Saturday, July 01, 2006


I'm not at Guadec, but have been following Guadec by gazing at the planets and by listening to the Lugradio coverage. This year it's at Vilanova i la Geltru in Spain (near Barcalona). This year a couple of talks have been of interest and both of them are from the Fluendo guys. I've tried out both of them and they rock! They are Gstreamer based and are vital future constituents of the GNOME Desktop.


Elisa is a software written in Python, Gstreamer and SDL (Simple Direct Media Layer) which in turn uses OpenGL for the rendering of the user-interface. I like the UI, though it's completely non-mouse/keyboard based (for now, I guess) ,it's simple and intuitive to use. In the media center software area, we already have Myth TV and Freevo, do we need another one ? I would say yes. Myth TV has the "TV-viewing" part of it nailed down pretty well and Freevo, well, though it's pretty fast and easy to use, the pygame-UI sucks! Elisa, one thing which it does really well is it excels in the UI department. Each of these media-center softwares seem to have something going for them. Coming back to Elisa, it's actually a very visually pleasing piece of software. The Installation was pretty straight forward on Debian, an Ubuntu specific installation page is also available. Elisa allows you to view pictures, listen to music and play DVD's throiugh it's UI, the typical Media-Center stuff. Apart from that it also has "task-management" wherein your actions(playing music,video,DVD's) are available through a task-manager interface so that you move and re-arrange tasks. Here's is a screenshot:



PiTiVi is a non linear video editor based on Gstremer and gnonlin. Still in a very nascent stage as lot's of core video-editing functionality is missing. The features page of the project has a list of features which are implemented and which are still being worked upon. PiTiVi hopes to turn into the Gnome Video Editor, one package which is sorely required in the GNOME Desktop. I managed to install it and play around with it, though it does an excellent job of getting video's into a playlist window and playing them, there's nothing much it can do. This is really pre-alpha software. UI is another thing which need some attention. Here's a screenshot:

Screenshot-PiTiVi v0.10.0

Gstreamer + Python

Both Elisa and PiTiVi illustrate the fact that Gstreamer (esp. 0.10) has come of age and has proved that it is a viable multimedia framework for the GNOME Desktop. Fluendo should get most of the credit for what Gstreamer is capable of. Gstreamer bindings in Python is another plus point which is giving rise to an excellent application development framework. It's good to see that the future of linux desktop multimedia is in good hands. Keep up the great work guys.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License. My Way My blog. Toufeeq Hussain