BLUG MEET - 26th September 2003
This meet mostly dedicated to Graphics and Multimedia on Linux was
attended by 48 members.
SDL in Linux
The first presentation of the day was by
Arun Raghavan and Vibhu Rishi and they dealt specifically with Simple
Direct Media Layer(SDL). This application developed by Sam Lantinga
has been written in 'C', works with C++ natively,and bindings to Java
Perl are also available. It is used
extensively by people who are on to 'Gaming on
Linux' such as Loki Games who ported MsWindows games into
Linux. SDL is used by popular games such as Tux Racer and
Chromium. It is light-weight,simple, has a clean API, and is
able to abstract the native graphics. They
demonstrated with dexterity the full scale sound effects
created by them.
The SDL sub-systems such as audio,video,cdrom
etc. are initialised by running SDL_initsubsystem.
After init, the video modes could be set
manually. It uses a concept known as "blitting"
wherein images are loaded into memory and a
few things are blitted, i.e, copied to other
systems. It has a very efficient way of handling inputs by
having SDL events polled or waited for. It is
a graphics library and is also able to provide background music and
special effects for games. It can also
provide the necessary infrastructure to be used in X-ray imaging etc.
The SDL graphics library provides a few
utilities which act as wrappers around the FreeType 1.2
library(SDL_ttf).SDL_mixer enables loading sound samples in varied
formats such as wav/mp3/ogg. SDL_net can be
used with OpenGL for playing games across the net.
For documentation on SDL you may refer to :
Graphics on Linux by Mahendra M and Kartik N
Gnu Image Manipulation Program (GIMP)
The above utility which
was developed as an alternative college project has come to acquire
capabilities which match and even outdo full-scale commercial
applications like Adobe's Photoshop. It has
tile-based memory management since it loads images not as a linear
array but breaks it into small tiles. Further,
tile cache is also maintained to speed up the loading at a rate which
is faster than Photoshop. GIMP runs as a
server and has a Procedural Database(PDB) wherein plug-ins are
registered. Script-Fu is the GIMP scripting
extension which provides a variety of themes for buttons, logos, and
web page frames.
It is a graphic tool which cannot efficiently
handle too big an image, but as a plug-in to GIMP it provides added
capabilities and is pretty good. It has
very good API support for C,C++,Perl,PHP,Java,and shell scripts as
well. It is very good in converting between
different formats and has a command line utility.
There was also a pretty demonstration of a 3D Graphics tool known
as Blender which is available as a 2MB
download from www.blender3d.org.It is one of the fastest rendering
engines and is OpenSource. It has a very
small file size(90KB)compared to the same image in AVI format of size
100MB.Both Mahendra and Kartik demonstrated the capabilities of
blender by creating 3D animation of a
rotating globe after transposing the world map onto a round object
placed at the centre. It can also be used
to create 3D games,and movie rendering. In fact
a few of the Hollywood movies have used blender very effectively to
produce some amazing graphics on the big screen.
There was also mention of other graphic
tools available on Linux such as Xfig which could be used for
creating Flowcharts,drawings. Povray was
referred to as another 3D rendering tool which is text-based using
solid geometry. Xmorph is a tool which
gives the capability for morphing images.
Firebird - the Open source version of Borland's Interbase
The concluding talk of the day was from Gurunandan Bhat who spoke
about the open source database system,viz.,Firebird which is based on
Borland's Interbase version 6.0 whose source code was made public on
July,2000.The lead developer of Firebird is Ann Harison who was one
among the 82 persons who were initially with Borland/Inprise.It
operates under Mozilla license and allows an application to run from
a CD. Firebird is capable of running on
multi platforms as its' database has a single file which can easily
be transported say, from Linux to Windows and
Firebird has rich features such as SQL92 compliance,and support
for Stored Procedures,Triggers, and Concurrent
Versioning. It also supports a variety of bindings for
PHP,Perl,C,C++,ODBS/JDBC,Delphi 7,and Kylix
DBExpress. The other important features of Firebird are as
User defined data types
Support for Procedural Language
like Oracle's Pl/SQL
Ideal for CD based applications
Easy replication and backup
It has a command interface known
as isql .
Data backup without shutting down
A View seen by an user at the time
Live Backup was started is possible
Supports all the SQL92 Dialects
Gurunandan Bhat concluded his
illuminating talk with a demonstration of Interbase
application,IBAccess which is used as a front-end for Firebird also.
On the whole the meet was as good as any other and for those who
missed it, these words could at best convey in mere words a World of
Graphics,Sound,and Animation rendering which was really a
scintillating and eye-filling experience.
All amounts are in INR
Everything here is Copyright © The Author of the Piece
Anything else is Copyright © 2004 The Bangalore Linux User Group
All Rights Reserved.
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