July 17, 2013

Standardized Media Streaming on Linux Devices with Open Source Cloud-dLeyna

Few would dispute the value of standards for fostering interoperability, and here in the open source community that tends to be viewed as a particularly important goal.

There are standards for file formats and protocols, for example, and for programming languages and hardware specifications. Knowing that a technology complies with a standard gives us confidence that it will "play nicely" with other technologies that do too, making the tech world a nicer place to live in.

DLNA logoSo it goes, too, in the world of multimedia devices, where the better those devices can share digital media, the better it is for the user. The Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) offers a certification program toward that end, and just recently, digital media controller (DMC) application Cloud-dLeyna became the first open source stack to receive DLNA certification.

Reduced Risks

Hosted by 01.org, Intel’s Open Source Center Technology Center, the dLeyna project hosts middleware components designed to make it easy for developers to integrate DLNA functionality into applications ranging from classic digital media players to photo editing tools to podcasts.

Thanks to Cloud-dLeyna, an open source HTML5 reference application built using the dLeyna APIs, users can then stream media seamlessly among different devices such as TVs, game players or PCs.

"Using DLNA-certified components such as dLeyna has a clear value for developers, software vendors and device manufacturers, as it eventually reduces their risks when it comes to certifying their own products or software solutions with the DLNA forum," Hatem Oueslati, dLeyna product manager with Intel's Open Source Technology Center, told Linux.com. "In addition, it should shorten time to market for them, as the dLeyna software is robust and stable.

"Interoperability and conformance testing against the UPnP and DLNA standards is constantly checked along with the project development," Oueslati added.

Optimized for Linux

The fact that dLeyna is an open source project has particular advantages, Oueslati pointed out.

"The source code of each of the components involved in this DLNA stack remains open source, and thus is freely accessible by the community, is open for contributions and relies on a flexible licensing scheme that enables developers, software vendors and device manufacturers to mix proprietary software with the latter components," he explained.

"In addition, the contributions -- new-feature introductions, bug fixes and implementations of the evolutions in the DLNA/UPnP standards -- are done upstream, so they remain to the benefit of the community," Oueslati said.

Linux developers are especially likely to benefit.

"The dLeyna project offers a very easy-to-use and very high-level API to Linux native applications through D-Bus," Oueslati explained. "This offers a language- and toolkit-neutral programming interface that can even be scriptable for testing."

The stack has been designed and integrated for Linux, he added, including optimizing it for Linux communications frameworks ConnMan and NetworkManager, for example.

'Greater Credibility'

dLeyna's DLNA certification "highlights how today's technology must support interoperability and flexibility among an array of different devices, standards, frameworks, infrastructure and other components," Jay Lyman, a senior analyst for enterprise software at 451 Research, told Linux.com. "Certifications such as DLNA support broader use and greater credibility."

No less important, meanwhile, is that the news "also reinforces the idea that IT organizations and their people continue to seek and leverage open source software as a way of supporting that interoperability and flexibility," he concluded.

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