Saturday, March 24, 2007

Beryl and Compiz to Merge

I'll be honest - I didn't see this one happening anytime soon, but alas, it is going to happen (and I suppose sooner is better than later.)

A while after Compiz and XGL's initial release as the enabler of crazy wobbly windows on Linux, some developers from the community didn't like David Reeveman's/Novell's slightly restricted (yet open source) development process that was occuring with Compiz. Personally, I thought Compiz's "I'll work on it for 9 months, not bother with releases, and end up with something amazing" development process worked pretty darn well - Before XGL, there were endless discussions about how to make OS X-like graphics a reality on Linux, none of which materialized into anything really usable. Instead of bickering about it (*cough* design by committee) for years, David decided to just do it. And he did it. And for a 0.1 release, Compiz was pretty damn good.

Can't argue with results.

However, some developers from the community who were getting involved with Compiz didn't like the way development looked like it was going to proceed, so they forked, giving us Beryl. Those developers worked on adding more crazy effects and in the short term took the focus away from stability, but within the last few months it seems like the developers efforts to stabilize Beryl have been successful. In the meantime, the Compiz team has also been plugging away and adding new features to Compiz as well.

This brings us to March 23, 2007, when QuinnStorm announced that Beryl will remerge with Compiz. It won't be easy for the teams to merge, but I think they both realize now that the long-term benefits of cooperation far outway the short-term setbacks that each team will incur.

Now that's progress.

Friday, March 16, 2007

New Ubuntu Site

I don't know how long it's been up for, but I just noticed the Ubuntu site got a nice overhaul (as did the Ubuntu Forums).

The website looks much more professional now, and feels like it's got a bit more "buzz" to it. Good stuff.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Mixxx 1.5.0 Released

If you're looking for good free DJ software, Mixxx is the king of the hill. Not only is it much more mature than any other open source DJ application, but it also beats all the spyware riddled freeware apps that do similar things.

After two years of work, the Mixxx team has released version 1.5.0, which adds a decent amount of new features as well as a ton of bug fixes. Mixxx is an interesting project to take a look into because there's something to be learnt from it's history. It started in 2001 as one of the first "digital DJ" apps, before big commercial competitors like Traktor entered the scene. Unfortunately, after several years of development and a couple of releases, the project ended up somewhat abandoned. However, last year the project was revived by a couple of developers and after many months of hard work, they've whipped the project back into shape and finally made a new release. One of the reasons it took so long to fix Mixxx was because it's development seemed to have lost focus - There were tons of unmaintained features added to it over the years, many of which didn't end up working properly on all platforms. (Mixxx is a cross-platform application, and that makes certain things like hardware controller support very tricky.) However, things are looking much better for Mixxx now.

At the end of the day, Mixxx (as an open source project) is a good example of three things:
1) A very well written program who's original developers thought long and hard when designing it.
2) A project that lost it's way as more developers got involved. It looks like not enough discretion was used when screening patches, which eventually lead to tons of bugs and half-working features.
3) The way in which the open source process can give new life to a dead project. After switching maintainers, the project's focus was tightened up and forced developers to fix bugs rather than create them. Now that the ball's rolling once again, you can certainly expect cool new stuff to come from Mixxx in the future.

That being said, if you're interested in DJing, Mixxx is a must-have application for Linux. For more information, check out Mixxx's features or head on over and give it a download (Windows, OS X, and Linux).