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Weekend Aantel’s Blog » Blog Archive » FOSS multimedia authoring doesn’t quite cut it - A view

FOSS multimedia authoring doesn’t quite cut it - A view

SInce my posting on the topic of “Making change happen - the case of the IOTA job ad“, there has been interesting additional development.

A multimedia expert was asked to create a feasibility plan for development of the CBT using FOSS tools, and his report is as follows. I figured it would be interesting reading for a lot of people, so I’ve shared it below.

=== THE REPORT ===

I have gone through the most recommended open source software in Linux, to be used as substitutes of the commonly known graphics related software. On basis of the requirement for CBT development project, I have performed dry-run of some test cases. The results from those trials can be stated below.

GIMP (as a substitute of Photoshop)

- No option for true resembling of bi-cubic to bilinear conversion

- Many of the layer comp option cannot be found

- Antialising is poor

- Many of the color correction tools are absent

- Cannot share GIMP comp with INKSCAPE comp and UIRA comp layer wise

- Smart object facility is not available

(There are several other problems are there in GIMP, but those are not mentioned here, only some of the points very much linked with the work procedure of CBT development are mentioned here)

INKSCAPE (as a substitute of Illustrator)

- EPS quality and standard of vector is not up to standard

- Cannot share INKSCAPE comp with GIMP maintaining vector property

- INKSCAPE drawing cannot be used properly to animate with UIRA

- Vector layers cannot be managed with UIRA

- Rasterization of Vector , maintaining transparency and smooth edges cannot be done

(There are several other problems are there in INKSCAPE, but those are not mentioned here, only some of the points very much linked with the work procedure of CBT development are mentioned here)

F4L (as a substitute of Flash)

- F4L is no more

- It is now converted into UIRA with a blend of QFlash

- Both of them are not so professional

- Crashes anytime and almost every time

- Smart clip and nested movie clip system is unstable

- Symbol definition is not OK

- Action script is full of bugs

- File compatibility is not even good

- Authoring property is very bad

- Compatibility with running text in local language is very bad

(There are several other problems are there in F4L, but those are not mentioned here, only some of the points very much linked with the work procedure of CBT development are mentioned here)

KINO (as a substitute of Premiere)

- Codecs are very poor

- Conforming process frequently crashes

- Lightweight screen captured video cannot be edited properly

- Unsafe rendering

- Unwanted loss of project data in time of save and reopen

- Voice-over cannot be taken in form of dubbing

- A little bit long timeline often crashes

(There are several other problems are there in KINO, but those are not mentioned here, only some of the points very much linked with the work procedure of CBT development are mentioned here)

Audacity (as a substitute of Audition)

- Codecs are very poor

- Conforming process frequently crashes

- MP3 cannot be edited properly

- Unsafe rendering

- Cannot be converted into MP3 properly

- Too few tools to operate

- Recording in full duplex cannot done properly

- Dubbing facility is not available

(There are several other problems are there in Audacity, but those are not mentioned here, only some of the points very much linked with the work procedure of CBT development are mentioned here)

9 Responses to “FOSS multimedia authoring doesn’t quite cut it - A view”

  1. Vivek Khurana Says:

    Though I ill agree with few points in the report. But this report by any standard is geared to show FOSS in bad light. The expert has not bothered to look around at alternate options and has tried to find exact replacement of closed tools, which is not possible.
    Did the expert tried to evaluate OGG codec instead of MP3 ? Did he looked at open shot instead of kino ? Did he look into SVG + HTML5 + JS as a replacement of Flash ? I guess not, else the report would have been quite different.
    In short, this is a half cooked report and bad quality work.

  2. Weekend Aantel Says:

    @vivek you are right on the money about him looking for exact drop-in replacement of prop. s/w. of course he hasn’t looked for an alternative solution the FOSS way.

    However, the proposed CBT program targets approximately some 1 million plus high schoolers in WB. It would also be developed with tax payers’ money. And unless this FUD is challenged, there is risk that this development would end up happening using closed tools. So, my point is, instead of rhetorics, can we come up with alternate workflow for CBT development using FOSS tools, along with actual, existing examples of working prototypes that are demo-able?

  3. SDG Says:

    For video, I think it may make sense to check Openshot (http://www.openshotvideo.com/)

    For Flash replacement - especially in an educational context, it would make much more sense to use Etoys (you can see some examples at http://www.squeakland.org/showcase/featured/)
    You may also want to check out the Karma framework (http://lwn.net/Articles/373991/)

  4. Arin Says:

    Indra,

    In the absence of knowing what exactly is involved in CBT (is it computer based training? ), it’s difficult to comment what was the reviewer asked to comment on and why is he or she correct (or not) in the observations made. Even so, in a limited context as an end user the expert may be “technically” correct. But that misses the point about FOSS and its flexibility that no proprietary software can offer. The freedom that FOSS offers its end users must be taken into account in the context of decision making in the education sector.

    From the perspective of education and the way of the future directions, I think it’s important that for educators who focus on children’s education (and indeed any education for that matter), it’s important to be flexible and therefore use FOSS is the way to go. It’s happening worldwide, and I see no reason why India should be any different.

    At the end of the day, it boils down to a matter of philosophy.

    On a personal note, I recently started using Emacs/Org-mode (both in my home linux PC and in my office windows box), and I am rediscovering a whole new way of working. I think the power of simplicity, sharing, innovation, and community that FOSS offers is too strong and important to be dismissed on the grounds of an expert techie’s comfort zone with proprietary sofware.

    Sorry for the long post.
    /Arin

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