Monobuntu Developer Summit notes

The session I came to UDS to be part of, Default Media Player Choice, is over. The upshot? Well, notes on the session will appear online soon (for now, try connecting to gobby.ubuntu.com with Gobby, and opening karmic-desktop-default-media-player), but the summary? I owe Jorge Castro a beer. The session was productive, everyone had constructive things to talk about, concerns to voice about all available choices, but the potted version:

Totem will remain default “file” player in Karmic.

Rhythmbox will remain default “library” player in Karmic – UNLESS a list of specific blockers mentioned in the Gobby notes is fixed, at which point Banshee would become the default. The deadline for the change is Karmic Feature Freeze (August 27th).

I want to thank Seb, Jorge and Evan, as well as others, for the time they put into the session – and here’s hoping for an awesome media experience in Karmic!

38 Responses to “Monobuntu Developer Summit notes”

  1. Excellent! I love Banshee so much I even use it on my KDE 4.2 Fedora installation instead of Amarok. What a nice turn around :P

    [reply]

    directhex Reply:

    @Jean Azzopardi, Out of interest, why not use Amarok, which should better fit your desktop experience? Is there anything specific that you feel Amarok does wrong? I’m sure the Amarok guys would love to hear from you.

    Or, and here’s an idea to cause mass vomiting, why not consider working on a Qyoto-based frontend to the Banshee core?

    [reply]

    Jean Azzopardi Reply:

    @directhex, It’s mainly the new UI they’ve done. I used to prefer their old UI. IIRC Banshee’s UI used to be pretty bad before they redesigned it, and that kept me to Amarok even though I was using Gnome at the time. When the Banshee devs improved it, I switched to Banshee, and now that they’ve also added video support, there’s pretty much 0 reason to go to Amarok now, unless one considers the mono/microsoft F.U.D. which I don’t care much for.

    P.S. I’ve now gone to Ubuntu Jaunty, to try it out, and Fedora is bye-bye..and I’m using Gnome lol :D
    P.P.S. Personally, I would enjoy trying to port Banshee to Q.T. IMHO, the Amarok guys jumped the boat when they redesigned their U.I. It was perfect then.

    [reply]

    directhex Reply:

    @Jean Azzopardi, Banshee is very modular, which is how making multiple GUIs can happen (Muinshee et al). I don’t know how integrated into GTK the whole GUI layer is – but if the services layer is GTK-free, then you COULD make a GUI using Qyoto/Kimono. Which would be incredibly awesome.

    [reply]

  2. If Rhythmbox is really dead in maintenance mode now, they should just move to Banshee. The good news is that it is easy to install and uninstall programs.

    [reply]

    directhex Reply:

    @KeithCu, I feel it’s important to make the right decision for the right reasons. I think Seb made absolutely the right call by putting blockers in place for Banshee – they’re things which SHOULD be fixed. Hopefully, they will – we already have one of the five a11y bugs fixed, thanks to work by the incredibly sexy Gabriel Burt upstream (although this needs a new GTK# release). 3 months to fix three blockers? I reckon it’s doable

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  3. Ugh, this is a very bad idea. Mono is a poor stack and is a threat to software freedom.

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  4. UNLESS a list of specific blockers mentioned in the Gobby notes…

    Can you provide a link to what these blockers are? Is it achievable to get these fixed before the deadline?

    [reply]

    directhex Reply:

    @Daniel, You should track the dependencies of http://bugzilla.gnome.org/show_bug.cgi?id=583933 for that – the short version is “Online store, preferably Magnatune; a11y; Offline documentation”. The first in that list either needs someone in the community or at Canonical to step up – there’s an old WIP for it which sorta works in a very limited capacity, but needs love

    [reply]

  5. mono-hater, while i’m not a large mono fan myself.. there are plenty of other non software freedom things in ubuntu…one more isn’t going to change much!

    [reply]

  6. […] THEY try to insert the Novell-owned, Mono-based media player into Ubuntu, promoters of Mono would even call it “Monobuntu” now. Here are some […]

  7. Oh look, a pingback.

    It seems Roy is too forgetful to remember http://www.tuxradar.com/content/ubuntu-rewrite-linux-kernel-using-mono – which he linked to himself in April

    [reply]

  8. Good luck with getting it ready in time, directhex.

    I’ve been using banshee for a few months now and am somewhat unhappy, especially with performance. Doing a search maxes out my core 2 duo with 4 gb ram for about 30 seconds, which makes playing music a pain. Plus, there are some nasty bugs.

    Such performance problems can hopefully be fixed, and the banshee community seems to be growing, which is always a good sign. Plus, the architecture seems to be nice, with the possibility of having different UIs based on the same foundation (Muinshee etc.)

    [reply]

    directhex Reply:

    @Wolki, I’m not sure what would cause such terrible search woes – the searching is all just SQLite queries. Now, Banshee DOES have higher CPU consumption than Rhythmbox when scrolling or searching, but this is the price for Banshee’s infinitely better scalability (Banshee’s RAM consumption should not go up much regardless of library size, unlike RB)

    As for nasty bugs, can you report them upstream? Unreported bugs “don’t exist” ;)

    [reply]

    Wolki Reply:

    @directhex, sorry for the late answer, I forgot I didn’t reply yet.

    The search time may well have to do with my having a large library. It’s also rather inconsistent, usually it’s quite a bit faster after starting, then gets worse after using the program for some time. Same thing for memory use, around 70-80 mb after starting but can easily grow to twice that amount.

    I think most of the bugs are filed already, but bugzilla can be a pain to search and I tend to forget to subscribe to bugs. :-/ I will try to do better, and investigate the issues I have in more detail.

    [reply]

    Jean Azzopardi Reply:

    @Wolki, I agree with directhex regarding bugs. Use irc and gnome bugzilla, the devs are quite active when reporting bugs. Searching isn’t much of an issue for me here, but I only have 4671 items in my collection.

    [reply]

  9. >> Banshee’s RAM consumption should not go up much regardless of library size

    Woa… now that is really not true. I use banshee for years now (and love it) but I use it with different libraries (databases). One only has a few songs, one has a few thousands. The latter leads to a much, much larger banshee process. Actually, how would this *not* be the case? If you have a 20+ mb db, this has to be stored somewhere, right?

    [reply]

    directhex Reply:

    Okay, yes, it needs to be stored somewhere. For banshee, “somewhere” is the SQLite database. For Rhythmbox, this is not only its database – but also the GTk ListStore object. See, Rhythmbox stores lists every track in one GTK object, which grows pretty much linearly with items. Banshee has a magic custom widget for lists which only contains n+20 items, where n is the number of on-screen items – so whilst the SQLite database size will impact Banshee, the GTK object bloat cannot.

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  10. The blocker for Banshee is Mono. ;-)

    [reply]

    directhex Reply:

    Not really. Actually I was surprised by the extent to which nobody seemed to care about that detail during the UDS session. The only driver is technical – for the best app.

    [reply]

    Robert Millan Reply:

    > […] nobody seemed to care about that detail […]

    I think you meant “nobody but me” :-)

    (feel free to pretend otherwise, but noone will believe ya)

    [reply]

    directhex Reply:

    @Robert Millan, well, I didn’t notice any protest at the session. I would have noticed. I had a bet with Jorge, and he would have owed me a beer if there had been any protest. So either you were too subtle, or there simply wasn’t enough popular support amongst the attendees about turning it into an issue

    [reply]

    Robert Millan Reply:

    > either you were too subtle […]

    Me? Too subtle? I wasn’t even there! Or perhaps you confuse me with someone else…

    I think you missed my point, I’ll make it clearer: I think YOU are the person who cared more about which language is the music player written in than about the player itself. It doesn’t take a bright mind to figure that out, anyone could just by reading your blog.

    Anyway, my congratulations for getting what you wanted. Ubuntu is a bit less distinguishable from a Novell wanabee now. Except, unlike Novell, it didn’t pay for royalties. Corporate users won’t be exactly happy with the “freeloader approach”.

    [reply]

    directhex Reply:

    @Robert Millan, Right. Okay. So when you said “me” you meant “you”. On the same page now.

    I’m going to try and explain something to you here. My interest in something is not necessarily related to my recommendation of something. Do I find Blam an interesting RSS reader? Sure. But I wouldn’t generally recommend it, since it’s not the best app in its class. Do I find gTwitter an interesting Twitter client? Sure. But Gwibber is miles better. Do I find Galaxium an interesting IM client? Yep. But it’s nowhere near as good as Pidgin or Empathy.

    Do you understand the difference between something being personally interesting and being best? Okay, good. That’s a start.

    Now. Banshee has been personally interesting for a long time. It’s been my media library app on and off for a year or two. I’ve said, on the record, as recently as 3 months ago that Rhythmbox is still a sensible, logical default for people who don’t find it personally interesting. HOWEVER, as it stands today, Banshee is a better app with a brighter future. It’s those who deny that who are the ones who care about the language it’s written in, as your reply CLEARLY states. I’m after the best app. If Listen or Exaile (Python apps) manage to exceed Banshee, or if Songbird manages to stop being a bloated Xul mess, then those would be worth moving to. However, none of those apps are even on the table at this point in time. The way I use Pidgin and not Galaxium.

    Understand?

    [reply]

    Robert Millan Reply:

    > Understand?

    Oh, sure I understand the difference. Nevertheless I think it clouds your vision, that’s all.

    [reply]

    Robert Millan Reply:

    As for:

    > as it stands today, Banshee is a better app with a brighter future. It’s those who deny that who are the ones who care about the language it’s written in

    Well I don’t have a goddam clue which is the better app. I play my music by running mplayer from command-line. But I think it’s clear why I dislike the decision, so please don’t play straw man with me.

    Anyway, from what I understood, this decision is not final yet, is it?

    [reply]

  11. Then why isn’t VLC the default video application?

    Gnome should limit its liberary zoo. Windows is delivered with Notepad and all users are fine with it. The core must be stable.

    Banshee is nothing but a sponsored trojan to get Mono dependencies of gnome. It is exactly this culture of (immature) liberary infection which I cannot stand.

    [reply]

    directhex Reply:

    @André, Let’s see. Because VLC pulls in Qt4? There’s a reason for you. Or that VLC builds in assorted actively-protected patented codecs (whereas Totem can keep them at arms’ length using Gstreamer’s plugin-non-demand infrastructure)

    [reply]

    André Reply:

    @directhex,

    Exactly. QT4. So while QT based applications run fine under a Gnome Desktop Environment you don’t build Gnome with QT. So why .NET then? What makes the difference between .NET/Mono and QT4?

    [reply]

    directhex Reply:

    @André, Look & Feel, there’s one detail. Qt apps are alien on a GTK+ desktop. Or there’s the space issue – VLC on a standard Ubuntu desktop uses more disk space than F-Spot, Tomboy, and Mono combined. Or, again, the codec issue

    [reply]

  12. Or do we forget the fact that, the touted ECMA license is NON EXISTANT ,, so much for the mono supporters attempt to force all this NON open source software down everyones throat..remember GROKLAW, and the lawyer retained that verified that indeed moonlight isn’t what you all said it was..and of course we have the ecma issue now for mono…moonlight mono..hmm tisk tisk .

    http://www.itwire.com/content/view/25215/1090/ < OH , im sorry, maybe you dont want people to know about this nor do you want to seemingly answer questions about it…maybe this isn’t the best place to post this, and maybe with the more FREE fedora removing mono that it wont matter soon, but hey sometimes the truth hurts doens’t it, and that truth should always be made available to even those that othewise might not know , thereby forcing things on people they aren’t aware of ,nor would they want IF they knew about them.

    Maybe you should just stick to python & /or c++, like gnotes ? :)

    cheers
    nl

    [reply]

    directhex Reply:

    For those who have ever dealt with large companies, Sam’s piece comes across as naive at best, and deceitful at worst. 1 month is not a long time when dealing with large multi-nationals. I once didn’t receive a reply for 3 months from HP over a query – and that query was “we have $100,000 to spend, what’ve you got?”. You need to badger people – remind them. And even then it may take a large length of time to get to you. Or they might decide to search for you on Goog, erm, whatever their crap new search engine is, to see if you’re a timewaster… and decide to simply ignore your message on that basis.

    So no, Sam’s little article isn’t proof of anything other than a gross lack of comprehension in how to approach large companies.

    As for you, Lee, you appear to have a major issue with cognitive dissonance. “Force” doesn’t mean what you think it means.

    [reply]

    alphaomega Reply:

    @neighborlee, I’d just like to point out that Pamela Jones IS NOT A LAWYER. Her article was also about the Moonlight 1.0 covenant, not Mono. There is a HUGE difference, especially considering that Moonlight 1.0 does not use Mono at all.

    [reply]

  13. I used f-spot without knowing that it relies on Mono. After getting into the Banshee vs. Rhythmbox discussion I am inclined to get rid of f-spot as well.
    At first against all claims Rhythmbox works for me better than Banshee but I have to confess Banshee looks more shiny. Rhythmbox can read and write my Ipod as well, has last.fm and podcast implementation, has extra features like watched music folders, etc. And it is a rumour that the development of Rhythmbox is or will be stopped.
    On the other hand there are real patent issues to Mono. Please read the first comment of http://www.osnews.com/thread?304661
    And the possible patent holder is not any company it is Microsoft. And despite developers bring forward good technical arguments for using Mono, in the end business (CEO, CIO) will make the decisions and not the developers. And Microsoft will make money and not community decisions.

    IF MONO will get deeper rooted into GNU/Linux desktop, I can imagine the sales conversation of a Microsoft representative, boasting that without support of Microsoft GNU/Linux would be not as successful as it is. The image of strong Microsoft helping the weak GNU/Linux community can destroy the trust of customers in Linux and drive them to Microsoft products.
    And not to be misunderstood out of the same reason I stay away from Google products as Picasa, Chrome, Gmail, etc. as well. In the end you always have to pay with something, – personal data, less decision possiblities, money for future licenses, etc.

    [reply]

  14. se2009,

    Who cares what is said in a sales conversation by a Microsoft employee? Instead, let’s focus on making Linux better than Windows in every way.

    [reply]

  15. Warum freie Software nicht von Mono oder C# abhängig sein sollte…

    Richard Stallman hat am 26.06. in einem offenen Brief (via) anlässlich der Einbindung Monos in die Standardinstallation von Debian dazu aufgerufen, sich nicht von C# abhängig zu machen. Das Problem seien nicht die freien Implementierungen von C#, sonde…

  16. […] Rhythmbox resterait le lecteur par défaut, sauf si certains bugs bloquants de Banshee sont corrigés avant le 27 Août (Feature Freeze). Dans ce cas c’est Banshee qui serait par défaut. (source) […]

  17. […] Monobuntu Developer Summit notes from the indefatigable Jo Shields. […]

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