Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Sweet Irony

I’ve just released HAL “Unmaintained piece of crap” and all vendors should upgrade as Linux kernels later than 2.6.17 will break HAL 0.5.7 (e.g. HAL will break in hardware detection, not the kernel). It should be a smooth upgrade and credit goes to Kay Sievers for the patches.


Just a few hours after my last entry, Jonathan Corbet of LWN found me at OLS and said it wasn’t LWN badmouthing HAL, he was just reporting what was going on at the kernel summit. So, sorry if I made it sound like it was LWN’s fault, it wasn’t, I do believe in free press and LWN is just an awesome resource. Oh, I just find the whole “unmaintained piece of crap” thing slightly amusing (hence the release name for - the community around HAL is alive and well even though I’m not presently around doing HAL stuff as much as I like.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Linux Symposium

I appear to be in Ontario, Canada. More specifically I’m in Ottawa though hours last night was spent at a bar in Quebec.

In Logan's terminal 3
In Logan’s terminal 3 enroute to OLS

Yesterday, Kay and I gave a talk on Dynamic Device Handling on the Modern Desktop and I think it was well received. Yeay!

Oh, and I’ve even got to say that hal-device-manager (the small python GTK+ app for viewing the hal device objects and their properties) was an “unmaintained piece of crap” alluding in a funny way to the recent LWN article badmouthing HAL. Some people in the audience laughed. Lots of excellent questions too. Good times.

I’ve uploaded the slides from mine and Kay’s talk here. Enjoy.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

PulseAudio and GNOME

Talked briefly to Monty yesterday about PulseAudio and how it would fit into GNOME. Here are some notes, I may be way off, but I thought it would be good to blog them anyway.

Monty making an elaborate point about mixing stuff

  • Multiple Soundcard Configuration: The gstreamer sink for PulseAudio should use the same gconf settings as for the gstreamer-hal-gconf sink as discussed here. Then we would be able to reuse the same dialog which would be nice. I have no idea whether this is feasible, desirable or possible in the context of PulseAudio.. But I thought I’d mentioned it anyway, it makes sense to me and… IIRC, a number of applications such as Totem and Ekiga is moving to selecting outputs (using gstreamer) based on whether they output “Sound Events”, “Music or Movies” or “Audio/Video conferencing”.

  • Power Savings: To be honest, I’m not sure whether PulseAudio runs as a system daemon or in the desktop session or whether it’s configurable (sorry, haven’t done my homework). But surely, to me, it needs to run in the desktop session. It should talk to gnome-power-manager, via D-BUS, and keep track of whether the user “prefers power savings over performance” (yes, this is a user preference which defaults to on when running on battery and off when on AC).
    So if “prefers power savings over performance” is enabled as a desktop session wide setting (or if it changes state - it’s a live variable so need to listen to D-BUS signals from g-p-m), PulseAudio should close the file descriptor to files in /dev/audio when there is silence so the kernel drivers can put the sound card(s) to sleep. Not only that, if the sound card is used only for output it should open with O_RDONLY so parts of the sound card can be powered down. Specifically for projects such as OLPC this is important and Jaya Kumar already done the kernel side of this.
    Sure, when the sound card is turned on again there is a slight pop, but users for which this is the end of the world… they can tweak the setting in g-p-m or perhaps use a specific PulseAudio setting to override. But by default, PulseAudio should ask g-p-m so we can suspend sound cards on battery when not used. It’s about saving energy.. think of the kids, Der GrĂ¼ne Punkt, EnergyStar and all that! :-)

In other news, Mitra got a Macbook and she seems thrilled about it so far. Also, I didn’t know that Mitra’s mom have been in outer space.

Thursday, July 6, 2006

GUADEC recap

Got back from GUADEC and Spain on Sunday. Nice conference; I liked the touch with seven days instead of three even though it was a bit exhausting in the end. I’ve also got sick around Saturday so spent that day in bed in my hotel room before traveling back Sunday. As a result of all this, I’m way behind on mail so to those who I owe a reply, hang in there, I’ll get back to you eventually.

Robert and Joey in what could be a movie poster

Robert and Joey as batshit insane movie stars?

I’ve now uploaded the slides from my talk (ODP, PDF).

Bummed out
Taking a break from the action at the Fluendo party

I enjoyed the 4th of July fireworks from my balcony in Somerville, MA overlooking Boston

Zeppelin just after dropping it’s payload on Boston, MA?

All my GUADEC pictures are available here.