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Hugin 2010.4.0beta1 released.

Hugin 2010 Logo

Yesterday I released the first tarball in the new Hugin release cycle.  The goal is to release 2010.4.0 before the end of the year.

It’s only a couple of months since the last release, but a lot has changed, in the code, in the process, and in the infrastructure.

I wrote about the infrastructure change three days ago.  The activity in the new bug tracker is massive.

In the code, the most important news is that with its own brand new control points detector, Hugin can be considered feature-complete.

To underscore this achievement, the project has given itself a new look, contributed by Cristian Marchi, that has given an evolutive face lift to the original design by Dr. Luca Vascon whose source files have been lost in time.

In terms of process, this time around we have more contributors than ever, on multiple disparate platforms.  The project will still stick to its policy of releasing source code as soon as it is good to go and leaving it up to the user communities on the different platforms to produce and distribute binaries because it does not make sense to delay the release of source code only because there are no binaries; and it does not make sense to delay the release of binaries for a platform with faster builders only because there are no binaries yet on other platforms.  However the natural and inevitable time lag between a released source package and a working binary package (which is what most users are looking forward to) is likely to be reduced for most platforms.

First to respond to my call was Matthew Petroff.  He made Windows binaries in four variations (32bit/64bit, installer and standalone zipped) available within a few hours and before anybody else.  Matthew has joined the team recently and he has done some excellent polishing work on the Windows side of thing.

Then the indefatigable Harry van der Wolf followed up.  Building for OSX is always a little bit different/special and require more effort than most other platforms.  He reported this morning that everything works and will produce the coveted bundle installer tomorrow.  What would Hugin Mac users do without Harry?

Andreas Metzler reported a “work for me” update to the Debian experimental source package.  Based on his work I will try to produce my first Ubuntu packages of Hugin for Ubuntu Lucid (my main system) and Jaunty (chrooted), and Gerry Patterson will tag-team for Maverick.

On the Fedora front things are quiet but not less up to date.  Between Bruno Postle and Terry Duell recent versions of Fedora should be covered soon.

Lukáš Jirkovský will try to use OpenSuSE Build Service, but he’s very busy and there is no guarantee.

No promises.  There is always an inevitable lag between the release of a source tarball and that of a usable binary – at minimum the time it takes for the builder to download the tarball, build it, run a minimal test, and publish it.  But we are doing our best to make this the Hugin release with the shortest delay from source to binary.

This weekend is a test run.  The really interesting run will be when we approach the final release.  Keep your champagne cold for now.

And when will somebody report success building Hugin on Android or iOS?

A Good Day for Taxpayers and for Free Software

The Quebec superior court ruled that Quebec’s government purchase of Microsoft software without considering alternative vendors was illegal.  Unfortunately it was not practicable to revert the transaction but in the future the government will think twice before wasting 720.000 CAD of taxpayers money on the “upgrade” of 800 workstations to Windows Vista and Microsoft Office when there are viable lower cost alternatives that can do what those computers are asked to do, based on Linux and Open Office.

The full ruling text should be available online in a few days in French and maybe in English too.

Update June 4: The ruling was raised at the Quebec National Assembly during the question period.  The exchanges showed little understanding of the issue and were merely an attempt to score points against one another.  The government ministers were on the defensive, hiding behind the fact that there are thirty days to study and eventually appeal the ruling.  Apparently the civil “servants” do want the government to appeal the ruling. To be continued.

World Wide Panorama

The latest World Wide Panorama event is online. I did not have much time to process my entry, an objectVR movie.

Unfortunately the above site requires QuickTime, and that QuickTime is not available for Linux. There are plenty of media players that play linear QuickTime content, but support for QTVR – cylindrical and cubic panoramas as well as object VR movies – often falls short.

Last year the FreePV viewer was a Google Summer of Code project. This year I hope that we can take it further with the help of the team at VideoLAN. The plan is to integrate it in VLC, one of the most popular free media players out there, and my favorite on both Windows and Linux.

Don’t touch my RAW files!

detail of raw image

I am looking for a RAW converter. I am quite happy with Adobe Lightroom, but unfortunately, unlike Photoshop, I can’t get it to work in wine, the tool that enables applications written for Windows to run on Linux.

Even if Photoshop’s RAW converter shares the same DNA, a RAW converter is more useful to me when integrated into the image browser upstream in my workflow, not in the image editor downstream. Therefore, I am looking for an image browser in combination with a RAW converter.

Canon’s DPP works well in Linux, but it would lock me in to a camera vendor. Moreover it lacks the ability to correct chromatic aberration. On the good side, it has a feature that Adobe lacks: true linear conversion.

One major show stopper for me is a RAW converter that writes into the original RAW files! At least DPP is kind enough to ask every time for permission first. Some photo management software does this without asking permission – it assumes it was given when the (default!) preferences were set.

dpp write dialog

Writing to RAW files is a recipe for disaster. RAW files should be treated as if they were read-only. They are unique and precious. Writing to them is off-limit on my system. Any software that can’t respect this basic principle is slated for deletion.

Adobe Lightroom keeps the meta data in its own database. That’s OK, but what if the database corrupts, or if I want to drop in a replacement photo management tool? A database locks me into a format – even if it is an open and well documented format like the one of digiKam.

Better than a database are tiny separate files, XMP sidecars. Adobe Lightroom offers the option (which in my opinion should be the default) to store the metadata in XMP sidecars. And being XML, they can be expanded and translated easily when additional software enters the picture. Embed metadata in derivative work if you wish, but don’t touch my original RAW files. Ever!

converted and processed

Hugin dans Gimp 2 efficace 2e édition

J’ai contribué une section sur l’assemblage de panoramiques avec hugin à la deuxième édition du livre Gimp Efficace de Cédric Gemy, disponible chez Amazon.fr.

I contributed a section about stitching panoramas with hugin to the second edition of Cédric Gemy‘s book Gimp Efficace.

Cover Gimp 2 Efficace