Why does Network Manager rock

I was out of the city (Saint Petersburg) for two weeks, and I needed some kind of Internet connection (there was no wired or wireless connection). So I bought a 3G USB dongle from the local mobile network operator. I had never used such devices before. Mine one was a Huawei E1550 (E620). I plugged it in USB and waited for some seconds. A new device (with the suggestion to create a new connection) appeared in Network Manager's list of connections. I clicked for Next button three or four times, selected my operator from the list and... that's all! I clicked for a new connection and I was in Internet after a few seconds. No third-party software or drivers installation. Awesome! Just plug-and-work. Thanks to all NM developers for such a great job.

P.S. Just got an email for successful final evalution for my GSoC 2010 :) I'm really happy to finish this summer on positive note, though a lot of work is on the road.

GSoC Weekly Code Report 12

This is my last GSoC 2010 weekly report. I have mixed feelings: on one hand I'm sad that summer is over along with the GSoC, but on another hand I'm happy and proud that I had been working with such a great GNOME community. Before GSoC I was just looking at all that was happening around opensource world, especially the GNOME. I always wanted to make something useful for others, but I didn't know where to start from. And for me GSoC was like a door to the opensource world. It let me to come in, and now I don't want to go back :)

Well, this week I was working on GstToc support in the GStreamer. But there are some more good news: my Totem chapters plugin was pushed into the master branch (git commit) and now you can test it with the fresh Totem git snapshot. I'm really glad to see it there, and you are welcome to test it and to file some bug reports :) Regarding to GstToc work, there were quite a few changes. I added new GstTocSetter interface (with unit tests) similar to GstTagSetter interface, so that applications can set TOC on the pipeline via the proper tocsetter element, added copy functions for GstTocEntry and GstToc structures, removed some values from GstTocEntry, added methods to set/get time positions of the TOC entries, updated tests for GstToc and all docs. Also other fixes and improvements were done. You can track new patches in the bug report 540890.

Now I want to summarize a bit all the work I had been doing during GSoC. You can read more about my project and how the GSoC was on my project's page.

What Is Done
  • All things mentioned in my GSoC proposal except writing files with embedded chapters and overlay titles. The first one will need file transcoding, which is not cool to do inside Totem. Before GSoC I thought that it can be done without transcoding, but I was wrong. Overlay titles need some changes in Totem's GStreamer backend, and they are not so important to spend time on them.
  • Wrote my own tiny CMML parser with embedded thumbnails support using libxml2 to drop dependency for obsolete libcmml, included in the chapters plugin.
  • Started to implement generic TOC support (GstToc) in the GStreamer. Totem (and chapters plugin, too) will have great benefits from that: imagine that you can navigate through FLAC tracks from the embedded cue sheet or chapters from the Matroska file. And support for new formats in GStreamer will require almost no changes in chapters plugin (see link for separate repository on the project's page).
  • Implemented Matroska chapters support based on GstToc (see link for separate repository on the project's page). But it will require some changes because GstToc isn't stable enough.

What I'm Going to Do After GSoC
  • Improve Totem chapters plugin (some UI redesign, integration with GstToc).
  • Finish GstToc support in the GStreamer.
  • Finish Matroska chapters support after GstToc stabilization.
  • Implement GstToc support for the FLAC embedded cue sheets (I have already read FLAC specifications).
  • Look for other GStreamer elements where I can implement GstToc support to make chapters plugin more valuable.

What I Have Learnt During GSoC
  • GLib/GObject
  • GTK+
  • libxml2
  • CMML and Annodex formats
  • OGG/liboggz
  • GStreamer
  • Matroska/EBML format
  • FLAC format
  • How to work with git and bugzilla
  • Autotools a bit
  • and other coding tips & tricks

I want to say a big "thank you" to my mentor Bastien Nocera for his help, advices and guidance during this summer, to Sebastian Dröge from the GStreamer team for his great help with GstToc and Matroska, to all GSoC GNOME administrators for their hard work with us and to all those people who helped me with advices and who simply believed in my success - I tried to do my best. And also I want to thanks Google for such a great opportunity to work during this summer. I'm not saying goodbye, I just want to put a little point at the end of this summer :)

GSoC Weekly Code Report 11

Ouh, yet another week is gone. It's a time for the "soft" pencils down state — to fix bugs and to make final touches. Well, I still have a lot of work and ideas to do :) For me the finish line of the GSoC 2010 is rather smooth because I will continue working on my project after that, so it's just some kind of a checkpoint I have to go through.

This week I was working on my GstToc implementation. First of all, I fixed some stuff: added GstStructure field to GstToc and GstTocEntry to store some additional info there, added pointer to the GstPad into every GstTocEntry to track the origin of the chapters. I added a new GstQuery — TOC query, using which you can retrieve full TOC with UID marker for the TOC entry which can be used to extend the TOC with new entries. Also I added a new GstEvent — TOC select event, to select a chapter or edition to start playback from. It will make easier chapters navigation via applications. Now I can remove start/stop and format values from GstTocEntry because they are not generic (some elements doesn't need them), but we need to find a way to store these values somewhere so that applications can retrieve them for additional information for the user interface. And I updated GstToc tests to handle new query and event, and docs for all the recent changes.

Well, I've done not so much I wanted last week, but last three days I was working only for some hours due to the breakage of my laptop's AC adapter :( Just got a new one ($55 for that — the costs are quite high here in Russia), and now I can work more. I'm moving out of the city for two weeks, so I'll be online not a much time, but I'll not stop working and try to find some kind of mobile broadband Internet there. Next week I want to work on GstToc stuff and it's implementation in the Matroska element.

GSoC Weekly Code Report 10

Heya, guys! I hope you all had a great time at the GUADEC :) This week I hadn't done too much due to absence of my mentors, but I got some days for the rest a bit, which I spent reading some books. Well, not only the books, actually. We started to discuss with Sebastian Dröge how we can integrate GstToc into the GStreamer, and I got first stuff I need to fix/implement for that. Also I read FLAC documentation to prepare for implementing cue sheets using GstToc and looked up through the flac element to figure out how I can do that. Now it's pretty clear for me.

Last week I was quite accurate with my planning due to the GUADEC :) Now, when all are backed, I can continue working on my project. First of all, I want to continue working on GstToc integration. I think that amount of work is quite well to do, so I'll do my best. Also I wish I'll have time to work on my chapters plugin. Now when Bastien Nocera is here, we can discuss what I need to do with it. See you next week with some results :)