Craig Box's journeys, stories and notes...

Posts Tagged ‘multimedia’

And the barriers keep falling...

Wednesday, August 16th, 2006

Due to their anti-trust arrangement with Microsoft, Real are bringing WMV/WMA to Linux, legally. And Sun have announced more about Java's upcoming release to Open Source.

Linux will "succeed" (not to say it isn't succeeding already, but be ready for "primetime" or "The Enterprise" when it is in a position where people can target their software to it, and want to do it. Each step helps.

Audio on Ubuntu

Thursday, July 20th, 2006

Ian recently mentioned a new Skype beta for Linux, using ALSA. Did you know that ALSA has supported software mixing "out of the box" since 1.0.9rc2? This means everything from Ubuntu Breezy up did sound mixing, and you didn't even know it. That means if Linux can play sound to your sound card, it will automatically mix multiple sound inputs at once, in hardware if possible, on the CPU if not.

GNOME uses the Enlightened Sound Daemon (ESD) to provide its audio notifications. ESD is, amongst other things, a software mixer - before ALSA, it would take control of the sound device and applications would connect to ESD, which would mix the sound together. Since Breezy, Ubuntu has used ESD with an ALSA backend, meaning that sound mixing "just works" for any application using ESD or ALSA for sounds. The only leftover was applications that wanted to write directly to /dev/dsp device, which can only ever be used by one person at a time. Skype was the last application I could name that didn't talk to ALSA natively, and unfortunately it had issues operating with ESD's dsp emulator, esddsp.

ESD hasn't been maintained for some years, and is probably going to be replaced with the new PulseAudio, formerly known as PolypAudio, a program designed to be a drop in ESD replacement.

Then, of course, there is Gstreamer, which can loosely be compared to DirectX's DirectShow. gstreamer-properties (or Preferences -> Multimedia Systems Selector) lets you set gstreamer to output to ALSA. I assume it's the default in recent Ubuntu releases, so you can play as many sounds, via as many methods, as you like.

crb@machine:~$ apt-cache search gstreamer | grep alsa
gstreamer0.10-alsa - GStreamer plugin for ALSA
gstreamer0.8-alsa - ALSA plugin for GStreamer

Which is it, though? :)

Rock rock rock paper scissors

Tuesday, May 16th, 2006

Wow. I went to IHUG's Rock-Paper-Scissors competition website last night in Firefox on my Windows laptop, and there was a WMV plugin sitting there. I clicked play, and nothing happened. Oh well.

The next morning, I had need to find the website again to post a link to it, and so I opened it in Firefox on my Ubuntu pre-Dapper PC, and lo - the video starts playing all by itself. Most unspected but cool. Totem and GStreamer have come a long way.