[gst-devel] General questions about GStreamer

Marco Lohse mlohse at cs.uni-sb.de
Sat Jan 8 05:06:09 CET 2005

I am one of the developers of the Network-Integrated Multimedia
Middleware (NMM) http://www.networkmultimedia.org/

NMM is a major research and development initiative at the Computer
Graphics Lab at Saarland University, Germany. This project started back
in late 2000 and is by now also an emerging Open Source project that
aims at providing a uniform multimedia framework for developing all
kinds of multimedia applications, locally running applications but in
particular also distributed applications.

Since (again) a lot of comments were made about NMM on this list that
are simply wrong, I am forced to add my comments as well.

Ronald S. Bultje wrote:
> Hi Hynek,
> On Fri, 2005-01-07 at 19:22, Hynek Hanke wrote:
>>1) How is it with GStreamer and network transparency. I understand this
>>is not a key design point. Is it possible to fully and without any
>>restrictions and timing problems (as long as the network permits) run
>>media applications over the network?
> Network transparency, in GStreamer, is possible, but it's the
> responsibility of the application to tell us what to do. For example, if
> you want to capture a movie on box1 and play it back on box2, you'll
> have to use tcpsrc/tcpsink elements on the network boundaries, and your
> application needs to position those elements in the right locations. We
> have a gstdataprotocol that can stream pipeline data over a network
> socket as flat data. 

sorry, Ronald, but there is a big difference between 'network
transparency' (the concept that that NMM provides) and 'client/server
streaming' (the concept that gstreamer partly supports)

>>3) Have you talked to the people from MAS and NMM? Why are there
>>three projects doing mostly the same?
> We've talked to the MAS people several times. Some of us (though not me)
> have talked to NMM people at aKademy, last year. As anywhere in the free
> software world, there's usually multiple initiatives, and some are
> better in one area and others are better in another. It's not a company,
> we can't force people to use our project. Apparently they felt they
> could do better. The designs are very much alike.
> That said, both MAS and NMM are in an infancy state compared to
> GStreamer when it comes to the implementation. We've been used as the
> basis for Rhythmbox for years (and recently, AmaroK joined that part)
> and support as many (or even more) audio formats as (than) XMMS. Totem
> is performing very well as a video player, too, with the GStreamer
> backend not lacking too much with respect to the current de facto video
> players for the Linux platform, Xine and Mplayer. Although MAS and NMM
> can both play .wav files, I don't see them getting anywhere close to us
> anytime soon. No offense intended.

sorry, again, Ronald, but I need to correct your statements about NMM:

NMM is not in an 'infancy state .. when it comes to the
implementation'. NMM does offer much more than playing back .wav
files. NMM is successfully used as underlying multimedia architecture
for many real world applications since years:

e.g. take a look at the NMM Multimedia-Box
http://www.networkmultimedia.org/NMM/Status/MMBox/index.html , a Linux
based home entertainment center that provides analog/digital TV plus
time-shifting, digitial video recorder, DVD player including support
for menus and sub-titles, CD player, CD and DVD transcoder, generic
media player for many popular file formats and codecs (e.g. for a list
of available plug-ins, see
http://graphics.cs.uni-sb.de/NMM/current/Docs/pluginlist/index.html). We
already demonstrated these features back in 2002 and also at CeBIT
2003. NMM and the Multimedia-Box were also featured several times by
the major german computer journal c't, ...

e.g. take a look at the Virtual Courseroom Environment (VCORE)
http://graphics.cs.uni-sb.de/VCORE/ , a system for broadcasting and
recording talks and lectures. This system is successfully used at
Saarland University in Germany since 2002. Together, more than 100
lectures and talks were already recorded using this system: audio and
video of the speaker plus captured slides from arbitrary presentation
software plus additional annotations made via a touch panel are stored
in SMIL format.

e.g. the NMM playback engine for amaroK:
http://www.networkmultimedia.org/NMM/Status/amaroK/index.html ,
currently the only playback engine that supports audio and audio/video
playback within amaroK in a generic way, in particular using the graph
building service of NMM that automatically creates even distributed
setups for multimedia application that perform media playback.

e.g. the NMM video wall
http://graphics.cs.uni-sb.de/NMM/current/Docs/videowall/index.html ,
currently the only solution for creating a distributed video wall for
synchronized audio and video rendering using commodity Linux PC

e.g. we already successfully demonstrated client/server streaming
using NMM back in June 2002, when we streamed several matches of the
Fifa World Cup in Football within the campus network at Saarland
University. (This is basically the functionality that gstreamer partly
supports today and that Ronald talks about!)

e.g. many other applications currently under development: a
distributed streaming server supporting all relevant protocols, VoIP
applications, and different other applications developed for

Furthermore, NMM provides a lot of unique features. To get a first
impression just take a look at the video we made at CeBIT 2004:

Please, all: get to know NMM better before making uninformed statements.



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