I'm just recently back from the KDE Multimedia Sprint in Randa, Switzerland. Well I say "back" but I'm actually still in Geneva (my flight back is not until tomorrow AM). I'm sure that considering the volcano has stopped spewing ash into the flight paths of Europe, that I'll be home without incident tomorrow!
So the trip to Randa was pretty uneventful. My bus did bread down on the way to the airport and as we were waiting for a replacement, the bus after the one I caught overtook us! We did catch it up and ultimately were asked to get on it at the RBS HQ, which did little to settle my nerves about catching the flight on time. In the end the latter bus was fine time-wise anyway. I was pleased to find an Ian Rankin book at the airport I'd not read yet, so quickly purchased it and rushed on through.
When I arrived in Geneva, I had missed some other folks that were there an hour or so before me, but I managed to board the right train and headed towards my destination. I had an hour to wait for the transfer in Visp, but the hot weather meant I really wasn't that bothered!
When I arrived I was greeted by a several folks from various KDE folks. While names were familiar the only familiar face was Helio whom I'd worked with on various Mandriva projects and met at Akademy 2007. Everyone was really nice and the house was fantastic.
I really can't say enough good things about the organisation. Mario was fantastic in his admin duties and the convenience of the house, where accommodation, meals and hacking/discussions sessions were all in one place, was perfect for this kind of event.
I met lots of really nice people and put faces to several names. It was especially great to meet the Amarok guys whom I've conversed with in the past on the mailing list and on IRC and it was good to meet with Christian Esken who is the current kmix maintainer seeing as I've pushed a lot of PulseAudio related patches into that project of late. Meeting Jean-Baptiste Kempf was another highlight. I've learned a great deal about VLC, or rather VideoLAN as it should be more accurately called over the past few days and definitely think of it differently now (in very much a good way - and for clarity I am really referring to the scope of the project here - I wasn't fully aware of how flexible it is until JB's presentation!).
In terms of actual productivity, I was able to start and complete (mostly!) a project to enable easy setup and testing of mutli-channel sound cards on KDE using PulseAudio. This work was heavily inspired by the tool Lennart wrote for Gnome - gnome-speaker-setup, but I've integrated it nicely into the same KCM module that is used for configure device preferences. I'll blog about this in more depth in the coming weeks. There is a very slim chance it can get into Mandriva 2010.1, but due to the timings it's rather unlikely at this stage.
We were also able to have what I think was a productive first meeting with the Qt developers in Brisbane, Australia, facilitated by Knut Yrvin. I wont go into too much detail here as I have a much longer and more detailed blog entry on this topic to post shortly. Keep your eyes peeled for that one.
The return journey was also uneventful and I arrived in Geneva at around 3:30pm and proceeded to walk in the exact opposite direction to what I should have done to get to my hostel. Thank goodness for GPS, although as it's designed for driving I did continue walking in the wrong direction for some time. That said, the weather was lovely and having a saunter around the centre of Geneva was rather pleasant! I did eventually find the hostel and subsequently went for a more organised stroll along the shore and sat in a little bar and devoured a few more chapters of my book while supping a couple cold beers - purely for their refreshment value on a hot day mind you!
So I'd like to sign off with a big thank you to all the people who helped make this happen. For KDE e.V. for sponsorship and especially to Mario for his organisation, but also to all the new friends and those friends who now have faces rather than just IRC nicks 🙂
Until next time...
Well it's not really like that, but I guess those involved can think about it a bit like that at times!. For some background, Phonon is a Multimedia framework that was included in Qt 4 as far as I understand it, it was developed outside Qt, but was adopted (please correct me if my history is incorrect here). It was designed to give application developers easy access to media playback systems, be it MP3 music or new fangled WebM video! Rather than implement any of the complex stuff itself, Phonon hands off the actual decoding and playback parts to existing media frameworks. Originally Qt wrote a GStreamer "backend" for Phonon and this was the only available backend on Linux in the early stages (others were available for other platforms too). I personally think that GStreamer was a good choice. I think it is a very powerful system, but it's not for the feint hearted. I wont begin to pretend that I understand it (although I have hacked my way through some GST code!), but the principle of it's operation seemed to fit the needs of the Phonon project very nicely.