multimedia infrastructure

Florin Andrei florin at
Tue Dec 31 03:26:18 GMT 2002

(sorry for the cross-post, but i realised too late that i wasn't
posting on the right list)

I've seen the recent discussion on this mailing list about the
multimedia issues. IMO, the real issue is not using one player or
another, the issue is to have an infrastructure that makes sense.

I used pretty much every multimedia player avaiable on Unices, and i
also do a lot of work with all kind of free media tools (transcode,
avidemux, etc.). The differences between different players, in terms of
supported file formats and features _from_the_user's_p.o.v_ are minimal,
or small enough to be safely ignored. What is important, though, is
something that makes sense from the developer's p.o.v.

That's why i think, at this moment, the thing that makes sense is to
have a multimedia library backend, with an API that can be called from
pretty much any application or core component, to offer "multimedia
player" services.
For example, if you have libpng on your system, any application can do
stuff with PNG files. How about having such a library that does things
like "play this AVI file for me", or something like that?...

Have a look at this site:

Usually, xine is known as a "multimedia player" but that's misleading.
In actual fact, xine is a library. Its core is xine-lib, with perhaps
half a dozen different interfaces built on top of it, if not more
(including xine-ui, the "official" GUI).

Just imagine you have that installed on your system, and link different
applications to it: all of a sudden, Konqueror can play DivX files
"natively" (well, through xine-lib, of course); or any other application
you choose.
The very notion of "multimedia player" gets diluted somewhat into the
whole collection of applications for which multimedia capabilities make
sense. Of course, a multimedia GUI should be provided, for user's
convenience, but the capabilities could be implemented everywhere.

What do you think?

Florin Andrei

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Florin Andrei

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