Xiph QuickTime Components 0.1.7

March 23rd, 2007

A new XiphQT release is finally out!

The version number is 0.1.7 and while it has the property of being strictly greater than the previous version number, which was 0.1.5, it doesn’t really reflect the state of the project. I should probably annotate the version number with something like “pronounce: oh-seven-one” ;) No worries, other Xiph projects seem to have problems with version numbering, too. And I’ll just number the next release, which should be ready in much less than 11 months, with 0.8, or maybe even higher, we’ll see…

The release notes highlight the changes quite nicely. And I’ve already received some feedback on improved performance, something I wasn’t sure would be really noticeable. Overall, seems to be quite a reasonable release, definitely worth upgrading - get it if you haven’t done that yet.

Xiph, QuickTime Components and Summer of Code 2007

March 17th, 2007

Once again, Xiph.Org has been accepted for Google Summer of Code! And amongst Xiph project ideas for this year XiphQT also has its place. So, if you ever wanted something in XiphQT fixed or wished a new feature was added but never had quite enough arguments to convince yourself it’s worth actually trying and doing it yourself - maybe now is the time?

Of course, XiphQT is only a small part of Xiph.Org. If you’d prefer to hack on a more general and open audio and media stuff, there aren’t many limits, neither. Last year, besides the directly project-related ideas proposed by Xiph developers, we saw a number of original and interesting submissions ranging from nearly pure hardware to fairly sophisticated algorithms, with FCPGAs, assembler, libraries and applications in between, all one way or another related to audio and media. And participating in the event was quite an experience, too!

All that is, basically, to say: whether you would like to add Ogg Skeleton, OggPCM or CMML support to XiphQT, apply FLAC to compression of power system analysis (ATP) data, work on a next generation audio codec or do something completely original (preferably it having relations to audio, open media or Xiph technologies) - come see us on irc (freenode.net, #xiph) and consider applying. There’s still enough time (until March 24th) to prepare at least one quality application!

Full of zasadzkas

December 6th, 2006

Just when I though the terms melody and harmony (beyond the 2-3 base chords) stopped meaning absolutely anything to modern music creators - life had a Trick (feat. Sqbass) for me!

It’s got the beats. It’s got the strings. It’s got the piano. I’m still not sure what it is exactly, but it’s got a bass clarinet/sax or oboe/bassoon! It’s Polish. And it’s got that something… That something that music by Yoko Kanno, Luis Bacalov, Metheny & Mays, Morricone, Jobim has. Jamiroquai has it sometimes (and used to have more often in the early days). Something the Boris Dlugosh’s version of Moloko’s Sing it Back definitely has. (Actually, Novika even sounds a bit like Róisín Murphy…)

Anyway, today even my kettle sings (whistles) in tune! Ah, the Tricks of Life

Exporting Oggs from QuickTime

November 12th, 2006

Committed the code for the new OggExport and CAVorbisEncoder components. You can find in the Xiph.Org’s SVN repository.

The new bits are alpha software, thus hard hat equipped testers are welcome!

At the moment the exporter will produce Ogg Vorbis files, with quality fixed at 0.4 (~128kbit/s) ignoring any user-set options. But at least in QuickTime Pro and iMovie it seems to work.

More features should follow soon…

Brand New Ogg

November 7th, 2006

I have just produced the first Ogg file using XiphQT’s new code. The file’s about 680K (source audio was about 50 seconds long) and, with exception of the missing e_o_s flag on the last ogg_page, it’s a perfectly valid Ogg Vorbis file.

There are actually two new components involved: VorbisEncoder (CoreAudio) compressing the audio data and OggExporter (QuickTime) muxing ogg pages and writing the physical bitstream to disk. It shouldn’t take too long now to add FLAC and Speex encoding components, but that’s after Theora compressor is ready.

The new code still needs some more work and tidying up before I can commit it, but it should reach the SVN this week.

Native FLAC in iTunes/QuickTime

October 12th, 2006

I feel a bit guilty about not publishing this before. But, you know, it was kind-of working, I had some time so I thought I’d re-write it in a way similar to OggImporter. Then I stopped having time. Thus, I accept those e-mails asking about native FLAC support as a deserved punishment.

The FLACImporter.component I’m writing about is actually a slightly modified importer component from Damien Drix’s QuickTime FLAC Plugin. Basically I removed the decoder part (which stopped working properly in QuickTime 7), changed codec IDs to match those found in XiphQT and made a Universal build. As it is, it parses and imports native FLAC files and then the decoding part is done by CAFLAC component, part of XiphQT.

You can find the binary files and source patch here. But read on, because it’s not all that rosy…

The component used to work when I first played with it, and it still does - in QuickTime Player (and a number of other QuickTime-based apps) that is. It doesn’t have all the functionality of the OggImporter, and performance could be better, too. But it works, it plays the FLAC files.

But… you guessed it right: iTunes. iTunes is something else. On my machine iTunes plays native FLAC files fine, yes, but they need to be in iTunes Library already. That is - it won’t (easily) accept new files with the .flac extension.

During my tests I discovered, however, that iTunes will accept .flac files if you set their FSTypeCode to something popular and openable with QuickTime, like ‘MooV’ (original FSType of .mov QuickTime Movie files) or… ‘OggS’! Which is the FSType used by OggImporter component to denote .ogg files. And that’s quite an intriguing discovery, since both components use nearly perfectly identical steps to register with the OS! How come?! To test, I created a copy of OggImporter that only uses different FSType and file extensions - and it doesn’t work. So, how’s that? Does iTunes have the ‘.ogg’ and ‘OggS’ hardcoded somewhere? Is my machine’s OS going slightly crazy? Am I missing something? I’ll try to investigate that…

But for now, the summary. The FLACImporter should work in QuickTime (you’ll need the XiphQT package, as well). It should work in iTunes, but there may be problems with adding .flac files to your library. If you can’t add them, and don’t mind a bit of cheating, you can set the FSType of you FLAC files to ‘OggS’ (or ‘MooV’, but ‘OggS’ should work). You can set it with SetFile tool from the developer packages (/Developer/Tools/SetFile). On the FLACImporter page you can also find a simple python script I wrote that should work on a machine without dev packages installed. Setting slightly-not-true FSType should be harmless and is reversible (set FSType to 0). In case I/someone finds a better solution…

Note on the Intel part of the binary: it’s untested. Let me know if doesn’t work. No Win32 binaries either, since I don’t have a machine to compile it at the moment.

So, is it working for you? How about the strange iTunes behaviour - anybody able to shed some light on the puzzle?

On One

October 12th, 2006

I guess it’s rather impossible to write ‘First post!’ in the second post or any other one. So, here: This is my first post in my new blog!

Good.

I think I should also say that not everything here is in its final shape. But at least (and at last!) it’s a start. And significant improvement, too, over the “gathering material” notice being on display on the index page for almost a year.

So, let’s see if I can make things even better…