Embedded Linux Conference Europe and GStreamer Conference

This week I am in Cambridge getting to know my colleagues at Collabora Multimedia and attending both the ELC and the GStreamer Conference, which were co-locating.
ELC was interesting. There were a lot of talks dealing with user interface and multimedia issues, and I was pleasantly surprised to find out several presenters mentioning Qt, usually in conjunction with MeeGo. I remember that four or five years ago Qt was relatively unknown, at least in the free software events I used to attend. Nowadays this is clearly not the case: a presenter from Alcatel had a lecture where he compared the available solutions for embedded Linux products. It was a nice presentation, covering all the different SoC architectures as well as the frameworks and toolkits. When he reached the toolkit section there was a big chart with 7 or 8 different solutions, and Qt was clearly a contender for the top position.

The GStreamer conference was a pleasant surprise for me as well, as I was not expecting that many developers. There were at least 150 people there from different projects and companies, and the quality of the presentations was great. I was very pleased to meet another Brazilian developer, Luciana Fujii from Holoscopio. She presented about Landell, a GStreamer-based recording and streaming solution that was used for the last FISL conference in Brazil. It looks very interesting and could possibly help us solve some of the challenges related to recording and streaming content for the next Desktop Summit. On-the-fly camera switching and titling are possible, as well as recording and streaming using different settings. It is Python-based and seems very simple to operate.

I also met several other developers working with GStreamer either professionally or in their pet projects. One I found particularly interesting to watch in action was Stefan Kost’s Buzztard: a pretty impressive music composition environment. I recommend a visit to the site: it can work with both samples and generated sounds, has a built-in sequencer/tracker and can even work with legacy Buzz Windows plugins. For some songs Stefan told me that the internal GStreamer pipeline created by Buzz uses up to 500 elements! (mixers, effects, sound generators…) And it all runs at real time: in his machine this was using 25% of the CPU, but of these only 5% were really being used to play the track, as the rest was mostly consumed by the GUI.

Finally, I collected some initial feedback about the current QtGStreamer implementation and possible use cases. I think we are in the right track so far, and I hope we can see the results of this work pretty soon in the form of applications as cool as the ones I have seen in this conference.

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