Bits from the Debian Multimedia Team
The Debian Multimedia Maintainers have been quite active since the Squeeze release, and have some interesting plans for the Wheezy release cycle. Here we give you an update on what work has been done and work that is still ongoing.
Plans for Wheezy
lash -> ladish
LASH Audio Session Handler was abandoned upstream in favor of the new session management system, called ladish: LADI Session Handler.
ladish will allow users to run many JACK applications at once and save/restore their configuration with few mouse clicks.
The current status of the integration between the new session handler and JACK may be summarized as follows:
ladish provides the backend;
laditools contains a number of useful graphical tools to tune the session management system's whole configuration (including JACK);
gladish provides a graphical interface for the session handler, written with the GTK+2.0 libraries.
Note that ladish uses the D-Bus interface to the jack daemon. This means that jackd1 does not support it. The current jackd2 version available in Debian Wheezy fully supports ladish and also cooperates fine with it.
ffmpeg -> Libav
As you might have noticed, there have been some disruptive changes inside the FFmpeg project. In Debian, we are following the Libav fork, which has inherited most of the infrastructure (such as the FATE regression testsuite), the logo, and most of the former active developers. In many ways, Libav is the closer continuation of what used to be FFmpeg and fits Debian's needs much better. So far, the real winner of these events have been the users as important developments, such as frame based multi-threading (575600), have finally been merged.
After years of parallel development, the mplayer2 fork of mplayer has matured a lot to the point of being a usable alternative. Currently, mplayer2 has been packaged and can already be found in wheezy. We are currently considering what to do with the old mplayer package as mplayer2 no longer provides mencoder, but offers a number of other promising features.
After many years of work with both the upstream developers and the FTP master team, one of the changes that are most visible for users of Debian regarding multimedia is the availability of the LAME MP3 encoder in the main distribution, without having to resort to unofficial repositories. Besides a command line utility, LAME is, perhaps, most used as a library by other packages, and this effort has already began occuring: libav/ffmpeg, audacity, the GStreamer framework and other applications are already being compiled to take advantage of a free, high quality MP3 encoding engine.
The xvidcore package, which provide MPEG-4 SP/ASP video codecs has been uploaded to Debian. It has already been integrated into Libav and mplayer, so you can now encode XViD streams.
The x264 package, which provide H.264/MPEG-4 AVC compliant video codecs, have been added to the main distribution and already integrated into other applications.
LV2 revision 6
The popular SuperCollider software synth has been uploaded to unstable. Go give it a try!
More information about team's activity are available at http://blends.alioth.debian.org/multimedia/.
Where to reach us
The Debian Multimedia Maintainers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org for packaging related topics, or at email@example.com for user and more general discussion. We would like to invite everyone interested in multimedia to join us there. Some of the team members are also in the #debian-multimedia channel on OFTC.