Daily Archives: March 13, 2007

Desktop recording on Fedora Core 6

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Desktop recording on Linux was very difficult for quite some time. Recently this became easier, and now the two tools recordMyDesktop and Xvidcap are both available for Fedora Core 6.

When I checked for desktop recording tools more than two years ago I only found tools which needed to tunnel the video data over a vnc server/client setup. This was a pretty difficult task and no option for a normal user.

Some weeks ago the topic became hot again for me after Ted Haeger reported about recordMyDesktop and showed how easy to use it is. He also posted a very good build howto and it worked like a charme.

Some days later I came across Xvidcap. It is another attempt to the same problem, but has some different features and another way to be configured. Still, it works nicely, is easy to use and you should have videos up and ready-to-release after seconds.

The main news for me however was when I realized that these programs are available via yum. Just hit

yum install gtk-recordmydesktop xvidcap

and yum will do the rest. One thing, though: for xvidcap you currently need to be subscribed to the livna repository. gtk-recordmydesktop is already part of Fedora extras, so in that case you don’t even have to alter any standard configuration of your machine at all.

So, whenever you have to explain anything to another user next time – just record it. Screen recording might even be easier than writing down everything. ;)

AMD/ATI & Linux – interview with Terry Makedon, the head of software development

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German golem.de features an interview with Terry Makedown about the current situation and the future prospects of Linux drivers for the AMD (former ATI) graphic cards. He makes clear that the legal problems alone are enough to keep the drivers close.

Thanks to German Golem.de we have an excellent interview with Terry Makedon concentrating mainly on the Linux driver development. Since the interview is published in German I will try to give a rough overview of the main points.
Actually the interview was mainly dedicated to the Vista drivers, but since these are coming along nicely the topic shifts to Linux quite fast.

Makedon points out that the driver development efforts for Linux were increased in the last two years. But he also identifies a major problem with the resources: the man power put into the Linux drivers is proportional to the percentage of Linux usage in the world. In the interview he mentions 5 % as an example.
Also, the development focuses on Workstations and professional use. The focus is explicitly not on games on Linux because that is not justified by the current situation in the real world.
Btw., I think that could be a reason why there is still no support for AIGLX in the AMD drivers, but quite nice support for dynamic display switching – although I’m still waiting for a nice GUI.

Anyway, opening the drivers is no alternative for Makedon: first of all there is too much 3rd party technology in the drivers “like for example compression algorithms”. The 3rd party companies certainly wouldn’t allow AMD to release that source code.
Second there is too much IP in the drivers. He compares the situation with McDonalds which will not release the recipe to the sauce of the BigMac also: “It is just not economically justifiable to do that.”
Also, an NDA like Intel uses is not possible because – according to Makedon – there is not “so much 3D intelligence” inside the Intel drivers.
However, he adds that the 2D part is already open source and that there are discussions to also release other parts like the install routines as open source as well. He cannot say never, but that AMD will not take this path for at least the next 6 till 12 months.

The interview closes with the note that it is not a political decision but that the right approach is still missing: “Of course we want to talk with the Linux community to open the code. If it helps to improve our products and doesn’t bring us into legal trouble or brakes our business secrets [...]“.

The golem.de article adds that the current development focuses on the “Catalyst Control Center” – it is supposed to be released for Linux until May 2007.