OpenOffice.org to use GStreamer for Multimedia
Previously OpenOffice.org used Sun's Java Media Framework to play back audio and video in documents. It seemed to work well for a while, but as time went on Java became more outdated. So, developers have decided to implement the widely used GStreamer framework.
Java was problematic for customers because many distributions did not include it in default installs and almost as many didn't offer it in repositories. It could also be inconvenient or difficult for users to properly install themselves for use with OpenOffice.org. Then over time Java grew behind industry standards in decoder support as well. OpenOffice.org developers knew they needed to find a general purpose multi-platform framework available to the majority of Linux users. They found GSteamer to be a very good choice.
GSteamer and its libraries are installed by default on many distributions, like Ubuntu and its derivatives, and is contained in the repository of many others. It has become very stable in recent versions and supports most multimedia codecs. If already installed, users need not take any further action to enjoy the benefits of GStreamer in OpenOffice.org, one of which is much better performance. Distribution developers can disable this support by choice if desired and cause OpenOffice.org to revert to using Java.
OpenOffice.org developers state this action is in "answer to a lot of feedback we received from SOHO as well as enterprise customers in the past." They are confident that using GStreamer will bring multimedia support to more customers as well as offering them more complete, stable, and modern supprt.
Susan Linton is a Linux writer and the owner of tuxmachines.org.