Thursday, April 29, 2010

gPodder 2.5 "easter egg": Diablo UI on Fremantle

As you probably already know, all gPodder versions (Linux Desktop, Maemo 4 and Maemo 5) use the same codebase, and as Python is an interpreted language, the choice of which UI to run can be made at run time (you could do this for compiled languages, too, but it's easier for interpreted ones). In current versions of gPodder, this happens by using command-line arguments. gpodder alone will start the Desktop version (which does not work on Maemo for obvious reasons - an "auto-detect" feature might be implemented in the future). On Maemo 5, you will usually want to use gpodder --fremantle, which will start the Maemo 5 UI as you know it (that's also the command that gets executed when gPodder is started from its application icon). On Maemo 4, the command is gpodder --maemo.

If you are a gPodder/Maemo old-timer, you might still remember the "good old days" of two-panel, stylus-based podcast goodness with multiple selections, the funky context menu and the thick toolbar on your N8x0. Ever wondered how that would feel on the N900? Try it out! Simply run gpodder --maemo in X Terminal and give your podcasts a little retro interaction (the database and downloads are the same in both versions and are therefore shared).

Try it out - it might come in handy if you are a stylus cowboy or have really small fingers (or a big N900 and normal-sized fingers...). Also, give the multiple-selection feature in the episode list a try. All you need is gPodder version 2.5, as it contains some compatibility fixes to make the Diablo version not be totally unusable on Fremantle.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

New versions of gPodder and Brain Party out

The news are a bit slow these days, because the summer term really took off after the easter holidays, and the free time for coding has decreased accordingly. Nevertheless: Some updates have hit Maemo Extras-Testing yesterday.

gPodder 2.5 "Knock knock knock Penny" was released and with it another Maemo 5 package rolls into the Extras repository (the Diablo package for Maemo 4 has also been uploaded and promoted to Extras already). Apart from some string changes ("Settings" instead of "Preferences", for example) that we found during the first UX-Week, this version fixes YouTube video downloads - the downloaded files now get a suitable extension (a bug that was introduced by YouTube changing their website a few weeks ago). Another nice feature for those of you with a fast Internet connection: YouTube video streaming. You can now chose to stream subscribed YouTube videos instead of downloading them if you prefer that. Review it and vote for gPodder 2.5-1 here

In gaming news, Paul Hudson (aka Hudzilla) has fixed some bugs in the code of his Brain Party game, and I've now uploaded a new version of the Maemo port for this game. The development repository of Brain Party has now also been opened over at Launchpad: Brain Party on Launchpad, and Paul promised to merge the Maemo patches upstream as soon as I send them to him, which I'll do today :) Review it and vote for Brain Party 0.5.91-1 here

One and a half week ago, we started the "UX Week" sprints in the Forums, focusing on one aspect of third-party applications for Maemo per week. This week, we're focusing on icons, so if you are an artist of want to help out as user or if you are a developer in need for some well-balanced icons, please get in touch in the forums and on the Wiki. And if you don't want to be productive at all, just stop by and look at the great artwork the artists have come up with so far already.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Brain Party ported to the N900

Brain Party from Hudzilla Games has been released as open source for Linux some days ago. A thread on t.m.o suggested somebody port this over to Maemo. An afternoon of tinkering later (and with the help of Javispedro's SDL-GLES library), I've got the game to run on the N900 (see the patch for details on the changes - as you can see, the original source code is pretty clean, so porting was mostly straightforward after being told about SDL-GLES, fixing a parameter for glTexImage2D and doing some math to scale the game to the N900's screen and scale the input coordinates the same way). The package is currently in Extras-Devel, soon to be promoted to Extras-Testing. In the mean time, you can grab binary and source packages from this page (use apt-get -f install afterwards to satisfy dependencies).

Please test it and vote for it on the Maemo.org package page when it enters Extras-Testing (did you know that you can follow @maemoextras on Twitter to see packages entering Extras-Testing and Extras? Now you do..).

It's good to see developers porting their games to Linux and open sourcing them, which makes learning from their code and porting the games to other platforms very easy. If you like the game, please support the developers by purchasing Brain Party for the iPhone (you probably don't have an iPhone, so show the N900 game off to your freedom-hating friends and tell them that they should purchase the game for their iPhone/iPod touch on the App Store). The game is also available for Windows Mobile and Xbox 360.