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Cats and bags

Filed under: Life — Thomas @ 21:45


Today was the press release, so I'm finally allowed to make it public.

A big congratulations to my girl for being selected out of over thirty people to be the new Ketnet-wrapper ! Vanilla Ice need not worry for a sudden dip in sales - the wrapping Kristien will be doing consists of livening up the screen inbetween shows. For those of you who are geographically challenged, Ketnet is the TV channel for kids run by the Flemish national television here in Belgium.

It was her first screentest ever, and she was chosen out of a bunch of people who all had more experience. Her first time on television is May 1st, Labour day - no bad jokes please. Anyone back home care to record it for me ?

I'm sure she will now finally come to appreciate the hours and hours of practice I have given her - for free,  I might add - dealing with kids.

It's going to be fun having all my friend's kids become old enough to watch and see how they react to someone they know from TV. Of course I'm very excited about this opportunity for her, but I am left with one small worry. Young children have young dads. I remember how some of my friends used to comment on the hotness of wrappers, so I'll have to watch out. I am relying on my posse to keep a watchful eye.

All you docbook experts

Filed under: General — Thomas @ 19:23


Dear lazyweb,

oasis.org is having spurious problems for the last week, hanging on about 1 out of 25 downloads.  This uncovered a bug in the docbook-dsssl setup on Fedora/Red Hat machines - in ideal situations the docbook toolchain should be set up such that local catalogs resolve the system id's to local files.

On FC6 I drilled down the relevant jade command line used by docbook2html to

 jade -G -t sgml -i html -d /usr/share/sgml/docbook/utils-0.6.14/docbook-utils.dsl#html -V paper-type=A4 -V %use-id-as-filename% /usr/share/sgml/xml.dcl test.xml

where test.xml is the most simple docbook/xml file you can make:

 <?xml version='1.0'?>
<!DOCTYPE book PUBLIC "-//OASIS//DTD DocBook XML V4.2//EN"

<book id="index">

strace'ing it shows that it's contacting oasis.org

A similar jade line on Ubuntu manages to process the docbook file completely locally.

So, question time:

  • does openjade/opensp offer ANY facilities AT ALL for debugging the resolving process, and the replacement of system id's with local copies of files ?
  • Anyone else who has seen similar problems with the oasis site ?
  • Can anyone figure out how ospcat works ? The short help and man page conflict each other, I cannot find a single example of its use, and none of the lines I tried produced any output whatsoever.
  • Is there any simple way to verify if my catalogs are set up correctly ?
  • Is there any way to tell openjade that it cannot use the network, ever ? xsltproc has -nonet, for example.
  • Are there tools comparable to "docbook2html" (which, you know, does the sensible thing - take a docbook file and output html) that wrap around xsltproc and do all the nasty bits like figuring out where the xsl stylesheets are ?

Thanks in advance.

Coming up

Filed under: Flumotion,Hacking — Thomas @ 03:44


I couldn't get to sleep, so I got up again and did some hacking. I've been working on reviving our Flumotion RTSP code the last few weeks in my spare time. This is code that was written more than a year ago, at the time when cell phone streaming was supposedly the Next Big Thing. I felt it was a waste to leave that code (which is in beta quality) to rot in our private repository.

The actual impulse for getting back to this is the work we've sponsored with Fluendo on RTP specs for Vorbis and Theora. They're close to finished, and the payloaders and depayloaders have already been implemented in GStreamer.

Anyway, back to the point - I hacked in a quick UI not too different from the http-streamer UI tabs:

Flumotion Admin with RTSP

And that screenshot is the actual result of starting up the Flumotion stream, actually clicking on the URL and having Totem start up and start playing this stream. No cheating besides the hacks in the code :)

Some notes:

  • As you can see on the right, there's also an HTTP streamer running. It serves the same stream as the RTSP streamer, but (obviously) muxed. Producers and encoders can be reused for both types of streaming.
  • Totem and Flumotion need HEAD of core, base and good for various tweaks and fixes to a bunch of elements to get RTSP running reliably.
  • The RTSP code is not public yet, but will be soon after some cleanup and stabilizing of the RTP specs.
  • GStreamer isn't yet sending any signs of life to the RTSP server - no RTCP, or RTSP channel pings. Wim is planning to work on that, so the stream keeps running for half a minute (until the RTCP server times the client out)
  • The page says there are two clients connected, even though it's just me - in RTSP-land each substream is separate, and thus right now watching audio and video is counted as two clients. To be cleaned up in the future.
  • The mime type is a hard-coded lie - again, there are two substreams, and not muxed, so it should probably show audio/x-vorbis, video/x-theora
  • The code can still handle H263, AMR, MPEG-4, ... and still works with cell phones.  Too bad there are no phones out there with Theora/Vorbis support (yet ?)

Anyways - let's see if this puts me to sleep ...


Filed under: GNOME,GStreamer,Hacking — Thomas @ 12:24


I find it highly ironic that Ronald still complains about DVD menu support in GStreamer. I remember going out on a limb discussing with the release team the state of DVD playback at the end of the 0.8 cycle when Ronald did a lot of work to get it somewhat working. In retrospect I think that was a huge mistake - DVD support was only in its infancy, it wasn't very synchronized, it only ever worked on one out of five DVD's. Live and learn. Also, it was at the same time as Ronald was moving to the US for his studies, and it wasn't clear at the time if he was going to maintain and improve support. It was both the release team's and my worry that we would be announcing support for DVD playback in Totem with no clear maintenance path. Today it is obvious that this worry was justified - Ronald never touched DVD code in GStreamer since then.

I still have a huge amount of respect for Ronald as a coder. But not finishing a feature you introduced in, 0.8, and not porting it to 0.10, and then complaining about the team you have left not cleaning up your dirty work, takes chutzpah. Meanwhile, my hope is on Tim Philipp-Müller (author of Thoggen and GStreamer bugmaster) and Martin Soto (author of seamless) to work on the open-but-patent-encumbered version of DVD playback.

We'd love to have Ronald back on the team, picking up the thread where he left it in 0.8, and finish DVD support in the "free-but-not-free" version of the GStreamer stack. He'd have a much easier time doing it too, compared to the monstrous 0.8 hacks we needed to get it even somewhat working. As I'm writing this Jan is showing off his DVD player to Christian. It's already heaps better than the 0.8 DVD support was - it follows menu items immediately, without hanging on still frames, or taking five seconds to know that it has entered a new path on the DVD. It's not ready yet for release but it's progressing at a steady pace now that we're keeping Jan on-task. I'm sure a hacker like Ronald would have no problems implementing the necessary support for menu's in the 0.10 version of GStreamer. How's about it, Ronald ? Do us all a favour, yourself included, and finish the work you started before you left to the US.


Filed under: General — Thomas @ 09:30


In honor of Quentin Tarantino, I’m going to make the second half of this review weaker than the first and the entire thing significantly longer than necessary.

Some critics should never try to make movies and remain critics forever. MovieJuice gets the misantropy just right in every single review.

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