Hi To Everyone Wrapping Up At GUADEC!

I might as well stop apologizing for blogging so infrequently. Things have been interesting and busy lately for me. Lately I've been working on a number of things trying to make our GNOME 2.14 delivery to OpenSolaris a success. I think it is important that when users upgrade their OpenSolaris builds that they are rewarded with a fresh desktop.

Lately I have been focusing on multimedia. I have recently enhanced gnome-volume-manager so it is functional compared with sdtaudiocontrol (a Java application that we ship with CDE). So we can finally consder removing sdtaudiocontrol from our menus and just have one volume control in the menus. There were a lot of bugs to fix in gnome-volume-control. It did not really work and would core dump if you tried to change any preferences, for example. I ended up learning a lot about the SunAudio interfaces. With some testing help from Steven Zhang, I completed the long overdue SunAudioSource plugin so that GStreamer enabled programs can finally record audio on Solaris. So now gnome-sound-recorder is finally functional. I am sure people using Solaris 10 were confused why we shipped gnome-sound-recorder since it only worked as a sound player.

It's true, media support in Solaris 10 is pretty sad, though not so sad as on Solaris 9. I'm happy to report that multimedia support in OpenSolaris is finally approaching what people would likely expect from a desktop. Now there is MP3 audio support (decoding only), better Xiph.org CODEC support (theora/FLAC/speex), and we now include rhythmbox and sound-juicer. We are not done yet, though. Since HAL is not integrated, sound-juicer, CD interaction in general, USB/firewire/camera removable media support is all nonfunctional. But since HAL should integrate in just a few builds, this should all be working soon. I have been working with the HAL team at Sun and helping with debugging and getting gnome-volume-control/gnome-mount integrated into our upcoming builds. In just a few builds, Solaris will finally make the leap into reasonable desktop media support. Yay! It has been fun working with Artem Kachitchkine from the HAL/Tamarck team on this.

I have also been working more closely with the Sun engineers working with the Real/Helix community and trying to generate some interest in finding creative ways to license multimedia codecs that are IP (Intellectual Property) encumbered. Much of this is captured in this discussion on the Desktop_amm@lists.osdl.org list. I think the combination of Real and GStreamer provides a great multimedia experience out-of-the-box. But there is obviously more to do. There are performance issues with GStreamer on Solaris and gnome-sound-recorder seems unable to play files for some reason.

I am also happy to report that the GNOME 2.14 ARC (Architecture Review Process) went well. The ARC process is an internal process at Sun where we review the interfaces used by the GNOME stack and decide which GNOME interfaces we recommend to end users. If you type "man gnome-interfaces" in OpenSolaris, you now get a pretty reasonable story (as I described in my last blog entry). It is great that the ARC case was approved, though we did have to do some last-minute work to clean up some identified issues. We had to address some packaging issues and fix our build so that interfaces marked with the GCC "hidden" attribute are properly hidden when building with the Sun Studio compiler. Aside from this, I have been finishing up ARC paperwork like arranging contracts between different Sun teams whose interfaces the GNOME stack depends upon (slow going since we neglected to follow this step of the process in the two previous ARC reviews so the work had piled up a bit). But the nice thing is the next time we go for an ARC review, we will feel caught up and, I think, more prepared. The fact that Irene Huang, a Sun employee working on the evolution project in Beijing, has recently become an ARC intern will help a lot. Glynn Foster has been a big help taking D-BUS through ARC. Perhaps next we should ARC the Portland project and see what feedback they can provide? I'm currently trading emails with some Portland developers to get more involved with this.

I have been following what has been going on with GUADEC and it seems like everyone had a great and productive time. The conference is just wrapping up today. I wish I could have managed to come this year, but I have been travelled out after spending four months over this past winter in California working with the SunRay team. I hope everyone had a great and productive time this year!

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