Limpley Stroked

We’ve arrived safely in Lower Limpley Stoke safely. We didn’t see any of the trouble on the M5 that we feared, and the Avon river is no more than picturesquely swollen 2 streets from here.

We’re staying in a lovely hotel built out of a giant old house.

I was amused to notice that the railway bridge is mislabelled as belonging to “Limpley Stroke”, hence the title.

At Guadec, I enjoyed the LugRadio beers night, especially the part where several people actively tried to create a new EBay account in the pub for the sole purpose of trying to put Jono’s bag on auction and raise some cash to buy more beer.

I didn’t enjoy the part where 25 euro mysteriously disappeared from within a pile of papers on the desk in our hotel room. Nothing else was taken, including the n800 that was also sitting in the room, thankfully.

Tomorrow we’re exploring Bath, going to see Glastonbury Tor and Abbey, and hopefully getting to glimpse Stonehenge.

I closed another bug today, this one with prejudice. For the record, GStreamer developers do not support running the gst-ffmpeg wrapper against the system installed FFmpeg – you can do it, but if it breaks because FFmpeg changed something (as they do), you get to keep both pieces.

Update: Fixed the bug number.

Killing some wakeups


I committed Marc-Andre‘s patch for bug #152864 today, and closed the bug, which has been open since September 2004.

It adds the required GStreamer parts to close Bug 370937 รขโ‚ฌโ€œ Exessive CPU Utilisation and fix 10 wakeups per second in the volume control applet – at least when an ALSA mixer device is chosen. Other mixers still require polling, so they’ll wake up. Hopefully that will stop too as we implement poll-based notifications in the other mixer elements in GStreamer, where we can.

Does anyone know if OSS provides a select/poll based way to know when someone changes the mixer settings? Google searches haven’t been helpful. aumix at least seems to be using SIGALRM, which isn’t promising.

The Sun Audio mixerctl mentions being able to get a SIGPOLL signal sent when someone changes the mixer settings. That’s not a good interface for GStreamer (or anyone, really) to use though – anyone know if we can achieve the same thing using poll()?


Our original plan was to drive down to Bath tomorrow and stay there for 2 nights exploring the area. With all the flooding, we’re probably not going to have much fun with that. Uraeus told me on the phone that they had a rough time on the M5, but made it to Bristol today.

At this stage, I’m inclined to try the drive anyway, but I might change my mind in the morning.


I’m looking forward to Guadec next week – it should be great fun ๐Ÿ™‚

Jaime & I are flying into BHX just after midnight Monday night. We’ll miss the Sunday/Monday warm up sessions, but be there for the core and after-hours activities. See you all there!

In other news, after 2 years in Spain, Jaime & I have decided that it’s time to move on. On September 1st, we’re moving to Dublin.

Along with that, we’re both leaving our jobs at Fluendo. I’m continuing until the end of August when we go. Jaime already finished up yesterday. Once we get to Ireland, I’m taking up a new job at Sun Microsystems where I’ll be working in the Sun Ray group. I’m going to be working on the same floor as the JDS team there, which will be fun.

We’ve had a great time here, with some great friends that we’ll miss a lot, and some wonderful adventures. It’s been a hard decision to leave, and it’ll be painful to leave the close-knit group we’ve formed here, we’ll miss them a lot.

LCA 2007 redux

I arrived back in Barcelona from Australia with thomasvs on Monday morning. We were there for the LCA conference, and the associated FOMS conference. I had a great time, getting back to the old stomping ground and geeking it up. Here’s a rundown:

We arrived in the evening on Wed 10th and were met by Shane & Kate at the airport. Had a little bit of confusion as to whether Thomas had also arranged for Lindsay to pick us up, but it turned out not. Went to Shane & Kate’s house, played with their Wii a bit and hit the hay.

Thursday and Friday, we spent at FOMS, which provided a nice chance to meet a bunch of FOSS Multimedia hackers I didn’t yet know, and catch up with others that I did, including fellow Fluendian Mike Smith. The conference was very well structured and run, and I think we covered a lot of ground and built some interesting bridges.
Shane & Kate hosted a bbq at their place on Thursday night, which was a lot of fun even though I flaked out on the floor of their study by about 10:30pm, knocked out by a flu I picked up on the plane on the way over. My friend Miki also came along to the bbq after she finished work.

Friday night was supposed to be the Annodex Foundation AGM at the James Squire brewery, in at King’s Wharf, but it turned out to just be a FOMS attendees get-together at the brewery after they discovered the Internet access at the pub was being too flaky. A fun night, either way.Thomas blogged a little about his impressions of FOMS too. I’d like to say thanks to all the people that put FOMS together, especially Silvia & Shane, and to the other attendees.

On Saturday, I caught a lift with my little brother up to our parents house on the Central Coast, and spent the night up there while Thomas & Mike went to a concert in Sydney. I had a nice afternoon and evening with a big part of my family unit, even though I couldn’t go visit my grandparents (because of the flu).

On Sunday my father had offered to take us all on a Hunter Valley wine+cheese tour, so we picked up Thomas, Mike and Miki at Tuggerah train station and headed up to the Hunter Valley for the day. We had a beautiful sunny day, toured the vineyards, tried some good wines, jams, olive oils, chocolate and cheeses. I bought 5 bottles of wine, some chocolates and some lilly pilly jam. Thomas bought some wine, and some particularly strong scented cheese, which would prove useful later in the trip. Sunday night we caught the train back to Sydney, and Thomas & I picked up the keys to our dorm accomodations for the rest of the trip.

Monday morning was a the first mini-conf day of LCA. This year, LCA was held at the University of NSW, which I used to spend a fair bit of time around. It’s been a while since though, so the campus was simultaneously familiar and strange. We picked up our sweet LCA bags and swag at the registration desk, and headed into the conference open. As usual, Jdub was entertaining. Talks I went to on Monday, in between hacking in the pavilions and re-discovering my way around UNSW:

  • Show and Tell: The Pedagogical Arguments for FOSS by Donna Benjamin
  • Using Avahi the “Right Way” by Trent Lloyd & Lennart Poeterring
  • Adventures in Linux on Programmable Logic Devices by Dr John Williams
  • GNOME Love Session

Monday night was the Speakers Dinner, and we were treated to a nice harbour cruise plus meal, with Sasha’s girlfriend Penelope as my date so that she could get a ticket, since several of the other LCA rego desk volunteers were already coming and she wasn’t. Anthony Baxter gave an entertaining talk titled ‘Style over substance’, which I completely ignored later in the week when giving my tutorial, causing several people in the audience to fall asleep.

Tuesday, I enjoyed Chris Blizzard’s keynote followed by:

  • Jokosher: The GNOME approach to audio production by Jono Bacon
  • De-mystifying PCI by Kristen Carlson Accardi
  • Wesnoth for Kernel Hackers (and everyone else) by Rusty Russell
  • Suspend & Resume to RAM repair workshop by Matthew Garrett

Rusty’s talk was interesting and well presented, as usual. Also because totem wouldn’t play on the big-screen because the Xv overlay just displayed as an empty square on the projector. I jumped up and used gstreamer-properties to change it to XShm output, which fixed the problem, but now his sound wouldn’t play, so Rusty stopped Wesnoth (to free the sound device), which for some reason meant that sound would play, but the video overlay went back to being broken. At that point, he switched to mplayer for his presentation, but after the talk I took another look and discovered that he was using totem-xine, and then I couldn’t figure out why my change had fixed the Xv Overlay in the first place ๐Ÿ™‚
Went to the Google Conference party at the Roundhouse for a while in the evening, and chowed down on a couple of sausage sandwiches, but left early so I could get some washing done.

Wednesday morning, Thomas and I were up bright and early for our turn at the Speaker’s Adventure. All the speakers had to nominate one of the mornings to go on the adventure, but we weren’t told in advance what it was. Since the conference is over now, I can reveal that it was a trip up Centrepoint Tower to do the Sky Walk (although the secret was already leaked much earlier than this). The Sky Walk is a fun little jaunt where you dress up in fancy jumpsuits, remove any objects that you could possibly drop off the edge, and take a trip around the outside of Centerpoint, tethered securely to a little railway line that ensures you can’t do anything foolish. All in all, pretty fun, although I’m not sure I’d be prepared to pay the RRP for it.

Thanks to Pia and others, who (among other conference duties) got up bright and early to deliver speakers to the tower and get us back in time for the conference open. Wednesday morning’s keynote was from Andy Tanenbaum, giving a presentation about some of the recent work they’ve been doing in Minix, which was very interesting. *insert standard observations about micro vs monolithic kernels*

Wednesday’s talks:

  • The PulseAudio Sound Server by Lennart Poettering
  • Linux on the Cell Broadband Architecture by Arnd Bergmann
  • Desktops on a diet – old pants back on! by Carsten Haitzler
  • nouveau – reverse engineered nvidia drivers by Dave Airlie
  • Linux Clusters by Sulamita Garcia
  • X Monitor Hotplugging Sweetness by Keith Packard

To be continued….

Back to AU

For the 5th time in as many months, I’m flying halfway around the world on Tuesday to hit Sydney for FOMS and Huzzah!

This time though, I’m not flying alone – I’m bringing one of my Belgian workmates – seen here looking worshipful at a Pearl Jam concert.

I’ll be giving a tutorial @ LCA on Thursday 18th, about GStreamer – an introduction to pipeline building and writing a simple element.

If you’re going to be in Sydney and want to make sure we meet up, drop me an email

SSH trick

A while ago, I wanted to copy some stuff from my laptop to a machine behind a proxying firewall.

Very quickly, I got sick of copying something to the firewall, logging in, then copying to the final machine, so I put together a small ssh proxy script that would log into the firewall for me when I requested the dest machine (sunshine), and then use nc to connect to sunshine.

But, the problem is that sometimes I carry my laptop into the house where ‘sunshine’ lives, so I extended it to become the script ssh-through-fw

With that script in an appropriate location, I add this to my ~/.ssh/config:

host sunshine

ProxyCommand $HOME/.install/bin/ssh-through-fw 192.168.1. user@firewall %h %p

Where 192.168.1. is the prefix of the IP range used in the network behind the firewall.

Now, when I am running remotely, connecting to sunshine happens through the firewall, but when I’m behind the firewall it connects directly to the machine without me thinking about it.

Mono in Barcelona

Went to Miguel’s Mono Talk at the university last night.

Nothing too unexpected in the talk, but it was nice to hang out with a bunch of Free Software Barcelonians that I’ve never met.

As an added bonus, during the talk I discovered some brain-dead code in our GStreamer GstAdapter that made for an easy 90x speedup when collecting large numbers of buffers.


I upgraded to Ubuntu Edgy (a little early, but I need the updates) – and suddenly Suspend To Ram is working on my laptop!

I’ve had this laptop 2 years, and never managed to get it to successfully resume from RAM. Woot!