April 14, 2006

ccPublisher gets a GNU outlook on cross-platform availability

Author: Sean "Nz17" Robinson

Creative Commons (CC) offers licenses that allow you to publish material with clear-cut licensing terms that reserve some of your rights while giving the public others. CC offers a number of tools to implement the licenses into the metadata of various media formats. Until recently, its ccPublisher program, which allows you to upload CC-licensed content to the Internet Archive, had official binary releases only for Apple Macintosh OS X and Microsoft Windows XP. This is about to change, with the upcoming release of ccPublisher 2.

The new software puts an emphasis on cross-platform compatibility. The ccPublisher team is writing ccPublisher 2 entirely in Python -- a free, open source, interpreted programming language. This allows ccPublisher to run on any operating system with Python available for it, which today includes more than a dozen systems.

The ccPublisher team recently released its first public beta, 0.9.1. This release is almost feature-complete, lacking only an installer component and a crash-feedback reporter.

ccPublisher 2 needs Python 2.4, wxPython 2.6, and lxml to run. Most current Linux distributions (including Debian) provide these. If your distribution does, simply invoke your package manager to download and install the necessary libraries. If not, you can install all three easily. Python uses the GNU Compiler Collection (GCC) standard ./configure && make && make install from the source directory, and wxPython and lxml use the Python module standard python setup.py install.

Beta 1 offers a sparse, straightforward interface. Follow a few prompts to select applicable files for upload, enter metadata for the Internet Archive listings, and select a CC license and the files' formats. The program uploads all the information to the Internet Archive, where it appears within 24 hours.

The ccPublisher 2 team plan several useful features for the official release, including complete conversion to the more modular and extensible ccPublisher 2 architecture, support for extensions and plugins, and easy customization for third-party developers.

The ccPublisher 2 developers have already set their sights on version 1.1, which they say will embed CC metadata into numerous formats and offer full support for localization. They also hope to allow users to extract existing metadata from the media files themselves, making the process much faster, particularly when uploading a large number of files.

The current ccPublisher 2 beta release is a useful, yet somewhat limited, application for Internet Archive publishing. But if its development road map is an indicator, ccPublisher 2 is set to become an invaluable tool in the future.


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