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As posted to debian-devel-announce and debconf-announce (and partially written by Holger):

On behalf of the DebConf6 video team I'm proud to announce the DebConf6 DVDs!

They include all formal sessions from Debian Day and DebConf, plus the group photos, the video team BoF, and some documentary videos made by Gabriella Coleman. They are divided into

(there is a small overlap between these).

The DVD images are now available for download along with the source videos, as are the software and menu design used for them. You can also order DVDs to be shipped to you in a nice box.

Many thanks to the sponsors, organisers and other people who made DebConf6 a fun and productive event to be remembered.

See you at DebConf7 in Edinbourgh - or maybe DebConf8 in your town!

Finally, I apologise for the delay in producing these discs. We ran into a number of technical problems along the way but it's primarily a result of discouragement and procrastination on my part. However I believe that the VideoLink software is now sufficiently reliable and that next year's DVDs need not be so dependent on me.

bwh: (Default)
Now at There are no images for download because it takes too long for me to upload them, but it should be easy to build a DVD; that page refers to everything you need.

If you ran a session, please check that it's correctly categorised (no need to build; just browse the menus online).

If you can, please build a DVD and check that it works in your players. I'm particularly interested in results from hardware players as I can try software myself. I know that ogle in stable doesn't like the videos but it seems to be the odd one out. Please check that menu navigation is sane and videos play as expected.

Barring compatibility problems that need to be fixed, the only change I intend to make before release is to reinstate the logo in the menus. Then I should upload images and offer discs for sale starting next week.

ETA:There was one other thing to fix: the glitch at the bottom of the group photos is a Mozilla bug which I will try to work around by doing the v1.0 build in sid.
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They're very nearly done. Menus are available for preview: English disc 1, English disc 2, Spanish disc (you can preview them in a Mozilla-based browser but you need to use VideoLink to see them exactly as they will appear).

To do: add background pictures where missing, adjust some menus that are slightly too long in an "NTSC" frame, add the day trip if we ever find some music for it, test, release. I'm also considering moving or duplicating the Debian Day session that's in English to English disc 1.

I uploaded VideoLink 0.11 this morning and intend to put up the DebConf6 DVD sources (other than video) this evening.

Update: Done. Still lacking the day trip, and I pulled the logo because I forgot to ask permission to use it yet.

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I'm currently uploading the last of the final files for DebConf session videos, which should complete in about 5 hours (it's a long one). In the queue behind that are three documentary videos filmed by Biella, two of which I have edited. There's a fourth which is just lacking a caption for one person I don't recognise. I still have to sort out the DVDs but hope this shouldn't take too long.

Updated for DWN readers: The files are on They include Biella's documentary videos. There's a single-page index elsewhere. Note that the lightning talks are all in one recording and don't each have their own links.

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I fixed the known bugs in WebDVD, renamed it to VideoLink and uploaded it to Debian. To get it into Debian, I had to make it work with Mozilla/XULRunner 1.8 (roughly the same code base as Firefox 1.5) since Mozilla 1.7 is no longer supported. In the process of doing that I also fixed a bug in setting the nominal screen resolution - I tell Mozilla it's 40 dpi because I reckon that's the average resolution when the video is played full-screen - which is likely to change existing layouts. The sarge version still seems to ignore the claimed screen resolution which I'll need to investigate and fix as I really don't want layout to depend on which version of Mozilla was used.

I have stopped procrastinating on finishing off the DebConf video files, put all the information I have into a database and used that to work out what's left to do. The answer to that was, not that much really. Based on the database you can see the status of all the recordings and final files which shows that we have all the final files for all the official sessions. About 20 of the final files (mostly Theora unscaled versions) have still to be uploaded, which will take a few days over my 448 kbps uplink. (Due to a deficiency of my schema, the lightning talks are shown as not having final files. Actually they just weren't split up into separate files.)

I'm intending to produce 3 DVDs this time - two for DebConf sessions and one for Debian Day plus any Spanish-language material from DebConf - because these recordings just won't fit on 2 single-layer DVDs. There should be room for some extras such as Biella's recordings and the day trip, which I have still to deal with. I need to sort out menus for the DVDs. Please suggest good background pictures that can be distributed under the DebConf video licence.

bwh: (Default)

Most of my photographs are now developed, scanned and uploaded to There are another 14 still in my camera though.

As for moving pictures, some of the session videos are now available from There's a big status table showing how this is progressing.

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Due to this bug and some rather late checking, we're some way off producing finished videos. The video storage/encoding servers are now with gigio who's very kindly helping to fix this.
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Ted, you can't take the high ground by not naming names when you already did so. If you're so interested in telling the truth, why do you silently redact your articles?
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It started with a swirl of tables in a huge shed. Then came the rain, the mariachis, the fight, the power cut, and eventually the whole thing faded away. No speeches and not much fun. Guess Ted Walther got what he wanted.
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Before I forget about it, here are the materials I prepared for my talk "Multithreading: why and how we should use it". I know I didn't present very well, but hopefully the links will give you a bit more explanation.
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Yesterday we found some problems with our streaming set-up that hadn't appeared in the short time we had to test it beforehand. Firstly, due to a misconfiguration, the 10 Mbps link from the Parliamentary Tower to our network became congested with broadcast traffic. This seems to have been fixed, though I don't know the details. Secondly, at times when the picture kept changing, the encoding machine was unable to encode it in real time. We believe we've fixed this by using libtheora-mmx in place of the standard libtheora. Finally, we weren't able to set up both internal and external Icecast servers, and to save bandwidth we had to stop people at Debconf from streaming from the external servers. We have fixed this with the aid of some new NAT and firewall rules.

If you're at Debconf you can use http://video:8000/hacklab.ogg or http://video:8000/tower.ogg.

If you're outside, carry on using One of the servers has gone down due to a disk failure, but should be back later. In the mean time we should be able to add more relay servers.

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You'll need to refer to the schedules for Debian Day (en español) and the main conference. (Local time is GMT-5.)

Point your media player at or depending on the session venue. We have multiple servers; use or to select one nearer to you.

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Today we got access to all the audio equipment and the remaining cables we needed in our main venue, the Parliamentary Tower. We've worked out locations of the various equipment (projectors, screens, speakers, microphones, camera, computers) and wired them all together. We were unable to get a sight-line for a wireless link from the tower to the rest of our network, but the centre finally agreed to let us use their house network for this purpose. We have to go through a 10 Mbps hub, but it should be sufficient. Finally this evening we were able to test streaming video and audio from the camera and mixer in the tower down to the rest of the network. The tower is now closed, but we will test from the hacklab to the outside world tonight. Fingers crossed, Debian Day should go live to the world tomorrow!
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The magic switch for the Debconf wireless network is sharing its socket with a TV. When the TV is plugged in or unplugged, sometimes the switch's plug comes loose, and the whole wireless network goes down.

Our Internet connection is dependent on an antenna on the roof of the local Internet café that sometimes comes down in high wind, and which has a flaky power connection.

And now the route from the airport is blocked too. (Maybe not any more.. we don't know.)

On a more personal note, my laptop's power cable is now held together with insulating tape.

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At Debconf we'll be having talks in the Parliamentary Tower and some other sessions in a room by the hacklab. In each of these rooms there will be one small quiet computer capturing video from the camera over Firewire, connected by Ethernet to a second computer (preferably outside the room) with more disk space and processor power, which will record, transcode and stream the video to the outside world.

On the first of these we just need to pipe dvgrab into netcat. On the second we need to netcat to a file and simultaneously feed that file into the transcoding and streaming software (ffmpeg2theora and oggfwd). Since our link to the Internet may not be reliable (and certainly isn't now) we expect that streaming may lag behind; that's where dvtail (which I mentioned previously) comes in.

Having identified the various pieces of the video puzzle, last night I actually wrote the scripts to do this. I didn't have a chance to test them properly, so they didn't actually work. Today I packaged them, fixed various silly bugs, and tried them on some of the computers we plan to use. This was stalled for a stupidly long time by the lack of Internet access, since Ganneff had planned to create users on an LDAP server elsewhere and then use a local LDAP cache, rather than create them entirely locally. Eventually we ended up with user accounts created on each machine. Next problem: we attached a camera to a Powerbook G4 and got nothing but errors from the Firewire driver and dvgrab. We tried changing cameras, cables, kernel versions, but with no success. Changing the kernel itself was a problem without access to backports. I was cursing the air blue and banging my head against the wall in frustration.

Finally we tried using different computers, and suddenly everything worked. I had missed one option to ffmpeg2theora, but once I added that we were able to stream across the LAN. Of course, that won't be of much use if we don't get the Internet connection working much better soon.

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Courtesy of my phrasebook:

I'd like to get Internet accessQuisiera usar el Internet

I noticed this morning that the book has a section on romance, going from "asking someone out" through "sex" to "problems". Suddenly this book became more interesting to my breakfast companions.

I can't get it up - sorryLo siento, no puedo levantarla


May. 10th, 2006 12:41 pm
bwh: (Default)

Nattie ([ profile] tea_cantata) and I arrived safely in Mexico and have been fairly busy since then, while not blocked by lack of network access.

The Debian archive mirror prepared by Steve made it here safely and is now attached to our main server. Yay for USB2.

Video team preparations are a bit behind schedule but we are just about to do a smoke test with cameras and computers (but no audio mixer yet). I have backported Icecast 2.3 and Ffmpeg2Theora to sarge, and written a "dvtail" program to read the DV recordings for streaming, so that problems with our Internet link won't break recording or result in a huge lag in the streams.

I have also had to make and lay out a 100m power extension cable for a switch in the middle of a 200m stretch of network cable. This requiring fixing the crappy extension socket shut with a hammer, jumping^Wclimbing from rooftop to rooftop with cable, and then untangling it under a baking sun.

I'm loving the spicy food here, though I think I can do without jelly as a "vegetarian" dessert (I think this mistake will not be repeated) and may have to ask for refritos sin queso (without cheese). The heat is bearable and my hat and sun cream have so far protected me from sun burn. The insects are horribly noisy, but one eventually tunes them out, like the noise of fans.

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