Recent blog entries for Uraeus

GStreamer, Google, San Fransisco and being stuck

Currently staying at my friends David Schleefs place in San Francisco. Davids company Entropy Wave is about to launch some rather cool new hardware encoders rack boxes, which David showed of during the CE Linux showcase. The boxes will support both Theora and H264 encoding to enable the easy creation of HTML5 friendly content. People where also quite impressed by Davids DSP port of Theora for Texas Instruments OMAP3 which was sponsored by the Mozilla Foundation, there was also some interest by other chipset vendors to get David to also port it to their architectures which could be a great development in terms of Theora based HTML5 support on mobile and embedded devices.

I was here to attend the CE Linux and Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit conferences this week and its been interesting. Btw, thanks to Google for the Nexus One phone, will be interesting to get home and do a throughout comparison with my Nokia N900. One thing I already discovered doing some prelimenary testing is that the Nexus One doesn’t seem to support syncing contacts over bluetooth, so its a bit of a cumbersome process it seems to move my address book onto the Nexus One from the N900. Talking of Google, the most repeated rumour, from a lot of people at the conference all claiming inside sources at Google, is that Google is about to open source the VP8 codec, using it both for Google Talk video conferencing, for HTML5 in Android and Chrome, and for You Tube. Will be interesting to see if this happens though and under what terms in the end. And if it happens it will be equally interesting to see if the quality of the encoder is good. Heard some claims that the current VP8 encoder actually creates worse quality videos than the latest Theora encoder at the same bitrate, which would make Googles refusal to support Theora for HTML5 for Youtube a bit sad.

Got to talk to quite a bit of people using GStreamer on their products, and I based on those conversations I can easily foresee that we will be getting more contracts in the future, at Collabora Multimedia, which task is basically mainlining vendor patches for things like GStreamer and Pulse Audio from vendors who are using these libraries in their products. While most companies wanted to see their patches go upstream to avoid eternal pains of maintaining and re-applying their modifications, they seem to have trouble allocating staff needed to make it happen. So hiring specialists like us to do the needed patch clean-ups and get them ready to be merged is easier to fit into their timetables and budget. Tim Bird, the chairman of the CE Linux forum, actually mentioned in one of his talks that this was the method that a lot of their members have found to be most cost effective in terms of getting patches upstream to a lot of different projects, hiring core contributors to the project in question as consultants to take the patches to a stage where they can be merged.

Last night I attended a GNOME dinner hosted by Adam Dingle of fame, seems Yorba is making good progress on their projects, with Shotwell their photo manager, getting included in next version of Fedora. A big thanks to Adam for setting up this dinner, much appreciated.

The other thing that I am wondering about at this point is whether I will actually be able to fly back to the UK on Sunday. With the volcanic ash messing up everything I am starting to worry a bit. Seems BA though is re-routing their US flights to Glasgow and then providing buses to take people down to London. Not to excited about the prospect of a 6.5 hour bus ride though, but I guess considering the circumstances I shouldn’t complain. And if I do end up getting stuck here then there are not a lot of places in the world I would choose over San Francisco to be stuck, it is an really great city. However since getting stuck in San Francisco would also mean a delay in seeing the most wonderful woman in the world again, I am not in a good position to enjoy having my stay in San Francisco extended.

Anyway, no use in worrying about my flight until Sunday, in the meantime I am looking forward to Mike Smiths birthday party tomorrow, especially since Mike is taking the step of joining me in the 30+ old geezer club.

Syndicated 2010-04-17 03:00:30 from Christian Schaller

Google Summer of Code deadline

Just thought I remind everyone that the deadline for submitting a Google Summer of Code proposal is tomorrow. So if you want to do a GStreamer or any other SoC project this year you need to get your proposal submitted ASAP.

Syndicated 2010-04-08 11:46:44 from Christian Schaller

Student application period for Google Summer of code opens

Thought I should remind everyone that starting from today one can submit proposals for the Google Summer of Code. So if you are a student and interested in doing a GStreamer SoC project (or one of those obscure other projects participating for that matter :) this summer then be sure to get your proposal inn.

Syndicated 2010-03-29 12:57:42 from Christian Schaller

GStreamer and Google Summer of Code 2010

So a big thank you to Leslie and her team at Google for also this year accepting GStreamer as a mentoring organisation. Last few years we had some great projects coming out of the Google Summer of Code, including MPEG PS muxing, Quicktime Muxing, ASF muxing, LADSPA version 2, Avisynth, MHEG support and more.

If you are a student and want to get some useful experience while getting paid this summer, developing multimedia software, I think there is no better way to do so than a GStreamer GSoC project, for instance you could help us develop our first native VAAPI elements or any of the other tasks on our SoC project suggestion list.

Of course don’t limit yourself to that list, personally for instance I would love to see some proposals from students interested in extending PiTiVi.
With it being shipped with Ubuntu now and transition support getting merged very soon it is a great time to help userfriendly video editing on linux become a reality. Just be sure to keep it stable as you add your features though as we don’t want join the other efforts out there in the click and crash category ;)

Interested students should check out the Google Summer of code website for details on how the project works and how to sign up.

Please feel free to ask questions on the GStreamer-devel mailing list or on the #gstreamer channel on

Syndicated 2010-03-19 13:53:31 from Christian Schaller

Latest Dirac (schrodinger) release is really fast

I thought I should let people know that they really should grab latest version of the Schrodinger encoder/decoder from If you saw David Schleefs blogpost about Dirac you would have seen him mentioning it is much faster.

Having tested with GStreamer I can confirm that it is the case, it is really fast now, and CPU usage which used to be the achilles heal of Dirac doesn’t seem to be an issue now. Be sure to also grab gst-plugins-base 0.10.28 too though, as it contains a critical fix for playing back Dirac in Ogg containers.

Syndicated 2010-03-15 15:56:19 from Christian Schaller

GStreamer on Windows

While GStreamer has been working on Windows for a long time and one can compile GStreamer using Visual Studio, the lack of pre-made binaries for Windows developers has been a bit of an issue. Various groups and people have tried providing windows binaries for a while, but most efforts have stalled after a short while. The GStreamer winbuilds project however seems quite solid however and have now been doing good windows packages for quite a while. If you have been looking for Windows builds for GStreamer this is a good place to start. They already have a list of users on Windows and the reason I became aware is that the jokosher guys are using it for their windows porting effort.

Syndicated 2010-03-04 14:43:48 from Christian Schaller

Stepping into the future with GNOME Shell

Decided to join the early adopters crowd today and use the desktop of the future by switching to using GNOME Shell on my desktop. Luckily with Fedora its dead simple, you just yum install gnome-shell and then switch using the desktop effects widget under Preferences. Scarily simple.

So far GNOME shell has been very stable for me and the user experience has been mostly good. Still feels a little alien compared to what I was used to before, but nothing annoyingly alien. Only irritant so far is that the clock on the shell is using the luddite AM/PM time system instead of the proper 24H clock and I can’t figure out how/where to fix it. :)

Will report back next week if I decided GNOME shell is here to stay on my desktop or if its still needs some more love before I am ready to let it rule my life.

Syndicated 2010-03-03 17:19:50 from Christian Schaller

The not so wonderful world of Windows

So due to sometimes needing to run a few Windows applications I have a Windows Vista partition on my hard drive. Today I decided to upgrade it to Windows 7 using the upgrade media Lenovo had sent me. So one would assume that upgrading a Vista partition which was the original Vista installation my laptop came with and that I had almost nothing installed on would be simple and straight forward. Wrong. Very wrong. I ended up on a screen with a absolutely useless error message saying that the upgrade failed due to an error and I should try again later. Brilliant. What made it even more fun was that there was another field listing applications which might malfunction after the upgrade. Due to the useless language above I assumed those concrete applications was the actual problem so I started an effort to try to deinstall said applications. One would think that would be a simple process, but as it turned out, some of them I still got complaints about even after deinstalling them….brilliant. First batch of 3-4 wasted hours gone.

Finally I gave up on the upgrade and re-installed Windows 7 instead. Install went fine, but of course the Windows bootloader overwrote grub. Not a to big of a hassle as I was able to restore it quickly enough with the Fedora rescue disk. Or so I thought. It turns out there is some weird kind of installation activation checking in the Windows 7 bootloader, which means that when I tried to use grub it failed giving me a error about my installation probably having been attacked by malicious software and thus refusing to let me boot into windows.

So after 3-4 hours later again and after getting the beta version of a windows boot loader editing application I finally had my system working again, this time booting from the windows bootloader into grub for my linux partition.

Conclusion: Claims of Windows being an enterprise ready and user friendly commercial operating systems turns out to be highly overstated.

Syndicated 2010-02-25 21:17:56 from Christian Schaller

Jaime Olivers Italian is boring

We just went to lunch today and decided to try out the new Jamie Oliver restaurant in town. Think the general consensus was that is was a disappointment. Nothing inherently wrong with the food, just that it tasted a bit bland, and when you go to a restaurant where a famous chef has put his name on the door you do not expect bland.

Syndicated 2010-02-24 14:46:39 from Christian Schaller

Google and Open Video

Been following the news and discussion about Google and their recent acquisition of on2. For those who doesn’t know On2 is a codec company that created such codecs as VP3 (which become Theora) and VP6 which became Flash video. Their latest codec is VP8 which they claim is comparable to H264 in terms of quality.

The big question of course is what Google plans on doing with On2 and the codec acquired. I guess there are two likely routes Google could be going. One is to try to create some kind of vendor lock in with Youtube offering higher quality video using VP8 for Google clients like Android and Chrome. The other is that they want to remove the dependency on proprietary video formats on the web and will thus release VP8 as open source in a similar vein to Theora and Dirac. If they combine that with youtube offering high quality HTML5 videos in VP8 combined with ensuring that Firefox and Opera supporting the format in addition to Chrome then it could be a big move. Silvia Pfeiffer got some good thoughts and comments on the subject in her blog, including interesting comments from Monty and former On2 employee Dan.

From a Collabora Multimedia viewpoint we would of course love to add support for liberated On2 codecs in GStreamer, so if anyone from Google is reading this, just know that we would happily help you implement the needed GStreamer plugin code to get these codecs supported in GStreamer and the linux desktop.

Syndicated 2010-02-24 11:44:00 from Christian Schaller

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