Older blog entries for Uraeus (starting at number 480)

5 Jul 2005 (updated 5 Jul 2005 at 16:32 UTC) »
GStreamer 0.9

Things are buzzing with the 0.9 branch these days with bugs getting fixed or plugins ported non-stop. Currently have 42 plugins on my install which is a whole lot more than before I left on vacation. Also did my first successfull transcode yesterday transcoding a variable framerate video file into a static framerate videofile successfully. Since that didn't work in 0.8 it felt like an extra victory. Nice thing is that a lot of the plugins get cleaned up as part of the porting, so the quality of the plugins are increasing a lot as part of the update.

New arrivals

Jaime arrived today and so did Michael. Jaime is staying at my place while she is looking at a place for her and Jan to stay (Jan is set to arrive within a couple of weeks, all depending on how fast the spanish embassy in Sydney work). Michael will be staying at Wim's place while looking for a place to rent and he will be starting his work at Fluendo next monday. Hopefully we have the laptops and furniture ready for that :)


Yannick and Gustavo from Nokia is interviewed on the latest LUGRadio show, be sure to listen in as its quite interesting. They also talk a bit about why they choose GTK and GNOME technologies instead of going with qtopia for instance, which was already there. The freedom that the LGPL gives, used by GTK+ was an important factor for them and I think going forward we will see how important this is in many situations.

One thing that struck me for instance, who work on multimedia stuff, is that we might not be able to do opensource Qt based applications using GStreamer (or any other multimedia framework for that matter) that ships with non-free plugins. The reason for this is that the Qt license (and I think this applies to both the GPL and the QPL) demands that all software linked to it is under a compatible license. So what we have been doing for instance with sponsoring Totem development, in order to make it work better both with free software plugins, but also of course with closed source plugins we are making, is simply not viable with Qt based software. In the sense that even if the Qt-based player where under the BSD license it would still put demands on the license of GStreamer plugins. I did try to get Markey to LGPL or GPL+exception Amarok some time ago, but maybe getting him to do so wouldn't really help, as Qt licensing would kill the issue anyway. Could be that the QPL (as opposed to the GPL) would allow this in some form, which I will have to investigate at some point, my current memory of it is that its like the GPL but allows linking to OSI approved licensed software. Anyway, it just underscores why I feel core libraries like GUI toolkits etc., should be under licenses which puts no demands on other parts of the system.


Talking about licensing. I wonder if Google have managed to put themselves into the center of a licensing storm. The recently released Google player used the Videlan client as its foundation, which is under the GPL. Something Google acknowledges. At the same time I assume Google have paid the patent holder for the use of the patents regarding mp3 and mpeg4 for instance. The problem is that these patent licenses are considered to violate the terms of the GPL, which why even if they paid all relevant patent license fee, Red Hat or Novell would never consider shipping Xine or Mplayer on their desktop offerings. Well Google is doing this, which means that either have negotiated terms for their patents use which means anyone can take the google player code and use it as the basis for their own playback system, saying that they have a fully paid up patent license courtesy of Google, or anyone with a VLC copyright can sue Google for a GPL violation. I did mail the Google email address listed for questions about their code, doubt I get any answer though as their lawyers have probably asked them to shut up about it as answering can probably only get them in deeper.

Back from England

So I am back in Barcelona today after 9 days in England. Barcelona almost felt like returning to place from a distant memory when I walked out of the airport so I guess it means it have been an eventful week.


Started out with some LUGRadio live and and paintball fun in Wolverhampton. It was great to meet people like Jono, Bastien, Rob and Ronald again. The LUGRadio team had done a good job on the conference and I think everyone there had a good time.

The Sunday paintball session was quite fun although some of the bruises I aquired can still be felt :). Also managed to guilt Jono into continue playing after he tried to wimper out of the afternoon session.


The on Sunday evening it was down to Guildford to visit with Bastien for a few days. Had great time and also managed to get a haircut at Bastien's local resturant. I think Bastien felt the haircut was vanity based more than need based, and I am not sure I can argue to strong against it. Went out in Guildford on Monday evening trying to local beverage and peeking at the local life in realtime. We went into London the day after and met up with Ross and some local debianites. Ate a splendid meal at Wagamama, a Japanese Noodle resturant.


Leaving Guildford to go to Maidenhead on (not as virgin territory as the name might imply) I was put on the wrong train, cost me about an extra hours worth of traveltime. Also decided that the London train setup is a confusing mess. Seems they have 4-5 'main' train stations. Anyway Julia met me at the Maidenhead trainstation and we headed back to her house before going out for dinner at the local italian resturant.

Cambridge Went on a daytrip to Cambridge on Thursday to visit with Michael Meeks and family. Had a great time and it was wonderful to catch up with Michael again. Started to grow a little tired of slow brittish trains though. Back to Maidenhead in the evening where Julia had prepared dinner for me and two friends of hers from New Zealand. Seems moving to England for a while is a typical New Zealand thing as the two girls, like Julia, and another friend of hers called Amy who I met later in the week had all gone to Univeristy together and they where all now living or preparing to live in England.

Friday turned out to be a slow and thus relaxing day. A meeting I had set up got cancelled so I wandered abit around London and did a little shopping. Also went to see War of the Worlds which wasn't to bad. Don't understand how people can spend time shopping though, after 30 minutes at the first store I went into (happened to be the GAP) I had already spent more money than I had planned too. Chilled out in Maidenhead during the evening reading a book Bastien had lent me.

Saturday I met up with Julia and her friend Amy close to Kew Gardens. Ended up eathing lunch there before stopping by Amy's place for Julia to pick up some stuff before going downtown London to a greek resturant to meet up with Michael , another common friend from the Borneo trip. Eat some great food and drank quite a bit of greek beer.

Sunday was going home day, and me and Julia took a walk around Maidenhead as my airplane was leaving relativly late in the evening. Told Julia how I felt about her in what I guess could have been used as a scene in a chick-flick, only problem was that the result wasn't as desirable as one could have wished. To follow up on the chick-flick theme I guess they stopped making scripts like that in the sixties or something as the marketing people discovered the audience wanted happy endings. Wasn't all bad I guess, will at least let me feel I made a good attempt, and with these things its always the things you didn't do you regret.

Anyway back to the house and grab my stuff before heading off to the airport. Turned out 3,5 hours wasn't enough time for taking the trains from Maidenhead to Gatwick, so I ended the day with coughing up 200 £ for a new ticket and a hotelroom for the night..

Totem for GStreamer 0.9

Checked out the GST_09 branch of Totem today and it worked nicely to let me play my Ogg files, with the 'video scrubbing' style seeking Wim demoed for people at GUADEC. Very cool, hope to be able to demo it at LugRadio live on Saturday. Very cool stuff.

Also hope to be able to demo Pitivi a bit, but it depends on some work Edward is planing for tommorow and what kind of internet access I manage to set up in Wolverhampton.

Off to England

So I am now off for a week in the land of eternal rain and fog. Starting of with the Lugradio live in Wolverhampton, then onwards to London to first stay a few days with Bastien before going to stay with Julia, and then in the end going to stay with Zaheer for a day. Looking forward to the whole week, but of course some parts do have bigger long term potential than others :)

22 Jun 2005 (updated 22 Jun 2005 at 18:05 UTC) »
XUL based GStreamer playback

Aladdin on IRC just pointed out XUL Music to me. It is a XUL based music player using GStreamer for playback. Next step is beat the Firefox download statistics :)

Eugenia resigned

Also saw in Eugenia's blog that she have resigned as editor from osnews.com. Not everyone in the GNOME community are exactly overcome with love for Eugenia, but personally I had a good relationship with her. Thanks for the effort so far Eugenia, and I hope you at least get enough energy back to keep maintaining gnomefiles.

Pushing SVG

I have been very bad at keeping up my pushing of SVG lately. Both getting a new release of gnome-themes-extras and making sure the flag collection on openclipart.org gets fixed have been on my agenda for quite some time. The openlclipart guys are working on fixing their DMS system currently so hopefully that will make it easy enough for me to fix to give me the needed energy to do it.

The exiles return

In not to distant history many people where driven out of Europe and sent to places such as Australia, New Zealand and the America's. At Fluendo we have been trying to resolve this old tragedy by allowing some of the exiles to return to civilisation. Our work is now in its final stages and Jan and Jaime will be arriving in Barcelona soon from Australia. Jaime will probably be arriving already at the end of this month, while Jan a couple of weeks later.

It was hard work, but we managed to convince the Spanish authorities that the exile had reformed them into proper human beings which had a place in European society. Its feels great doing such acts of pure goodness, its kinda like being a roman emperor giving a thumbs up at the Coloseum.

International Whaling Commission

Norwegian papers have been commenting on the latest meeting of the International Whaling comission. The sad truth the organisation is a joke, and it is probably ready for being disbanded. When you do an international organisation for something and you stop basing your decision on science and become a tool for blatant populism you quickly loose credibility. This is what have happened to the IWC. They stopped listening to the advice of their own scientific commitee and instead let populist calls for a full baning of whaling rule their decisions. So the result is that Norway and Japan who are the only two really active whaling nations either just ignore IWC (Norway) or brand all their hunting as research (Japan). The Norwegian government couldn't care less what the IWC thinks at this point. I mean an organisation who base their decision on the opinion of people who probably doesn't even know that there are multiple species of whale. Branding all whale hunting as causing extinction is about as meaningful as claiming that culling of homeless cats in New York is the reason lions and tigers risk extinction. Sadly enough I think many more international organisations are starting to suffer from the same illness as the IWC have suffered from for many years. rampant and shortsighted populism.

GStreamer 0.9.x

We took a pretty big decision at our weekly office meeting yesterday, we would switch our focus over to GStreamer 0.9/0.10 fro m GStreamer 0.8. This means we will begin porting Flumotion and Pitivi over, do all our commerical plugin development towards 0.9/0.10 and also make sure Totem runs with 0.9/0.10. With this move I am sure we will have GStreamer 0.10 ready much quicker and we are pretty excited about it.

GNOME being PhD material

Evangelia sent out a mail to GNOME Foundation list about her phd work which she needs as many contributors as possible to respond too. I hope that everyone who gets a mail from her will take the time to respond. Be a good community member and respond.

Software patents

The good thing about software patents debate in Europe is that it have enabled open source proponents to start organising into political organisations and lobby organisations. Even if we should end up losing the first round on software patents in Europe I hope the new organisations and structures that have been set up will be able to continue the fight and maybe kill the software patents through interpretation. I mean it wouldn't be the first time where a european directive got interpreted to death by tthe member states. I also hope that with a little more time we can also do a better job of reaching the European right. There is no reason for a liberal right wing politician to ideologically tied to software patents, rather the opposite is true.

Home directory as desktop

I have for a while now been using my home directory as my desktop directory. It mostly works out fine, but there is one irritating issue. If I go into a terminal to delete stuff then Nautilus doesn't pick up on it. The file is still there on my desktop until I log out/log in again.

Pain is the Word

There are some words I don't want to hear again anytime soon, at least not in conjuction with eachother, and those are the words transcoding and variable framerate video.

New hire

We have hired our second aussie, Michael Smith, who is well known for his work on the icecast streaming server. He is fleeing Melbourne to come to cultured Barcelona. Big Barcelona welcome to Michael.

And with Jan's work permit finally in order it means that starting next month we will have two people from Australia working for Fluendo with us here in the office.

Bankruptcy looming

Some of you may remember me posting a link to a World of Warcraft spoof commerical in my blog last week (9th). Well it turns out a lot of people looked at it and linked to it. So today the ISP called saying that my site was using bandwith like crazy. I removed the file, but I still have to pay now for the 124 Gigabyte of bandwith used. Our estimates is that it will cost my around 400 Euro, which is painful, but surviveable. So let this be a warning to all who considers posting a movie clip on a hosting service where you will be charged by bandwith usage and there is no throttling possible :)

What to respect when

When I travelled in Borneo last year there was one question that popped into my mind which I have pondered on a bit since. And that is the question of 'showing respect' when abroad and what that means. The reason the question came up was that one of the first things the tour group was told was that women should dress in a certain manner in order to show respect for local culture. In theory this seems a fair request and similar to what I experienced many times before, like requests I got when visiting a church in Greece about not going into the church with wearing shorts, but wearing long pants.

When it comes to buildings and other special areas I can accept this, but when it become a general rule I started wondering about it. The thing is we do many things every day that may or may not agree with everyone around us. There are many of these issues ranging from the trivial (you wear to bright coloured shirts) to more the more essential (coloured people shouldn't be in here).

Everyday we fight a battle over what is right and what is wrong. And everyday people give in on some issues (ok, I will wear a different shirt) and stand up and fight for other issues (of course coloured people have a right to be in here).

The thing is that as soon as you do give in on any issue the people making the demand will naturally strenghten their belief that their viewpoint has a higher moral standing than yours, and assume you agree since went along with it. So to go back to the initial issue that got me pondering, it was that if we accept that when we go some places women in our group need to cover their hair, we to some degree validate those requests and say that our beliefs are somehow less moral or worthy than those of the people making the demand. That the people making this demand are justified in making the demand.

Especially since these things seldom tend to be two-way street I feel it comes out wrong. Because if it is only about showing respect for local tradition, then shouldn't we make the same demand when people come to us, that women do not cover their hair when coming to our countries as it is seen as offensive and as a symbol of female oppression?

So to put this into a GNOME community context I get quite irritated when I feel that people in the community want to enforce their own values on the way that the rest of the community act and behave. To me GNOME have always been a socially liberal community, not in the sense that everyone's a liberal, but in the sense that those with more conservative inklings on an issue have respected that not everyone agrees with them and that they have no more moral right to make demands upon the more liberal parts of the community anymore than the liberal parts of the community have a right to make demands upon the behaviour of the more conservative members. As an atheist I am not especially thrilled about people putting Bible and Quaran quotes in their blogs which go on planet.gnome.org, but that doesn't mean I feel I have the right to ask people doing so to stop.

Mission statement for GNOME

On a semi-related issue I have also been thinking about what a mission statement for GNOME should say. The issue where brought up during GUADEC and I was not to excited about the direction it seems to go. A mission statement need to contain some form of value statement in my opinion to have any real use. It needs to be something people can rally behind. A mission statement that goes along the lines that 'GNOME is about making the most usable GUI buttons in the world' is close to being a waste of bits to me.

So if I where to compose the mission statement it would instead be something like this:

We take free speech from granted in large parts of the world today, but ensuring that the infrastructure of communication remains free and available for all to use, free speech will start to dissipate. The goal of the GNOME project is to provide a part of that infrastructure in a digital world, under terms ensuring that no single person, organization, company or government is controling it. To accomplish this goal we aim to make the GNOME desktop so usable and good that the desktop becomes transparent to the user, enabling them to use it as a tool to express themselves as they see fit.

I spent a full 5 minutes coming up with the text above, so its not meant as a exact proposal, more as an example of what kind of mission statement I would feel actually conveys something. It clearly states what the difference is in values is between GNOME and other desktops like Windows, MacOSX and KDE.

Ok, enough ranting for today.

People coming and going

Been a busy time lately with Ralph Giles, Conrad Parker and Michael Smith visiting us here in Barcelona. Conrad's stay got prolonged quite a bit by managing to loose Wim's apartment keys on the beach while skinny dipping (I am not an actual witness to this event). Luckily Wim have been away on vacation so it didn't impact him directly, and after a lot of back and forth it seems we managed to find Wim landlord to get another set of keys. So when Wim is back on Sunday he can get back into his appartment and Conrad can travel onwards tommorow.

So Conrad is now leaving and Michael will probably be traveling for a while around Spain before returning to Barcelona for a few more days.

So two people leaving and Wim and Edward coming back from vacation.


Happy to see the weekend now as this week have been rather intence, tons of stuff happening businesswise so tons of decisions to be made, offers to be written, mails and calls to do. Combine that with having visitors here and the timetable have been filled to the brim. I am not the only one of have been feeling the pressure, Thomas have been a bit stressed out over the last few days too it seems.

Anyway need to work on my tan this weekend so I look dashing for LUGRadio live. On the other hand considering how much those guys talk about manlove I should probably keep a low profile :)

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