The following is a guest blog by Conor Curran:
I joined Canonical early January 2010 to fill the role of Sound Architect on the DX team. Ever since I have been implementing a redesign of the system sound menu. ‘Indicator Sound’ is part of a core group of system indicators which sit on the top panel of the Ubuntu desktop. Its main purpose is to allow users to control the system’s sound settings (through pulseaudio). PulseAudio which is the sound server generally used on Linux systems ( similar to Apple’s CoreAudio or MS’s WASAPI ).
From Maverick onwards the inidicator was enhanced to allow for popular Media players to be controlled from the menu. This was made possible by the good work of the MPRIS people particularly Mirsal Ennaimem, Alex Merry, Ian Monroe and Lennart Poettering. I feel our immediate use-case really spurred the new version of this MPRIS into fruition. Currently Rhythmbox, Banshee, Amarok, VLC, Xnoise, Media Player Daemon all support complete integration with the menu.
The Natty release uses exclusively the MPRIS2 protocol including the playlist extension. This will enable applications like Spotify (with the MPRIS extension) to integrate seamlessly into the menu as no extra dependency will be needed.
More information on client registration can be found in the spec. The launchpad home for the project is https://launchpad.net/indicator-sound and the source can be fetched from the development trunk at lp:indicator-sound (or alternatively you can grab a tarball of the most recent release).
I hangout on #ayatana, #ubuntu-desktop on #freenode under the alias of ‘ronoc’. Any questions please feel free to ping me any time or ask the developer mailing list.
On my roadmap amongst other indicator concerns will be a focus on the ubuntu user experience for the lightweight audio dabbler to the medium weight MP3 mixer. David Henningsson, Daniel Chen, Luke Yelavich and Rodrigo Moya have been doing great work around this area and as this is something very close to my heart I should really be more involved …