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Improve Your iPod with Rockbox 343

Posted by Zonk
from the who-will-if-you-won't dept.
polar_bear` writes "The allure of the iPod is undeniable -- they're well-designed, sleek little music players that pack a lot of features into tiny packages. However, iPods fail to deliver when it comes to support for free codecs like Ogg Vorbis, and -- let's face it -- iTunes leaves a lot to be desired. If you'd like to enjoy the hardware goodness of the iPod with GPLed firmware, give Rockbox a try. Tim Lord explains how over on NewsForge.com." NewsForge is also a part of the OSTG network, and Tim Lord is "timothy", one of our own editors.
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Improve Your iPod with Rockbox

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  • Link to the Article (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 14, 2006 @12:12PM (#15130054)
    LINK to the article. [newsforge.com]
  • So... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by thebdj (768618) on Friday April 14, 2006 @12:12PM (#15130058) Journal
    So to start, iTunes sucked in 2003? The only article the submitter had going to be 3 yrs old this year. The other site really doesn't say anything except, I hate paying money for music. So great examples about the lack of iTunes.
    Really, if you want to advertise the firmware that might void your warranty (not went EULA reading yet), for some added features, then go ahead. I honestly think OGG audio sounds HORRID. But please do not post your own little attack with the article.
    • Re:So... (Score:2, Informative)

      by bigtrouble77 (715075)
      Fortunately I was able to mod you down a little as your post is complete flamebait.

      Here's the problem... People don't like itunes because it's essentially a gateway to the itunes store. It's purpose is to get you to buy apples's drm laden music from their proprietary service. Some people like it, some don't. Rockbox caters to those who don't. IMO, amaroK is FAR superior to itunes.

      I've used rockbox on my iriver h120 since the original builds and it never caused any issues that would void the warranty. I
      • Re:So... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Fahrenheit 450 (765492) on Friday April 14, 2006 @12:55PM (#15130417)
        People don't like itunes because it's essentially a gateway to the itunes store.

        So, because I've been using iTunes for years without ever buying anything from the iTunes music store means I'm somehow using it wrong?

        This argument is really just beyond silly. If you don't want to use it to visit the music store... well don't. It's like complaining about some TV channel because you don't like one of their shows. If you want to use your non-"drm laden" tracks with iTunes, just drag and drop to import and you're golden. Or, you can use another player if you want, it's no skin off my nose, just don't use such a silly damn argument for your reasoning...
      • This sort of thing is the typical FUD that emanates from OSS zealots. An iPod, using music ripped from CDs to either MPEG-4 audio (AAC, or Advanced Audio Coding) or Apple lossless, gives both high quality AND freedom. If you own an iPod, it's not likely that you care about interoperability with other players (unless you give your music away). If you rip your own CDs, you don't have "DRM-laden music". I dislike iTunes as much as the next person, although not for DRM reasons (I like the physical CDs as "b
        • Re:So... (Score:2, Flamebait)

          by DaHat (247651)
          A "wealth of codecs" is only really important when you are pirating your music from fellow people who cannot decide on a single standard and you don't want to have to be bothered to convert your booty before it goes to your player.

          Of course... I doubt the grandparent would admit that he is such a person though. Instead he'd claim that he's downloading songs from non RIAA bands who give their music away (or sell it themselves) and they are the ones who are choosing strange codecs... which too is BS because t
          • Re:So... (Score:5, Insightful)

            by DWIM (547700) on Friday April 14, 2006 @08:12PM (#15133575)
            A "wealth of codecs" is only really important when you are pirating your music from fellow people who cannot decide on a single standard and you don't want to have to be bothered to convert your booty before it goes to your player.

            This is unbelievably ignorant. A wealth of codecs means that you have a wealth of choices. It means that the vast population of digital music listening people are likely to find their chosen format(s) is supported by this firmware.

            For individuals, they most certainly can and do have multiple formats of music in their collection legally. I have some mp3's and a vast amount of ogg vorbis. The mp3's were free downloads. The ogg vorbis are all ripped from my own CD collection. I also have some WAV files, which are my own recordings. And I happen to like the fact that I actually have the choice to try some of the other codecs, particularly the lossless ones, such as FLAC.

            Remember, choices are a good thing.

          • A "wealth of codecs" is only really important when you are pirating your music from fellow people

            I've been using slashdot long enough to have a four digit UID, and I must admit that I have never during all this time seen anybody say anything more false. In fact, not only is your statement false, it is the exact opposite of the truth in an egregiously offensive and inciteful way.

            Since you seem to lack even the minimal imagination necessary to envision why non-pirates would ever want to use an alternative

      • Here's the problem... People don't like itunes because it's essentially a gateway to the itunes store.

        What a load of complete crap. iTunes is a music organization app. The music store is maybe 10% of the app, and most people never use the store. In addition, who are these mysterious people who don't like iTunes because there's a "Music Store" link they have the choice of clicking or not clicking on?

        It's purpose is to get you to buy apples's drm laden music from their proprietary service.

        I love people wh
      • I'm replying to my own post rather than to each response individually.

        I find it humorous being called an OSS zealot simply for stating reasons for why some people may not like itunes. You can't deny that some feel DRM is a burden while others look at it as a feature. And to suggest that OGG is a pirate's tool is insane. Since when is choice a bad thing?

        Am I loosing my mind, or is this Digg.com? I didn't think 8 year olds understood the moderation system here.
        • You can't deny that some feel DRM is a burden while others look at it as a feature.

          And you can't deny that ITunes does not require you to use DRM protected media. Yes. It supports Apple's DRM, but it doesn't force you to use it. Like I said, rip your CDs with iTunes... no DRM. Drag your non-DRM files onto ITunes, it doesn't add anything to them, but it will manage them just fine.

          Your argument against iTunes is a bit like saying that you don't like to drink out of a glass because you don't like grape jui
      • Do you know me or my ears? I didn't think so. I actually have pretty good ears for someone who has been blasting them with loud music for the better part of 10 yrs or so (around the time I found out how high that volume can go).

        Your argument is sort of invalidated by commenting that you use an iRiver. Short of using the default Apple firmware, I have absolutely no interaction with the iTunes PC program or the iTunes music store. To comment my post as flamebait only shows you to be an OSS fan flaming th
        • Re:So... (Score:3, Insightful)

          by marc_gerges (561641)
          Please name something that is a "Feature" not available on the iPod.

          Gap less playback. Just can't live without it when listening to live recordings.

          It's the one big thing that kept me from buying an Ipod, but I've ordered a Nano now.

          And, I like the fact Rockbox seems to cope nicely with keeping one's music organized in folders - without any internal database. Makes it nicer to use the device on multiple computers, and actually use it as mass storage when you prefer listening to your tunes on a compute

      • Re:So... (Score:5, Funny)

        by Tumbleweed (3706) * on Friday April 14, 2006 @01:33PM (#15130823)
        Fortunately I was able to mod you down a little as your post is complete flamebait.

        And then when you commented in the discussion, your moderation was wiped out, unless you're using a second account. :)
  • by Odiumjunkie (926074) on Friday April 14, 2006 @12:12PM (#15130059) Journal
    If I was going to go through the hassle and risk of an Ipod firmware upgrade, I'd greatly prefer the freedom and flexibility of something like Ipod Linux [ipodlinux.org], rather than just a multi-codec jukebox platform.
    • Of course, ipod linux support only goes up to 3g ipods, and rockbox supports 4g and 5g. But we would have to RTFA to learn that, wouldn't we? Heaven forbid!
    • by darrenf (746898) on Friday April 14, 2006 @12:34PM (#15130223) Homepage
      Couple things:
      Hassle and risk?
      Took me about 15 minutes to add the rockbox firmware to my iPod. As far as risk, no one has broken their iPod yet with Rockbox, and I can't imagine how they would... If something truly 'bad' happens, you can always use the iPod restore utility, even if the firmware is completely junked, since that functionality is built in to a read-only portion of the hardware.

      As far as comparing it to iPodLinux, the two projects have very different goals. iPodLinux wants to take a general operating system and cram it onto a music player with as much original functionality as possible, whereas Rockbox is designed from the bottom up as a replacement firmware for music players that has better support for more formats with more features and eventually, a better interface (the most lacking aspect of Rockbox ATM).

      Also, it's strange that this article mentions Rockbox only in the context of iPods, considering that it was originally designed with Archos and iRiver players in mind, and has only been working on iPods for a couple months. Hence, many things which work nicely for other targets are still quite broken on iPod.

      It does have a very active dev community (I can cvs update every 3 or 5 days and see a new major feature working) and is a lot of fun to tinker with, but as far as a 'better' replacement for the iPod firmware, I really wouldn't say it's quite there yet.
    • And if all you want to do is use the blasted iPod on Linux without taking any of the firmware-tampering risks, you can simply use gtkpod [gtkpod.org].

      BTW, anyone else noticed that the article says "I'd been familiar with Rockbox through postings about it on Slashdot..." ?
      • BTW, anyone else noticed that the article says "I'd been familiar with Rockbox through postings about it on Slashdot..." ?

        Well, we know that statement is simply false. If it weren't it would mean that a slashdot editor actually reads slashdot.
  • by Ohreally_factor (593551) on Friday April 14, 2006 @12:14PM (#15130071) Journal
    Timothy "Lord"?

    So he had his God-complex before he became a slashdot editor?

    Just kidding Timothy. Please don't smite me.
  • by fak3r (917687) on Friday April 14, 2006 @12:17PM (#15130108) Homepage
    I installed the latest iPod Linux last week, they even have an OS X installer now, makes it far easier than it was (not like it was hard then anyway) and I love it. Gives me all the functionality of the Apple side, plus more. Also once you install it, the bootup will show you the 'Apple' logo, then if you choose Linux it'll give you Tux listening to an iPod, but if you just let it boot to the Apple side, the new (old) logo is the old 'smiling mac SE'! So nice to see that again on an apple boot! I'm sure there must be an OS X hack to make this come back...ah, so nice.
  • iTunes sucks? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MustardMan (52102) on Friday April 14, 2006 @12:22PM (#15130142)
    So, just so I'm straight on this - TFA seems to indicate that the only way to get files onto rockbox is drag and drop. How, exactly, is this better than auto-sync? I plug in my ipod, all my podcasts, videos automatically re-encoded by my eyetv, and any songs I've downloaded with cabos are all automatically added to the player. Yeah, it sucks that the directories aren't in human-readable formats on the ipod, but there are plenty of third party apps to pull songs off an ipod. I keep the installer for a windows and mac version stored on my ipod.

    I have yet to find a player that gives me the functionality of itunes, either. I use smart playlists CONSTANTLY to generate groupings of songs I'm likely to want to hear. Again, all handled automatically and sync'ed every time I connect the ipod. Most players don't even have the library management I have come to enjoy from itunes. The closest I ever came when I was on windows was the MEXP plugin for winamp (http://www.mexp.dk/ [www.mexp.dk]), but that's still a far cry from itunes.

    I know a lot of people who don't own ipods and still use itunes to manage their music libraries. I guess if it doesn't run on your platform of choice, that means you can't use it - but it doesn't mean itunes sucks.
    • by jcr (53032) <jcr@NoSPAM.mac.com> on Friday April 14, 2006 @12:27PM (#15130173) Journal
      How, exactly, is this better than auto-sync?

      But it uses Ogg vorbis! It's GPL! Really, GPL is a feature, it's not just something to puff up your chest about! Oh, and it's got to be better, because otherwise rockbox is just somebody wanking for geek cred!

      -jcr
      • Re:iTunes sucks? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by slux (632202) on Friday April 14, 2006 @01:31PM (#15130800)

        Very funny. You know, if you actually happened to have some music in that format, or any other that iPods don't support (and iPods are pretty bad as supporting a variety of audio formats goes) I think you'd find that no matter how absolutely reality-distortingly fantastic the original iPod firmware is in every other regard, it's pretty damn useless if you cannot listen to your music.

        You don't even have to willingly rip your music to Vorbis - maybe you like listening to Net labels such as this one [kahvi.org].

      • But it uses Ogg vorbis! It's GPL! Really, GPL is a feature, it's not just something to puff up your chest about! Oh, and it's got to be better, because otherwise rockbox is just somebody wanking for geek cred!

        JCR, you generally post reasonable stuff. Why the ogg flame? Do you think choice and software freedom are things for wankers? Perhaps you would like it better if you could give Apple some money for the same thing.

        If by better you mean sounds better and takes up less space then ogg is better. If t

    • The things you mention work well, but there are also areas where iTunes has big problems: using iPod with multiple machines, classical music, album handling, editing MP3 tags, and compilations, for example. Fortunately, the solution is simple, given how cheap MP3 players are: use iTunes/iPod for the things it's good at and another MP3 player for other purposes.
      • The ipod with multiple machines thing is a huge problem, I agree - it's Apple bending over for the music industry and it sucks.

        For the others, could you elaborate? How is itunes bad with classical music?

        What doesn't it do well in handling albums?

        What is so hard about right clicking a file and choosing "get info" to edit mp3 tags?

        What's wrong with compilations on itunes?
    • Media Center (Score:3, Interesting)

      by meehawl (73285)
      I have yet to find a player that gives me the functionality of itunes, either

      That's just because you haven't tried Media Center [jrmediacenter.com]. I enjoy its more expressive SmartLists, and use it to sync between the Archos, iRiver, and iPod players. MC is what iTunes wants to be when it grows up.
    • I have two big gripes, one that I'm sure everyone has had to deal with, and one that is probably pretty specific to my setup.
      1) It takes forever to load. My typical launch sequence is click the quick launch icon. Wait. Click it again. Wait some more. Click it a third time and finally the program launches. What the heck!
      2) I keep all of my music on my desktop and frequently just Remote Desktop into it (we're talking windows here). While I'm RDed in, I plug in my ipod. Windows recognizes it just fine.
    • TFA seems to indicate that the only way to get files onto rockbox is drag and drop. How, exactly, is this better than auto-sync?

      Because it works? If that article from 2003 is still correct, lots of ITunes does not work. Blame DRM, I suppose, the authors were shocked. Amarok has many of these problems solved.

      Drag and drop might be your only option on Windoze right now, but there are many other options elsewhere. Amarok has built in iPod support, though I have not tried it because because the non free

    • I have yet to find a player that gives me the functionality of itunes

      Agreed.

      I disagree with the premise of this article. Sure, the iPod is a pretty piece of plastic, but the reason iPod has remained so immensely popular over the years is because of the quality of its software, both iTunes and iPod.

      One could easily argue that Sony's hardware is nicer than Apple's; their products look great and are very well engineered. It's their specialty, after all. But it all boils down to software, and Sony ca

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 14, 2006 @12:23PM (#15130147)
    As a user who has been using Rockbox since its very first first release on the archos recorders, I have to implore all of the Linux fanboys to PLEASE not jump on the bash Rockbox in favor of Linux bandwagon. Rockbox has an entirely different philosophy than Rockbox Linux and offers several advantages, including:

    Portability - Rockbox is written in C has long been designed to be hardware-independent and will compile for a whole range of mp3 players, including Archos, Apple, and Iriver Models.

    Sleekness - Since Rockbox is a specifically mp3 player OS, it doesn't carry a lot of the bloat with it that Ipodlinux does. As a matter of fact, its near instantaneous boot times are one of the best aspects of the firmware.

    Multiple Codec support - All the biggies (except the closed ones) are there or are under development.

    Direct Disk access (this one is a biggie) - No more f-cking around with the monstrosity that is the Itunes database. For those who prefer a filesystem approach, this is a godsend, and for those who like a tagged DB, Rockbox has just added support for a pretty nice platform-independent db of its own that can be generated on teh fly by the player!

    Great Community - Of all the homebrew firmware efforts for various devices that I have had experience with, Rockbox has by far the most helpful and motivated bunch I have seen.

    Bjorn, Linus (no, not THAT Linus) and the rest of the Rockbox crew represent some of the best guys in the Open Source community and deserve the thanks of anyone supporting OSS. So, please no "Linux runs on my Ipod, toaster, and 8 of my 12 marital aids!" nonsense, and let's give these guys a hand.
    • by hattig (47930) on Friday April 14, 2006 @02:14PM (#15131251) Journal
      No more f-cking around with the monstrosity that is the Itunes database. For those who prefer a filesystem approach, this is a godsend, and for those who like a tagged DB, Rockbox has just added support for a pretty nice platform-independent db of its own that can be generated on teh fly by the player!

      wtf? do some people just go out to make things difficult for themselves?

      In all my time as an iPod owner I've never had to deal with the iTunes database.

      For every minute I haven't had to 'f-ck around' with renaming files, sorting out the filesystem for my media, etc, I've done something far more enjoyable, worthwhile or profitable. I used to spend a lot of time dealing with my Foobar2000 + file system setup, and I'll never get that time back. iTunes is actually a pretty good application out of the box, and when it comes to listening to music, I'm far more into 'appliance mode software' that 'build it from scratch' software.

      And then you say that (clearly due to demand), the software has added in a system that does all this. However someone else said the UI of Rockbox sucked. I appreciate all the technical effort and knowhow and skill that has been put into writing this software, but clearly it is not being written against what users want to do on their system.

      So tell me again, as someone who has his CD collection ripped in AAC, an open format that actually isn't half bad, why I, and the vast majority of iPod owners, would want to downgrade their iPod experience?
  • downhillbattle.org? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by mosb1000 (710161)
    Those guys don't know anything. When you say something like: compression removes the subtle nuance and texture from your music, you have no right to complain about apple saying iTunes pays the artists. Especially not if you advocate stealing music as an alternative.

    Not only that, but their $.11 figure is not a realistic picture of the artist's compensation. It does not consider the risk the label takes in publishing the music (which the artist does not have to take), or the cash advance paid by the label
    • It always bothers me when someone makes big claims about something, but doesn't present any evidence to back it up. I don't know much about how good 128bit AAC is compared to the original CD, but simply claiming that it loses subtle nuances doesn't do anything to prove that. It's VERY easy to fool yourself, and so-called "audiophiles" have been proven to have fooled themselves time and time again. As an example shortly after CDs came out there was a claim that putting a green marker around an audio CD ma
  • Denied! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Rob T Firefly (844560)
    The allure of the iPod is undeniable

    I deny it. I've never really seen the appeal of the iPod over the tons of comparable, cheaper, multi-standard hard-drives-with-headphones out there.
  • by holden caufield (111364) on Friday April 14, 2006 @12:24PM (#15130157)
    I've read through the article summary, the article, and the rockbox site, and I can't find a simple answer to the following question: What is it that this firmware offer (besides its open-software-ness). It appears that it provides ogg support, but there's not a clear description of anything else.

    I also enjoyed how the author was looking for very specific things in his portable music player, and then ignored them due to price. That is capitalism at its best.
  • by Funkcikle (630170) on Friday April 14, 2006 @12:26PM (#15130169)
    I'll ignore the three year old list of complaints about iTunes, dealing with such hot issues as Titanium PowerBook drive speeds. But for someone like me:

    * who does not have five trillion CDs I need to convert at once;

    * who does not care what format they are in as long as I can listen to and search the files;

    * who doesn't worry about album art (I already have the CDs to see that! Who can honestly say they listened to CDs on their stereo whilst holding the CD case a few inches from their face, other than when on drugs?);

    * who doesn't particularly care about how much money "the poor artist" gets (if they can come up, either individually or as the kind of collective people whining about royalties infer they are, with a system which is as easy and as affordable as iTunes, I WILL BE ALL OVER IT)

    and who in general just needs something to play music on his computer, everything I read about "this sucks" and "this is better" and "use that" is quite irrelevant.

    So I cannot order my music files by Album in the iTunes main display. Boo bloody hoo. As long as it sits in the background, plays the music and allows me to effortlessly import new files and CDs, I really am not concerned with what else is out there.
  • by Civil_Disobedient (261825) on Friday April 14, 2006 @12:30PM (#15130193)
    Rockbox development has been going on since (I believe) the original H120-series from iRiver. There have been several enhancements and new models that it works for.

    I bought an iRiver H320 specifically because Rockbox development had advanced to the point that it could reproduce the features of the stock firmware. These days, it's gone lightyears beyond what iRiver had planned. Just a small list of improvements:
    • Album Art
    • On-the-go playlists
    • Real peak meters (excellent for recording, and something that nearly every other MP3 player manufacturer neglects!)
    • Custom skins
    • Doom!

    I held off on buying an MP3 player until it could work as a satisfactory replacement for my MiniDisc recorder (primarily used for recording concerts). The current RB source offers the ability to activate the backlight when your recording meters clip! Fantastic for recording in darkened event halls.

    Check out current developments for the H320 series over at Mystic River [misticriver.net].
    • I don't want to play Doom or any other game on my MP3 player. I just want to listen to music. If it's OGG or MP3 I don't care.
    • by PCM2 (4486) on Friday April 14, 2006 @01:01PM (#15130484) Homepage
      I bought an iRiver H320 specifically because Rockbox development had advanced to the point that it could reproduce the features of the stock firmware. These days, it's gone lightyears beyond what iRiver had planned.
      For the H120, also. Maybe the biggest feature the Rockbox firmware brings is true gapless playback for all formats except MP3 -- and then again, if you encode your MP3s with LAME (and who doesn't?) you can get gapless with those, too. This is a feature that iRiver promised H120 owners but never delivered. Thanks Rockbox!
  • by green pizza (159161) on Friday April 14, 2006 @12:31PM (#15130203) Homepage
    What's with all of the iTunes dissing? I'm happy with iTunes. It's a slick app, has more features than I'll ever need, and I *love* the smart playlists feature. The only thing better would be a full regex feature, but even then I'd probably just keep using the existing smart playlists gui. I really have no complaints anymore. I thought the Windows version sucked up a little too much ram, but now that all of my machines have 512meg or 1gb, I really don't notice the memory footprint anymore.

    I've used MusicMatch, MediaPlayer, SonicStage, RealOne, and Anapod. I prefer iTunes by far.
    • Give "Amorok" a try. I don't know if it's been ported to Windows, but IMHO it is the best media player out there. It has all the usual - links to iPod, supports automatic tagging (musicbrainz), cd burning, intelligent playlists, - plus it actively watches a directory for new music, finds other music you may like based on what you play (audioscrobbler) and has all sorts of advanced features. [kde.org] It is terrifically customizable, and has a reasonably light footprint considering it's options.

      iTunes is very n
    • Another one to try, if you are bound to Windows and can't use Amarok, is Foobar2000. Foobar isn't shiny like iTunes, doesn't do as much stuff 'automatically' (like playlists) but it has some great advantages.

      It's memory footprint is light. Very light. It loads songs much faster than iTunes. It can burn cds, has a nice masstagger & good replay gain (volume normalization), tabbed playlists, very customizable GUI, and it can transcode any supported audio (it supports everything I've run across). Plus
      • Sounds a lot like Winamp.

        Seriously. Even though I use iTunes for most of my music listening, I keep a copy of Winamp lying around. It can play virtually every format under the sun, and do just about anything through its plugin interface. It's one of the few "pluggable" apps that was done right the first time around.

        The instant loading times and tiny memory footprint (even on old machines) are nice too. iTunes is nice, but I can't help but think of how unnecessarily bloated it is considering how limited
      • What the hell does that iPod service *do* anyway? I've killed it before, and everythingin iTunes still seems to work. Same goes for the iTunes Helper service.

        Anybody actually know what they're for?
    • Try MediaMonkey [mediamonkey.com]. Way better than iTunes in almost every way, except of course iTMS integration which I don't care about. Drag-and-drop to any folder to change the corresponding tag, totally customizable, looks great, works great. (Yes I tried Foobar2000 and all the others, but MediaMonkey's the one I've stuck with.)
  • by Have Blue (616) on Friday April 14, 2006 @12:34PM (#15130230) Homepage
    I like how the list of what's wrong with iTunes is from three years ago.
    • I like how the list of what's wrong with iTunes is from three years ago.

      So, How many of the problems have been fixed? Will you get the fixes in the box? The pressed CD you get with your new player might just be two years old.

      The list was a real eye opener for me. After using Amarok, the list of problems was shocking. Hell, the problems shocked the authors.

      Given how much better Amarok is at what it does, the article has not been updated. This line is obviously wrong:

      With that said, iTunes is still,

  • Not finished... (Score:2, Informative)

    by Maugrim (947665)
    Currently Rockbox isn't complete, everything works really well, and I plan on putting it on my iPod, but we experimented with my friends iPod Video and some of the battery stuff isn't complete, so with Rockbox he only gets about 4-6 hours of battery life. So give it a few more months for them to finish it, then enjoy!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 14, 2006 @12:35PM (#15130238)
    I'm posting as an AC because I'm at work and don't have my password handy.

    1. Download and install Winamp 5.21

    2. Get ML_IPOD 1.31 plug-in - do not use 1.3 provided on the Winamp plug-ins page. The an improved version of this is supposedly to be included in the next release of Winamp. Native Winamp support is limited without the plug-in to enabling you play the tunes off your iPod only. ML_IPOD 1.31 allows you formatting, creation of playlists most importantly maintaining your iPod.

    3. Sorry, but right now you still have to pay for Winamp PRO version to be able to rip OGG, WMA, etc., to .mp3 or .aac - you can blame Apple for that.

    And get the ClearOne skin. And get the Winamp CD Case RC3 from Aqua-soft or NeoWin.

    My Point? ANYTHING is better that the bloated CPU stealing piece of SHIT that iTunes has become...

    Mike H. - Columbus, Ohio
  • by Chanc_Gorkon (94133) <gorkon@g m a i l .com> on Friday April 14, 2006 @12:36PM (#15130242)
    I woudl be crippling my iPod by using rockbox. It would take away video from my 5th gen. Listening to OGGS ain't with that!
  • before i bought my Ipod, i had a 20 Gig archos jukebox. I found out about Rockbox and flashed it. I enjoyed it, at the time the Ipod was well out of my price range, and the Firmware flash was as close to the ipod as possible. It listed your Songs by artist, which was my preferred way to list them, in folders, much like itunes. You could play the whole list, or just a particular artist. You could change the Screen, invert it, flip it, negative it, and the EQ was probably about 10 times better than the
    • I'm with you, dude. In fact, I'm still happily listening to my 20 gig archos w/ Rockbox. I was pretty ready to junk it before I found Rockbox, the original archos jukebox firmware was a steaming pile of shit, and their support was non-existant (by which I mean, I sent them several emails over time with quesitons about various problems, and never once got a reply.)

      Now with my rockbox jukebox, I *still* have no reason to buy an iPod. Sure, an iPod is smaller but I mostly use the archos in the car, anyway

  • by jpellino (202698) on Friday April 14, 2006 @12:45PM (#15130311)
    Based on what - a three year old diatribe about three-versions-ago iTunes on the second-slowest TiBook ever made?
    Downhillbattle? So they don't like paying for music. So don't use iTMS, rip your CDs - these folks seeem to think iTunes forces you to buy thru Apple.
    You want to pimp apps here, great - but citing old and irrelevant arguments?
  • Doom II included! (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Heres a video of a later rockbox release running Doom II on a 5G iPod.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ra6rqKSqBSk [youtube.com]

    That seems a pretty good incentive to try Rockbox.

    Part of the allure of the later iPod models is the purty OS X looking UI they sport.

    From the screenies I have seen of Rockbox its a white text on a black background menu system.

    Food for thought.
  • by necro81 (917438) on Friday April 14, 2006 @12:53PM (#15130398) Journal
    The link that the summary included about leaving [macobserver.com] a lot to be desired dates back to October 2003. Many of the issues have since been taken care of in the 2-1/2 years of software revisions and updates. The first few issues that the article states are really hardware problems related to the Titanium powerbook, which is even older.

    The second link the submitter uses (desired [downhillbattle.org]) links to a long rant about how the iTunes Music Store gyps artists out of their due and is a poor choice for end users because you pay too much for lossily-compressed music.

    And yet, the submission is about Rockbox, which is a replacement for the firmware inside of an iPod (and some other music players). The open-source firmware allows you to change the look and feel of the user interface and supports some other music codecs. This allows the iPod, its users, and independent artists to be freed from the tyranny of iTunes and iTMS [some sarcasm added].

    The relevant link to Tim Lord's article at Newsforge is missing from the summary entirely, although its existence is alluded to.

    Do I dare to use the term non sequitur here? Changing the firmware on your iPod will only change how you interact with music you already have now. It won't change how iTMS or iTunes work. I would argue that it doesn't do much to help out independent artists, either. If you want to support artists directly, you aren't going to be buying label-backed music from iTMS anyway. How many independent artists release their materials solely using Ogg Vorbis? I'll note that, until this past year, iTMS didn't even break even.

    Don't get me wrong - Rockbox is really cool. I think having a customizable interface for the iPod is a neat thing to tinker with. I would agree that the iPod should support more formats than it currently does. But trying to introduce people to Rockbox by using old links and feeding on barely-related resentment for the iTMS model, while forgetting the relevant link at NewsForge, is a strange way to go about it.
  • OGG (Score:3, Insightful)

    by shidoshi (567151) on Friday April 14, 2006 @12:56PM (#15130431)
    Ah, Slashdot... always making it seem like the rest of the world outside of Slashdot actually cares about OGG. Seriously... can we stop bringing it up every time the iPod is mentioned? Most people don't care. I know what OGG is, and understand it, and I STILL don't care. If a great deal of iPod owners cared, Apple would have given the iPod support for it by now, trust me.

    Some people on here like it - we all understand that. Just, you know... ease up a bit.
  • my experience with iTunes and buying videos

    http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=182689&cid =15104209 [slashdot.org]
  • Apple's hardware isn't all that exceptional. It tends to cost more and have fewer features than competing brands... the idea of spending extra for a Mac or an iPod and then replacing the native software with open source code that runs just as well (or better!) on more powerful, less expensive, and often better designed hardware from other vendors just blows my mind.

    I will acknowledge that there is some advantage to the iPod... not because the hardware is so good, but because the hardware has remained consistent enough for an accessories market to thrive.

    But, still, if it wasn't for Apple's software I would have neither an iPod nor a Mac.
    • To comment that Apple includes fewer hardware features than competing brands is ignoring the fact they continually push new technologies that other companies blindly ignore. USB is a shining example of this. Apple was the first to embrace it and without them PC's wouldn't have moved away from legacy components for years*. I can't imagine life without a USB MP3 device or my 1GB USB flash drive and I don't think USB would've progressed so quickly without Apple pushing it.

      Unfortunately FireWire was never

    • Have you noticed how iPods tend to be smaller than their competition, at least at the time of release? That's hardware engineering.
    • by default luser (529332) on Friday April 14, 2006 @03:00PM (#15131698) Journal
      The thing is, Apple supplements their boring, typical hardware by releasing unique devices that are ahead of their competition.

      Just look at the Mac Mini. When it was released, NO vendor had a desktop anything like it, and even today the Intel Mac Mini is competitively priced with Intel Core-based knockoffs. The difference is, the Mac Mini is ESTABLISHED thanks to Apple taking a risk, and the rest are scrabbling for marketshare.

      The original Ipod was smaller than anything else, but offered the capacity of a hard drive player. It was ungodly expensive, but it became rooted because the industry took too damn long to respond to the threat.

      The Nano is another recent product that still has no competition. I don't know how, but Apple managed to get a deal for flash devices twice the capacity of their competitors (32Gb, while the rest of the industry was on 8Gb). The result was the 4GB Nano, with room for Apple to upgrade the line to 8GB in the future (once the 32Gb chip becomes cheap).

      The fact that the Nano 2GB was priced at only $10-30 more than most other 1GB players shows just how lazy and wussified the whole industry is outside of Apple. Apple set the standard for pricing of 1GB players with the release of the Shuffle, but then instead of the industry pushing prices down and capacity up, they coasted while charging $10-30 less than an equivilant Shuffle. Then, when the 2GB Nano was released for $10-30 more than a 1GB player (despite the fact that the Nano used TWO 8Gb chips), was still competitively small AND had a smashing screen, the rest of the industry looked painfully stupid.

      THIS is why Apple owns the industry...because they're the first manufacturer since DIAMOND MULTIMEDIA's RIO PMP to really PUSH the industry.

      I have purchased Creative Labs Muvo players in the past because I WANT drag & drop without having to use a media library, but with Rockbox now I can turn any Ipod into exactly the interface I want. Suddenly, I don't have to compromise on larger size and less capacity for about the same price just to get some key features I need...Rockbox makes that possible.

      Full Disclosure: I bought my first apple product EVER last week, a Mac Mini. The OS is decent, but I could care less about the apps. I don't like Safari, so I have Firefox. I don't want to be forced to use a media library with Itunes, so I went through the trouble of installing XMMS. I bought the Mini because it was tiny, VERY quiet at nominal room temperature, competitively priced with other small Intel Core solutions. It also offered me the chance to try OS X, but fall back to Windows or Linux if I really hated the experience...that's something no other small Core box could offer.

      If the industry continues to lag Apple concerning small flash players, I may purchase a Nano or equivilant sometime in the future.
  • by Castar (67188) on Friday April 14, 2006 @02:01PM (#15131120)
    Wow, I'm surprised. Here's a group of people working on an open-source project that has been very successful, hacking in features for electronics that the original manufacturers didn't see fit to include. It sounds like something Slashdot should be all over, right?

    But no... Because they think that some improvements can be made to an Apple product, they're suddenly demonized. People are falling over themselves to say just how *utterly fantastic* the stock firmware and iTunes are, and how horrible Rockbox is for even attempting to change it.

    iPods aren't perfect. Perhaps they're good enough, but there are some major features that they lack in regards to other forms of playing music (like, say, CDs or even LPs), a big one being gapless playback. Rockbox is trying to fix that. And not specifically for the iPod, in fact the iPod isn't even their main target. They started out improving the iRiver players, and now they're porting it to many platforms.

    As has been noted elsewhere, it's not done yet. It's a very early port (a few months old) and the official release milestone target for iPod support is sometime in November.

    I don't run Rockbox currently, because I have a Rio Karma which is already perfect. ;-) But I at least applaud them for taking their free time and trying to make DAPs better for everyone.
    • The computer geek in me thinks Rockbox is an interesting technical exercise. He's all for hardware hacking. Keep it going!

      The music geek in me thinks that these guys don't understand music. The music geek has a long list of iPod improvements he'd like to see, relating to music organization, selection, and randomization. When he compares his list of improvements to what is offered by Rockbox (and others), he laughs and wonders why these people waste their time.

  • I put the RockBox firmware on my 5G ipod about a week ago because I saw that you can play doom on it. That being said, I did some research before I loaded it. As has been said here, you cannot void your warranty or break your iPod by uploading new firmware. If anything goes wrong, you can always do a full restore. I have all of my music backed up anyway, so the worst scenario would be having to wait 15 minutes for the 50Gb or so to load back on to the player.

    Look, the firmware doesn't take a whole lot of sp
  • From TFA:

    Because while Rockbox plays well with MP3, Vorbis, FLAC, ALAC, WavPack, and a few other audio formats, it doesn't play encrypted AAC files, which iTunes Music Store (iTMS) users have been paying for, nor does it play any version of the Audible format, leaving some audiobook fans out in the cold.

    Wow, is anyone else shocked replacing the firmware of a digital audio player renders it unable to use DRMed files the new firmware doesn't support! Like, thanks for the insight that one has to license propri

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