Blog Category: Open Source Software

Open sourcing DisplayCast


Open source plays an important role in a research laboratory like FXPAL. It allows our researchers to focus their energy on their own innovations and build on the efforts of the community. Open source projects thrive when many openly contribute their work for the common good. However, FXPAL has a business imperative to protect its innovations. We believe that we have found the balance between contributing back to the open source community and protecting our innovations.

Thus we are happy to announce that we have open sourced DisplayCast using a liberal NewBSD license. DisplayCast is a high performance screen sharing system designed for Intranets. It supports real time multiuser screen sharing across Windows 7, Mac OS X (10.6+) and iOS devices. The technical details of our screen capture and compression algorithms will be presented at the upcoming ACM Multimedia 2012 conference. The source code is hosted at GitHub. We provide two repositories: an Objective C based screen capture, playback and archive component that targets the Apple Mac OS X and iOS platforms, and an .NET/C# based screen capture and real time playback component that targets Windows 7.

We hope others find DisplayCast useful and that they will release their own innovations back to the open source community. FXPAL will continue to open source relevant projects in the future.

Towels! and, Open Source Robotics

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“Cloth Grasp Point Detection based on Multiple-view Geometric Cues with Application to Robotic Towel Folding.” Just watch it:

This is a PR2 robot from Willow Garage, being used in a project led by Berkeley grad student Jeremy Maitlin-Shepard. (The paper on the folding application is here.) The PR2 and its cousin the Texai have visited us at FXPAL; we’re hoping to improve our acquaintance soon (stay tuned!).

The very interesting approach taken by the roboticists at Willow Garage is to encourage the development of the robotics community through open source development. They also loan their hardware to other research labs on a case-by-case basis, again to encourage development on their ROS platform.

What is ROS? From the Willow Garage site:

ROS, Willow Garage’s software platform, stands for two things: Robot Operating System, a loose analogy to a computer operating system, and Robot Open Source. All of the software in development at Willow Garage is released under a BSD license at It is completely open source and free for others to use, change and commercialize upon — our primary goal is to enable code reuse in robotics research and development. Willow Garage is strongly committed to developing open source and reusable software. With the help of an international robotics community, we’ve also released all of the software we are building on ROS at in the “ros-pkg” and “wg-ros-pkg” projects.

Oops. Offline for a day.


Sorry for being AWOP (away without posts).   We upgraded the underlying OS on this server, and in the process we made the machine non-bootable.  It was booting from a logical volume, which is illogical.  And after the upgrade, not a valid drive.   And since this isn’t “mission critical”, we didn’t have a hot spare.   So, this is now the backup of WordPress restored to a wiped-clean and re-installed machine.   I think it is close to back-to-normal.  Never upgrade a machine if you don’t remember exactly how and why it was set up the way it was (random chance or old poor decisions?).  Thanks to my anonymous colleagues for fixing it.

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