it gets into the famous package repositories soon.
21 Apr 2005 (updated 21 Apr 2005 at 20:20 UTC) »
World changes faster
With a wink to my previous post, I can say that at the same location, you will now find a working DLL loader that works in threaded applications, and thus in Totem, too. This means, in effect, that we now support QDM2 and WMV9. Thanks to Mike Hearn for helping me fix the threading issues!

I also updated the ffmpeg snapshot, which means that current CVS of everything now supports ALAC (Apple lossless), too.

21 Apr 2005 (updated 21 Apr 2005 at 13:12 UTC) »
Changing minds
Alone in the dark, I present you Pitfdll, which is a GStreamer plugin for Win32 DLL loading. I guess I changed mind - I don't see a working free software WMV9/QDM2 decoder coming up anytime soon, no matter how close the ffmpeg people claim to be or how hard Fluendo is trying to release binary-only plugins. So we'll have to come up with something else for the time being. The plugin reads WMV9, IV50 and QDM2. More can be added by adding two lines of code defining the DLL and the format it supports in GStreamer notation.

The rushers will notice that it doesn't work in Totem, which is on purpose; Totem is heavily threaded, and threading breaks the DLL directly (see README). I'm unsure why, and would love to get some help from someone familiar with Wine or Xine (the DLL loading code is a direct cp -a from the Xine tree) code in this process (contact me on IRC in #gnome-hackers). Once that's fixed, I'll do a real release and add it to the repositories so people using Totem-GStreamer can finally enjoy those dreaded Apple.com trailers. :-).

Totem DVD & the like
Added some missing features (w.r.t. the Xine backend) in Totem/GStreamer today. One being manual aspect-ratio selection, partly with thanks to Laurens Buhler. The other being language codes, which I implemented in DVD playback. The result is that a media source with multiple audio tracks and language code support will now display proper language names in the audio/language menu. Same code is in place for subtitles yet, but then again, DVD subtitles don't work yet, so it's kinda pointless in a way. Jan (he's working on that) promised me he'd make it working within a few days now. Then menus, and we're done, GStreamer will finally have good DVD support.

As for the language code detection, I should implement it for mkv/ogm too, I guess.

Dutch Gnomeys
The people ate GNOME-NL have set up a private, unique and special Planet Gnome-NL which features your all-beloved GNOME hackers, but then only the special dutch flavour. Also, we're currently working on an article in a national news magazine, which looks promising. The best of all this is that we're doing cool stuff and are having fun at that. Yay!

Totem So lately, I've been doing stability and finetuning work for Totem. It's nice to see that it "just works" most of the time, I've wanted this kind of a media player for years. Looks good, works well and hey, it's GStreamer-based. Other people are also helping, such as Christoph Burghardt, who's working on a zoom feature using the GStreamer backend. I'm trying to get a friend into fixing the unimplemented aspect-ratio menu item, it's his first C code, so it'll require some guidance, but that's good. In other parts, the nautilus properties page, thumbnailer and mozilla plugin all also received a lot of finetuning love. All in all, I think I can be a bit proud of the whole thing - even though it is still mostly Bastien's work. ;-).

Totem Mozilla Embedding
Bastien already said that we had basic javascript functionality people working in the Totem-Mozilla plugin. Today, I finished the second part of the job: a two-way communication protocol. Should ideally use DBUS for that, but we're using something of ourselves right now.

The result of that is that the plugin and the child application (which is spawned on its own for security reasons) interact using some basic IPC command-set. This, in combination with the javascript-functionality, means that I can click images on a HTML page and the player will react as it should. The javascript-calls are compatible with Quicktime Player. Woohoo, finally a kick-ass mozilla media player. :-). Get your daily dose of Totem-CVS today!

MP4 authoring
After Jon's release of pyMusique, I felt the strong need to get my hands on a working MPEG-4 ISO muxer (for GStreamer). Reasons are simple:
  • Writing tags to music downloaded from iTMS (yes, they're untagged!).
  • Capture MPEG-4 video/audio in a MPEG-4 container using Cupid.
  • Transcoding my Ogg/Vorbis files to MPEG-4 so I can transfer them to my iPod.
And so I did. GStreamer can now write full-spec MPEG-4 files. Screenshot. Tested with all of the above use cases. (3) can be done using gst-launch, tags are conserved. (2) just works. Jon is adding support for (1) right now. Get your daily dose of GStreamer CVS right now!
Release day
It's kinda evil, but hey, why not? All poor packagers are busy already, so let's give them some more work. I've released Cupid 0.0.2, which is a GStreamer/GNOME video-capture and -display tool, and GStreamer-FFmpeg 0.8.4, which is a set of GStreamer plugins based on the popular and high-quality ffmpeg codecs.

Other people release, too
Also, one of our new GStreamer supporters, Jon Lech Johansen, released pyMusique today, which is a Gtk-application that lets you buy music from the iTunes Music Store from your GNOME desktop. I'm already a happy user of this piece of software. Great work, Jon!

GNOME-nl release party
After the release of GNOME 2.10 and the congratulations from our KDE-nl colleagues, it was time to celebrate the release locally. A total of 10 people had a great evening in the Stairway to Heaven in Utrecht, the Netherlands. Of course made the obligatory Tux-with-beer picture, but most importantly, we all celebrated the continued livelihood of our beloved GNOME. Here's another picture showing (clock-wise) Kris (with blue hair!), Wouter, Jeroen, Hette, Tino, Vincent and Reinout. Not shown but definately there were Laurens, Marcel and Tim. Great release-party, let's hope we can soon do this again!

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