Mediainlinux 4 RC5 review

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Mediainlinux is a complete Linux distribution targeted at multimedia production, wich consist in a live cd (knoppix derived) containi

License: GPL (GNU General Public License)
File size: 708976K
Developer: Marco Ghirlanda
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Mediainlinux is a complete Linux distribution targeted at multimedia production, wich consist in a live cd (knoppix derived) containing more than 200 graphical application and thousands of command line tools for:

* Acquisition
* Conversion
* Editing
* Compression
* PostProduction in the Audio, 2D and 3D graphics and Video domain.

Mediainlinux distribution is a working prototype of a Debian Multimedia Distribution, based on the last version (3.4) of the Knoppix Linux Live Cd.

Our CD supports most of the graphic, audio and tv/satellite computer card on the consumer and prosumer market GNU/Linux compatible and has more than 200 graphical applications and hundreds (nearly 1000) of command line tools for covering all the complexity of the multimedia process of production: acquisition, conversion, compression and mastering.

Most of the Multimedia in the GNU/Linux world is covered, but there are some tools which we don't want to distribute together with Mediainlinux for legal reason and mainly because we are not sure about the integrity of the code, which could be stolen or covered by copyrights and so on.

You can install this applications after Mediainlinux is installed on the hard disk, because they will be present in the Synaptic interface (because we added the sources to the sources file).

Technical Goals:

1.Multimedia Kernel (modified to gain more reactivity from the system) and especially in the graphic (drivers for consumer and prosumer video cards) and audio (firmware for professional audio cards) subsystems, applying many patches like the low latency, preemption, real time e capabilities patches and reach a better recognizing of peripherals.

2.Boot splash: cover the Knoppix Live Cd initialization (which is oldish and bad looking, in our opinion) with an animation and some informations about the project.

3.Develop customized multimedia cd and application.

4.OpenMosix enabled kernel to make distributed rendering with Blender and Yafray.

Non technical goals:

1.Include applications which are not already part of the Debian distribution: speed in the free software world creates a situation in which hundreds of projects starts in a year and the ones which survive with an active development the first year and get developed for two or three years have a good chance to continue and be included in the major distributions. Sometimes it needs to anticipate this process and “discover” some applications which are not already shipped with a major distribution, before they become famous and encouraging their diffusion putting them in Mediainlinux. This has a double effect: makes the software better testing it and reporting bugs, suggestions and ideas and making better the whole Mediainlinux itself.

2.Support package maintainer to promote the diffusion of applications that haven't already been debianized: programmers that transform the source code of a certain software in a Debian .deb, ready to be installed on a computer with a Debian GNU/Linux distribution (or a Debian compatible one like Mediainlinux) are often volunteers doing this work just as an hobby. For some other software there are already some sponsorships from some facilities and one of the goals of Mediainlinux is to find economic support for this programmers in the multimedia field of application.

3.Organizations: we had contacts with some organizations like ONU and UNESCO and with Italian (Turin, Padova, Bologna, Siena) and international (Bristol, Oslo, Zlin, Tampere, Georgia) universities and with some other organizations in the audio and video fields like FESTPACO or African Women Media Center. In all this places Mediainlinux has been introduced and in some also experimented, still limiting to single tests. With all this entities we would like to set up a collaboration that goes from simple testing and reporting of bugs, to requests for new characteristics and development of additional software.

4.Art Academies: many institutions like MULTIDAMS of Turin, the school of Art and Media of Tampere or the Brera Academy of Art in Milan has a double role: public places for experimentation (and so contamination between technology and art) and possible producers of demonstrations and examples of use, artist and collaborators.

User side goals:

1.Make Mediainlinux a better looking distribution: the look of Mediainlinux is a key aspect of the whole project. The more the distribution will be stylish (from the cd to the manual, from the Internet site to an exhibition stand) in the design and in its graphic and artistic ideas, the more it will gain success between the Linux Artists and the Macintosh community. Then we need to surpass the look of proprietary systems, using all the widgets that can simulate the most stylish looking applets and so we must need graphics to create icons, desktop themes, wallpapers, screen savers and audio video materials (like desktop sounds or video tutorials).

2.Make Mediainlinux simpler: we need to do more integration between different applications, in the way that for a .ogg vorbis file we will have a contextual menu to play, edit, record it etc. etc. This should be done for most of the file formats in the multimedia field and it's an operation very intensive of configuring, programming, experimenting and daily use.

3.Make better configuration tools: most of all we need a good configuration of auto mounter to create automatically the icons of peripherals on the desktop.

4.Documentation: we need a manual for the primary applications (mostly done) and it's translation in English, French, Spanish and German.

5.Training: we are organizing many courses on subsystems included in Mediainlinux and especially for audio and video streaming, 2D and 3D graphic, musical composition and less common training lessons in multimedia installations and physical and acoustic simulation.

6.Support: make concrete a way to support our users with a mailing list, a forum and a satellite program with tutorials, examples and demonstrations of creativity.

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