Gran Canaria Desktop Summit: Better Audio for Free Desktops

Jul 05, 2009

On the second day of the Gran Canaria Desktop Summit, Gnome and KDE developers have been focused on topics surrounding meta data, community, and infrastructure. Concerning multimedia, audio support for the open source desktop has proved to be a hot topic.

In his lecture, Red Hat developer Lennart Poettering (one of the main developers of the free sound server pulseaudio) called for Gnome and KDE to find project tasks on which they could work on as a team.

Among such tasks is the localization of audio notifications. For example, an assortment of speech variations for the alert “you’ve got mail.” After having been set up, this alert could be called up using Libcanberra, a library that is not tied to Gtk toolkit and therefore appropriate for cross desktop use. Libcanberra works cooperatively with ALSA, OSS, Pulseaudio, or GStreamer. In his presentation, Poettering gave examples of code to demonstrate how the open source library can be used. The presenter invited all interested parties to a session to be held the following week.

Jan Schmidt from Sun discussed Gnome’s multimedia framework GStreamer.Schmidt has been working on this project as core developer and release manager. He posed the question as to whether the framework should make the leap to version 1.0, since it has functioned in a stabile fashion since December 2005 with API and ABI.

Schmidt considered the advantages and disadvantages of GStreamer 1.0. A break from the API/ABI used presently would mean a lot of work and would slow the overall development process. On the other hand, there are improvements that could not be introduced into version 0.10.0 without difficulty. In contrast, Jan Schmidt promised a breath of fresh air in addition to the symbolic act of making the jump to a 1.0 development leg: the programmers would be allowed to break without being chained to the old API.

Schmidt’s suggestion: GStreamer creates a playing ground for code in the version control system in which the code can be fused to the master leg on a regular basis. The work on 0.10 should go on at any rate. The back and forth porting of the features should be more easily achieved thanks to an upgrade to Git, promised Schmidt. As a result, GStreamer 1.0 should be ready in between October 2009 and March 2010 for Gnome version 3.0.

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