Tuesday, 16 November 2010

The GStreamer conference from a Clutter point of view

Two weeks ago I attended the first GStreamer conference, and it was great. I won't talk about the 1.0 plan that seems to take shape and looks really good but just what stroke me the most: Happy Clutter Stories and an Tale To Be Told to your manager.

Let's move on the Clutter stories. You had a surprising number of people mixing GStreamer and Clutter, two talks especially:
  • Florent Thiery founder of Ubicast talked about one of their products: a portable recording system with quite a bit of bling (records the slides, movement detection with OpenCV, RoI, ...). The system was used to record the talks on the main track. Now, what was of particular interest for me is that the UI to control the system is entirely written with Clutter and python. They have built a whole toolkit on top of Clutter, in python, called candies/touchwizard and written their UI with it, cooool.
  • A very impressive talk from the Tanberg (now Cisco) guys about their Movi software, video conferencing at its finest. It uses GStreamer extensively and Clutter for its UI (on Windows!). They said that about 150,000 copies of Movi are deployed in the wild. Patches from Ole André Vadla Ravnås and Haakon Sporsheim have been flowing to Clutter and Clutter-gst (win32 support).

As a side note, Fluendo talked about their Open Source, Intel founded, GStreamer codecs for Intel CE3100/CE4100. This platform specificities are supported natively by Clutter (./configure --with-flavour=cex100) using the native EGL winsys called "GDL" and evdev events coming from the kernel. More on this later :p

A very interesting point about those success stories is that the companies and engineers working with open source software to build their applications, sometimes with parts heavily covered by patents, while contributing back to the ecosystem that allowed to build those applications in the first place. Contributing is done at many levels: directly patches but also feedback on the libraries/platform (eg. input for GStreamer 1.0). And guess what? It works! To me, that's exactly how the GNOME platform should be used to build proprietary applications: build on top and contribute back to consolidate the libraries. I'd go as far as saying that contributing upstream is the best way to share code inside the same big corporation. Such companies are always very bad a cooperating between divisions.

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