President’s Report — The State of the GNOME Foundation

As I hinted in my retrospective in February, 2014 has been crazy busy on a personal level. Let’s now take a look at 2014-2015 from a GNOME perspective.

When I offered my candidacy for the GNOME Foundation‘s Board of Directors in May last year, I knew that there would be plenty of issues to tackle if elected. As I was elected president afterwards, I was aware that I was getting into a demanding role that would not only test my resolve but also make use of my ability to set a clear direction and keep us moving forward through tough times. But even if someone tries to describe what’s involved in all this, it remains difficult to truly grasp the amount of work involved before you’ve experienced it yourself.

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Tricks or Tracebacks? Pitivi 0.94 is here

Dear werepenguins, we’re thrilled to announce the immediate availability of Pitivi 0.94! This is the fourth release for the new version of our video editor based on GES, the GStreamer Editing Services library. Take a look at my previous blog post to understand in what context 0.94 has been brewing. This is mainly a maintenance release, but it does pack a few interesting improvements & features in addition to the bug fixes.

The first thing you will notice is that the main toolbar, menubar and titlebar have been replaced by a unified GTK HeaderBar, saving a ton of precious vertical space and making better use of the horizontal space. Once you try it, you can’t go back. There is beauty in the equilibrium it has now, compared to the previously clunky and unbalanced layout:

Continue reading “Tricks or Tracebacks? Pitivi 0.94 is here”

An update from the Pitivi 2014 summer battlefront

Hello gentle readers! You may have been wondering what has been going on since the 0.93 release and the Pitivi fundraising campaign. There are a few reasons why we’ve been quiet on the blogging side this summer:

  • Mathieu and Thibault have been working hard to bring us towards “1.0 quality”, improving and stabilizing various parts of GStreamer to make the backend of Pitivi more reliable (more details on this further below). They preferred to write code rather than spending their time doing marketing/fundraising. This is understandable, it is a better use of our scarce specialized resources.
  • Personally, I have been juggling with many obligations (my daily business, preparing for the conferences season, serving on the board of the GNOME Foundation, and Life in General), which left me with pretty much no time or energy to do development on marketing-related activities on Pitivi, just enough to participate in some discussions and help with administration/co-mentorship a bit. I did not have time to research blogging material about what others were doing, hence the lack of status updates in recent times.

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Retour de GUADEC, conspirations

As expected, GUADEC in Strasbourg was a terrific event. Huge props to the local organizing team who managed to make things work regardless of last minute curve balls, such as the venue changing or the video recording team (and their equipment) not being able to attend due to visa restrictions. I went with Alexandre Franke to pick up recording equipment only half an hour before the opening session on the first day, and manned the cameras sporadically, but was glad that other volunteers were able to fill the gaps as I was running all over the place.

Since I am independent this year (I now have my own business, as some of you might have seen from my unusual laptop sticker), I came to GUADEC thinking I would allow myself to really relax for a change: Continue reading “Retour de GUADEC, conspirations”

GSoC 2014 projects for Pitivi: transformation, chroma keying, image sequences

Thanks to GNOME, we will be able to get some reinforcements for Pitivi this summer.

We’re very pleased to have Lubosz Sarnecki making a comeback! In 2011 he implemented the cairo-based clip transformation (zoom/resize/crop) feature in the viewer. Lubosz is quite experienced with OpenGL, Blender and GStreamer, as you can see on his blog  and the variety of projects he contributes to.

lubosz working on the transformation UI in 2011
Lubosz working on Pitivi at the 2011 Desktop Summit

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How do you visually represent a project’s timeline?

Here is a fun example to illustrate why software development in general is a complex endeavour:

  1. You think you’re going to fix a tiny problem: “hey, maybe we could make ‘s welcome dialog look a bit nicer“.
  2. Eventually, someone proposes a design or idea that looks interesting, and you realize that to truly realize it, you should also implement an audacious new feature: a way to visually represent an entire timeline as a thumbnail (that one is an open question, by the way; if you have some clever ideas, feel free to share them)
  3. …and to display new feature B properly, you should also consider—ideally—being a good citizen and implementing feature C upstream, in the toolkit you use instead of doing your own thing in your corner.

This kind of serendipity and interdependence happens regularly in FLOSS applications like Pitivi where we prioritize quality over “meeting shareholders’ deadlines and objectives”, which is why we sometimes take more time to flesh out a solution to a problem: we aim for the best user experience possible, all while negotiating and working with the greater software ecosystem we live in, instead of silently piling up hacks in our application… and we depend on the involvement of everyone for things to progress.

Pitivi 0.93 released

Last week, a flash snowstorm brought me around 2ft of snow overnight. I thought, “If I’m going to clear that much snow, might as well have some fun and make a timelapse out of it”, and so I did. While watching it, I realized, “Hmm… that’s an interesting metaphor for the huge amount of preparatory and cleanup work we’ve been doing in the past few years”:

Continue reading “Pitivi 0.93 released”

Pitivi status update for Q1 2014, fundraiser launch

Since my previous technical update in January, I haven’t had time to touch Pitivi’s code. Thankfully though, Alexandru Băluț has been filling the gap with a ton of refactoring work: around 150 commits! That took a fair amount of time to review and merge, believe me. Besides code cleanup, he also finished the port of the viewer to a cluttersink, fixed fonts and theme colors detection for the timeline (so it looks fine even if you’re not using the Adwaita GNOME theme).

Alexandru took the opportunity to not only fix some bugs, but also do some visual refinements on the timeline ruler: it now shows hours and miliseconds only when needed (depending on the zoom level) and subtly grays out units that did not change from one “tick” to another, so your eyes can focus on what actually changed:

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Applying for a GSoC project is all about early involvement and commitment

This year, Pitivi‘s focus for GSoC projects will be a little bit different than in 2013. As you can see in our preliminary ideas page, there is much less GStreamer (or GES) work involved, as we tried to focus on Pitivi UI work — easier, concrete projects, mostly only in Python. Most of the hardcore backend work we needed to accomplish was done throughout 2013. Of course, there are still some hardcore project ideas around if you feel like you’re up for a challenge. Anyway, the list of ideas is just that: a list of ideas. We’re more than happy for you to come up with your own ideas (thinking outside the box is a positive trait, feel free to impress us).

More importantly, here’s how our approach differs this year: Continue reading “Applying for a GSoC project is all about early involvement and commitment”

Moving planets around

A minor security problem on the Pitivi website (a script kiddie covertly filling a cache folder with pharma SEO spam) lured me into the following adventure, when MagpieRSS was suspected of having been used as the attack vector:

  1. “Oh gosh, MagpieRSS is really dead…”
  2. Why not try SimplePie instead? It’s slightly less dead and widely used
  3. “Urgh, SimplePie doesn’t parse feeds with ‘?’ in their URL
  4. “Screw this, I’ll kill two birds with one stone and replace MoonMoon by Venus, I’ve been meaning to do that for a long time anyway”

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Pitivi 0.92 and the wandering opensourcerer

The past few weeks have been pretty crazy.

At the last minute, I ended up going to the GStreamer Conference in Edinburgh, thanks to the GStreamer project sponsoring my attendance. As always, it was a fantastic event and it was great to meet up with old friends and see great topics being discussed. I was pretty impressed by the amount of attendees too. I’m feeling guilty for having missed good talks while being dragged into hallway discussions or being hammered by jetlag, but our pals at Ubicast recorded everything so I should be able to catch up later. My good friend Luis summarized the event much better than I could, so I won’t go into detail here. Except that Thibault won a bottle of whiskey and was unable to claim it, so I picked it up and brought it back for him (I don’t hack on GStreamer itself, so I don’t need the whiskey):

2013-10-25

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Pitivi 0.91 “Charming Defects”

And so it has come to this.

2013-10-05

A few days ago, we stealthily published the tarball of the first Pitivi video editor release based on the GES engine. Incredible but true! 0.91 is finally out! In case you were living under a rock for the past two years, this release is the result of a major rework of the entire Pitivi architecture, and as such it is considered an “alpha” release. From a very (VERY) high level, it includes: Continue reading “Pitivi 0.91 “Charming Defects””