GeeXboX at Embedded Linux Conference 2010

The CE Linux Forum organized the ELC (Embedded Linux Conference) 2010 session at San Francisco from 12th to 14th April. I had a 1h speaking timeslot where I presented GeeXboX, Enna, libplayer and libvalhalla. This was also followed by a 2 hours demo session where Davide and myself presented Enna on netbooks + Nokia N900 to various attendees and enterprises.

For interested people, my slides are available at:
http://elinux.org/images/0/03/ELC_2010_-_BZ_-_GeeXboX_Enna_-_Embedded_Media_Center.pdf

And the video will be posted when available.

Those interested in all ELC conferences might take a look at:
http://elinux.org/ELC_2010_Presentations

So, what happened meanwhile this event ?

GeeXboX and Enna received a pretty good feedback from both the people attending the presentation than the demo. We also managed to draw contacts with many interesting people from various companies: Nokia, Texas Instruments, Samsung, Numonyx, AlwaysInnovating …

A lot of questions were raised, a few remarks too and in many cases, people had the same remarks or feelings (I do personally share many of them btw).

  • Most of the people were impressed by Enna on Nokia N900. Actually, most of people are interested by Enna on embedded devices (but that’s somehow normal due to expected audience), way more than on regular PC. Most people want it to run on ARM targets.
  • People were impressed by the very low footprint required. Numonyx folks consider it very useful with XIP approach.
  • Many people where very interested by libplayer actually. Its capability to allow user choose which backend to use seems to be very popular. Though everyone requested a GStreamer backend. I’m currently writing it but it’s definitely the way to go if we really intend to address embedded devices and enterprise-grade devices. It’s the only way to correctly handle DSPs atm.
  • Executives from Samsung were really interested by Enna itself. Actually, they knew about it before joining the stand. They wanted to know what was the difference with the enna from Enlightenment project (memo: Samsung hired the EFL main developer). They were happy to know that our Enna is the same as the one from E project. They also are very interested in it for their mobile phones (but not for the Bada project, or so they said) but were very disappointed by its very slow response time on N900. For the record N900 is running in software_x11_16 currently, the OpenGL|ES renderer being barely faster (if not slower) and produces garbage. I recalled them that they hire the man responsible of Evas and the renderers. Though it’s true and I confirm their feeling. I consider Enna as really really slow to draw anything (both on embedded devices and x86). No idea if its Evas issues or Enna bottleneck for we have slowdown issues. Though, from the expedite tests I did on N900, I’m disappointed by Evas performances.
  • People loved libvalhalla (or what it provides) and the capability to retrieve all metadata was really welcomed.
  • The biggest reproach done to Enna was the use of EFL instead of QT. Both individuals and enterprises (including Nokia obviously, but not Samsung, obviously too :-) would have recommended to use QT for its stabilized and documented API. The no-relases behavior, lack of documentation and unstable API of EFL was stated countless of times. Nokia shown us some small apps written using their new QML langage (EFL Edje equivalent) which is completely interpreted (but can be compiled) and I have to say the results were impressing. At first they have all necessary widgets (i.e. a completed Elementary) we need and the performances (on a regular PC at least) truely outcomes the ones of Evas-based applications (again while being interpreted). I asked us about OpenGL|ES performances and benchmarks (as it’s now my main point of interest) but they have no numbers to be provided (they however confirmed it to work fine). A lot of people also told us they would consider helping the project if it was QT written.
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