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c3video for debconf #2

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This is a follow-up to my previous post related the DebConf videoteam using a new software stack for the next conferences: http://acaia.ca/~tiago/posts/c3video-for-dc-take-1/.

Installing C3TT scripts

There's a video (in German) which gives an idea about how the C3TT works: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K-KHbAcTo9I

It basically gives the volunteers a web interface to cut and review the recordings, wich communicates with a set of scripts running in background which will automate some tasks.

"Installing" the set of scripts is just a matter of placing them in a common directory and installing some Perl dependencies, mostly which are already packaged for Debian.

First check it out from the svn repository (fun fact: the web interface is coded in php in a git repository, the scripts are mostly written in perl with a little of bash, in a subversion repository. Both the conference and media system is are in ruby :)

$ svn co https://subversion.fem.tu-ilmenau.de/repository/cccongress
$ mkdir /opt/crs; mv cccongress/trunk/tools /opt/crs/

A few libraries required:

$ apt-get install libboolean-perl libmath-round-perl libdatetime-perl libwww-curl-perl libconfig-inifiles-perl libxml-simple-perl
$ perl -MCPAN -e 'install XML::RPC::Fast'

In the web tracker create a project, go to all projects => workers and create a worker (I'll try to explain it later). Go edit the worker and we'll see the token and secret that should be used in the scripts to talk to the interface.

cd  /opt/crs/tools/tracker3.0

Create a file tracker-profile.sh with the follow lines (using our correct values):

export CRS_TRACKER=http://localhost/rpc
export CRS_TOKEN=2q24M7LW4Rk31YNW4tWKv8koNvyM3V4s
export CRS_SECRET=5j8SyCS35W2SBk2XIM4IWeDUqF9agG1x

We also need to build and install the fuse-vdv package from trunk/tools (if working with dv files, otherwise fuse-ts package).

Next step is run the scripts. Fortunatelly a nice UI has been done using screen with multiple tabs, which can be alternated using a <Ctrl+a> <number> combination.

cd  /opt/crs/tools/tracker3.0 && /start-screenrc-dv.sh

We'll get the following:


Screen tabs from C3TT

In a next post I'll try to explain a bit of how the web system work together with the scripts and how to do a basic setup for a real conference. I hope to get there soon!

c3video for debconf #1

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Some context

DebConf has provided live streaming and recordings from talks since 2004. We used to work with a set of scripts which worked together with Pentabarf for most of videoteam tasks, including volunteer shifts coordination, reviewing process, encoding and deployment.

Things has changed since DebConf14, when Pentabarf was replaced by Summit as the conference management system. Without those old Pentabarf features and hacks we had to invent new ways of dealing with the video workflow in DebConf. We gave veyepar a try in 2014, and we will probably do it again in DebConf15. However, for a long term solution we are considering the software stack from CCC Video Operation Center, which so far I see as a free, solid and community-oriented mix of Debian-friendly tools.

I will be reporting the progress on setting up and testing the CCC software strucutre for DebConf. Having the opportunity of being in DebCamp together with other videoteam folks will certainly make things easier :)

Setting up the CCC Ticket Tracker

C3TT is a ticket/tracker system used by CCC for reviewing/encoding process.

The web side of C3TT is written in PHP and can be cloned from http://git.fem.tu-ilmenau.de/cccongress.git. Some documentation is available at https://repository.fem.tu-ilmenau.de/trac/c3tt/wiki and from https://c3voc.de/wiki/c3tracker.

What I've done so far to get it working:

Installing some dependencies:

$ apt-get install postgresql-9.4 php5-pgsql php5-xsl postgresql-contrib-9.4 php5-xmlrpc php5 php5-curl

Creating database and users:

$ su -s /bin/bash postgres
$ createuser -DRS dc15
$ createdb -O dc15 c3tt
$ psql
postgres=# ALTER ROLE dc15 WITH PASSWORD 'xxx';

Basic site config using lighttpd:

$HTTP["host"] =~ "c3tt\.your\.host" {
  server.document-root = "/var/www/c3tt/Public/"
  alias.url = ("/javascript/" => "/var/www/js/")
  url.rewrite-once = ( ".*\.(js|ico|gif|jpg|png|css)$" => "$0", "^(.*?)$" => "index.php/$1",)

Running the installer script:

$ php -q Install/install.php

This will ask you some questions, then will create the config file and populate the database. At this point you should be able to access the ticket track system from your browser.

The set of scripts from C3TT doesn't need to be installed in the same host as the web side, they communicate via XML/RPC. In a next post I will report the installation and initial setup for these scripts.

Zyne is now in Debian

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Zyne is a modular synthetizer written in Python. Anyone can create and extend its modules using the Pyo library. Zyne's GUI is coded using WXPython and will look nicely in GNU/Linux, Mac and Windows systems. It's written by the same author of Pyo, and together with Cecilia and Soundgrain is part of an amazing set of libre tools for sound synthesis and electronic music composition.


Zyne loading 6 of its 14 default modules

Zyne package is result of a successful one-day event called MicroDebconf Brasilia 2015, being created during a track about packaging and QA leaded by Eriberto Mota and Antonio Terceiro.

MuseScore 2.0 is great, try it!

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A bit of context: two years ago I joined an undergraduate program in electroacoustic music composition at the Université de Montréal. Fortunately the faculty has decided to use mostly free software in the classes. They recently moved from Max/MSP to Pure Data to teach algorithmic composition. OpenMusic has been used for computer assisted composition classes. On acoustics classes, Sonic Visualiser is the recommended tool. For everything related to audio processing and sound synthesis we mainly use Python pyo library and Cecilia, both developed by the professor himself. Other many free softwares are used for building digital musical instruments in the courses: Arduino, SuperCollider, OpenCV, openFrameworks etc.

So far I touched two proprietary softwares for my classes. First it was Reaper, a sequencer which has been recently adopted in replacement of Pro Tools in some grades. Reaper has a less unfair distribution model compared to Pro Tools and despite being a closed piece of software it somewhat looks like a community-oriented project, being developed by a small team of free software enthusiasts. Being an amazing, complete and still lightweight DAW I hope it goes free some day in the future (I've read about this possibility somewhere in a forum that I can't find now). Anyway, after some months playing with Reaper I went back to Ardour. Because it's free, not because it's better (Reapper still seems unbeatable here).

The other was Finale, an alternative to MuseScore for music notation. I used it for three compositions mainly due to its playback capabilities. As a middle-aged music student I don't have the internal ear enough developed to listen orchestral textures, articulations and other details provided by expensive VST stuff. However, I found editing with Finale a pain in the ass. It's so bugged that I thought I were using a sort of alpha version. Basic editing is much more logical and elegant with MuseScore. After all, these first experiences with Finale didn't convince me that such realistic playbacks are adding any value to my music. I suspect that moving back to soundfonts or even composing with no playback at all will probably force me to exercice more critical/analytical listening whenever I need to understand the effects of a specific instrumental gesture and instrument combinations. So, I'm back to MuseScore. Not only because it's free, but also because it's better (at least for my current needs).

MuseScore has allowed me to easily edit music scores in a free operating system, using a small and not so powerful laptop. Unable to donate money to this amazing project I've been happily giving some time to it, by testing new releases, reporting issues, translating to portuguese and making available unofficial Debian packages while the current maintainer prepares the official one, which seems to be coming very soon. If you're a Finale/Sibelius user and don't strictly need that universe of orchestral VSTs samples for your music work, please give MuseScore a try. Have a quick look at its online handbook and in a few minutes you will be able to experience the real pleasure of music scoring using a computer. You can try different soundfonts, including the so nice Sonatina Symphonic Orchestra.

Below is a screenshot of MuseScore 2.0, which will be released very soon. You can download the RC version for your system in the MuseScore website.


MuseScore 2.0

Freeing myself from flickr

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A flickr standard account gives you a free as in facebook service (I really wanted to reuse it!!!). I don't know about the pro account, but I don't believe it will give you much respect. Anyway, I realized that my photo albums in flickr are still online. And I'm currently unable to access my photos locally. I needed to download all them, then I decided to give flickrbackup a try. I started coding it a few years ago because at that time there was no free tools available for that. And then I abandoned it, too bad I feel. But for my surprise it worked without issues! And that's all I needed in my Debian box:

$ apt-get install flickrbackup

$ mkdir myflickr

$ flickrbackup -o myflickr/

(this will open a default browser for authentication and will automatically get the API key, then I just need an ENTER to start getting all my albums)

I'm not sure whether there're other free tools (as in freedom) for that, but before paying for a license or trusting an online service for downloading your sets please give flickrbackup a chance :)

I'll probably set a piwigo instance in a vps. But I fear php. So, suggestions on web galleries are very welcome.

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