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PulseCaster 0.1.10 released!

Today I released PulseCaster 0.1.10 with some under the hood improvements:

  • Switch from GConf to GSettings, and include schema file
  • Providing appdata for GNOME Software
  • Provide hidden “audiorate” key for 44.1/48 kHz selection
  • Complete GObject introspection switchover, eliminating excess dependencies and fixing bugs (RHBZ #1045717)
  • Automatically provide .ogg filename extension in standard mode
  • Additional translations

I’m planning some UI improvements for this little podcasting utility. I’m also hoping to do significant code refactoring for 0.2, tentatively scheduled for late spring/early summer. I’m also thinking about moving the central development repo to GitHub, since that’s where a lot of other Fedora incubated projects have migrated.

Of course, updated packages are coming shortly for Fedora 20.

PulseCaster lets you record interviews with simplicity. It pulls audio from two sources via PulseAudio, then mixes them into an Ogg Vorbis file for you. There’s also an expert mode that allows you to lossless audio in WAV format, and mix the audio yourself with post processing. For example, you could interview someone via a Voice-over-IP (VoIP) application, then include the interview in your podcast.

I used a little time between sessions (and during one session where I was completely in over my head) to push this out. It was nice to work on some free software of my own at a conference for developers! Hope you enjoy the new PulseCaster release.

PulseCaster 0.1.9 is released!

Yup, 0.1.9 has finally made it out the door. Here’s the tarball and the git repo. There are also updated packages coming shortly in Fedora 17, 18, and Rawhide. If you want to help test those to get them out sooner, look here for the package for your Fedora release.

Plus, did you know there’s a Facebook page for PulseCaster? Visit it, like it, and feel the love.

PulseCaster 0.1.9: The gruesome details

I have no witty release name attached to any of the releases, so let’s call this “The One Where We Figured Out How to Give People an Expert Option and Translations, Too.” Some of the secret features you’ll find in this release:

  • An expert option
  • Translations

OK, I’m being a bit snarky here. Mainly I’m trying to play all nonchalant about how long it actually took me to get around to working on another release. Here’s a better listing of new stuff in 0.1.9:

  • PulseCaster now uses GTK+ 3.0.
  • PulseCaster also now uses PyGObject and GObject introspection for most stuff. The GStreamer bits are still a bit rough in the gir code. Specifically I found it difficult to get at messages on the bus. I’ll keep working on that, possibly for 0.2.
  • There’s now an expert option that writes the recorded streams to two separate files in lossless FLAC format, so you can mix your own recording later. The default mode still writes a single Ogg Vorbis file, which suffices for most people. (The code here’s more than a bit hacky and needs to be cleaned up in 0.2.)
  • Using the excellent Transifex service, translations are now part of PulseCaster! Many thanks to the wonderful volunteer translators around the world who contributed translations to the release, and to the Transifex folks for their great service.

Future work

Some of the features on the current roadmap:

  • Clean up messy separate-stream code (see above)
  • Provide a recording pause button
  • Do some volume leveling and/or compression to help recordings sound better
  • Provide more helpful information on disk space available/used

As always, you can find the PulseCaster site at http://pulsecaster.org — bugs and enhancement requests are welcome. Input from users helped to drive (eventually!) the work for this release, so a tip of the hat to them for participating!

Congratulations on Fedora 17!

I wanted to extend a hearty congratulations to the whole Fedora community on another great release.

I’ve already been using the Beefy Miracle since before Beta, and I’m very impressed with its stability and ease of use. A special pat on the back to Robyn Bergeron for her first release as the Fedora Project Leader. I remember well that the FPL’s first release is always filled with stress and anxiety, even though the whole community always works hard to ensure a smooth release. Robyn, now that you have your first release in the rear view mirror,* you should definitely relish the moment. (OK, you had to give me just one hot dog joke.)

There are a huge number of features in this release — thank you to all the developers and maintainers both upstream and in the Fedora community who helped make them possible. Fedora is possible because of the great work done upstream in the free software community and I’m grateful every day for the awesome software that allows me to freely pursue work and play using Fedora. If you haven’t seen the bonanza of awesomeness in this release, you should definitely check out the feature list.

Nice work, everyone — enjoy Fedora 17 and then, I guess, it’ll be time to get cracking on Fedora 18!

Upstream release monitoring for Drupal modules.

Today I added a couple examples to the Fedora wiki’s upstream release monitoring page that will allow maintainers to track new releases of Drupal modules. You can simply follow the template to add yours.

The upstream release monitoring system is provided through the courtesy of long-time Fedora contributor Till Maas, whose cnucnu software informs participating maintainers by filing a bug when the upstream releases a new copy of their software. Although most if not all maintainers monitor feeds and mailing lists, the bug is a reminder of what’s left to do, and doesn’t require the maintainer to stop what they’re doing when they get an email or RSS notification. Instead, they can trust their bug list.

As we are finishing up our last steps on the Insight project, we wanted to make sure that, since we packaged quite a number of Drupal modules to do our development and staging, we continued to keep on top of maintenance duties. Having the upstream releases monitored with automatic bugs was a natural next step. Of course, it also helps when you have a willing team of people who sign on for co-maintenance, or at least watch Bugzilla for those packages to pitch in when needed.

Thanks to Peter Borsa, Sven Lankes, Eric Christensen, and the seemingly omnipotent Jon Ciesla for their help maintaining these useful packages. It wouldn’t be possible without you guys.

PulseCaster 0.1.8.1 released!

Yup, a new release of PulseCaster is finally out with some real improvements. Iffy design? You betcha. Ugly code? Don’t even get me started. Pernicious bugs lurking? Bring it on. But I’m still happy, and you know why?

Working VU meters. That’s right, it took me forever to find the answer that was right under my nose all the time: the GStreamer “level” element. Why build a bunch of bindings to PulseAudio, even if I love it, when I can just set up a GStreamer pipeline with a couple quick Python commands? It seemed to me I pored over the GStreamer docs constantly when I started working on this project, but somehow I just kept missing “level,” when it was all I needed.

The recording guts haven’t changed at all — PulseCaster is currently designed to do just one thing, which is allow you to record two sides of an audio conversation supported by a PulseAudio server to an Ogg Vorbis file you can immediately publish. So if you want to interview someone using a SIP application, you just dial them up, run PulseCaster and set the inputs, and hit the record button.

That being said, this is a 0.1.x series and is nowhere near what I want the interface to look like eventually. I have plans for that, <evil_laugh>mwahahaha</evil_laugh>. But it’s at least the teeny-tiniest bit useful as is, and because it’s Python, it’s eminently hackable if you have the inclination. Just wear shades when you read the code so you’re not blinded by the horror.

The git repo has a TODO list currently, but I’m going to make an effort to transfer its contents soon to Trac tickets at the upstream site, and do a better job at release management. You know, in my copious spare time.

Enjoy!

Pick me up, no. 9247.

Last night, in the wake of the excellent Fedora 14 release, I was feeling a little wistful. In part that’s because Fedora 14 marks the last release where I participated as the Fedora Project Leader or helped with FPL-ish release tasks. I’m confident Jared will do a great job with Fedora 15 and beyond, but I guess it’s a little like watching your kid go off to school for the first time. You’re excited for them, and hopeful about the future, but you also think back to how much fun it was to have your child around the house all the time, and see so many of the experiences they have, in real time.

So anyway, my wife had brought home the new Blu-ray edition of Toy Story 3, which certainly surpassed my expectations in being possibly the best of the three Toy Story movies. Now, if you haven’t seen the film, I’m not going to bother telling you why — just go out and see it now. In fact, if you haven’t seen any of the Toy Story movies, you need to start with the first one and watch all three. I promise you they are just as enjoyable for adults as they are for kids.

Interestingly, digital animation has come so far in the past 15 years that you can easily see the difference between the level of detail in the original Toy Story and what you find in TS3. But the story is what counts in every film — animated ones are no exception. And the people at Pixar are very clear that the story rules, first and foremost, in what they do. Each of the films is a masterpiece of storytelling, from the first frame to the last. Doubtless that’s why they’ve all been incredible box office successes, and have touched the hearts of literally billions of people around the world. See all of them at the first opportunity. Seriously!

So anyhow, we watched TS3 and greatly enjoyed it for the second time (having seen it in 3D in the theater with our kids this past summer). But then I got an extra bonus when I popped in Disc 2 of the set, the disc that includes a bunch of supplements. During the supplements, the filmmakers and crew at Pixar show off a lot of the work that goes into making one of these groundbreaking films. And thanks to the exceptional resolution of the Blu-ray format, you can pick out a lot of detail in the material they show.

Including the fact that the animators were running Fedora on a number of their systems!

This really made me happy, and quickly drove away any residual blues I might have had. What a wonderful thing it was to know that Fedora, in its own way, had something to do with bringing so much joy to so many people, including my own family! It was a really nice way to celebrate our latest Fedora release, and I just wanted to share that with everyone.

Also, I want to congratulate everyone who contributed to this release, and continues to do great work in the Fedora Project — whether it’s easy or difficult, fun or painstaking, lofty or detailed. You help make Fedora a great community, and that in turn has helped Fedora bring joy and freedom to countless people. WAY TO GO!

Getting the jump, no. 14.

With only two days left until Fedora 14 release, I went ahead and upgraded the behemoth in my home office, a Dell XPS 730x workstation, to the new “Laughlin” release. Once again I used preupgrade to do the bulk of the work. Because there’s not an official preupgrade update out yet, I customized a releases.txt file to include a definition for Fedora 14, setting the baseurl and installurl values to a local mirror in my home network where I was mirroring the development/14 tree. (I probably should do something with MirrorManager to make my local network accept mirror requests locally, but I haven’t got a Round Tuit since I updated my server.) :-)

Normally a user wouldn’t have to do this, of course. I only did it because I was impatient and didn’t want to wait. Most users could simply run preupgrade and click next a few times to do everything they want.

The key to preupgrade happiness is making sure that you have plenty of space in your /boot partition, and wherever you’re keeping /var/cache/yum. You can run df -h /boot /var/cache/yum to find out — You’ll probably want a few hundred MB free* in /boot, and 2 GB in /var/cache/yum should suffice, depending on how much stuff you have installed on your system. Even with quite a lot installed on my system, I only needed 1.2 GB to store packages, and had about 4.4 GB free, so it was smooth sailing.

Incidentally, this is where Logical Volume Management (LVM), as opposed to old, simple physical disk partitions comes in so handy. You can use LVM to adjust your partitions to give more space where you need it, when you need it, and in cases like this it’s an invaluable Fedora feature.

Once preupgrade downloaded everything it needed, it presented a dialog telling me I could reboot any time to finish the upgrade. After saving my work, I rebooted and the upgrade process started with no intervention needed. For 1549 packages, the final step of the process — upgrading the packages after rebooting — took approximately 75 minutes. A yum update process performs a lot of work beyond simply copying files onto the disk, to ensure your system’s integrity, so this extra time is to be expected. I like to wander off and work on something else while preupgrade runs, so the computer’s not wasting my time!

The only (optional) step I had to take was to switch my desktop background to the new artwork. (There are extra laughlin-backgrounds-* packages that include a number of striking photographs and alternate artwork, including an animated background that changes to reflect the time of day.) I also think this picture and this picture, both by Design team superstar Emily Dirsh, are beautiful alternatives.

This is the third time I’ve used preupgrade for an upgrade to the next Fedora release on a home system. From everything I’ve seen, it’s a great way to proceed if you don’t want to install from scratch and reconfigure lots of stuff. It’s exceptionally helpful in cases where you have a non-optimal setup that you don’t want to mess with, for example not having a separate /home partition, where otherwise you’d need to have a backup and restore process bracketing your installation.** Preupgrade is simple enough that almost anyone should be able to use it, just by clicking through simple prompts.


* The default for Fedora installations now is to use 500 MB for /boot — though it used to be much less. If you have less, you may want to consider doing a full backup, reinstalling (and choosing at least 500 MB for this partition), and then restoring your data. That way in the future you can use preupgrade.

** Note that frequent backups are still absolutely vital though, no matter what you run or how you upgrade.

Update: Changed the title of the post, which I can’t explain other than my not thinking clearly. Wrong idiom! Bad writer, no cookie!

Lucky for everyone.

Today is release day for Fedora 13! Go grab a copy of the latest goodness at the download site. Remember that our Live images can be turned into discs or you can make a Live USB for even more hotness.

If you choose to use BitTorrent to download, please be kind and seed for others.

To all my friends, co-workers, associates, and peeps in the Fedora Project — THANK YOU for the marvelous job you've done on this release and everything that went into it. You're inspirational and have helped Fedora truly rock it.

For those of you looking for release notes, you can find them here at the new Publican-based Documentation site.

By the way, I know many of you readers are setting up release events or parties. Please feel free to blog about them and let us know how they go!

Schedule change.

As seen on the official announcement list, the final release of Fedora 13 will be postponed by a one-week slip. As the announcement notes, the blocker bug list is not empty, which means that according to our F13 final release criteria, we slip the release.

It's always disappointing when we don't hit our original target, but these criteria allow us to focus on objective markers to measure our readiness. It was a pleasure sitting in that readiness meeting tonight with some very smart people, because it was focused on the worthy goal of dispassionately measuring our status based on the ruler we've set for ourselves.

I suspect as we go we'll need to tune release criteria in certain areas where we want more detail. Tonight, for intance, we found there was at least one place where the written criteria could be clearer about their intent. There is a retrospective scheduled for QA after the release of Fedora 13, at which we can note some of the discrepancies and tune as needed.

This iterative approach has worked very well for our release schedule, which I'd really like to see us let stand for a few releases, as we consider other changes. Thanks to all of the people who participate in the process — the teams of people working on QA, Release Engineering, Anaconda, kernel, and countless other packages for our release. The collaboration that's gone on this release has been tremendous, and Fedora 13 is shaping up to be spectacular as a result!

Fedora 13 Alpha!

Our first major test release for this cycle, Fedora 13 Alpha, is now available! You can read all about it in the release announcement on the wiki.

I’m running it here and would encourage contributors and early adopters to try it out. We could really use your help in finding remaining bugs so we can squash them before the Beta release near the end of this month. You can find a list of common bugs on the wiki as well.

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