Editorial from Full Circle Magazine issue 61
Issue 61 of Full Circle Magazine, a free (as in cost) online magazine (in PDF and epub format) focused on Ubuntu Linux, has been released. Why should you care? If you use Ubuntu, or any other Linux distribution, Full Circle Magazine is one of the best magazines out there. Articles in FCM range from Linux game reviews (and we’re talking about fun games) to articles like the DVD ripping and encoding experiment I wrote for issue 61.
Every past issue of FCM is available online. Several articles have spread over several issues. If you’re like me and spent hours of typing machine language code from Compute’s Gazette into the ML compiler, you’ll like the fact that several issues cover coding and coding projects. FCM even has a number of special issues dedicated to topics ranging from GIMP imaging editing to Virtualization.
People sometimes ask me how I learned Linux. Reading magazines like FCM certainly helped expand my knowledge. I didn’t always “get” what people were talking about the first time I read through an article, but over time you connect the dots.
Whether you’re a Linux beginner or have been writing code for 5 years there’s something in Full Circle Magazine for everyone.
After I presented XBMC at Software Freedom Day 2011 Kitchener I started to feel the itch to answer a question that has been bothering me for a long time, “what affects video encoding?” Ripping DVDs happens pretty fast, at least on my wife’s quad core Athlon. Some DVDs rip to the hard drive in as little as 3 minutes. What takes time is encoding the ripped video into another less raw format. The obvious answer is the faster the CPU, the faster the encoding process. But what if buying the latest 8 core CUDA system is out of your price range? Is there something else that affects the encoding process? What could help encoding along?
- obviously a faster CPU
- a video card with more RAM
- more RAM
- 32bit versus 64bit operating system
- speed of hard drive
- do some types of video cards work better than others? (e.g. NVidia 7200 versus 7800)
Because I’m a computer refurbisher I also wanted to see the difference between motherboards with the same socket or similar sockets. Does chipset have a significant effect on video processing.
Our refurbishing project doesn’t see a lot of dual core and quad core systems, so my expectation is that most of the results will be far less than my wife’s quad core Athlon. Since I have to work, I won’t be working on this project during work time, meaning the results may be a bit slower. But I think it’s an excellent question to answer
[Edit] Related Future Articles on the same topic:
XBMC and video encoding are among my favourite topics to explore, so expect more articles as I experiment. Since I have access to hardware one of my weekends off I’m planning on testing to see if we can cut the speed of video encoding down with a cluster of machines. I just have to figure out which software will use MPI (Message Passing Interface) and what switches are needed to do the encoding.
To date I’ve really been concentrating on encoding using Acidrip, which uses mencoder at the back end. I’ve used transcode before, and I know there are other options available. Future research.