Colin.Guthr.ie Illegitimi non carborundum

26Jul/1021

Speak[er Setup] Now, or Forever hold your Peace.

Well it's taken me a little time to commit this work, but here it is. This is the fruits of my labour from the KDE Multimedia Sprint earlier this year.

As well as taking part in various discussions, I was able to spend some time cooking up a UI to control the configuration of PulseAudio and the various cards attached.

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25May/100

Recharging my geek batteries

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...

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Tagged as: , No Comments
24May/1024

Qt Multimedia/Mobility vs. Phonon: FIGHT!!!

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.

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3Apr/101

How to develop on KDE & Amarok without trashing your System

This is just a mixed back of info I've picked up along the way on how to develop with relative ease on KDE applications/libraries without totally trashing your system provided versions.

As a packager, it's important for me to be able to test the packages I produce so having a system that is solely running the latest and greatest upstream versions is not desirable. In order to do this I don't maintain two separate installations (that's too complicated and too much effort), rather I build all the upstream stuff into it's own prefix and then run it from there. It's totally separate from my system binaries (and shouldn't ever need root). Cleaning up is as simple as an rm -rf.

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Tagged as: Continue reading
3Apr/1032

Slide around the Sound

Just a quick update on various KDE+PulseAudio changes I've made recently. This is more of an update from previous articles than anything ground breaking in it's own right although there is a nifty (IMO) new feature now available.

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14Feb/1029

This is the route to hell

So I would like to take a few minutes to talk about audio routing in PulseAudio. This is a oft misunderstood topic and it does sometimes seem like black magic and/or broken but, as always, it's pretty simple when you look at it properly. That's not to say it's sensible (I have a several reservations about the current way of working), but the first step to improving something is understanding it, so I'll try to explain here and then say what I think is needed to improve it. This is a rather complex and in depth post, so if this kind of stuff doesn't float your boat, it's a good candidate to skip :p

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17Jan/1014

Mix it some more

OK, so this is really just an update on my earlier post about KMix PulseAudio integration.

I've spent quite a lot of time refining the initial support I added a few weeks back. What follows is a brief summary of the changes/improvements/bugfixes.

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6Jan/1024

Mix it up

Hot on the heels of my Phonon PulseAudio integration, here is another set of patches for kdemultimedia that adds PulseAudio support to KMix \o/

Quick screenie before a more detailed description:

KMix window showing two devices, one Stereo, one 5.1

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20Nov/0932

PulseAudio Phonon Support now in KDE trunk and heading towards 4.4

I've very pleased to announce that my work on Phonon to integrate support for PulseAudio has now been committed to trunk and will form part of KDE 4.4 \o/

There were a few teething problems due to some last minute merges I did (which I clearly didn't test properly - my bad) and which I then went on to mis-interpret which led me to commit two rather silly things in phonon (a revert and then a revert of that revert!). What can I say... I need more caffeine obviously!

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3Nov/0931

Mandriva 2010.0 is out!!

I'm very pleased to say that Mandriva 2010 is now out! Checkout What's New! Also see the Release Notes and Errata.

Myself and the rest of the Mandriva Developers and Contributors have put in a lot of work this time round. I'm pretty happy with the PulseAudio->Phonon integration work I did for KDE which builds on our previous approaches which were not quite as functional (although did at least hide potential configuration problems from users unlike on some distros! (for which the usual "solution" was a urpme/yum remove/apt-remove pulseaudio rather than actually finding the real cause!)

Anyway, anyone looking for a change or wanting to see what other distros have to offer, I really encourage you to take it for a spin!

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