Oct 24, 2008

Opensource participation

In my previous post I mentioned project to transparently convert media files uploaded to my mp3 player. At first I wanted to create my own project from scratch. But then I searched around on the net and FUSE wiki and I found Gstreamer filesystem or GSTFS for short.

GSTFS is based on GStreamer multimedia framework to handle media conversions and FUSE to create virtual filesystem. Because of GStreamer, simple changes on command line allow you to do almost any task concerning media files. Conversion of music files, videos, resizing of pictures and more.

I started playing with GSTFS trying to convert my music collection to lower bitrate mp3s. Simple 'cp -R * music/ music_converted/' should have worked. But it didn't. Why? Well GSTFS shows non-converted files as 0-sized files. And cp tried to optimize copying by actually not copying empty files. It doesn't even try to read them. That meant running cp twice since second run would see actual sizes. Even then there is a problem with expiration of file cache so if your music collection is more than a few files, you are out of luck.

And here we come to great advantage of opensource (at least for me). Source code of GSTFS is available, so I fixed this small bug and send a few line patch to original author Bob Copeland. I also asked if he could perhaps create public repository of sources on repo.or.cz. Interestingly enough I was aparently not the only one to ask for it. And so, lo and behold, Git repository of GSTFS is online. You can now find my work on improving GSTFS in mob branch in the repository. Hopefully I will be able to contribute more to this great idea and my code will actually make it into the main branch :)



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