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Improve Your iPod with Rockbox 343

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 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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  • 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.
  • (Score:2, Interesting)

    by mosb1000 ( 710161 ) <> on Friday April 14, 2006 @12:24PM (#15130153)
    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 to the artist at signing. Moreover, the actual commission varies from artist to artist (and from song to song if the artist has been around long enough to get different contracts). Many labels on itunes pay their artists more commission, while offering less promotion. Of course, that model is likely to make the artist less money overall, but it does show that the $.11 figure is bullshit.

    Don't ever believe anything you read on that website, it's propaganda at best, blatant lies at the worst.
  • 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.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 14, 2006 @12:33PM (#15130218)
    It offers 5 band parametric EQ, gapless playback, FLAC, custom plugins (eg. Doom, Brickmania, among others) and the freedom to organize in filetree format. Honestly, Rockbox is not for the general public, because the general public doesn't care much about their audio. Most people just care how loud the player goes.

    I would like to note, however, that Rockbox is improving by bounds daily, wheras the iPod firmware is pretty static and slow moving. People are in the progress of porting a wiki viewer to rockbox, and video is well on its way. An "ad" for this project is important because the only way Rockbox is going to get better is through coders, many of which reside on this forum.

  • 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
  • Re:Denied! (Score:1, Interesting)

    by bostonkarl ( 795447 ) on Friday April 14, 2006 @12:48PM (#15130342)
    I also deny the IPOD appeal. What is the fuss about? I started with the Creative Jukebox way back before there was an IPOD. I've since moved on to the Archos 420 media player, which has a screen that you can bloody see.
  • Media Center (Score:3, Interesting)

    by meehawl ( 73285 ) <> on Friday April 14, 2006 @01:12PM (#15130585) Homepage Journal
    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 []. 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.
  • Re:Finally... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by XenoPhage ( 242134 ) on Friday April 14, 2006 @01:43PM (#15130930) Homepage
    Agreed.. I've had an H140 for a few years now and I still can't see the draw of the iPod. Yeah, it's pretty. Yeah, the buttons are a little easier to use, but I would NEVER give up the ability to make my own directories and order my songs the way *I* want... I use it to store all sorts of information in addition to music..

    I haven't jumped into the rockbox pool yet, but I've been watching it for a long time.. I'm almost ready to take the plunge.. Almost.. Just afraid of bricking my iRiver.. I use this thing *EVERY* day!
  • Re:Learn to Link (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Firehed ( 942385 ) on Friday April 14, 2006 @01:44PM (#15130944) Homepage
    While stated a bit trollishly (??), it's definately true. I'd bet 95% of iTMS purchasers aren't aware that they're downloading .m4p AAC files and not mp3s. AAC might not be open-source, but at least 80% of the players on the market support it. Likewise - I'm hesitant to rip any of my music to Apple's lossless format since no other players support it, but I've still bought a few tracks from iTunes where that's much more of an issue as I can't just re-rip them. As it is, 320k would probably be OTT for my listening needs. Yeah, I'd like flac support too, but in reality no other player I'd want (not that I want to change players) supports it either, so I'll live with it. While the iPod could do with a decent crossfade option, ogg's gapless playback isn't enough to make me want to give a crap about the lack of support for it.

    Why not do something useful and try to get minidisc players to support mp3? I loved the features of that thing, but that god-awful software just ruined it (having to transcode from basically the world standard for portable audio to some limited-transfer proprietary thing was easily the worst idea in the history of portable devices).

    It's not worth their time. Even if Apple adds ogg support by means of general-purpose CPU decoding, the people bitching for it will find something else to bitch at. Apple's doing well and people need a reason to hate them for it. Just give it up, people!

    To parent poster: I tried the same argument about a week ago. I was just bitched at too. You can't win this one, so I'd just give up before you get modded down.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 14, 2006 @01:59PM (#15131086)
    Colour me confused.. how does Apple in any way affect Nullsoft/AOL charging people to rip their cds to various formats. AAC is not owned by Apple, if that's what you were implying, they simply have their own licenced encoder (plus those nasty drm bits they latch onto music sold through ITMS).

    I haven't used WinAMP for 4 or more years (funnily enough for the same reasons you put down iTunes) so I'm not too familiar with how they've developed, but I do find it distasteful if, from what you say, they really are charging for encoding to ogg vorbis.
  • by astrosmash ( 3561 ) on Friday April 14, 2006 @02:45PM (#15131555) Journal
    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.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 14, 2006 @05:12PM (#15132713)
    iTunes is fine, if you like something that does everything for you. Some of us don't. Much like the default iPod firmware, it's big, clunky, and generally annoying. I do my own organization of music. I just need a big playlist, or folders, and gapless playback. Foobar2000 does this. Nice conversion, ABX plugin, EQ, and flexible formatting are nice additions, as is generally working under WINE (note that I haven't tried 0.9 in WINE yet!).

    I don't want all the small menus to click through, taking forever to do anything, and then organizing the music itself, rather than following the organization I've used for some time, which minimizes depth. I also want to use whatever other app I want to transfer music (which are Explorer and Konqueror, BTW).

    The default iPod firmware is bad enough that I simply could not use one. My father got a free Nano, and ended up having the same frustrations with it that I'd noticed using others' iPods. He's now much happier with the Rockbox firmware, and I would now consider an iPod when I want to get a new player (I currently have an iAudio I5).

    I've used Winamp, XMMS (and BMP, and Audacious), tried to use emotion (silly sgfaults), Amarok, iTunes, Kaffiene, Noatun, and several others I don't recall the names of. None yet touch FB2K for my wants (the XMMS derivatives are nice, though).
  • by WDubois ( 806116 ) on Friday April 14, 2006 @10:34PM (#15133988)
    ... but it's not there yet. I installed the daily build from some time last week on my 4G iPod. Basically, it's a scrolling text screen interface. Fine, that's easy to deal with. Once I got it to recognize my already installed 18+Gb of songs I tried to play. Unexplained pauses abound. Although this is (somewhat) addressed in the FAQ (and none of the suggestions applied to me, BTW) it was in itself a dealbreaker. Sorry, gapless playback infers that you don't also have gaps during the songs!!!

    I understand that it's still a work in progress, and I admire the work that's obviously gone into this. Just not ready for primetime yet. I'll check back in a few months and see where it is then. Meanwhile, Apple's own OS is working fine for me.

    BTW... FWIW, I'm not using iTunes at all. I'm a Gentoo Linux user that alternates between Amarok and gtkPod for interfacing to my iPod. Right now, Amarok is my favorite. Just right-click to choose (an album, song, or playlist) and transfer.

"Atomic batteries to power, turbines to speed." -- Robin, The Boy Wonder