Introducing Mistelix 0.1

As part of my master degree in computer science, that I completed last February, I had to do a final year project. I wanted to do a project that could match the academic requirements of my university and could also be useful to others and published as free software. After considering a few ideas and work out a few issues with the university, I decided to write a DVD authoring tool for GNU/Linux.

I think that Linux is still missing a few important tools in the multimedia area which I consider key for end users. I could not find any tool that could match iDVD alike user friendly and easiness. I have not obviously been the only one noticing this. The target audience for the final year project were end-users that required an easy to use tool for authoring DVD or slideshows for personal use. My mantra when writing the project has been:

  • It is easy to install and use
  • Written in a modern platform (Mono and C#)
  • Built on top of GStreamer multimedia framework which allow to extend its capabilities
  • It is highly extensible with extensions and themes

This is how Mistelix was born. My intention is to continue to further develop it and I hope that users and developers will find it interesting and will use it and contribute to it.

Oh, for those that wonder were the name Mistelix comes from. Mistelix is the result of the combination of the Catalan word Mistela and the ix part of the name Unix. Mistela is a traditional wine in Catalonia made by adding alcohol to non-fermented or partially fermented must.

 

Mistelix screenshot. There are more available at the project site.

Project status
I started to work on Mistelix 10 months ago (see some ohloh statistics). From the NEWS file what version 0.1 offers is: 

  • Create slideshows from a set of images
  • Include videos in your projects
  • Create new slide transition effects using extensions
  • Publish your projects into DVD or Theora videos
  • Localizable to any language
  • Save and load authoring projects

This version is able to produce DVDs and also slideshows for Theora. As a matter of fact that I produced already some DVD for my family, however version 0.1 is far from being feature complete or be ready for demanding end-users (no audio support for example yet).

The next steps are defined in the roadmap for version 0.2, mainly to rework the current Theme backend to empower users to do really cool projects easily, to add audio support and allow to do effects as extensions for the slides.

Download
You can download Mistelix from the download page, it is even already packaged for a few distributions. There is also a quick start use guide that shows briefly how to create a project.

The source code is available for now at Google Google Mistelix's project space. There are instructions on how to build it from sources.

Legal issues
If I had to define the current software patent system it will be something similar to the organized crime for which individuals, small companies, and free software projects are among the victims. The whole commercial audio and codec area is just a minefield. The MPEG-2 video compression format, required for DVD authoring, is protected by patents under United States law and international treaties. Most of the Linux distributions have currently no support for MPEG2.

Mistelix by default is packaged for several distributions. These packaged versions support only Theora slideshow authoring to make Mistelix compatible with the distribution of free software. However, installing a specially built gst-ffmpeg you can enable the DVD authoring functionality.

How to contribute
There are many ways of contributing to Mistelix. However, let me highlight three:

  • Check ideas for contributing if you are a software developer.
  • Help making Mistelix available to other languages (currently only available in Catalan and English). If you are fluent in other languages, with four hours of work approximately you can translate Mistelix and make it available to more users.
  • Help to test and improve it. Mistelix is about users, give it a try and provide your feedback. 

I want to thank Jordi Ceballos my tutor at the university for the final year project, Jordi Irazuzta (early feedback working on the first extensions), Siegfried-Angel Gevatter (Ubuntu packages and early feedback) and Universitat de Lleida and Softcatalà for the hosting of the project web.

Questions or comments?
If you have questions, you can contact visit Mistelix's project web site where I maintain an early FAQ. There is additionally the Mistelix Google Group forum.

This year's GUADEC is two hours by plane from home. I hope to be able to go and be able to get together with other people interested in contributing to the project.

jordi Tuesday 17 March 2009 - 5:59 pm | | Default

eight comments

Mike

This is awesome :)

May work out really nice.

Linux/GStreamer really lacked DVD support for the last years (ever since DVD was announced).

Maybe it is already time to focus onto BlueRay?

But for Mistelix, I am happy to finally see a GNOME DVD authoring tool emerging.

Mike, (Email ) - 17-03-’09 20:28
David Prieto

Hi Jordi,

There already is a young DVD authoring project which is shaping up really, really well. It’s called imagination and this is its home page: http://imagination.sourceforge.net/index..

Perhaps you could get in touch with its developer and maybe team up or somehting?

David Prieto, (Email ) - 17-03-’09 21:06
Jordi Mas

- Mike

There is the possibility that the next ‘DVD’ format never really arrives and it is just replaced by web apps and Internet. Only time will tell. However, I want to look into blu-ray.

- David

Regarding this Imagination, I’m happy to see any new free software project. However, I recall my motivations to start Mistelix:

· Written in a modern platform (Mono and C#)
· Built on top of GStreamer multimedia framework which allow to extend its capabilities

This project does not match any of these requirements. It will be difficult to contribute since the platforms are so different. Additionally, I see Mistelix as generic digital authoring tool that can already export to DVD and Theora and in the future to more formats.

- Rogu

Diva is cool, but it is a video editor. A different thing. Additionally, and please correct me if I’m wrong, far as I know is dead.

Thanks for the feedback folks,

Jordi,

Jordi Mas, (Email ) - 17-03-’09 23:21
Duda Nogueira

Hi! I would like to translate it to pt_br, do you know if someone is translating to this localization?

Duda Nogueira, (Email ) (URL) - 18-03-’09 13:10
Jordi Mas

Hello Duda,

I’m uploaded your translation:

http://svn.gnome.org/viewvc/mistelix/tru..

Thanks a lot for your help!!!

Jordi,

Jordi Mas, (Email ) - 18-03-’09 19:32
Jeff Schroeder

I’m actually sad you aren’t a pythonista and didn’t just add support for this to Pitivi. On the bright side of things, Edward Hervey, aka Pitivi creator and gstreamer ninja is aware of the project. Perhaps you can work together in some regards?

Jeff Schroeder, (URL) - 20-03-’09 12:32
Jordi Mas

Hello Jeff,

In the same case that Diva, Pitivi is a video editor, not a sideshow creation DVD authoring tool. The objectives of both tools are different. On top of this, I know a bit of Python, but not enough to do a project of this kind.

Before starting Mistelix, I did contribute to Abiword for more than 5 years, Mono, GNOME (patches) and other open / free software projects. I strongly believe in building on top of other’s people work, but in the case of Mistelix I did not see the case.

Thanks Jeff,

Jordi,

Jordi Mas, (Email ) - 20-03-’09 14:14
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