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Sink Your Fangs

January 28th, 2009 by Multimedia Mike

Check out snakebite. Some folks associated with the Python programming language put together a farm of computers that all Python committers have access to so that they can code and test. They put together an impressive network, though the PowerPC architecture is suspiciously unrepresented in any incarnation that I can find. They received some notable corporate sponsorship too, according to the announcement email on python-committers.

Wouldn’t it be neat to set up something like this for FFmpeg folks? Actually, I tend to think our first and foremost concern would be to get a community-accessible PowerPC machine for debugging various woes on that platform. My PowerPC-based Mac Mini is overcommitted as it is. I happen to be personally familiar with at least one large corporation that has an unbelievable pile of PowerPC-based Macs in its basement (along with loads of other computers), waiting to recycled one day. Regrettably, they have no policy for repurposing the computers for non-corporate functions.

And I don’t want to hear anything about how hard it would be to debug problems in a multimedia program on a remote computer halfway around the world while only interacting via terminal. I did a significant amount of debugging and performance profiling of FFmpeg’s VP3 decoder once upon a time under those very circumstances. My trick, when I had to view the results of a decode operation, were to write the video frames to individual JPEG files. Then, I would run webfs to serve those JPEGs via HTTP to the localhost IP address and tunnel it back to my own machine via SSH to view in a local web browser.

Posted in General | 4 Comments »

4 Responses

  1. Vitor Says:

    Looks like the snakebite guys want to get more projects to test at some point (now?). See http://mail.python.org/pipermail/python-committers/2009-January/000350.html also there is a post from a Mercurial dev at http://groups.google.com/group/snakebite-list asking for testing it too. Maybe it would be a good idea to send an email to the people running the project to see if they accept running FATE in their farm…

  2. Vitor Says:

    Btw, see also http://opensolaris.org/os/community/testing/testfarm/ . Maybe they wouldn’t also mind running a FATE client…

  3. Multimedia Mike Says:

    Thanks for the OpenSolaris farm tip. I don’t have time to pursue it right now and it’s not important for the projected upcoming release. But if someone else already has an OpenSolaris account, they might wish to pursue the opportunity. Otherwise, I may get to it in a month or so.

  4. Lars Says:

    Hallo Mike,

    you wrote that your PowerPC-based Mac is overcommitted.
    I could offer a dual core PowerPC G4 Mac if you’re interested.

    Have a look:
    http://www.apple-history.com/?page=gallery&model=g4_mirror

    I would like to support FATE and ffmpeg in general with such a donation and would be happy to ship it everywhere to europe for free.
    Where are you located?

    Regards
    Lars