Wednesday Dec 03, 2008

Songbird 1.0 is hatched: the media player mashup with the Web

Songbird 1.0 is finally hatched this morning! YEAH!!

The Solaris builds are also available on Songbird wiki. Please do notice that the GStreamer Input Selector plugin addon is necessary for 1.0 builds to work. It'll be in OpenSolaris when Songbird 1.0 is integrated.

If you're interested to have a try, there is a big bunch of resources that you might want to have a look.

  • What's new about Songbird 1.0?

  • Performance improvement, diagramming speaks louder than words.

  • Songbird 1.0, digg it.

  • Screencasts for Songbird 1.0.

  • Customize with add-ons. I'd recommend mashTape the best personally. And all the others are also nice :)

  • I guess every Songbird fans love Songbird for a reason. As for me, it not only provides an irreplaceable media player solution for audio on OpenSolaris platform (maybe video in the future?), but also introduce the mashup idea to media player. That doesn't even include Songbird's contribution to GStreamer's cross-platform efforts. I guess Mozilla community will also benefit from this GStreamer improvement for its video tag support.

    To talk about the mashup feature, Songbird really does a great job. It's not exaggerated to say that it changes the idea about listening to music. All the mashup from youtube, flickr ect. are fancy and nice to use.

    The Internet is evolving quickly, and the content on the web becomes much richer everyday. Simple search can't fully satisfy everyone's need already. Something is urgently expected to aggregate different sources of information to a single place. Even more, there is need to customize this aggregation. I think that's what Google does for its iGoogle and Google Gadgets. With more and more services provided on the Internet, the mashup age is coming.

    In the past GNOME.Asia summit 2008, I was lucky to give a Songbird talk. It was really nice to share the media player mashup idea with the students and programmers from different companies. There were some feedback I'd like to share:

  • mashTape is attractive, especially the idea to aggregate data from the from different content provider. It seems to be the time to have some standard specification for the APIs provided by one kind of content provider? for example, there are youtube like provider in China(Tudou, youku for example). If we want to program with that, it's highly possible that we need to use another set of API, which will result in extra engineering works.

  • Lots of people download mp3 file. But the mp3 files usually have some tag problem. Could it possible to edit the tag and share those information for mp3 fans on the web? Seems that some Chinese tags have some display problem and is related to the old flaw for id3v1 definition.

  • Could we do something similar for songs somewhere like we did for movie in IMDB? And people can rate the songs and choose the ones based on the scores, and to encourage better sharing and collaboration.

  • Reading Steven Weber's The Success of Open Source recently. A nice book! And good to have a library around! Just like it's mentioned in the book, there are always some intelligent guys in the Open Source community who will try to make the software better. So the Songbird 1.0 release is just the beginning. There will be more excitements coming in the future.

    Saturday Sep 27, 2008

    What's new in the next OpenSolaris release(2008.11)

    The Solaris Nevada build 99 has been available for several days now. And it'll be imported into OpenSolaris repository next week or so.

    After going through all the necessary paperwork(ARC, export control, OSR etc), Songbird 0.7.0 is finally integrated into b99. That's to say, you'll be able to grab the Songbird package from the repository very soon. Thanks all for the patience. Also thanks for the support from the Songbird community, especially from steve! And it's really glad to see that nightingale project was there as part of the feature spots for OpenSolaris community, also our nice group photo:). Thanks for taking the photo, Jim!

    Besides Songbird, a big bunch of great applications including the GNOME 2.24 desktop have been delivered into b99(then 2008.11 release). I'll list some of them here.
    1. XChat is the IRC client that I'll build myself every time I reinstall the box. It's really glad to see it's delivered.
    2. Cheese. If you have a supported webcam on OpenSolaris, this could be a nice application for you to take pictures and videos.
    3. tsclient, a front-end application for rdesktop, vncviewer, wfica and xnest. This is quite helpful for access your desktop remotely, for development or testing purpose.
    4. gkrellm, a monitor application to show the system status in real time(CPU, memory, disk, network etc.).
    5. brasero, a CD/DVD burning application.
    6. transmission, a BT client.
    The full list can be found here. Also something like NWAM 0.5, ZFS snapshot, power suspend/resume support(for certain hardware) will also be integrated.

    Are these enough for the OpenSolaris desktop? Absolutely not. This is just the beginning. The contrib repository will be the playground for better community participation and users will all benefit from that for sure. The opinions from the OpenSolaris community is also important. What do you want to see in the future OpenSolaris release? I'll list something I want below:
    1. The Media solution will be the most important part for the desktop users. It's really glad to have some community efforts in this area. mplayer is available on my desktop built from SFE.
    2. aMule, an eMule like application for the eD2k and Kademlia networks. Well, it's popular to download stuff with this at least in China.
    3. ftp GUI application. gFTP could be delivered into OpenSolaris and FileZilla could be part of the contrib repository. Also FileFTP(Firefox extension) could also be a way to go.
    4. The most popular messenger tool in China -- QQ.
    5. PPStream applications for watching TV/sports/movie online.
    6. BBS client. QTerm could be a choice.

    What do you want then? Feel free to comment here:)

    Thursday Jun 19, 2008

    Songbird 0.6 on OpenSolaris is here!

    With the help from Songbird guys(preed specifically to make the Songbird 0.6 tag), Songbird 0.6 release builds are available for OpenSolaris.


    Among all the new features, I like SHOUTcase the best. Thanks for stevel to work this out! Even two Chinese channels are included in the list. That's pretty cool. The plan is to "allow custom genres, and possibly custom
    stations" for future versions. I really love this. Besides the new features, to install the pkg format build will add an entry in the "Sound & Video" category of the start menu. So you can just choose it to launch Songbird. No need to go to command line any more.


    If you're interested, don't hesitate to have a try. The x86 builds are made on Solaris Nevada x86 b87 with SunStudio 11. It also sings on my OpenSolaris 2008.05 laptop:-) And the SPARC builds are Solaris Nevada SPARC b76 with SunStudio 11.


    Any problem, please feel free to let me know.

    Monday Jun 16, 2008

    My laptop finally starts to sing

    Thanks a lot for Minskey Guo's audiohd driver for OpenSolaris. My laptop finally starts to sing with Songbird on OpenSolaris 2008.05. Yeah!!


    I live without sound for a long time as I have a desktop box that audio part works and no media player can meet my requirement. But when Songbird is available on OpenSolaris, I started to hate my DELL laptop(Sigmatel) for the missing audio driver. OSS is where I tried to find help first. Well, it works ... partly. It seems that OSS conflicted with some other part of the system, and sometimes hang the laptop. For some other case, the system will just reboot automatically several second after I login to the desktop. That's really horrible. It's sad that I can only remove OSS from my laptop to make it a workable system.


    Just like the rainbow after the storm, the availability of the audio driver makes me feel that the whole world becomes even better.


    Then what's the next? Power management? Network configuration? printer configuration? Or better media playback? We'll see:-)

    Monday May 12, 2008

    Four OpenSolaris Songbirds

    Four OpenSolaris Songbirds had a nice get together in the OpenSolaris developer Summit May 2008. Steve also invited us to the Songbird office(Ken, sorry that we didn't find you in C1 :( ). It's a wonderful place, full of openness, flexibility and creation.

    Songbird four

    The Songbird talk went smoothly and great. I love this kind of teamwork talk and people focus on different parts of the talk. Steve led the talk in an easy and interactive way. Albert, Ken and I talked about the porting efforts, the extensions and feathers.

    As the release of OpenSolaris 2008.05, it's a better approach to make Songbird into IPS repository first.

    Thursday Apr 24, 2008

    Integrate Songbird into Solaris

    After some trivial changes to the source code, Songbird 0.5 has been built on Solaris SPARC b76 with Sun Studio 11 successfully by using the Songbird SFE spec. I've tried the tarball and pkgadd binaries on my SPARC b80 box. It works fine:) Thanks a lot to the Songbird guys(especially stevel and preed) on hosting the x86 builds and SPARC builds(tarball/pkgadd) for Songbird 0.5.

    Is Songbird ready to be delivered into Solaris Nevada?

    - The license issue has been sorted out. We won't link XULRunner with flash plugin by default. FYI, this is just a walk around for Songbird+XULRunner+flash plugin. We'd still hope that Songbird could re-license for this combination.

    - Rhythmbox has just been re-licensed. That's to say, Solaris can ship it with mp3 decoder now. But we're still waiting for the status of sound-juicer and gnome-sound-recorder who also use gstreamer+mp3 decoder. Only when all of these are resolved, we can put mp3 decoder back into Solaris Nevada.

    - Does it matter to put two media player applications to Solaris? How will users choose from them? Steve has given an introduction of Songbird. It's also mentioned that Songbird has plan to provide CD playback/ripping feature in the near future. That's great news! But I'm not sure there is interests to add sound recorder funtionality to it. The video part for Songbird works just fine after I built some extra codecses and installed into the system. Well, still need to have some improvement to it to compare with mplayer.

    Indiana might be a good vehicle to host Songbird somewhere.

    Thursday Apr 10, 2008

    About Songbird package and SPEC file

    Just some updates, the Songbird 0.5 package for OpenSolaris is available here. The spec file to make this build is checked into the SFE repository. Please note that Songbird will be installed in /usr/bin and /usr/lib. And the support comes from the Songbird community(which I should be considered one of them).

    As I've noted in the last post, Songbird could play some video formats. So to have some codes that easy to install could be a big help for Solaris users. Glynn filed a bug in OpenSolaris bugzilla to track this. I guess that we should build up a pkg repository somewhere and start to contribute the codes binaries.

    Thursday Apr 03, 2008

    Songbird 0.5 build for Solaris Nevada x86

    Songbird 0.5 build for Solaris Nevada x86 is now available for download here. It's built on Solaris Nevada b80 x86 box with Sun Studio 11. The release notes is here. Please file bug in Songbird bugzilla or get people on the Songbird IRC if you find any problem for it.

    I also tried to compile the ffmpeg gstreamer plugin on the same Solaris box. It works well with Songbird for mp4/mov/mpeg/vob... Well, is there any plan for Songbird on the video part?:-)

    Tuesday Apr 01, 2008

    Happy birthday, Mozilla

    Mar. 31st 2008 is a special day for the open source world. It's the 10th anniversary for Mozilla.

    Ten years before, I was studying hard back to high school, trying to pass the college entrance exam to come to Beijing, without any idea about Open Source. And now, I'm enjoying all the power and freedom brought by Open Source: Solaris Nevada(GNOME 2.20/Firefox 3.0b4/Thunderbird 2.0.0.x/Songbird 0.5/StarOffice 8/DTrace/ZFS...).

    Mozilla changes our life with 10 years' time. I really look forward to the next ten years.

    Wednesday Mar 19, 2008

    Porting Songbird to Solaris -- update

    In case some guys are interested in this. Would like to give some updates for the porting efforts.

    Songbird can be launched on my Solaris box successfully and playback view is correctly shown. The mp3 files can be played without problem. If you're interested in playing with it on Solaris Nevada, feel free to download from here.

    This was built on Solaris Nevada b80 x86 box with Sun Studio 11, based on the snapshot of XULRunner 2008-02-21/Songbird 2008-03-05. Just extract it and run "./songbird" should be fine.

    Good luck, guys!

    Monday Mar 10, 2008

    Porting Songbird to Solaris

    Songbird is a desktop media player mashed-up with the Web, built on top of the XULRunner platform. I like the following words the best:

    "Songbird promises to be the Firefox of media players."  —Aaron Boodman

    Well, bad news is that it doesn't run on Solaris yet. A project has been created in OpenSolaris community for this porting effort: Nightingale. I like this project name a lot because I love Yani's Forbidden City concert a lot, especially Nightingale.

    On the first ever OpenSolaris summit last year, Albert and I talked about the possibility of porting Songbird to Solaris. Since Stephen Lau now works in Songbird, I think it's a great opportunity to join the force and make it available.

    I've put my porting status here in the Songbird forum. Thanks a lot for the response from Mig. Mook also joined this, started to hack around Solaris and also tried to build Songbird on it. The porting is still ongoing. We'd like to get help from whoever feel interested.

    Then how to make the Songbird build on Solaris? It's pretty simple I think, with CBE installed on your Solaris box, a spec file here and a patch here. The instruction is as below:

    1. Install CBE on your Solaris box.

    2. Download the spec file(rename to SFEsongbird.spec) and patch(songbird-01-solaris.diff). Do remember to convert the spec/patch to unix format by using dos2unix.

    3. Check out the SFEs: svn co https://pkgbuild.svn.sourceforge.net/svnroot/pkgbuild/spec-files-extra/trunk SFE and put the spec and the patch in SFE directory.

    4. run the command: . /opt/jdsbld/bin/env.sh; pkgtool --download build -v SFEsongbird.spec. Then just wait... the time depends on how fast is your machine.

    Any further problem, please feel free to let me know.

    Update: please get my latest spec and patches(1 to songbird-01-solaris.diff, 2 to songbird-02-staticstring.diff). The second patch has been checked into the Songbird trunk.

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