FW Editor: What are your plans or objectives in the near future?
Stefan Westerfeld: There are a few things that will be useful for audio and video files, like configurable key bindings, but audio support is pretty much done at this point. Gst123 plays all audio formats, audio output is configurable, seeking works, tags work. So audio support is pretty much complete.
For videos, an On Screen Display would be nice (like mplayer has), to give the user some visible feedback during seek and other operations. I am not sure when this will be implemented, but its definitely something that would be nice to have.
Finally, I'm working with a contributor on support of more playlist formats. Besides m3u, his patch contains pls support, so that should get merged as soon as the code is reasonably finished.
FW Editor: How and when did you start writing the code for Gst123? What inspired you the most? Do you plan to develop new software, or are you more focused on optimizing the current ones?
Stefan Westerfeld: I always had music in ogg and mp3 format, and I was annoyed that at the time, there was no command line player that could play both formats. I tried writing a shell script first, which would call mpg123 or ogg123 depending on the next file on the playlist. But then shuffle had to be implemented in a bash script.
Since I knew that GStreamer could play both formats, I thought it might be nice to have a player thats based on GStreamer that works for ogg and mp3 files. I tried to copy ogg123 and mpg123 behaviour exactly, including features like Ctrl+C -> next song.
Right now I work on a few other software projects, like BEAST, SpectMorph and Foldroid - so my focus is to improve these projects and Gst123 - and not write anything new at the moment. Though you could say that SpectMorph is essentially a completely new piece of software, its at early proof of concept state of development.
FW Editor: For now, Gst123 works on Linux platforms only. Do you plan to release a Windows version as well?
Stefan Westerfeld: I would probably accept patches if somebody made a Windows version and needs changes to make Gst123 compile. But I don't see much need for a command line player under Windows. Most people will just use WinAmp or even Windows media mplayer under Windows.
So I'm not going to work on a Windows version myself.
FW Editor: Do you plan to improve or change Gst123 in any way? If yes, how are you going to do that?
Stefan Westerfeld: Well, I already mentioned more playlist formats, configurable key bindings and On Screen Display for videos. Other than that of course anything that users bring up goes in the TODO. There are things like a command line option --wav foo.wav to render output to a wav file or gapless playback on the TODO.
Basically I cannot implement everything people ask for myself. But if something is on the TODO and somebody sends me a patch, I'll do what I can to get it merged as soon as possible. So I try to priorize contributor input (like mails and patches) very high, to ensure that issues that others have with gst123 can be fixed quickly.
FW Editor: What do you like the most at Gst123?
Stefan Westerfeld: Gst123 is very small yet very powerful. It does what it was designed to do, playing all kinds of video and audio formats, yet the code base is very small. I think it works fine as replacement for mpg123 and ogg123, yet it now also supports video playback.
FW Editor: What are the advantages of using Gst123 over any other similar product?
Stefan Westerfeld: Well, that depends on which product you are comparing it to. Probably mplayer can play any file gst123 can, but gst123 is just a fraction of the code size, since the real work is done by GStreamer. That way the codecs are shared with many other projects which hopefully will lead to better quality decoding code.
Comparing gst123 to mpg123/ogg123 obviously results in: gst123 can play all audio files, not just some.
In the end I think the advantage over most other products is: gst123 does what it does well, but its really small when it comes to code size.
FW Editor: Now, to end our small interview, is there any message you would like to send to Gst123 users?
Stefan Westerfeld: Don't hestitate to contact me if there are issues with gst123 - of course the best thing is if you can send patches that fix the problems :-)
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