Hello Planet GNOME !

I'm happy and honored to be included on Planet GNOME, in such great company !

For those who are interested in my previous posts, a quick recap (read it with your best Jack Bauer voice) :

Previously on this blog
Enough with the old stuff, let's show some progress here ! I found some music to go along with the video I made for the Banshee 1.8, and I finally went multimedia.

Of course, you have all recognized "Forgotten Heroes", a song from "Nightmares By Design" by Severed Fifth.

If want to be a Banshee hero, join us, and you will not be forgotten !


Banshee 1.8.0, a few highlights

Last week we released Banshee version 1.8.0. A lot of new features and enhancements were added since the 1.6 release six months ago. So I'm not going to list them all, I'll just point out some of my favorites.

Amazon MP3 store

Browse, search, preview, purchase, and download music without leaving your media player. I can now enjoy music I never had a chance to get my hands on before !

Detailed screencast by Aaron

The part I like the most about it is that it uses the Amazon affiliate program, and all the money goes to the GNOME Foundation. Since this was put in place in August, every month brings a new record in revenue !

OpenVP visualizations

With every major Banshee release also comes a new version of the Banshee Community Extensions.
I'm really happy that it now includes the new OpenVP extension by Chris Howie. OpenVP is a platform for developing music visualizations, and the extension adds various music visualizations in the "Now Playing" source. You can now be mesmerized by your Banshee !

OSX is back

We haven't provided updated OSX packages for quite a while, so Tarmo Milva, an Apple-fanatic and a friend, could not stand this anymore. Or maybe he just got frustrated and tired of me rambling on about the awesomeness of Banshee...
Using the bockbuild build system (created by, you guessed it, Mr. Aaron Bockover), and with a bit of patience, he managed to build Banshee on his Mac, and created a shiny bundle for easy installation. He was kind enough to share it, so you can get it from our download page, and send your thanks this way.
This is still a beta-quality preview, several features are missing and it's not as stable as our Linux releases. Any OSX-related help is welcome, especially since Tarmo is often busy running marathons...

And more !

OK, I lied, I'm going to list more new stuff anyway :
  • Major update of the hardware integration, and improved Apple device support
  • Miro podcast directory
  • Topic-based user help
  • Metadata  fix-up extension
  • MPRIS v2 support
  • ...

Pretty moving pictures

Like I did a while back to celebrate the previous major release, I made another video using the excellent version control visualization tool called Gource. This one shows the activity between 1.6.0 and 1.8.0. You will notice it starts before the release of 1.6.0 with low activity, that's the stuff that was happening on separate feature branches and that got merged in later on.

If you want to be a part of the next movie, it's easy : translatewrite documentation, write code !


Going to GUADEC - My answers to the 5 questions

Who are you and what do you do ?

I'm Bertrand Lorentz, a French guy exiled in Luxembourg. I'm working as a project manager at the Court of Justice of the EU, and I'm hacking on the great Banshee media player during my free time.

How did you get into GNOME ?

My first GNOME-related contribution was an alarm-clock extension for Banshee, back in 2006. In 2008 I got gradually more involved in Banshee itself : triaging bugs, writing small patches, managing and reviewing patches, etc. I'm now proud to be a member of the GNOME foundation.

Why are you coming to GUADEC ?

I'm going to GUADEC for the same reasons I went to GCDS last year : meet nice people, see interesting talks, and have an all-around good time.
I'm particularly looking forward to meeting Gabriel for the first time after all those online interactions, and also Alex Launi, our Google Summer of Code student.

In 1 sentence, describe what your most favorite recent GNOME project has been.

In the past months, I've been really happy to see the way the F-Spot project is going : an articulated vision, lots of positive energy and enthusiasm.
Of course, the fact that Ruben has started picking up some of my commits to Banshee and applying them  to F-Spot might have something to do with this positive opinion. Doing the work once and getting the credit twice ? Count me in !

Will this be your first time visiting the Netherlands ?

Yes, although it's not that far from where I live, I never had the opportunity to visit the Netherlands. So that will be one item off my list of "EU countries I've never been to"

So, I'm attending GUADEC and I hope I'll see you there !


Celebrating Banshee 1.6

As you probably know, we released Banshee 1.6 a few days ago. You can read all about it in the release notes, and in Gabriel's blog.

After a long development cycle that culminated in this major release, you naturally take some time to look back and reflect on how things are going. Gabriel already did that and has some beautiful evidence to show.

In this spirit, and to celebrate all the contributions we received during this cycle, here's a short video, made using the Gource visualization tool. Look at all these people adding features, fixing bugs, translating, etc.

Banshee git history from Bertrand Lorentz on Vimeo.

It shows the source code repository activity since it was switched to git in April 2009, which corresponds to somewhere between the 1.4.3 and the 1.5.0 releases. Using the history before that time would be much less interesting, as it would show the committers, and not the real authors of the contribution.
Also, the files only appear as they are modified, so don't be fooled : the Banshee source tree wasn't that small in April 2009 !

As I left out the textual information, for maximum eye-candy-ness, you can play a little game to test your Banshee knowledge : Are you able to identify parts of the directory structure (spotting po/ should be easy) ? Can you recognize people just by their contribution pattern ?

If you enjoyed this video, I really recommend you install and run Gource in interactive mode : just go into your Banshee git checkout and run "gource". You can see all the information, skip to a specific date, zoom in, track an author, etc.

If you want to join the fun and be in the next video, it's easy : http://banshee-project.org/contribute/


A Mirage made of music

Mirage 0.6 is now available, bringing interesting new features and bug fixes.

Mirage is an extension for Banshee, the media player you all know and love. It analyzes all the songs in your music library and is then able to evaluate the similarity between any particular songs, just by looking at the acoustic signal.

Mirage was originally created by Dominik Schnitzer as a part of his master thesis (Mirage - High-Performance Music Similarity Computation and Automatic Playlist Generation, pdf). I won't even try to pretend that I understand half of what is going on during the acoustic analysis and the similarity calculations, but I can tell you that there are matrices and Fourier transforms, amongst others.

Analyzing a song shouldn't take more than a few seconds, but of course if you have a music library with several thousand tracks, those seconds can add up to become quite a while. The good thing is that you can stop the analysis at any time, restart later, and Mirage only analyzes tracks that were not already processed.

When the analysis is finished, you can then select one or several tracks, drag-n-drop them to the "Playlist Generator" source and Mirage will automatically create a playlist of similar songs. The playlist will be refreshed automatically and will adapt itself as you listen to the songs or skip them.

This release introduces a new and experimental "duplicate search" feature : go to "Tools > Mirage Playlist Generator" and select "Duplicate Search". Mirage will then go through your whole music library and if any two tracks are very similar to each other, they will be added to a "Mirage Duplicates" playlist.

So go ahead and try it !


The country next door

I'm going to FOSDEM, the Free and Open Source Software Developers' European Meeting
I'm going to FOSDEM, and I'll be in Brussels for the whole week-end. I'm really looking forward to see again some of the people I've met in Gran Canaria, and to meet new faces.

I just have to decide if I'll be going by car or by train. One thing's for sure : I won't be driving after the Beer Event !