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Improving the quality of video calls on the Free Desktop

Real Name of Submitter: 
Olivier CrĂȘte
Company or Project Affiliation: 
Short Bio: 

Olivier CrĂȘte has been involved in free software since 2000. He has been involved in GNOME since 2003 and in Gentoo since 2003. He currently works for Collabora, where he maintains the Farstream (formerly Farsight2) VoIP framework and its integration into Telepathy. He is also works to improve GStreamer to work better for live streaming.

Talk Abstract: 

Farsight2 has become the leading Free Software implementation of a videoconferencing framework. It is currently used by all of the important free IM applications including Empathy, Pidgin as well as the MeeGo platform. It implements most of the complex aspects of doing audio and video calls over the Internet, including selecting compatible codecs and establishing the connectivity using advanced techniques like ICE.

The next great challenge is to improve the quality of the calls, especially of video calls. Most non-free video calling systems have various proprietary ways to dynamically adjust the parameters during a call to get optimal quality. This is their best kept secret. They use various tricks to try to detect the available bandwidth to maximize its usage while minimizing packet loss. Also, various tricks are used to conceal the loss of packets from the user. We're trying to bring these kind of improvements to the Free Software world.

I will describe the efforts that I have undertaken to improve quality in Farstream, as well as efforts that were done as part of other related projects like Telepathy and the XMPP standards.