GStreamer + DRM

  • December 27, 2005
  • Brian Tarricone

Looks like GStreamer will support DRM in the future. What a damned shame. I'm definitely going to stay away from GStreamer now. I refuse to support a project that supports technologies that restrict what people can do with the things they buy.

I don't care about the supposedly-practical arguments: "well, there's DRMed content out there that we can't play, so we should support DRM." I don't want to be able to play DRMed content. I don't want DRMed content, period. The only way I will accept playing DRMed content is via a device or piece of software that permanently strips said DRM off the content, or can decrypt the content in a free (as in beer and speech) manner that can't be revoked or removed, such as how libdvdcss allows me to play encrypted DVDs.

If the content "owners" are going to treat their customers like criminals, then I might as well just become one.

Five Years

  • December 26, 2005
  • Brian Tarricone

As of today, I've been blogging for five years. Crazy.

Merry Christmas, everyone.


  • December 21, 2005
  • Brian Tarricone

It's December 20th. Winter. It's 11:00 at night. It's 65°F outside. Isn't that ridiculous?


  • December 21, 2005
  • Brian Tarricone

This has to be the funniest spam I've read in a while:

Hello, I am David Smith for Dailywillsupplies.We would like to buy computer accessories.Please can we have Pentium P4 3.0 775 pins computer processor?Or can you please tell us the brand of processors you have in stock and the price per unit of product.We are interested in buying in large quantity of 50 pcs,would like to have the quote for this product and also like to know the best form of payment for this transaction.We await your reply. Thank you. David SMith.

Interestingly, it was sent to my @ece.cornell.edu address, which I haven't used for anything in over two years. I'm actually surprised it's still active. I guess they forgot I left.

nVIDIA Hateage

  • December 20, 2005
  • Brian Tarricone

nVIDIA has released the first driver in the 8xxx series for their video chipsets. The release notes look pretty sparse for a major build number jump. I was told that the issue with X eating 100% CPU would be fixed in this release, but it looks like it isn't. I'm getting the same "Xid" messages in syslog, along with "NV(0): WAIT (.....)" messages in the X server log which I don't believe had been appearing before. Unlike before, I can't save the X session by killing and restarting xfwm4; I have to bring the entire X process down remotely.

I've disabled window drop shadows for the time being to see if that helps solve the problem. Update: It doesn't.

I'm really getting sick and tired of this. nVIDIA appears incapable of releasing a stable driver set. I understand that X.org 7.0 hasn't been released yet, and Composite is new and experimental, but many other chipsets (such as the ATI Radeon Mobility 7500 in my laptop) work nice and stably with Composite and Exa enabled in the 7.0 release candidate. Just another data point in the huge mess of reasons why OSS is better than closed-source proprietary shit. I tried the OSS nv driver earlier, but simply moving a translucent window across half the screen took about 5 seconds. Not pleasant. I tried nv's experimental Exa support, but it crashes the X server on startup. Oh well. If I knew more, I'd try to hack on it.

I'm seriously considering tossing this card and buying an ATI instead. At least they release partial specs so OSS devs can write accelerated 2D drivers, even if the 3D acceleration is still a bit of a mystery. If my little 4-year-old laptop can handle Composite, I'm sure a newer board can as well.

Alternatively, anybody know of a decent video chipset with stable OSS drivers with acceleration that can handle Composite, without breaking the bank?

Update: As ElAngelo points out, nvidia released a quick fix-up release to hopefully fix the problems I'm experiencing. So far so good. On a side note, with the old drivers, it seems that disabling fast writes and sideband addressing seems to help the problem quite a bit: I didn't get a lockup for a couple days, vs. the usual couple hours.

Of Warts and Hogs

  • December 15, 2005
  • Brian Tarricone

RavenclawWhich Hogwarts house will you be sorted into?

Your in-depth results are: Ravenclaw - 12 Gryffindor - 11 Slytherin - 10 Hufflepuff - 8

“Use KDE” — Linus Torvalds

  • December 14, 2005
  • Jasper Huijsmans

He-he. That’s just funny. Ah well, it may even get some bugs fixed after lots of discussion. In the mean time there is still the entertainment value, from comments like this one.

Now, back to fixing the panel customization dialog… I’ll have an alternative implementation available for testing/criticizing soon.

I Love perl

  • December 12, 2005
  • Brian Tarricone

Sleeping is lame! Instead, I added perl bindings for libxfce4panel to xfce4-perl. This means people can write plugins for the Xfce panel in perl. Yeah, I think it's pretty awesome too.

This is really my one accomplishment for the weekend, aside from getting an oil change for my car and buying groceries.

My Poor Overheating Computer

  • December 11, 2005
  • Brian Tarricone

Ever since I added a fifth hard drive to my computer, along with a higher-end video card (some of those higher-end features of which I'm now actually using), my machine has been overheating a bit, to the point that it sometimes locks up while performing long compiles. Not fun.

I've had my current computer case (affectionately named UPOS, aka Ugly Piece Of Shit) for over six years now. Despite having been around computers for a long time before that, it was the first computer that I built, as all the ones I had played with previously had been machines my dad had brought home from work. Anyway, my dad and I didn't really know as much as we should have about building a computer, and our extensive research left out a rather important piece of the pie: the case. And so, we went for something relatively cheap, which, as it turns out, had terrible cooling and noise characteristics. To install a usable fan in the front of the case, we ended up cutting holes in the sheet metal and plastic bezel. Originally, I also "modded" the 5.25" drive bay bezel to hold a smaller fan in the drive bay. Eventually, after I added a second CD-RW drive, I had to remove the extra fan. At that point in time, I still only had one or two hard drives, so it wasn't a terribly big deal.

Now, I have five hard drives and a single DVD-RW drive, taking up all of the bays. The interior is rather cramped, and all but one of the PCI slots are filled. The power supply is also a larger model than the one in it before.

So, I bit the bullet today (it was tasty) and ordered a new Antec P180 case. It's pretty awesome. It has more drive bays than I currently need, and is constructed in such a way to deal with common thermal problems, and also to reduce noise levels. While I've gotten used to my relatively-noisy PC in my bedroom over the past 6 years, it'll be nice to reduce that a bit. I'm not totally thrilled with the front-panel cover, as I always feel like they're unnecessary and just get in the way, but I guess I really don't use the DVD drive often enough for it to be annoying. Since it's pretty heavy, I opted for the longest, cheapest shipping method, so unfortunately it probably won't be here for about a week and a half, but fortunately it'll be here before I leave for Maryland.

It belatedly occurs to me that I could have asked for this as a Christmas present and saved myself $150. Oh well.

NVidia drivers updated

  • December 5, 2005
  • Olivier

NVidia has finally released a 8xxx version of its driver for Linux.

The 7xxx had a serious problem with accelerated render, and was causing random freeze with Xfce WM embedded compositor. The 8xxx version seems to be a lot better in this regard.

So if you use xfwm4’s compositor with NVidia, make sure you get the latest driver from here: http://www.nvidia.com/object/unix.html