GStreamer - History and Development

History and Development

Erik Walthinsen founded the GStreamer project in 1999. Many of its core design ideas came from a research project at the Oregon Graduate Institute. Wim Taymans joined the project soon thereafter and greatly expanded on many aspects of the system. Many others around the world have contributed to various degrees since then.

The first major release was 0.1.0 which was announced on 11 January 2001. Not long after, GStreamer picked up its first commercial backer, an embedded Linux company called RidgeRun. Towards the end of January 2001, they hired Erik Walthinsen to develop methods for embedding GStreamer in smaller (cell phone-class) devices. Another RidgeRun employee, Brock A. Frazier, designed the GStreamer logo. RidgeRun later ran into financial trouble and had to let its staff go, including Erik Walthinsen. GStreamer progress was mostly unaffected.

The project released a series of major releases with 0.2.0 coming out in July 2001, 0.4.0 in September 2002, and 0.8.0 in March 2004. During that period the project also changed its versioning strategy and while the first releases were simply new versions, later on the middle number started signifying release series. This meant the project did release a string of 0.6.x and 0.8.x releases which was meant to stay binary compatible within those release series. Erik Walthinsen more or less left GStreamer development behind during this time as he went on to focus on other ventures.

During the 0.8.x release series, the project faced some difficulties. The 0.8.x series was not very popular in the Linux community mostly because of stability issues and a serious lack of features compared to competing projects like Xine, MPlayer or VLC. The project also suffered a bit in terms of lack of leadership as Wim Taymans, who had been the project lead since Erik Walthinsen had left, had also mostly ceased active participation.

In 2004, a new company was founded, Fluendo, which wanted to use GStreamer to write a streaming server Flumotion and also provide multimedia solutions for GStreamer. During this time, Fluendo hired most of the core developers including Wim Taymans and attracted the support of companies such as Nokia and Intel to bring GStreamer to a professional level and drive community adoption. With Wim Taymans back at the helm, the core of GStreamer was redesigned and became what is the current 0.10.x series, which had its first release in December 2005.

With a new stable core in place, GStreamer gained in popularity in 2006, being used by media players including Totem, Rhythmbox and Banshee with many more to follow.

In 2007, most of the core GStreamer developers left Fluendo, including GStreamer maintainer Wim Taymans who went on to co-found Collabora Multimedia together with other GStreamer veterans, while others joined Sun Microsystems, Oblong and Songbird.

GStreamer has also continued seeing both open source and commercial success and adoption by many different corporations (Nokia, Motorola, Texas Instruments, Freescale, Tandberg, Intel and many more) and has become a very powerful cross platform multimedia framework.

freedesktop.org hosts the GStreamer project, which accordingly aims to improve interoperability and to share technology between free desktops. Since 2005 Wim Taymans has maintained GStreamer.

The stable release series began with the 0.10.0 release in December 2005. It has maintained API and ABI compatibility since.

The GStreamer community is currently deciding on when to fork for a new development series and aim to release GStreamer 1.0.

On June the 7th, the first GStreamer SDK was launched using a stable version of GStreamer to favor cross-platform application development with this framework. Developers working with the SDK will find it to be functionally identical on Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Mac OS X (version 10.5 or later on Intel) and all supported Linux platforms. This initiative aims to facilitate the commercial adoption of the GStreamer project. As well as the SDK itself, users gain access to extensive documentation, tutorials and clear instructions for installing and getting started with GStreamer.

Read more about this topic:  GStreamer

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