In the rainy Netherlands, eighteen KDE hackers have been working in the Annahoeve on Multimedia for the fourth incarnation of KDE. This report outlines the meeting topics, and the results of interesting presentations and explains how KDE developers outbid each others marshmallow records.
The meeting officially started at noon, but the organization and Matthias, Martin, Alexandre, Florian and Gábor were already at the Annahoeve at 9:30. We had things up and running rather quickly and some smalltalk went on. Marshmallows were put on the table and Adriaan told everybody they could earn a marshmallow if they were able to stick 10 pieces into their mouth. Sebastian got close.
The afternoon started with a brief keynote, followed by presentations about Phonon and amaroK. Matthias Kretz talked about the basic design goals of Phonon (see his slides). It should provide the multimedia support that 80% of the applications need in a simple way; the other 20% are simply not its focus. For example, if an application needs precise control at sample level, it is better off talking to a media framework directly. Generally speaking, most applications just need some basic things like playing or streaming video and audio. Matthias further explained how effects worked, and what to consider when building a back-end, and demonstrated some some code examples.
Max Howell talked about moving to amaroK 2 and the Windows port that will come with that. The amaroK hackers are really excited about amaroK 2 and they really want to move on and work on it. A core redesign is needed to prevent regressions from coming up in new releases. This weekend will be used to plan large parts of this redesign.
Max also pointed out some issues with packaging, mostly due to packagers making weird choices when building amaroK packages like depending on MySQL. These things should be solved by making packaging amaroK easier and by more communication with the packagers.
Other topics were Last.fm and Audioscrobbler integration. Last.fm offers more services that amaroK doesn't yet make use of, it can be used to give and share arbitrary labels and other information about songs - the amaroK developers want to add support for this. Last.fm also offers personal radio streams, with for example your favorite music, or music listened to by people with a similar taste. Integration in amaroK will allow you to skip songs in the stream, and Last.fm even learns from that.
Usability has always been an important focus in amaroK, but it's hard to get consensus about certain issues. Still the plan is to do some serious work for amaroK 2 with the help of the two usability experts available at the multimedia meeting. Being able to meet face to face makes usability discussions much easier - as you're less likely to step on someone's toe if you can see them...
After a great dinner, the hacking continued. Lively discussions and silently hacking were intermingled, and the resulting code was committed.
All in all, we came to an important conclusion:
The important thing in Free Software is not the free beer; it is the Free bar which ensures the beer will STAY free.