Older blog entries for rbultje (starting at number 57)

25 Nov 2004 (updated 25 Nov 2004 at 22:26 UTC) »
Release (and what's next)
Thomas released GStreamer Plugins 0.8.6 today. This makes me really happy because I've been bugged all over the place for like two weeks now by Sebastien, Arjan and several others on when we were finally going to do this long-awaited new release. Now's the time! The same as always: if you have media files that don't play back, please file bugs! We'll gladly fix more media playback bugs. Currently known issues:
  • No WMV9 (hmm, where's the source?). No QDM2. No MMS (Maciej is working on this).
  • Some old AVI files (from the very early divx3 era) created by Virtualdub (and clones) have A/V sync issues
  • ASF files cannot pause.
  • Ogg radio will sometimes hang for no apparent reason. This is a threading bug in GStreamer core that's fixed in CVS.

    And now that all this is done, I can finally break CVS. Yay! Today, I fixed/added:

  • SVCD/VCD support (#158704)
  • Surround sound support (#151624)
  • APE v1/2 tag reading support
  • Properties page in Nautilus (Totem; #156689)

    Pending, will be committed in a few days (first two; need only some minor adjustments) or are being worked on and will be ready in a few weeks (last two):

  • Visualization support (Totem; won't be on-the-fly yet, though; screenshot)
  • Buffering support (Totem & GStreamer; screenshot)
  • DVD support (Totem; no menus, though)
  • Rewritten Application Development Manual

    Now, on to stuff that I'd like to advocate. I'm working a lot on Totem, however, you can make a difference too. We're looking for more people that would like to help adding new features to Totem or Totem's GStreamer backend. Here's a list of things that need doing:

  • Language selection support (for both subtitles and audio streams; Arjan said he might look at this)
  • Subtitle support
  • DVD support with menus (I know Martin Soto is working on this, but I still want to advocate it so more people help him; it's apparently not as easy).
  • Support for new media types or input types (such as mms, which Maciej is working on, and RTP, which Ramon is working on; but there's also many that nobody's working on yet!).

    We have a full Plugin Writer's Guide that can guide you in your first steps. We'll gladly assist you as you move on from there. Come on IRC or mail one of the developers, we'll gladly help you finding a long-lasting solution to one of the issues. In the end, all this is simply to create the best possible movie player for the GNOME (-2.10) desktop. You're not seriously gonna tell me mplayer looks good, uh?

    All happy with the release, I forgot about something that I really wanted to blog about. Apparently, Xiph thinks media frameworks are a cool idea so they are doing one themselves! Best of all, it's Ogg-only. Can someone please explain how this is not completely stupid? Dudes, waste your time on something else and just use GStreamer, or for that matter something else (NMM, Xine, MAS, ...). But do not redo it. It's a waste of your time. You guys have done so many way cooler things (Ogg, Theora, Vorbis), don't make us feel like you're idiots after all.

  • And then you're home and...
    ... you find an Apple iPod Mini in your postbox. :). Thank you IBM. Took me an hour to figure out why Fedora would continuosuly fail to even read the thing in fdisk (with all sort of I/O errors in the kernel log), until I found a post on the Fedora mailinglists suggesting to turn off a kernel option (EFI partitions) that screws up things. Did that and it all works like a charm now. I apparently have a HFS+ iPod, I'm not sure if that's good or bad. I do know that it plays music. No Ogg/Vorbis, unfortunately, there goes half my collection. Screw you, Apple. GtkPod could also use some UI love, but I guess I should use Rhythmbox for this instead. I'll try that tomorrow, I was happy enough to see/hear anything at all. :).
    (S)VCD support in Totem
    Got a SVCD. Fixed SVCD support in both Totem and GStreamer, including querying, seeking, resyncing and so on. Send me more! :). I'm currently working on updating the application development manual of GStreamer, the current one stems from the 0.4 era or so. A first update should be available soon, when the FDO website is up again.

    Related, I'll probably rewrite the ASF demuxing element. I recently noticed that the current one cannot even handle a simple sequence of PLAY-PAUSE-PLAY. Related, it does not resync on a broken stream, although ASF is perfectly suited for that. I'll probably take a long weekend off to do this sometime soon.

    And two weeks later...
    ... politicians suddenly wake up. Oh my, v. Gogh is dead! Max van der Stoel, minister of state in the Netherlands, has commented on the issue by saying that we need to build upon having better relations and contact with immigrants.

    When I left for the USA, I had to do all this myself. I had to find people to get in contact with, I had to make new friends, and for all that, I had to speak the language and interact with the inhabitants. It's a natural process for newcomers to adapt, not the other way around - it just tells me there's too many of them already and we've screwed up for too long already. Get real, dude, is this what you get paid for?

    13 Nov 2004 (updated 13 Nov 2004 at 16:00 UTC) »
    What? HCC! HCC is originally a weekend dedicated to computers, in the centre of Utrecht (Jaarbeurs Hallen). People from all around the country come to see new stuff from companies such as IIyama, Creative, Microsoft, etc. It was quite sad to see the amount of "foldersnollen" (those are 17-year-old girls dressed in slut-like clothes that are trying to make you read advertisements; if I wanted to see that I'd have been in Tivoli last friday), "gilmeesters" (those are stages with men screaming about everything and nothing, and a whole crowd behind the stage that screams back when he tells them to; he usually gives away free keycords, or he has foldersnollen at the corners of the stage to do this for him) and the amount of bad-quality (too loud) noise (especially in GameExpo) in this year's edition.

    There was a small corner for Linux-based computing, organized by NedLinux (an online Linux-oriented forum), NLLGG (Dutch Linux user group) and KDE-NL. Unfortunately, no sign of life from GNOME-NL there, but at least something positive. Partly my own fault, I could (should) have helped organizing if I expected GNOME-NL to do something visible... Ohwell.

    12 Nov 2004 (updated 12 Nov 2004 at 16:48 UTC) »
    5.1 audio
    ... in GStreamer never worked, uh? :). This bug contained a non-functional patch for a while (memory issues, pretty bad, even valgrind didn't find anything useful), until I decided to pick it up again and found the issue! MPEG-2/4 AAC audio, AC-3 and DTS multichannel audio now works, lots of other stuff is still TODO (some demuxers (matroska, maybe mpeg, avi, quicktime), some decoders (vorbis/mp3) and encoders (ffenc_ac3/faac), maybe muxers). Vorbis and MP3 apparently can contain 5.1 audio too, but the channel-mapping (so which channel index number represents which position in a room?) is unknown to me. OggDS seems to indicate it's similar to that of AC-3, so maybe I'll add that to at some point. Info is appreciated.

    Ah what the hell, I fixed vorbis too. :-).

    The Dutch Civil War, 2004
    I just can't think of anything else. I feel the need to rant again, the need to cry, or whatnot. I know that elsewhere in the world, the Palestinian prime minister is dying, and I've even read about some Iraqi business that would normally shock me beyond imagination, including the finding of Falluja-city rooms where the beheadings all took place, but it just doesn't get into the thinking part of my brain. It sits there for a while, disappears until I re-read the "other" news headlines. And I really just read them because I already read the other headlines, those that I was looking for, those about... The Hague.

    Apparently, this morning 3:00 AM, a dutch special force team from the police tried to enter a building in which terrorism suspects were hiding to arrest them. One explosion, several gun shots, three wounded policemen and a few hours later, the whole block is shut down from existence. TV shows me images of tens or hundreds marines, heavily armed, keeping a close eye on that building. All TV channels give new updates every few minutes and even radio is united in content. Scary thought. What the hell is going on here? It's like living in a dream. Until the moment that one of them is shot (he's alive) and both are captured, around 6:00-7:00 PM. Until this very moment, we know pretty much nothing except that these persons are terrorist suspects and that there's believed to be explosives in the building.

    This is unreal, really.

    There's apparently a bunch of terrorists in this country. They should die the most horrible death, no doubt about that. We should stab their eyes out, feed their flesh to the dogs while alive and throw the leftovers in the sea. There's no place in this world for terrorists. So far for the easy part.

    A whole population, particularly marrocs, but basically all muslims in this country, are being looked at as if they're the terrorist threat themselves. There's fights all over, muslim schools burn, mosques are attacked and churches likewise, to get even. "We" and "they" fight, with words mostly, and agree on something: this is wrong. We're both at issue here. The whole fact that everyone uses that same words "they" and "we" implies how bad we're really doing. The cynical thing is that every dutchman will tell you that he definately knows that it's not all muslims that are that bad, he'll even tell you that he has one, and exactly one, in his group of closest friends.

    "They" will tell "us" that we're stigmatizing and discriminating. And "we" will tell "them" that "they"'re segregating and terrorizing. And we both damn well know it's just a subgroup of the others that's torturing society, so why are we making such a big deal out of it? The fact that we do, implies how bad the situation is. And the worst part of all is that we're point at each other and therefore fail to identify those that cause it.

    Current CVS of GStreamer has support for the Musepack audio codec, which I wrote today. We don't read APEv2 tags yet. [rant] Which reminds me that I really need to rant on those kiddos for a change, because why oh why do those ignorant morons always have to come up with something new to make life of media developers worse? You could have used ID3v2! But no, ID3v2 is evil and bad and you can do worse, so let's recreate something that already exists but do it worse. Bah! [/rant]

    Chained Ogg
    For the past two weeks, I've worked a lot on getting chained Ogg (mostly used for streaming Ogg radio over internet) to work, and I was nearly there friday. Wim took over (there were some reference counting bugs exposed elsewhere by my changes), and this afternoon I received the happy news that he got it working. Soon in a CVS repository mirror near you! Many thanks to Wim for helping me fix all sort of weird core bugs that I exposed by my random messing around and for finishing it off.

    Totem & GNOME
    Bastien proposed Totem (using the GStreamer backend) for GNOME-2.10! I hope that it'll be included, it'll be a worthy and highly appreciated component of the GNOME desktop!

    5 Nov 2004 (updated 5 Nov 2004 at 09:29 UTC) »
    On my homecountry...
    I might love the USA, want to live there and what not, but in the end, I'm dutch. When it comes to soccer matches, I support the Netherlands. When there's a gruesome murder committed on a famous dutchman, I cry too.

    Like I wrote previously, Theo van Gogh, cineast and writer, was brutally murdered by what turned out to be a sicko muslim fundamentalist in my homecountry. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, we've turned to a new chapter of sickness in my country after the murder on political leader Fortuyn: we really are screwed this time. Just in case you think it couldn't get any worse from this point on, we were instantly proven wrong. Those muslim fundamentalists aren't just some individuals on crack. They're groups, cells of jihad terrorists, they have lists of people that they're gonna kill and v. Gogh was "just" #1. So far so good. Like any self-respecting jihad-warrior, they're prepared to die for the greater good. Wait a minute, what greater good? The greater good is that respected people such as the mayor of our capital, mr. Cohen, and a member of parliament, ms. Hirshi Ali, will be next. Yay for civilization.

    While he was murdered, v. Gogh was stabbed with a butcher's knife with a letter attached (sick, sick, sick). The letter contained remarks such as the following:

    • "Ms. Hirshi Ali, to prove me that you're right, you will only need to do one thing. Ask Allah to kill yourself if you really are convinced that He does not exist. If you don't we know what a liar you and your masters are."
    • "America, you shall fall. Europe, you shall fall. Netherlands, you shall fall. Ms. Hirshi Ali, you shall fall. All non-believers: you shall all fall."
    • "We will not attack, unless they attack us" (anyone recognize the Bush'ism in here?)
    Oh, so this is too sick to be true? I won't go any further. This is not just sick. This is far beyond anything that anyone can imagine. And this, my dear people, is western civilization, the highest as we know it, in one of the richest countries in the world. This is my country. We are so fucked.

    Members of parliament have responded united: we support ms. Hirshi Ali, we shall not let this happen. Some political parties have - finally! - announced some plans to prevent this from getting any further. They want to take away citizenship from fundamentalists. Then my problem is, how is this gonna help from more people getting murdered if we can only capture them after they've murdered anyone? Another announcement was that people want to talk with muslim representatives. How is this going to help? Fundamentalists aren't going to talk. You're reaching out to the wrong audience here. Most of those muslims, and especially those that are representatives towards the rest of the country, are perfectly adapted and accept our norms and values. We don't need to talk to those, they're perfectly fine. It is the outliers that we're after here. Face it, I don't have the solution either. But we can't just do the same that we've always done. I'm happy that the political parties are now willing to take action. But please do something that will actually make a difference!

    We have fundamentalists in this country. They are prepared to do whatever it takes to destroy our society. That may never happen! We need to take pre-emptive action, to protect our society, our rights, our freedom, our wealth and our children. Sounds like Bush? So be it. It is my country.

    2 Nov 2004 (updated 2 Nov 2004 at 10:32 UTC) »
    There we go again...
    I normally don't care to blog about society, but today's my #2 already.

    Theo van Gogh, maker of dutch films and documentaries on society issues, was murdered today. His TV shows were rather poor if you ask me, but his documentaries were a welcome refreshment of the political correct emptiness that we used to hear from all around. He might not have been the first person to do that, but he definately was one of the most influential ones. One of his latest documentaries included Submission, on the position of females in the Islam (targetted at western society, obviously). General consensus was that the reaction from muslim organizations in the Netherlands on this documentary exactly confirmed the message of the documentary.
    I guess democracy is really just a really nice name for a blanket on something that nothing and nobody can really fix: idiots.

    2 Nov 2004 (updated 2 Nov 2004 at 08:11 UTC) »

    Today will be TV day. I'll be one of those morons just watching TV to see which of the two creeps is gonna rule the world for the next four years. Yes, creeps, because if it were for the looks, both would be straight from hell.

    However, I can only hope that the US voters will look beyond looks and populism. As much as they are the same in most areas, that effectively means getting rid of Bush. Anything's better than a lunatic that wants to cut neuropharmacological research funding because it's unchristian. Just to mention something else from what all the others will say (wars, international treaties & contacts, ...).

    Polls in the Netherlands amongst students show that +/- 85% of the people (ok, so students) wants Kerry. I'll share the majority opinion, just for once.

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