TotalRecall Development

From Computational Memory Lab
Revision as of 17:57, 29 March 2010 by Yuvi (Talk)

Jump to: navigation, search


Penn TotalRecall Development



Open-source software is a collaborative effort. PLEASE inform us if anything on this page is incorrect or out of date.


TotalRecall is free and open-source software, released under the GNU General Public License, version 3. We encourage other groups to modify and improve the program. Please drop us a line if you're interested in developing TotalRecall or borrowing its code.

[Please note that at present we have one non-free dependency, so the resulting binaries are not fully free and open source. We are working to produce a completely free and open source version in the near future.]

User interface goals

Under construction.

Development goals

Up-to-date documentation

Keeping documentation current with the code base is an ongoing challenge. If you change the code, please make sure you are changing the documentation and propagating those changes to any other documentation that references it.

This is absolutely essential for documentation on the wiki and documentation in build files.

Zero dependencies

This is not 100% achievable given the poor quality of Oracle's Java Sound implementation and the lack of signal processing in the standard libraries. However this goal serves to remind that introducing dependencies makes build automation, installation, and maintenance vastly more difficult.

When dependencies must be introduced they should be pure Java packaged nicely into jars. Since Java is strongly committed to reverse-compatibility we don't have to worry about the program breaking because of an obscure update to gcc or the release of a new operating system.

At this point there are only two dependencies that can potentially break: the FMOD Sound System and the Java Native Access jar used to bind FMOD to the JVM. Both were selected because they are extremely high-quality and unlikely to stop working in the forseeable future. However, just to be safe, the sound system (`edu.upenn.psych.memory.precisionplayer` and `edu.upenn.psych.memory.nativestatelessplayer`) are designed in a pluggable way that allows re-implementation of the audio system without changing the program. If JNA ceases to work we can always fall back to JNI.

Minimum developer overhead

Please be mindful that future developers and maintainers may not have the same skill set as you. So with future maintainers in mind it's best to minimize the number of exotic technologies needed to build or develop TotalRecall. At this point some knowledge of Java, C, Java2D/Swing, Ant, and GNU Make is already needed. Let's keep this list short by not needlessly adding C++, OpenGL, <your-favorite-technology>, etc.

Build automation

A brief look at our Ant build.xml reveals that we are not aiming for "zero dependencies" in our build toolchain. The build chain is designed to make it quick and easy to build/package/release TotalRecall for the many operating systems and architectures we support. While the basic build process (i.e., what's needed to get the program running on your computer) should remain simple, the full build system (e.g., creating installers, transferring to download site, etc.) can introduce dependencies and developer overhead as needed.

Dependencies and borrowed code

  • FMOD Sound System, copyright © Firelight Technologies Pty, Ltd., 1994-2010. (FMOD non-commercial license).
  • Java Native Access for binding the audio system to the JVM.
  • OpenMary TTS's signal processing library (BSD-like).
  • Drag and drop support thanks to FileDrop (Public Domain).
  • Apple Java Extensions wrapper (BSD-like, but no source provided).

Supported configurations

Operating System Java versions
Mac OS 10.6 (32/64-bit) Java 6
Mac OS 10.5 (32/64-bit) Java 5, 6
K/Ubuntu Linux 10.11 (32/64-bit) Java 6
Windows 7 (32/64-bit) Java 6
Windows Vista (32/64-bit) Java 5, 6
Windows XP (32-bit) Java 5, 6

Note: Mac PowerPC is not officially supported, but the program is known to work on it.