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Freedb.org Ending 245

Posted by jamie
from the this-too dept.
haroldag writes "Freedb, the free music database used by tons of CD ripping software, has been shut down due to a disagreement among its developers. One of its developers used a data dump from the original freedb.org and is providing the service at freedb2.org, though, and will be adding features and posting them at his site as they become available. Unfortunately, a database dump or source code for freedb2.org is yet nowhere to be found."
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Freedb.org Ending

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  • by CaptainCheese (724779) on Sunday July 02, 2006 @09:24PM (#15647761) Journal
    I'm sorry the staff fell out, costing us access to a useful resource. freedb was a useful tool but it was always in need of improvement.

    It really should have had facilities for submitting an md5 hash of the CD so end-users could avoid collisions, perhaps an easy way to edit or rate database entries, so that submissions where the track titles were wrong could be corrected by the community, etc...

    Hopefully whatever replaces it will be better and more robust..
  • Re:Damn. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by QuietLagoon (813062) on Sunday July 02, 2006 @09:32PM (#15647785)
    This is one of the most significant flaws of using Open Source Software: egos .

    Damn is right.

  • by Kjella (173770) on Sunday July 02, 2006 @09:40PM (#15647816) Homepage
    Just stop being a bunch of cheap a-holes and BUY music that you like.

    Umm if I was downloading MP3s from P2P networks, why would I need a freedb tagger? Find a source with EAC verified, high bitrate, properly tagged music and forget using this, chances are if it doesn't got the tags it'll suck anyway. CDDB, FreeDB and the like are fixes for an outdated format (CD Audio) from a time when noone needed those tags. Unless you think all the people ripping their own CDs to their iPod / PCs / HTPCs / media centers are thieves. This is too braindead to even be good flamebait.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 02, 2006 @09:46PM (#15647834)
    on behalf of all of us geeks,

    Thanks!
  • Re:Damn. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by fiendo (217830) on Sunday July 02, 2006 @09:49PM (#15647841)
    How is this not also a flaw of collaborative closed source software? Are they not also susceptible to egos??


    At least when egos get in the way of OSS, the community can muddle along with the source code. When the same thing happens to closed source software, what are we left with?

  • Re:Damn. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by LinuxGeek (6139) * <djand@nc.gmail@com> on Sunday July 02, 2006 @09:50PM (#15647843)
    This is one of the most significant flaws of using Open Source Software: egos .

    Damn is right.


    Yeah, we all know that egotism would never play a part in any closed source project or company.
  • by jbn-o (555068) <mail@digitalcitizen.info> on Sunday July 02, 2006 @09:55PM (#15647856) Homepage
    At the end of proprietary software development, the project ends and the free software community has to either do without or start anew from whatever they've got (which is not the proprietary program's source code and a license to run, inspect, share, and modify at any time for any reason). At the end of a free software project, others can pick up where the former free software hackers left off and continue improving the free software. If the license for the program is a copylefted free software license, the improved software continues to be free.

    Let's hope source code for freedb2.org and database dumps from freedb2.org are shared under a free software license so that if freedb2.org dies we're not left with nothing but an increasingly out-of-date freedb.org database and freedb.org software.

    Thanks so much for all the work, freedb.org hackers. Your efforts are greatly appreciated.
  • Re:Damn. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by JohnnyBigodes (609498) <morphine.digitalmente@net> on Sunday July 02, 2006 @09:55PM (#15647858)
    It does, but then money comes along and closes the argument right there, right now.
  • by RyoShin (610051) <tukaroNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Sunday July 02, 2006 @09:56PM (#15647859) Homepage Journal
    While I believe that free, open source software is very good and should be used more widely, this is an example of where corporate solutions can prevail.

    I've used FreeDB for a while now with the CD ripping program I use (Goldwave, highly recommended), and it had its pros and cons.

    On the plus side, I could find listings for more foreign/anime CDs than I could using CDDB (a corporate company, used by the likes of WinAmp and WMP, I believe).

    On the minus side, there were a few moderately popular to very popular CDs that had no listing. Also, more than a few CDs (including the foreign CDs mentioned) had more than one listing, each with small differences (some with large differences, such as translated song titles, or even just misspelled words), so you had to go through each one to find one that suited you. (One might argue that the choice was good, but in this case it was just annoying.)

    The reason that FreeDB stopped is because those in the lead couldn't come to a decision. This would almost never happen in a corporate environment. Any dispute would go up the chain until it hit the CEO or board of directors, where a firm decision one way or another would be made. In the mean time, the product would merely remain unchanged (unless company policy specifies otherwise), so there would be no interruption in service.

    Had FreeDB used a similar hierarchy (which they may have had, but it just fell apart), this might have been avoided. The programmers/engineers would dispute something, and the project lead/lead engineer would hear both sides and say "This is this, and that's that."

    Certainly, this will be an inconvenience to those who use programs that use FreeDB, but have no idea that the program does.
  • by bcat24 (914105) on Sunday July 02, 2006 @09:59PM (#15647862) Homepage Journal
    Thanks a lot for that! Also, freedb is still accepting lookup requests, at least for now. I guess things aren't that bad. It's just weird to see a project that I thought was stable end so suddenly.
  • Re:Damn. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Waffle Iron (339739) on Sunday July 02, 2006 @10:08PM (#15647881)
    It does, but then money comes along and closes the argument right there, right now.
    Not really. Countless companies have been destroyed as a consequence of the egos of the people running them, regardless of how much money they stood to gain or lose.
  • by NereusRen (811533) on Sunday July 02, 2006 @10:35PM (#15647945)
    The reason that FreeDB stopped is because those in the lead couldn't come to a decision. This would almost never happen in a corporate environment. Any dispute would go up the chain until it hit the CEO or board of directors, where a firm decision one way or another would be made.

    Did you even read the postings by any of the involved parties? Nothing would have been different in a "corporate" environment. What basically happened is a CEO-equivalent (someone who had control over the physical assets) DID make a firm decision. Then two people quit because they disagreed with the decision. It turned out these two people were the keys to the continued operation and development of the organization, so it closed down after they left. What exactly about this situation couldn't have happened in a corporation? The real heart of the problem was that the organization was so small that certain individuals were irreplacable, so maybe you were just confusing "corporation" with "large operation."

    Hierarchy does not prevent disagreement. If a disagreement is small enough that nobody is willing to quit over it, then hierarchy can make a decision that would otherwise bog them down in debate and waste time... but this was obviously not such a case.

    Unlike you, I won't claim to know the reasons why this happened, since I don't have all the details. I will only lament the death of an extremely useful project, and thank everyone involved for all the time, work and money they put into it. We can only hope a similar (and similarly free and open) project can rise to take its place.
  • Choice = annoyance (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 02, 2006 @11:07PM (#15648047)
    Also, more than a few CDs (including the foreign CDs mentioned) had more than one listing, each with small differences (some with large differences, such as translated song titles, or even just misspelled words), so you had to go through each one to find one that suited you.(One might argue that the choice was good, but in this case it was just annoying.)

    Is offering a choice of original and translated titles more or less annoying than if they had standardised on the language you like less? Do multiple language and subtitle tracks on DVDs annoy you too?
  • by DamnStupidElf (649844) <Fingolfin@linuxmail.org> on Sunday July 02, 2006 @11:19PM (#15648081)
    While I believe that free, open source software is very good and should be used more widely, this is an example of where corporate solutions can prevail.

    Good idea, I'll jump on my brand new Amiga and dial up Genie and Compuserve, download and buy a couple of those cool sidescrollers people call abandonware (ha!) and kill a few hours. When I'm done I think I'll upgrade my Windows 95 box with the latest patches after I buy the commercial version of Trumpet Winsock. When I'm done, I'll rip some CDs with the software that came with my CD ROM drive, and I'm sure there will be some online commercial CD database that has all the indie artists I like to listen to!

    The reason that FreeDB stopped is because those in the lead couldn't come to a decision. This would almost never happen in a corporate environment. Any dispute would go up the chain until it hit the CEO or board of directors, where a firm decision one way or another would be made. In the mean time, the product would merely remain unchanged (unless company policy specifies otherwise), so there would be no interruption in service.

    Half the time the firm corporate decision is to completely end a project and either auction all the IP off to some lawyer-filled clearinghouse or just let it rot until the backups are no good anymore. Corporations can die just as easily as open source projects too, but unfortunately their corpses aren't easily reanimated like the open projects.
  • Re:Damn. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BrynM (217883) * on Sunday July 02, 2006 @11:26PM (#15648099) Homepage Journal
    Really? So you are saying no corporation has ever lost money pursuing some product or service because the CEO was stroking his ego?
    I give you a prime example to support how much an ego can change the path of a company for the worse: Darl McBride [wikipedia.org]. Turned a company that once had many products to a shitty litigation house with few [sco.com] products which have dwindling customer numbers (SCO Unix has lingered at version 7.1.4 for a couple of years now). How much empty ego do you need to say something like "And C++ programming languages, we own those, have licensed them out multiple times, obviously. We have a lot of royalties coming to us from C++." (source [wikiquote.org])?
  • by bcat24 (914105) on Sunday July 02, 2006 @11:31PM (#15648113) Homepage Journal
    Neither do I. IANAL, but I think it's just someone trying to take a personal issue and make it a legal one.
  • by arth1 (260657) on Monday July 03, 2006 @12:03AM (#15648183) Homepage Journal
    There are also some new features which I will be documenting shortly.


    Document, as in release the code, as in free, as in freedb?
    Ah. Thought not. Please take your advertising elsewhere, then.

    --
    *Art
  • by jlarocco (851450) on Monday July 03, 2006 @12:10AM (#15648202) Homepage
    I use it to rip CDs from the library. I'm sure a bunch of other people do, too.

    And I've heard criminals can use pencils to stab people. What does your law breaking have to do with freedb?

  • Re:Gullible? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by arth1 (260657) on Monday July 03, 2006 @12:16AM (#15648217) Homepage Journal
    as much of the source code as I have had time to document


    In the world of litigation we live in, it's all or nothing. Keeping even a single bit to your chest gives you the munitions to go after others, and prevents them from legally creating a derivative.

    That you're going to release it to the public "Real Soon Now" just doesn't cut it -- it either is or it isn't, and those of us who remember GIF, RSA, JPEG and others will treat this as "isn't". This isn't paranoia -- it's experience.

    --
    *Art
  • by AnyoneEB (574727) on Monday July 03, 2006 @12:41AM (#15648295)

    Better organization sounds like a good idea, but perhaps it could be done with less work for the editors. I believe those pages already have standard templates that are used, so couldn't you just make the templates special? I mean, provide a way for a template variable to be treated as metadata for a page, so if you have a song template and an artist variable, a search could be done for songs by that artist. It would not make sense to give this treatment to the vast majority of template arguments, so there would have to be special way to mark them. Then again, you could also just use categories and include variable categories in the template (ex. <includeonly>[[Category:Songs by {{{artist}}}]]</includeonly>). A recursive category display could show a similar listing to the IMDB listing. Ex. Actor has subcategories TV shows with Actor and Movies with Actor, the Actor category could be made to show the contents of its subcategories. The again, that would still appear not as "smart" as the IMDB system which knows to list by year in that instance and alphabetically/by relavance in searches (and include "also known as" titles in searches).

    I agree that Wikipedia has trouble dealing with locations. It is a hard problem in part because that pretty much requires graphics to work well.

  • Re:Gullible? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Ohreally_factor (593551) on Monday July 03, 2006 @01:04AM (#15648351) Journal
    I don't buy the all or nothing thing. If he releases the code in the next several weeks, and as he says, he's adding documentation, cleaning it up. etc., where is the problem? If he just dumped the code, there are likely to be just as many complaints.

    If I take some GPL code, I can make any changes I want to it and no one can force me to distribute the source. (As long as I do not attempt to distribute/sell the binaries, of course). If Andrew (or whatever his name is) hasn't attempted to distribute binaries that contain GPL code (and I'm not sure we know that he has for a fact), then we need to back the fuck up.
  • by topham (32406) on Monday July 03, 2006 @01:15AM (#15648377) Homepage

    And who deals with the copyright issues for the artwork?
  • Re:Damn. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Gobiner (698872) on Monday July 03, 2006 @02:58AM (#15648557)
    Yeah, we all know that egotism would never play a part in any closed source project or company. Why is it every time someone points to a flaw in any OSS, someone immediately jumps in to say how no matter what the flaw is, OSS is still better than closed-source software? The point is OSS isn't flawless. "Hey OSS community! You've got this problem! Why don't you fix it?" is how I always interpret them, but the modded-up responses never seem to reflect my interpretation; it's always "Oh yeah? Well Microsoft does the same thing, but worse, and they also do this other horrible thing!"
  • by dfjghsk (850954) on Monday July 03, 2006 @03:09AM (#15648576)
    IANAL.. but in Feist v. Rural the supreme court ruled that the telephone directory (ie: phone book) was not copyrightable.

    Wikipedia [wikipedia.org]:
    Feist Publications, Inc., v. Rural Telephone Service Co., 499 U.S. 340 (1991),[1] commonly called just Feist v. Rural, was a United States Supreme Court case in which Feist copied information from Rural's telephone listings to include in its own, after Rural refused to license the information. Rural sued for copyright infringement. The Court ruled that information contained in Rural's phone directory was not copyrightable, and that therefore no infringement existed.


    The U.S. Supreme Court ruling [cornell.edu]

    I would think that the case would apply here.. since both the information in FreeDB's db, and the information in the phone book are just collections of public information.
  • Re:Gullible? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Carewolf (581105) on Monday July 03, 2006 @03:11AM (#15648581) Homepage
    The fact that he has promised to release the source "the next couple of weeks" for the last 2 years?
  • by Trillian_1138 (221423) <slashdot@fridaytha[ ]com ['ng.' in gap]> on Monday July 03, 2006 @03:49AM (#15648649)
    I don't buy the all or nothing thing. If he releases the code in the next several weeks, and as he says, he's adding documentation, cleaning it up. etc., where is the problem? If he just dumped the code, there are likely to be just as many complaints.

    I think the point being made was that in a world where someone can be sued and forced to remove software from distribution - either from legal rulings or the threat of litigation forcing a chioce of financial priorities - saying that the source will be released "real soon now" may mean it's never released at all. Obviously, releasing well-formated source code with documentation is better than releasing poorly formated code with no documentation, but both are better than releasing nothing at all.

    I mention DVD Decrypter in the subject of the post because it's a well-known (if you're into that kind of thing) DVD ripping software that was taken down from a number of (US-hosted) sites after threat of litigation and, since it was closed-source, no further developement was made. Now, I'm not trying to compare FreeDB to DVD Decrypter, either in terms of legality or morality. Just using DVD Decrypter as an example of software which, had it been open source, could still be under developement but because the source code wasn't being released is now "lost forver." (Of course, in actually, it's not that hard to find a download of the final released version of DVD Decrypter, but it would have been nice if the code was out there for other people to continue improving.)

    Again, I'm not trying to compare FreeDB to DVD Decrypter. Just providing an example for the parent's point that you never know how some court ruling or sue-happy lawfirm is going to affect what's out there. I'm not even trying to say FreeDB *should* post every line of code currently written - I can understand why the author wouldn't want that. At the same time, I can understand why the GP has an attitude of "all-or-nothing" in terms of calling something 'open source.'
    -Trillian
  • by Ohreally_factor (593551) on Monday July 03, 2006 @05:21AM (#15648806) Journal
    Fair enough. Perhaps part of the problem is that we are relying on two imperfect mechanisms for conflict resolution: The courts and the court of public opinion. Someone wants this tried in the second court, thus the spill-over to slashdot.

    I think that what bothers me is the tendency (of both humans and slashdotters) to form lynch mobs based on incomplete facts or even distortions of the facts. I can't really even tell what the conflict is about from the "article" (lack of article); seems more like a developer squabble than anything really earthshaking.

    It seems to me that one of the uses of this thing called journalism is that a fair and impartial investigator can try to find the facts and report them, so that we might form our own opinions on the issues. I know, it's an antiquated view. And good luck trying to get a slashdot editor to actually do any sleuthing. The idea is laughable.

  • Re:Gullible? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Hatta (162192) on Monday July 03, 2006 @10:45AM (#15649961) Journal
    In the meantime, I invite you to enjoy http://freedb2.org/ [freedb2.org] and browse as much of the source code as I have had time to document

    The GPL does not allow you to wait until the code is polished and documented to distribute it. If there are users, they must have access to the code, in whatever state it's in. Post a tarball now, and post a revision when you're done documenting it. Anything else is criminal.

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