Happy GPL Birthday VLC!
The ever-popular VLC turned 15 a few days ago--that's 15 years since the project was GPLed and released to the world. If we were pedants, we might point out that the project actually came into existence in 1996, but that was a different lifetime.
VLC originally was a very different application. For one thing, it was a closed-source project, and its original purpose was to stream videos from a satellite receiver to a computer science lab.
With that background in mind, the name makes sense (VLC stands for Video LAN Client). The VLC player was truly a "client" in those days, and there was a separate server component.
Many users have wondered why the project's logo is a traffic cone. Surely there must be some deep significance. But actually, there isn't. The cone was chosen merely because the students who developed VLC used to collect traffic cones--such fun.
VLC has changed a lot since its inception. Today, it's a fully fledged media player with server capabilities. Power users can use it as a media server. You even can stream video from a DVD onto a remote Android phone with a little networking magic.
VLC is one of the most popular media players on any platform. With more than two billion downloads, there are hundreds of millions of users. It's available on most platforms, from Windows to Linux, Mac to Android. There are more than 700 contributors today, with more than 70,000 commits. The project has grown into a major undertaking from its humble beginnings.
So why is it so popular? After all, there are plenty of media players on the market, both free and proprietary. What makes VLC stand out?
For one thing, VLC supports a lot of different video formats. Thanks to its modular architecture, it's relatively easy for contributors to extend the range of supported formats without hacking at the core code. Right now, there are more than 380 modules. This means if you can't play a video with another player, VLC probably can handle it.
VLC also offers fancy features that you usually wouldn't expect with a media player. For instance, you can record or stream your desktop, which is very useful if you're recording tutorials.
VLC also can download videos from streaming sources, including popular video hosting sites. That's not to advocate illegal video piracy, but there are plenty of legitimate uses for downloading videos for off-line viewing.
VLC is a great DVD player, and it can bypass region encoding with some DVD drives. But, some DVD drives enforce regional encoding at the chip level, so there's little that VLC can do about that.
Although cosmetics aren't everything, VLC has a pleasing and skin-able interface. All told, VLC is a great example of free software and is a vital component of many modern distros. So please join me in wishing the VLC project a happy birthday and many more to come!
Practical Task Scheduling Deployment
July 20, 2016 12:00 pm CDT
One of the best things about the UNIX environment (aside from being stable and efficient) is the vast array of software tools available to help you do your job. Traditionally, a UNIX tool does only one thing, but does that one thing very well. For example, grep is very easy to use and can search vast amounts of data quickly. The find tool can find a particular file or files based on all kinds of criteria. It's pretty easy to string these tools together to build even more powerful tools, such as a tool that finds all of the .log files in the /home directory and searches each one for a particular entry. This erector-set mentality allows UNIX system administrators to seem to always have the right tool for the job.
Cron traditionally has been considered another such a tool for job scheduling, but is it enough? This webinar considers that very question. The first part builds on a previous Geek Guide, Beyond Cron, and briefly describes how to know when it might be time to consider upgrading your job scheduling infrastructure. The second part presents an actual planning and implementation framework.
Join Linux Journal's Mike Diehl and Pat Cameron of Help Systems.
Free to Linux Journal readers.Register Now!
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With all the industry talk about the benefits of Linux on Power and all the performance advantages offered by its open architecture, you may be considering a move in that direction. If you are thinking about analytics, big data and cloud computing, you would be right to evaluate Power. The idea of using commodity x86 hardware and replacing it every three years is an outdated cost model. It doesn’t consider the total cost of ownership, and it doesn’t consider the advantage of real processing power, high-availability and multithreading like a demon.
This ebook takes a look at some of the practical applications of the Linux on Power platform and ways you might bring all the performance power of this open architecture to bear for your organization. There are no smoke and mirrors here—just hard, cold, empirical evidence provided by independent sources. I also consider some innovative ways Linux on Power will be used in the future.Get the Guide