Thursday, May 21, 2009

And three

There used to be two. Now there are three projects dedicated to create a subtitle editor for gnome. All of them use gtk, but they are written in different languages (C#, C++, and python). I wouldn't mind if they were not each of them crappy. Actually, if just one of them was good, it would be perfectly fine. Unfortunately, they all have flaws so big that after few minutes you give up using them. Either they crash, or they do not show the movie at the same time as the subtitle, or the interface is so much messy that it's impossible to do simple things. In my humble opinion, such a program should be based on gstreamer, and written in python, so I hope Gaupol will get better in this direction...

Opensource should exactly avoid this kind of situation of happening, because everyone can join to the cause and work on improving the existing program. It's really sad to see no such collaboration. At least with the video converters, Arista and Transmageddon seem to have agreed on sharing the forces.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Being the first

Wikipedia provides articles which are supposed to be neutral point of view. It's always funny to look at who was the first inventor of an object in the different wikipedias. One could think they are all equivalent in the content, and are just translations of each-other. It seems national pride of different points of view can easily sneak in.

For example, about a plane, in English you learn that
The first self-powered aircraft was created by an Englishman by the name of John Stringfellow while in French, you learn that Le premier homme ayant déclaré avoir volé à l'aide d'un moteur est le français Clément Ader. So in English, the first one was an Englishman who created the first model plane, while in French, it is a Frenchman who created the first plane with someone inside.

Reading about the motorcycle is also interesting. In English the first motorcycle was designed and built by the German inventors Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach (in 18885), while in French, after some warnings about the difficulty of defining who was the inventor, you learn about the délivrance [...] le 16 mars 1869 à Monsieur Louis-Guillaume Perreaux.

Concerning the cinema, both the English and French versions emphasize on the impossibility of clearly define an inventor. Nevertheless, for those who want a name you find that In 1878, [...] Eadweard Muybridge successfully photographed a horse named "Sallie Gardner" in fast motion using a series of 24 stereoscopic cameras and that certains ont attribué son invention aux frères Lumière, concepteurs du cinématographe en 1895.

For sure, reading in more languages will bring even more interesting point of views. As most of the objects have never suddenly been invented, but slowly evolved, it is rather easy to define the inventor of it has the first citizen having made it evolve. None of the articles is wrong, just slightly biased. So when reading an article it is worthy to have a glance at the other versions just to see how far it can be biased...

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Constructive gang

A couple of months ago I was walking in the street and passed in front of me two teenagers with malicious smiles. A few seconds later the bin exploded. The explosion was quite strong, lots of garbage flew away, and with the number of people around it could have easily be hurting someone. But the boys definitely seemed to have had a good time.

It's quite usual to see these gangs of teenagers hanging around without much aim, talking a lot, and from time to time having fun by breaking something. I can somehow understand why those boys are doing this: it allows them to motivate their presence, feel they are doing something together, and change their mind.

What is interesting is that open source contributers are doing exactly the same thing... with the little twist that instead of taking the easy road of destroying things, they are creating things. They come together via internet, they chat and from time to time they add a little contribution to the edifice. No actual big aim, just because it's cool. Well, the difference is that creating is much harder than destroying but also much more gratifying!