Minutes of the BLUG Meet: September 2000

Date: Tue, 03 Oct 2000 19:31:14 +0530
From: Biju Chacko
Subject: [blug] ilug Bangalore September Meet Minutes

The September 2000 meeting of the ILUG Bangalore was held in the midst of
bandh's, postponements and pouring rain. The meeting began at 6:30pm on
30th September with an all-time low - only 46 attendees!

The meeting began on a miserable note as we did not have access to a
projector. CDAC's offices were closed, like most other offices, and we
could not reach anyone to sponsor the hire charge (Rs.3500).

In addition, one of the speakers, Frank Pohlmann from O'Reilly had taken
ill and was unable to attend.

Our co-ord Biju Chacko [1] then occupied (!) center stage and presented
the status of various processes that the LUG Bangalore was involved in,
including news of the Registration cards and the various calamitities that
befell this meeting!

The lack of the projector  immediately lead to Khader [2] withdrawing from
his presentation which needed visual effects for optimum (!) results. It is
also to be noted here that Khader's presentations are always slow burning
fuses - they need at least 2 LUG meetings to take off! [3]. In all
fairness, they do happen *eventually*. ;-)

This month's meeting was themed "Multimedia under Linux", showing off the
capabilities of Linux on the Multimedia front. Atul Chitnis [4] kicked off
the theme talks explaining how many people still believe that for anything
under Multimedia, you need to use "That Other OS (tm)", when in fact most
multimedia work is done under Unix and Unix-like OSs (on machines from SGI
or running BeOS). He narrated his own experiences in the music line, where
programs such as CakeWalk were very useful under TOOS, but kept crashing
because of the inefficiencies of the underlying OS.

Kalyan Alluri Varma [5] then proceeded to demo VCD's running in Linux.
Among the alternatives discussed were mtv, mtvp and a newer alternative
called xreadvcd+smpegplay [6]. This software while providing effective
control dumps VCD data to std output. Using any of the standard MPEG
players, it is possible to then view this stream. The relative advantages
and disadvantages of the various approaches was discussed, along with some
discussion on the MPEG format itself.

The next presentation was by Madhu M Kurup [7] who demonstrated a
streaming MP3 server using Icecast and shout components[8]. This
presentation used the network that was setup at the LUG meeting to
demonstrate a machine receiving streaming output from a server. On request
from the audience, it was discovered that the solution required such a
trivial amount of CPU time and memory so as to render it of no
consequence. Some discussion of the MP3 format, legality of broadcasting
music and ripping CD's was also undertaken.

The next section was by Mrinal Kalakrishnan [9] who showed how a PC
running Linux, a cheap Rs.1400 AWE64 sound card with wavetable support and
a cheapo Casio MIDI keyboard could be used to created professional
sounding music. The main attraction was the software Jazz++ [10], which
was showed off operating in conjunction with a keyboard synthesizer.

Mrinal then stepped through the process of creating of a song showing
multi track recording and editing. Finally, a track composed by Mrinal and
Atul Chitnis especially for the meet was played to demonstrate that the
music tools available on Linux are as sophisticated as present on any
other platform. The composition (entitled "Linux Can!") is now available
for download as a MP3 [16].

The last component was presented by Shankar Balan [11] who put Video under
linux through it's paces. Using an old Sony Handicam as live feed, he was
able to display capture, Web streaming and editing under Linux. Using a
tool called XawTV [12], Broadcast2000 [13] and CamServ [14], he was able
to create and edit a clip of the LUG meeting in real time. This demo also
included some elements of overlaying a video with special effects and
additional soundtracks. A sample home video which was created and edited
in Linux was a whopping 540MB in raw mode - underscoring the need for an
MPEG4 tool for Linux (or BIIIIIGGG hard disks!).

Some IT.COM details were also worked out with several groups starting to
take off.

- "Education powered by Linux"  led by Mahendra
- "Supercomputing powered by Linux" led by Khader
- "Development powered by Linux" by Madhu
- "Multimedia powered by Linux" led by Shanu
- "ISPs powered by Linux" led by Gopi & Avinash

If you want to join any of these groups, get in touch. If you have a
project in mind, let the world know. More details are to be expected on
the IT.COM mailing list [15].

Atul urged people to get more involved in activities, especially IT.COM.
He made it clear that the success of our stall at this expo would be
directly proportional to the amount of involvement by members of our LUG.
He stated that while the expo is at Bangalore, the Bangalore LUG was to
act as the eyes and arms of the Indian Linux Community.  (He was later
overheard saying that if he didn't see some project volunteers soon, he
would start volunteering people)

Ominiously enough, we are now exactly one month away from IT.COM. Action,
folks....

The meeting ended with dinner which was yummy masala dosas!

Faces missing from the meeting included Jessie, Naim, KD and Prof Guru
Bhat! A face *not* missing was Nikhil Datta who was visiting from
ILUG-Calicut.

Till the next meeting .... Linux can[16]!

References:

[1] botsie at mail dot com
[2] skhader at in dot ibm dot com
[3] RE: Debian installs in previous meets
[4] achitnis at exocore dot com
[5] kalyan at exocore dot com
[6] http://www.lokigames.com/development/smpeg.php3
[7] madhu at exocore dot com
[8] http://www.icecast.org
[9] mrinal at exocore dot com
[10] http://www.jazzware.com
[11] shanu at exocore dot com
[12] http://www.strusel007.de/linux/xawtv/index.html
[13] http://heroinewarrior.com/bcast2000.html
[14] http://cserv.sourceforge.net/
[15] http://itcom.linux-india.org
[16] The name of the music clip created by Atul and Mrinal - available
      at http://www.exocore.com/blug/linuxcan.mp3

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