From Here to Eternity

I know I haven’t been posting much here recently… I tend not to blog when I’m very busy, which is ironically when I’ve usually got the most stuff to talk about. The thing that’s been taking up most of my time, apart from my lovely daughters of course, is my new screensaver project, Eternity Screensaver. I came up with the idea when thinking of a screensaver for Ubuntu SE. I’d already created a few raytraced wallpapers with POVRay and experimented with animating them. I thought it would be really cool if I could display them as screensavers. To my surprise, there wasn’t really anything out there which would play movie clips as a screensaver for Linux and loop them efficiently. Even mplayer and xine wouldn’t output properly to the virtual root window (used by screensavers) or quickly play a loop without interruption. The only thing close was electricsheep, which generates fractal images and saves them in MPEG2 format. It had a player called mpeg2dec_onroot which did pretty much what I wanted. I forked this player and hacked it so that it would read a list of clips from a config file and seamlessly loop them. I packaged it up with some animations and Eternity Screensaver was born.

Once the packages were ready, I added them to my APT repository. To be honest, maintaining my own packages and APT repo is becoming a bit of a pain. The new packages are very large and it take ages to shift them around and compile for different architectures, etc. So, my ears pricked when I saw the announcement for the new Personal Package Archive (PPA) functionality on Ubuntu’s open source collaboration site, launchpad. I’d been meaning to start using lauchpad properly for a while, so I took the opportunity to register all of my projects and upload the code to their Bazzar version control system.

Launchpad is a dream to use. It’s a great example of a modern web-based user interface and has a good community feel. It’s taken me a while to get to grips with Bazaar, as I’m used to using heavyweight Clearcase source control at work, but it’s a refreshingly simple and pwerful tool.

Launchpad PPA should be out of beta soon, so hopefully I should be able to move my repositories onto there soon.

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