About Me

Michael Zucchi

 B.E. (Comp. Sys. Eng.)

  also known as Zed
  to his mates & enemies!

notzed at gmail >
fosstodon.org/@notzed >


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code (77)
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gsoc (4)
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java (231)
java ee (3)
javafx (49)
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rants (137)
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videoz (6)
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wanki (3)
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zcl (4)
zedzone (26)
Sunday, 07 July 2019, 02:51

ZedZone sitemap.xml

I've added a sitemap.xml to the site. Maybe that'll make google consider adding it to it's index as it's only indexing 130 odd pages out of 1K+. bing is probably a lost cause, it's only indexed 10 pages.

It's a patch to blogz which generates both the short (id only) and long (date-title) urls as well as a sitemap for the few plain html articles which mostly cover the project home pages.

I also noticed some very old url's were being accessed so I added a redirect from /blog?post=xx to /post/xx. Huh now i think of it /blog?post=xx was blog by date, but no matter, it's good enough. Been a bit sick and not really on top of it the last few days.

Tagged blogz, code, hacking, zedzone.
Saturday, 06 July 2019, 06:52

incremental javac, make

I've been looking into incremental javac compilation again. I had most of the code for one approach done weeks ago but it never really got to the point of doing anything useful.

The goal is to simplify a GNU make based Java build system while ensuring consitent and complete builds.

javac -m <module> comes very close to what I want but the main problem is that it doesn't remove stale files. These come about for the same reasons that might occur with C development, for example the .java file is renamed or deleted. But there are many more cases that occur regularly in Java, for example an inner class or anonymous inner class is removed or renamed. And in C these aren't such an issue since a link line or whatever is just going to ignore any stale files anyway but with Java you can't easily calculate all the possible .class files (without recompiling the source) so you just grab all the files in the directory when creating a jar or module, so you don't want stale ones lying about.

So far i've created a tool called ijavac that uses the --module-source-path only to automatically find all source files that need recompiling. It optionally supports per-module mode where it restricts processing to in-module classes. It also automatically removes all stale files before they are recompiled. It works by parsing all the existing .class files, matching them up with their source based on --module-source-path and checking timestamps. The parsed .class files are used to create the full set of down-stream dependent classes, then match them to the corresponding set of .java files, and then invoke javac with this set.

In per-module mode it isn't quite as fast as using javac -m, but it's close and it ensures stale files are removed. Because it's only performing file-level dependencies it can recompile more than is necessary. In whole-project mode it depends on what was changed and how many files could need recompiling. However i'm not sure I can fit this in with my build system as I want to support generated files which may require a per-module build order.

There are also cases where module mode fails, regardless of whether the stale files are removed or not. For example:

// module a
public class Bob {
    int x;

// module b
public class Foo {
    Bob bob;

    int baz() {
        return bob.x;

If x is renamed in class Bob then a per-module rebuild will only rebuild Bob.class. Subsequently running a dependency-aware module build on module b will not recompile Foo.

The whole-project mode will catch this case succesfully assuming a per-module build hasn't already updated Bob.class independently. Although if you have a deeply dependent object (that is used widely in a project) it's about the same speed just to delete all the classes and rebuild them all together.

The main reason is that the per-module mode restricts it's view to only in-module classes and sources. I guess it should be able to handle cross-module checks with some additional work.

Another idea i'm toying with is creating a cleanup routine that is run as a post-process after javac -m. Becasue this only needs to match each .class with a .java it doesn't have to worry about building the whole dependency graph and can get away with only parsing the Source attribute. I'm not sure why javac -m doesn't expunge stale files but alas it does not.

I also have the code to generate the module-level dependency lists which is what would go into a makefile. The makefile wouldn't track .class files as one would with C.

But for now i'm not sure I really got anywhere so I guess it'll just go on the backburner again.

Apparently 'best practice' using maven is just to delete and rebuild every time which is nonsense.

Tagged hacking, java.
Wednesday, 03 July 2019, 06:09

Kinect2 device for FFmpeg, Microsoft Kinect for Windows SDK 2.0

So further on the previous post about Kinect for Microsoft Windows v2 support in ffmpeg ...

  1. My patch to ffmpeg-devel was completely ignored. Not even the courtesy to say it wasn't welcome due to it being obsolete hardware or any other comment whatsoever.
  2. My patches to libfreenect2 also seem to have been simply ignored.
  3. I couldn't get libfreenect2 to work on microsoft windows 10. It compiles and in some cases detects the camera but bulk transfers always timeout. I tried everything!
    • Using the libusb.dll in the binary download. This detects but transfers timeout.
    • Using visual studio to compile the libusb.dll. Doesn't work at all.
    • Using visual studio to compile libfreenect2 and a very basic capture program but uses the libusb.dll from libfreenect2 distribution. This only works if i put a couple of Sleep() calls in the right place. Otherwise it also fails.
    • Adding Sleep() calls in the ffmpeg module just times out.
  4. So I wrote a C dll to wrap the microsoft sdk so it could be called from gcc compiled code as c++ has no ABI so there it can't call it directly.
  5. Then I wrote another simple ffmpeg device 'kinect2' which uses this C dll to capture on a microsoft platform.
  6. Due to delays in processing this locked up the capture when trying to record all streams so I needed to use a capture thread and dump copies of the frames to a limited-size write queue.

This works and is stable but is microsoft platform only. The colour signal comes through as YUYV so it needs to be recompressed for saving vs the libfreenect2 indev which supported raw jpeg capture, so it takes considerably more cpu resources using a software codec. Also the C dll can only be compiled with visual studio as the Kinect headers (apart from being an auto-generated unreadable mess) are are not standard C or c++ compatible. But ffmpeg is still cross-compiled from a proper development system.

The c++ kinect sdk isn't too bad - apart from all the COM overheads and unredable headers. The documentation is abysmal. This is the first time iv'e ever used visual studio for C or c++, and hopefully the last, it's pretty pants.

Given my shitty experience with ffmpeg-devel I probably wont bother even submitting a patch for it there. If I decide to publish it at all I might send a link to ffmpeg-devel just to get some exposure.

I've found that it's almost impossible to find this site with any search engine even if you look for something specific so it's pretty pointless publishing it here anyway. Yesterday I was forced to login to bing and google's search consoles to find out what the hell was going on. bing has only indexed about a dozen pages and google has indexed the site but barely ever shows anything, and some of what it shows (10+ pages in) is dead links from previous iterations of the blog software. A few months ago I added jjpeg and zcl (at least) to the GNU Free Software Directory ... and even there the jjmpeg entry has been sitting at 'not approved' ever since and doesn't show the anything unless you dig further.

I've seen people asking on the microsoft developer forums for a piece of software which does exactly this - mostly from academic users - but if they can't find it what's the bloody point?

Tagged hacking, jjmpeg.
Monday, 03 June 2019, 01:18

Kinect2 device for FFmpeg, libfreenect2

I've been working on a kinect2 device backend for FFmpeg the last few days. Actually it's only about a day's work so far and i've got the code talking to the c++ (sigh) libfreenect2, building, and most of the glue written - I just haven't tested it with the hardware yet. I hope it should be quite straightforward but FFmpeg is a fairly complex library and there are a lot of details that could be wrong.

One feature it has is that the jpeg frames are not decoded; which means cheaper recording and no loss of capture quality. I had to make some minor modifications to libfreenect2 for this to be possible.

It exports 3x streams: the RGB data as jpeg, the IR data as grey16, and the depth data as grey16. I have options to enable various subsets of these streams, so for example depth+ir decoding can be skipped as it requires a good amount of flops. Cameras are referenced by serial number or index. Device queries work as do some basic capture settings. I'm also considering other options which libfreenect2 provides such as streams with the depth/rgb aligned to each other.

Once I have it at a working state and ported to git head (FFmpeg git was down when i started working on it) I will see if FFmpeg is interested in it. The fact that it requires c++ and a patched libfreenect2 might be a downside but there is already a c++ device in the source tree. Otherwise i'll just upload it to code.

This was going to be for work but they decided they'd rather use some junk matlab (ffs) on a shit platform (fffs) so i'm a little annoyed about the whole thing. While it should be possible to get this to work on their chosen shit platform as well it's a bit more involved.

Tagged hacking, jjmpeg.
Monday, 03 June 2019, 01:17

Parallel Streams, Blocking Queues

I've been using Java Streams a bit to do various bits of work. One useful feature is the ability to go wide using parallel streams. But I've often found it doesn't perform all that well.

I have written a Stream Parallel.map(Stream, Function) call which wraps a stream mapping process in a one that farms it out to a pool of threads and recombines it afterwards. This works well for some tasks particularly as you can set the number of threads, but it is still quite coarse and you can't recursively call it (actually you can, it just launches lots of threads).

Anyway so i'm trying to think of a way to break up multiple levels of parallel streams into smaller blocks of tasks that can be more freely scheduled. Whilst trying to fit it within the Stream processing model which is pull oriented.

I'm still nutting out the details but for now I have written a lockless, bounded, blocking, priority queue. It only supports a fixed set of discrete priority levels.

I did some micro-benchmarks against ArrayBlockingQueue (without priority) and i'm surprised how well it worked - from about 5x to 20x faster depending on the contention level.

Each priority level has it's own lockless queue implemented using an array and 3 counters. The array is accessed using cyclic addressing so all operations are O(1).

static class Queue<T> {
        volatile int head;
        volatile int tail;
        volatile int alloc;
        final T[] queue;

The trick is that it doesn't implement any waiting operations because it uses external arbitration to avoid the need to.

This makes put() particularly simple. I'm using pseudo-code atomics below, but these are implemented using VarHandles.

       void put(T value) {
                int a = atomic_inc(alloc);
                int b = a + 1;

                volatile_set(queue, a & (queue.length-1), value);
                while (!atomic_cas(head, a, b))

First, the allocation cannot fail and simply assigns a working slot for the new item. The item is then filled and then the atomic_cas() (compare-and-set) is used to ensure that the head pointer is incremented sequentially regardless of the number of threads which reserved slots.

The poll() method is slightly more complex.

        T poll() {
                int h, n, t;
                T node;

                do {
                        t = tail;
                        h = head;
                        if (h == t)
                                return null;
                        node = volatile_get(queue, t & (queue.length - 1));
                        n = t + 1;
                } while (!atomic_cas(tail, t, n));

                return node;

First it checks it the queue is empty and if so simply exits. It then takes the current queue tail and then updates the tail counter. If the tail pointer changed because another poll() completed first, then it just retries.

The order of reading the head and tail counters is important here! If tail is read second it is possible to double-read the same value.

This isn't a full queue implementation as a number of important features still missing:

  1. Limiting the number of put()s so that the queue isn't overwritten;
  2. Blocking on full-write when the queue is full, without busy-waiting;
  3. Blocking on empty-read when the queue is empty, without busy waiting.

All of these can be almost trivially implemented using a pair of Semaphores and an atomic integer.

  1. A sempaphore with (queue.length-1) reservations limits put() calls. A successful poll releases a reservation.
  2. The first semaphore does this as well.
  3. An atomically updated counter and another semaphore is used to implement wake-up on empty-read.

It's a bit tricky to benchmark and the results are quite noisy despite setting the CPU to a specific (low) clock speed.

But in general this is around 10x faster than using ArrayBlockingQueue for "low-contested" situations (6x writers, 6x readers on a 12x thread cpu). In a "high-contested" situation (32x writers, 32x readers), it's more like 15-20x faster, and scales better. Despite tight loops the ArrayBlockingQueue is unable to saturate the CPU resources (via top) and much of the time is spent in overhead (?somewhere?). Profiling in netbeans didn't offer any particular insight on where.

These are of course highly-contrived situations but the performance was a pleasant surprise. It might not work on systems with a weaker memory model than AMD-64 but I don't have access to such exotic systems.

This still doesn't solve the base problem I was working on but it might be a useful part thereof.

Tagged code, hacking, java.
Tuesday, 14 May 2019, 12:44

jjmpeg callbacks

Well I went and sorted out the AVIOContext callback code rather than posting the previous post so there is more of a gap than the date would imply ...

It turns out my idea to pass a reference to this to open2() was a bit dumb! Because of course open2() is the routine which creates the pointer that this refers to in the first place. Wrong!

Anyway the weak references were on the right track, and once I got it working further testing showed that I had to use a weak reference for the custom i/o handlers as well. In many cases it would still have worked but if you created a non-static anonymous class inside a method which stored the AVIOContext as a member variable then it would leak all three objects. A non-static anonymous inner class keeps a reference to this, which keeps a reference to the AVIOContext which keeps a reference to the non-static anonymous inner class.

So anyway the C now just uses weak references and the Java has a holder for the AVIOInterrupt or AVIOHandler object with which it is associated and some exploratory testing seems to confirm it works as expected.

I reverted the nativez changes too, the reference holder wasn't a completely terrible idea but it was duplicating existing JVM functionality unnecessarily.

Tagged hacking, jjmpeg.
Tuesday, 14 May 2019, 12:41

jjstuff n stuff

Well i've mostly been busy with work for the last couple of weeks. I more or less ended up taking a couple of weeks off around Easter and ANZAC Day so I had to do some more hours. There's no deadlines at the moment and I was waiting for some resources to become available so there wasn't much else to do anyway, and between all the hacking I did I managed to get a little of the waning sun before winter really hit a week ago.

I did a little bit on jjmpeg over the weekend. Partly as I was using it to prototype some ideas I was evaluating for work; I will probably end up doing it in C but its an easy platform to experiment in.

I did a fair bit of cleanup around JJMediaWriter, although it still needs work. Video works well but audio is probably broken.

The VideoPlay demo is a little nicer and I moved to the java.time stuff for date formatting. Fixed a bug with error handling.

Another bug I fixed was with the initialisation of native methods for functions which don't derive from AVObject. AVObject contains the code which loads the native library so if you don't use it first you don't get any native linkage. I hacked a simple mechanism using a NOP function that seems to work properly. You can't just load it in another class.

JNI Callbacks

I spent a bit too much time working on filling out AVIOContext to make it more 'complete'. AVIOContext is used to read/write files and network connections and allows for user-supplied callbacks to implement custom i/o. jjmpeg supports both ffmpeg and custom i/o but there was an updated open2() api for the former which takes an interrupt-check callback when opening a context. This posed a problem because for the custom i/o case I had a free pointer opaque I use to track a hard reference to the Java side callbacks but for the ffmpeg i/o case it is used by ffmpeg.

jjmpeg relies on the object pointers being the actual objects so I can't easily put this through a proxy object that contains both pointers. Actually there is only one place it is used but even then it would be very messy to make it work sanely.

The solution I came up with was to have the Java object retain a reference via another NativeZ managed object which retains any number of JNI side references which gets freed JNI side when it gets cleaned up. I then just poke an instance of this onto the AVIOContext so it lasts at least as long as the AVIOContext itself. I put this manager object into NativeZ because it might be useful elsewhere.

While it should work, it does seem like a bit messier than it might be. Just now I thought perhaps I could just store the Java listener in the Java object, but the C callback still needs a reference to this to retrieve the listener and it can't hold a hard reference otherwise the object will leak. But I just looked up the JNI docs and found a WeakGlobalRef API so that should probably work. I will try it and if so I will use that instead and roll back the code I added to NativeZ as well.

Documentation & The Rest

I also started a longer term and possibly pointless exercise of cleaning up the accessor methods and documentation. The accessor methods just access the struct fields directly but most fields are also accessible via the pretty messy libavutil/opt.h interface which is mirrored in part in AVOptions. Originally I went through the structures and just inserted the ones that looked like they might be useful but there's a lot of cruft in there and AVOption covers all the important onces. So I went throuhg AVCodecContext and retained the useful looking ones and cleared out the rest. I also cross-referenced the options table and documented the corresponding names if they exist.

After that I got the javadocs to build. I had to fix a bunch of badly formatted comments before I read the javadoc manual and a bunch of broken comments that get imported by the constant extractors. It all looks pretty bare though. It will take a lot of work to make them something worth using. Will see, will see.

I even did a little OpenCL today. Just a tiny bit of code to run a random fern inferencer. It's been so long since i've written any it took a few iterations to get things going. Didn't need to make any changes to zcl though, so that's a plus. But even with all the niceties of zcl it's still a bit, well, messy. The CLTask is a good kernel of an idea (pun intended) but there might be ways to build on that to be something a little more convenient. How deep I look into this will depend on how much OpenCL I end up writing but that probably wont be much.


Oh another thing I did over the weekend was some Java tutoring for a mate. He's doing JavaFX, so yeah it wasn't much effort even with the hangover I had acquired from the night* before.

I was somewhat surprised at how bad the assignment was though. For a first assignment the scope wasn't so bad but right from the start things were a bit strange.

Must be Eclipse, must be JavaFX11. Why JavaFX11? Who knows, it's not really that different as a toolkit compared to JavaFX8 apart from being a much bigger pain to install not to mention the complication with the module stuff. Just what you want for an introductory course. Eclipse is pretty much total pants too if you ask me.

There is a page for an eclipse module or plugin or whatever it is but the 'for the lazy' page is so short it seems to be missing all the details. And the screenshots are so low resolution you can't read any of the text. The only remotely likely looking available option didn't match the description and looked wrong - and it didn't work when you installed it regardless. We did get it running but I had to put in JVM arguments and frob around a bit. Admittedly I need to do that in netbeans too but at least it supports modules and you don't need to use explicit --add-module JVM args.

(Being an apple machine i wasn't familair with it's weird filesystem heirarchy and the funky mess of a thing 'Finder' has turned into so that didn't help either).

Back to the assignment itself. Rather than a list the requirements, it stepped you through the parts that needed to be done. This is after first insisting that it wasn't a guideline of the steps to follow - even though you couldn't do the assignment without following them. In the addition to this odd idea, the formatting was completely miserable, like an email where carriage returns have been inserted randomly between sentences. What text there was was also often contradictory, and when it wasn't it offered questionable solutions to common problems.

For example one paragraph would talk about placing code in a constructor then the next sentence would say the same thing needed to go in some other method. In one case this was talking about the root Application where you pretty much never use the constructor and you put this stuff in start() so it was just wrong. In another case it talked about creating a 'XYStage' and then the code suggested for the constructor is 'stage = new Stage()'. It even mentioned deriving from Stage although not consistently! For the rest of the assignment it kept talking about this stage variable which shouldn't exist. I really don't like using the word wrong for software since so many ways will work - poor, snot, junk, totally shithouse, sure all of those, but there really was a lot of utter wrong here!

Even strange stylistic choices that indicate the author doesn't write or read any code of any language. Who creates any rectilinear object like a Window using (sizex,sizey,x,y) syntax rather than (x,y,width,height)? And lets start out teaching bad ideas like using undecorated windows so you can implement your own buggy and non-accessible window manipulation features yourself. Garish colour suggestions, check! No namespaces. Variables which change names or types from paragraph to paragraph, go you covered there too.

Bit bored tonight. I almost did some more work-related stuff but decided I needed a break from it. Not much else to do though which is why I posted this. Well it looks like i'm now playing with jjmpeg for a little while at least.

Tagged hacking, jjmpeg, rants.
Sunday, 05 May 2019, 08:29

Minimalistic Perfect Hashing

As a small diversion I played a little bit with minimal hash functions over the weekend.

The goal here is to convert a static list of words into a token value which could be used to implement a string switch statement or other such uses.

The GNU gperf tool is a production-ready general-purpose solution to this problem but I wanted to see if I could reduce the code size and try a more naive approach.

The approach is to just perform an exhaustive search over a limited set of possible functions. The function I am using is a multiply and shift. The input is an integer formed from the next 1, 2, or 4 bytes. I map these to a power-of-two table and just find a combination which produces no collisions over the table size. Then there are a couple of tables used to map these to an index and to a string which is used to verify the string is the same and not just the hashcode.

Using the 32 keywords for the C language this is one solution that takes only a single multiply-shift stage:

#include <string.h>
int hash_keyword(const char *word)
    static const char *words =
        "char\0" "long\0" "register\0" "if\0" "signed\0" "unsigned\0"
        "float\0" "switch\0" "int\0" "for\0" "while\0" "volatile\0"
        "static\0" "auto\0" "do\0" "union\0" "enum\0" "typedef\0"
        "struct\0" "sizeof\0" "const\0" "extern\0" "case\0" "default\0"
        "return\0" "break\0" "continue\0" "short\0" "else\0" "void\0"
        "double\0" "goto\0";
    static const unsigned char index[] =
        { 166, 0, 166, 166, 166, 4, 8, 16, 166, 18, 166, 166, 166, 166,
166, 166, 166, 24, 32, 37, 43, 166, 46, 166, 49, 166, 166, 54, 62, 166, 68, 72, 74, 79, 166,
166, 83, 90, 96, 102, 107, 166, 166, 113, 166, 117, 166, 124, 130, 166, 166, 166, 135, 166, 143,
166, 166, 166, 166, 148, 152, 156, 162, 166, };
    static const char value[] =
        { -1, 3, -1, -1, -1, 17, 18, 15, -1, 21, -1, -1, -1, -1, -1, -1,
-1, 28, 12, 25, 16, -1, 13, -1, 31, -1, -1, 30, 23, -1, 0, 7, 27, 10, -1, -1, 26, 24,
22, 4, 11, -1, -1, 2, -1, 6, -1, 19, 1, -1, -1, -1, 5, -1, 20, -1, -1, -1, -1, 9, 29,
8, 14, -1, };
    const unsigned char *p = (void *) word;
    unsigned int h = 0;
        unsigned int v = 0;
        for (int i = 0; i < 4 && *p; i++)
            v = (v << 8) | (*p++);
        h ^= (v * 54991) >> 12;
    h &= 63;
    return (strcmp(word, words + index[h]) == 0)
        ? value[h] : -1;

This is not a minimal perfect hash function because the hash size is 64 for 32 input words, but it does calculate the result using a single hash table calculation and probe.

Using smaller sample inputs and more steps provides more solutions but it requires more code at runtime. This one compiles into .text=87, .rodata=352 bytes.

By comparison equivalent functionality using gperf creates 595 bytes of .text and constants and 720 bytes of .data. The primary reason it is so much larger is because it stores the word and index in a structure which will take at least 16 bytes extra per entry (8 bytes for the string pointer, and 8 bytes alignment including the index value). This more than offsets the smaller table it uses.

The runtime should be comparable although being 1/3 the size should help the cpu caches.

It's slow to search and might not produce a solution but with some tuning it has worked for a limited number of cases i've tried. There are some other options it could try:

I think it's already as minimal as possible in terms of .text and .data size, at least on amd64.

As a further comparison I compared a smaller problem to using a linear search. This case was just for 6 strings. Apart from the hash generator I wrote a cascaded if-else-if and a compacted linear search where all strings are stored in 1 string with embedded nuls used to separate them.

            .text   .(ro)data
phash	       79      64
if-else	      206      41
linear	       74      42

So the only one that's smaller uses atypical coding anyway.

Tagged code, hacking.
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