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[REBOL] Re: RFC: REBOL Home Multimedia Platform (RHMP)

From: petr:krenzelok:trz:cz at: 29-Dec-2001 6:28

Well, multimedia - Carl's second name - do you remember? :-) Some time ago I asked Holger, if Rebol/View could be as an general GUI engine for some underlying embedded OS. IIRC his answer was something like that it is NOT all that easy - you still need drivers which know how to talk to your hw. I think that you can only think about Rebol/View as an Desktop replacement, or just maybe plain and simply - start Rebol/View desktop once your OS is loaded .... As for multimedia - as Holger mentioned too - you have to deal with various formats, owned by various companies. Don't expect Rebol staying small in size, while implementing .avi, .divx, .mpeg, .mp3., .wav etc support itself. I think RT should just create native engines (ports), providing you a standardised/unified bridge to underlying system capabilities. I know that you, the same as me, the same as others, would like to see MagmaOS (RebOS) to come to life one day, and be proud of small, efficient, STAND-ALONE rebol OS, not just Rebol hosted on some platform. But look at Amiga and their take to introduce native AmigaDE (Tao Intent based) OS - no luck for more than 3 years already ...I think that such scenario is not even practical to Rebol - Tao for e.g. has nice Virtual Processor (along with hw abstraction layer) architecture, and you can implement some media player directly in VP code = Rebol code for us. Can you imagine implementing .mp3 decoding engine directly in Rebol code? Sadly - Rebol is tooooo slow here and impossible to compile ... ... So you need a library interface. We have one. I remember Jeff stating there were some changes to library interface, but those changes were not introduced yet. Anyway - it is easy (very easy) to speed the thingy up. I for one, created Rebol/View face native library effect. Well, not me, but my Linux friend. You just send your face referencing word to library, and you suddenly have access to image data buffer. We messed image data a bit, did refresh on face, and voila, it was there. That's exactly the way I think Morpheus will use. They surely are not implementing multimedia players 1) in Rebol - lack of speed 2) themselves at all. I am not sure .e.g. Windows media player provides you any kind of api, allowing you to receive pointer to image in memory, once rendered. It would be cool, if View could display it inside your face, so cool .... I asked about possibility to have media player window embedded inside View face, but RT have not provided me with clear answer, so I don't know .... Another thing is asynchronicity - remember - once you do something in your library code - you are simply there, and imo rest of the Rebol just sleeps. We would also need something along the Amiga device model - ability to call libraries (interfaces) asynchronously. I talked with Holger on IOS conference, and he told me, that RT plans to rework timers some time later, to work along the lines of Amiga device model, so be of more usage in various situations ... Cyphre also sent few enhancement requests to Holger, IIRC. E.g. according to Cyphre, ability to freeze/unfreeze face events, while face is still in display, would allow us to implement basic scheduling mechanism ("task" priority), based upon timing, directly in Rebol level. Now back to your idea. What hardware are you talking about? If you think you will implement one yourself, so better forget it, if you don't have enough money. I am part of small team doing some hw stuff, and man - it costs money .... and time .... So let's imagine you will use some 3rd party hw. OK - is the OS delivered with it? Well, to be honest, - if I would implement some kind of set-top-box, I would go with QNX Rtp, even if it costs money. You pay for the support and you get what you paid for. The OS covers small and efficient kernel, is message based, nicely scales (QNet capability). Photon architecture is nice too. It provides you with POSIX compliancy, so you can port from Uni*es "easily". It also provides you multimedia layers. If I would not go with QNX, then I would considered some kind of embedded Linux, but I am not sure of support here ... Tao for e.g. has yet to prove its ability to be used directly on various hardware set-ups ... But - if you think of Rebol/View as an GUI/presentation layer only, it could be done, although the lack of proper browser plug-in is critical imo, as Rebol itself is not capable/fast engough, for browser to be implemented in it. Imagine e.g. mailer app. You an do it with rebol, but how do you display html based messages? Our company Lotus Notes team switched to html based emails as a default set-up. Well, you can say - I will display it in browser thru browse feature, but - it is pretty inconsistent as far as mailer app is concerned ... there is probably even more issues ... It would be interesting to know Holger's or Carl's opinion, as they hold the keys to Rebol future, and I can bet they already thought about Rebol possibilities in multimedia, set-top-box market, as they both come from Amiga/set-top-box land .... Cheers, -pekr-