Multimedia Support

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2008-01-24 Print this article Print

Jesse Zbikowski, author of the Linux Is Fun blog and member of BALOG (Bay Area Linux User Group), said he likes "the little desktop applets they have now. They're part of Plasma. It's just like what Apple's got on Mac OS X where you have the little window on your desktop and you run whatever you want inside it."

Meanwhile, as the Solid framework gives the system easy access to hardware events, the Phonon system addresses a sore spot in multimedia support, he said.

"Another sore spot we noticed was multimedia; multimedia support in the free software world is sketchy," Seigo said. Doing cross-platform multimedia support was even more difficult. Phonon comes to fill that gap.

"Phonon does for multimedia what Solid does for hardware," he said. "It gives developers a future-proof, cross-platform, clear and consistent way to add multimedia features very quickly to their applications."

Seigo said that with about five lines of code, a developer could add an entire video player. "This is going to bring multimedia to the free software world," Seigo said.

Meanwhile, VOIP (voice over IP) and instant messaging have become a large part of people's day-to-day use of their computers, he said. The Decibel project is a KDE effort to deliver a communications framework for KDE 4.0. It is still in development but it aims to integrate all communication protocols into the desktop.

KDE's Akonadi is a PIM storage service. The Akonadi project is an effort to deliver an extensible cross-desktop storage service for PIM data and meta data providing concurrent read, write and query access.

"We decided people should be able to access their calendaring and mail and contacts wherever, so smart people in our PIM group said let's start with a storage solution," Seigo said.

Another piece of KDE 4.0 is Kross, a project to add scripting support for the platform. "It lets people do things with Ruby scripts," Seigo said. "It allows us to add scripting to any Qt 4-based application, and you can write scripts in the language of your choice," be it Ruby, Perl, Python, JavaScript or other dynamic languages. Qt, developed by Trolltech ASA, is a cross-platform development framework that is a core component of KDE.

Nepomuk, another element of KDE, is an effort to deliver a "social semantic desktop," Seigo said. The project is funded by the European Commission at 11.5 million Euros, said Paul Adams, vice president of research and development at Sirius Corp.

"It's a future project to take desktop search and make it useful for everyone," Seigo said.

KDE 4.0 also features the ThreadWeaver library, which provides a high-level interface to make better use of multi-core systems, he said.

Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.

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