Re: Call for a Gnome Media Center

On 2/11/07, Étienne Bersac <bersace03 laposte net> wrote:

> It's more usable that your proposal (get someone to start something from
> scratch) as it exists, so I don't see your point.  Elisa has exactly the
> same goals as the Apple and Microsoft media centres.

Hi, my proposal was just a braindump, useful in case no project were up.
Since Elisa is on, and pigment seems very nice, my "proposal" worth
nothing ! However, it seems Elisa is not "Gnome" enough. Is there plan
to integrate it ?

There are three ways something can be more gnome-y:
(1) interoperates well with existing GNOME technologies
(2) uses GNOME UI metaphors/HIG.
(3) uses GNOME libraries.

I'd suggest that (1) is critical for a 'GNOME-y' media center, and
that the other two are at best likely problematic.

To elaborate a bit on (1):

What I'd like is that when I get a new laptop and a new media player
box, to download two CDs (ignore the underlying OS for now): one that
is a 'desktop' and the other a 'media center'.  When I install the
desktop, I get what we all know and love: something fairly easy to
use, powerful, etc. GNOME 2.x.

When I install the media center, I want it to immediately interoperate
with that desktop- no setup, no thinking, I want it to Just Fucking
Work. That to me is what I mean to be GNOME-y.

My f-spot should have 'publish to the TV' option; my rhythmbox should
immediately read music files from the media box, and vice versa; all
my file dialogs should suddenly offer a save location on the media
server (inc. my bittorrent client, which maybe should automatically
offer to save to a video directory?); my ipod plugged into my desktop
should allow me to get music files from my media server (my media
server is under a desk so I can't plug the ipod into it), etc.
Potentially it should offer to be the automatic backup server for my
regular desktop files, since presumably my media box has tons of free
space. (In my dream world, my N800 also immediately does smart

To me, that level of automatic, seamless interoperation with existing
GNOME apps is what it means for a media center to be 'GNOME-y'. Note
that in many cases this probably means hacking on the desktop apps as
well, but such is life- we can't just expect to have a good user
experience by hacking on one code base.

There may be some (3):
* muine does a great job thinking about albums and album covers; elisa
currently does not do that as far as I can tell. Sharing that code
(instead of reinventing that wheel) would be great.
* elisa already does use pango, I believe? (maybe I'm confusing it
with opened-hand's clutter?)(I see that it uses cairo through
'pigment'; I'm sort of surprised that pigment and clutter seem to be
substantially overlapping.)

Hard to see (2):
* radically different resolutions and font needs, not to mention
wanting more visually pleasing (aka non-gtk themed) UI
* not wanting file/edit/view menus everywhere; heirarchical menus
being crappy, etc.

I do agree that it is *critical* that we have a GNOME-y media center
like this- Apple is going to do this with their Apple TV; Microsoft is
doing this with XBox. We must push forward and innovate in this space
if we want to remain interesting/relevant in home spaces in the
future. But we shouldn't hobble it by being any more 'GNOME-y' than
good, seamless integration requires.


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