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Collaboration

The Mistelix programmers didn't bother reinventing the wheel; the software relies on a number of familiar, external background helpers, such as GStreamer. This means you can use any multimedia format the framework supports. These formats will differ from system to system and depend on the GStreamer components you have installed. MP3 might not be included because of software patents, so if you want to integrate MP3-formatted audio files as your backing track, you need to install the Fluendo MP3 plugin for GStreamer so that Mistelix can handle the task.

Under the hood, Mistelix uses the command-line-based DVDAuthor [4] set of tool to create output files. In addition, Mistelix relies on FFmpeg [5] to create the matching video formats. If you decide to use the Theora format instead of the standard DVD format, make sure you have the matching Theora codec in place. If a required helper is missing, Mistelix will warn you (Figure 4). This prevents unnecessary waiting and frustration; after all, creating and converting MPEG compressed videos can take some time, even if you have a fast machine.

Figure 4: Mistelix depends on external helpers and checks for the required components.

Mistelix does not have a burning function as of this writing. Instead, it creates a subdirectory named dvd with the required files. The following command line creates the image file dvd.iso

mkisofs -dvd-video -udf -o dvd.iso dvd

which you can burn to disc with your preferred burning software.

Star Gazing

Mistelix developers are looking to release version 0.3 of the program in July of this year. Although the team has not disclosed the new features yet, the long-term roadmap lists a number of tangible targets, including support for more formats. In the future, Mistelix will be able to export to both Flash and Moonlight formats (Moonlight is the Linux implementation of Microsoft's Silverlight). The roadmap also includes DVD chapters, subtitles, and Blu-ray support.

Programmers interested in lending a hand will find ideas on how to implement new features on the project homepage, along with the expected level of difficulty. This lets new contributors decide how to help. As with other projects, classic bug fixing is another way to help the developers.

Thus far, Mistelix is only available for Unix-style systems, although this could change in the near future. The program is written in Mono and C# and thus is fairly easy to port to Windows systems. Although the developers do not intend to port Mistelix themselves, the free software adage applies: Any volunteers?

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