Elisa 0.3.3 – Media Centre for Kids
Initially I was quite excited by the release of Elisa 0.3.3 from the team at Fluendo. In general, I like the work Fluendo does – amongst other initiatives they have codecs for sale that alleviate any legal qualms you may have about installing “non-free” video codecs from various locations, they have an interesting Java streaming video applet called Cortado and they provide a reasonably priced online streaming service. So, high hopes for Elisa 0.3.3. Unfortunately, it looks like I won’t be using this software.
Installation was straight forward, using the Ubuntu package found on their packages page. That’s about as far as the good news goes. Elisa installs a link in the Applications > Sounds & Video menu under Gnome. However, the application is clearly following KDE design principles. Immediately I was reminded of the post over at Planete Beranger about useless, annoying cartoonish design icons and effects. That’s Elisa 0.3.3. Huge, quite ugly, cartoon-like graphics. The interface could have been so much slicker. Of course it is possible for someone to re-skin the application on top of Elisa’s functionality, and I sincerely hope someone will. The default graphics are bad enough, but choosing one of the other two icon themes only makes things worse; didn’t anyone teach these guys how to anti-alias?
The other reason I was so keen to try Elisa 0.3.3 is the screaming text on the project’s homepage stating that the software will “Automatically detects IPods, cameras, USB hard drives, etc.” Great news! I can now finally use my iPod Touch with a Linux application for managing my music. Nope. It’s a vicious lie. Connecting my iPod via USB results in the usual pop-up message alerting me that a camera has been detected, but nothing in Elisa. An external hard drive, also connected via USB was recognised correctly, but not the iPod. What a disappointment.
Support from the Fluendo team is also lacking. There is a forum available, where I posted a query about the non-detected iPod, but nobody from the Fluendo development team seems to be answering questions. As of this post, there are 14 unanswered posts in the Help section dating back to January 22nd. Granted, a forum can and should be used by users to help each other, but shouldn’t there be someone from Fluendo regularly looking in to help out?
Elisa 0.3.3 – at the moment useful only for kids who like cartoons and don’t own iPods