An Update On The Media System

Media Issues.

We have them.

They don’t affect everybody, but they’re enough of a problem to put them high on our list of fixes. There’s a reason why our media system is currently somewhat wobbly, though. To go into it, first I have to go into a little history on the viewer itself.

Back when we started working Imprudence, the Second Life viewer was in its long stretch of 1.20 RCs, and like all versions up through1.23–the version on which Imprudence is based–Second Life linked against Quicktime in order to play streaming audio and video.

As developers, we take great care to always respect software licenses and be 100% GPL-compatible. (For those who aren’t familiar with the GPL, it’s the software license that puts the “open” in “opensource”. Without it, Imprudence wouldn’t exist.) Unfortunately, Quicktime is a proprietary library, and linking against proprietary is a definite no-no under the GPL. Rather than violate the license anyway, we chose to rewrite the entire media system using GPL-compatible libraries instead. Specifically, GStreamer and its various plugins.

Despite our efforts, the result just hasn’t lived up to expectations. GStreamer’s been a pain to maintain and debug, and it doesn’t offer certain options we’d like to provide in the media system. So, once again, everything is being rewritten.

As you can imagine, this’ll be a big task (i.e. not just dropping a dll file in a folder). The process is currently in alpha, but the changes will appear first in a test build, then an Experimental Release, then, finally, in 1.4.

For those of you who’re struggling with odd issues when playing streaming audio or video, I hope you’ll hang in there as things move forward. I can’t promise we’ll be able to fix every bug along the way, but getting things smoothed out is important to us, and trust me, we’re working on it. I know my week just wouldn’t be the same without catching a certain DJ Selma inworld, myself.

8 Responses to “An Update On The Media System”

  1. Mimika Oh

    On the Mac, isn’t Quicktime a System Library and so doesn’t need Corresponding Source [GPL3, §0]? You can refer me to previous arguments about this, but I couldn’t easily find one.

  2. Sparkly Rainbow

    This is good news. I will anxiously await the media fixes in the Imprudence viewer. Although I like just about all the features of the viewer, I find it impossible to use until the time when I can watch my media in world.

  3. Beezle

    Watching this closely, the media issues is the main thing keeping me in other viewers, especially the crash on stream changes. (I go to lots of live music events in SL)

  4. Makomk Makosen

    Interesting. You’re moving to media plugins, then? Would’ve saved me some time if I’d spotted this blog post earlier…

  5. Crim Mip

    Is there a reason you can’t do the same thing many of the viewers do with OpenJpeg and look to see if Quicktime exists and if it does use it, otherwise use your open source libraries or is that also violating GPL terms?

    I sure hope there aren’t the same issues for media on a prim ala viewer 2.x for when we finally get a viewer with 2.0 features AND a decent UI.

  6. Toshik Cyberschreiber

    Nice =) Then i need to wait until Icecast streaming trouble will be solved =)

  7. Sweetie Dagger

    I love the features of this viewer… and hope the music streaming issues is the next big fix…listening to music while in Secondlife or any venue… is a must !

  8. extreme Demina

    i need help for listening music please
    thank you in advance