Galleon, The Exclusive Interview

Dave Zatz —  October 3, 2005

Galleon PodcastingI like to think of Galleon as the Tivo Swiss Army knife – it pretty much does everything. You want email, weather forecasts, or RSS feeds displayed on your Tivo? No problem. You want to schedule downloads of podcasts for streaming to your Tivo? No problem. You want better music, image, and video management than Tivo offers you? No problem. The list goes on! But don’t just take my word for it… Tivo honored Galleon as the “Most Creative Application” in their Developer Challenge.

Leon Nicholls, a Java programmer by profession, and I chatted about his work on Galleon. The software originally began life as JavaHMO – a program improving upon and, for many, replacing Tivo’s own desktop software for stand-alone Series 2 units. With the release of HME, JavaHMO was rebranded and rewritten as Galleon to enhance and simplify a variety of multimedia functions while serving even more Internet content to your Tivo. Despite spending numerous hours a week coding, testing, and responding to issues, he assures me Galleon will always remain free.

Leon had more to say about his motivation and where he sees the project going:

What are your immediate goals with Galleon?
As an open source project it is important to regularly release updates to the software, so Galleon will continue to be regularly updated. To a large extent the project is driven by user feedback and requests. One of the aims of the project was to port the JavaHMO functionality to Galleon. Most of that has already been done, but there are still a few apps that might still be ported. Another important factor are my own interests, which is why I keep the project going. There are all kinds of interesting technical challenges to such a project, which most users would never be aware of. I’m also a user of Galleon and the apps that Galleon provides are the kinds of things that I want to be able to do on my TV.

What are your long term goals?
If I can spare the time I hope to keep the project going and use any new functionality that TiVo adds to their SDK’s. TiVo has indicated that they will be making some of their DVR functionality available in a future SDK. There are many interesting applications of such functionality which could extend and customize the capabilities of the TiVo recorder. I hope to explore more online applications that would allow Galleon users to share information about their favorite content and applications.

Anything else interesting you want to share with the world?
TiVo has made a gamble on Internet distribution of content and applications, and I really hope they pull it off. If this all comes together, it could be a very exciting time for breaking away from the current TV model. I still think that TiVo’s interface is great and if they can make it possible to access content and use services just as easy as it is to record programs, then they could be very successful. However, there are many interesting competitors that will make this transition quite challenging. I hope TiVo continues to expand their SDK and continue to support open source development.

4 responses to Galleon, The Exclusive Interview

  1. I would use galleon (and have tried it) but that it seems to suffers from the same thing every other java program does – it’s brutaly slow (on my two year old machine) and an overzealous memory hog

  2. Great interview! Keep up the good work!

  3. …and four months later, he published on his blog that he’s dropping it.

    http://galleon.tv/component/option,com_jd-wp/Itemid,62/p,8/

  4. Yup, he emailed me about it… http://www.zatznotfunny.com/2006-02/tivo-galleon-developer-calls-it-quits/

    He did leave the door open — perhaps some time off and/or changes by TiVo will reinvigorate him.