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Freedb.org Ending 245

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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  • Damn. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bcat24 ( 914105 ) on Sunday July 02, 2006 @09:14PM (#15647733) Homepage Journal
    That sucks. I hope that freedb2 will be compatable with the old freedb protocol. Pretty much every open source tagger/ripper/whatever I know of uses freedb.

    Then again, maybe it's time for MusicBrainz [musicbrainz.org] to take over. :)
  • Re:Good riddance (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bcat24 ( 914105 ) on Sunday July 02, 2006 @09:16PM (#15647737) Homepage Journal
    True, but all CD info databases have that problem, some more than others. But still, freedb was cool for when you just want to *play* a CD without ripping it. (Yep, people still do that.)
  • Re:Good riddance (Score:5, Interesting)

    by spoco2 ( 322835 ) on Sunday July 02, 2006 @09:22PM (#15647750)
    The quality of submissions were total, utter shit. You'd be better off typing in the info yourself.

    Not so, well, not really. If you used it as a starting point, and checked the entries against the CD you were ripping then by and large the entries were really good. (Some freaky choices in categories sometimes)

    Where there were issues, it was far easier to quickly edit one or two entries or the artist name etc. rather than type the whole thing in.

    It is/was a great service.
  • by m94mni ( 541438 ) on Sunday July 02, 2006 @09:42PM (#15647823)
    I just now remembered what I did once, quite a while ago:

    I recorded some of my (difficult-to-find) LPs to .wav, burned them to CD using gcdmaster, and ripped them to OGG, only to find that the ripping program actually guessed *correctly* the album and the titles of all the included songs.

    Note that even though I marked the beginning and end of each song manually, it still found the right titles. freedb really rocks!
  • On one hand, I guess I can't criticize them too harshly, because it's not as though many of us (myself included) who are using the service were paying the developers any for their time, on the other hand, it seems a little unfortunate that the one developer decided to just abruptly pull the plug on the service when it was in use by so many people, without trying to see if there were others in the community of users willing to take over the project, if he no longer wanted to manage it.

    It seems like there were three people on the project, and two of them wanted to take it non-free, one didn't; although I'm glad the remaining developer didn't go along with the other guys if they really wanted to make it non-free, I can't really understand why he would choose to just kill it outright rather than find people who were willing to maintain it, if nothing else.

    I'm not sure whether this shows a shortcoming of the collaborative development model or not. It seems like it might be -- although I suppose projects managed by a "benevolent dictator" are also prone to shutting down if the person moves on / dies / whatever; however it seems like the a not insignificant number of projects that are run by teams without a clear leader close due to 'personality conflicts' over time.

    On the other hand -- what is it with CD meta-databases and going non-free? Is it just that they seem like tempting revenue sources or what?
  • Gullible? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Sunday July 02, 2006 @10:22PM (#15647908) Homepage
    Joerg on freedb:
    For almost two years now Ari and I have supported a developer from Australia, who was working on the next generation of the freedb server, which would have overcome most of our current technological problems and offered text searching. This was the biggest chance for freedb in years. Unfortunately there have been rising tensions in our team about the question, how long we should support a development project, which has not yet been made open source by the developer and which is not yet running on freedb servers. Last weekend the line was crossed by the founder of freedb, who owns the domain, when he took action against that developer without talking to the rest of the team first, while we were still trying to find a solution in everyone's interest.

    Well, if I'm reading between the lines correctly:
    1) Ari and Joerg support some australian guy developing the "next-gen" freedb for two years
    2) Australian guy doesn't want to release it as open/free for freedb (or all three?)
    3) Ari and Joerg have either been suckers or part of an attempt at pulling another Gracenote
    4) Kaiser won't play ball, it's freedb or no db at all. He finally tires and goes to the source.
    5) The play is called, Ari and Joerg leave because the gig is up.

    To put it this way, I would not be surprised to see another CD database show up soon, lead by an australian and maybe with a few more anonymous employees. Either that, or they're been really gullible. Never ever trust someone who says they'll open source it "soon". If that is their true intention, they would have no problem being open about it all the way. The only reason not to is when you're pulling a bait-n-switch like here. It seems clear to me that they expected it to be open source ("not yet open source", Joerg), it wasn't ("did not seem to be kept free", Kaiser) and that tore them apart.
  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Sunday July 02, 2006 @10:28PM (#15647926) Homepage

    Wikipedia is busily replicating GraceNote and IMDB, by hand, and not too well. They're using a wiki to do the job of a database. Some music types from Wikipedia should take this database and the data in Wikipedia and make something useful out of it.

    Personally, I think that Wikipedia needs something like "Wikipedia Music and Movies", to which all content associated with music, movies, TV, and the people involved in the industry would be moved. More structured than Wikipedia Encyclopedia, Music and Movies would have standard database formats and slots for music and movies, indexed so that you could see all movies by some director or all songs by some musician. Wikipedia can't do that, but IMDB can.

    Then Wikipedia needs "Wikipedia Atlas", a map-based system, for all those "State Route 93" entries. Wikipedia isn't spatial, and space is what keeps everything from being in the same place. An atlas system would be able to handle an endless number of "my favorite restaurant" articles. Wikipedia Travel already has something like this.

    With that out of the way, Wikipedia would become more like an encyclopedia. Right now, it's drowning under the incoming cruft.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 02, 2006 @10:55PM (#15648007)
    In the short term splitting of resources is bad. But in the long run both splinter groups get the resources they deserve according to the economic allocation mechanisms for F/OSS projects.

    If conflicting ideas are powerful enough to split an F/OSS projects one of two things usually happen:

    Either one side is given almost all support from the community (ie. the users and not just the people active in the project). In this case there is no resource split. Some people having ideas conflicting with the vast majority may leave the project. The disturbance in the community caused by the split often activates project users to help the project.

    Or both sides have a significant following. In this case both the conflicting ideas deserve to prove their viability.
  • Re:Good riddance (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Loconut1389 ( 455297 ) * on Sunday July 02, 2006 @10:55PM (#15648010)
    I just wish everyone would use CD-TEXT and rid us of the necessity for cd databases. I continually wish iTunes would burn CD-TEXT as well.
  • by Horar ( 521864 ) <horar99@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Monday July 03, 2006 @12:40AM (#15648287) Homepage
    Would you mind emailing the details to me at the address on the site please? That is undoubtedly a bug which needs to be fixed.
  • by AnyoneEB ( 574727 ) on Monday July 03, 2006 @12:47AM (#15648314) Homepage
    You could always just MD5 the CD. (Replace MD5 with your favorite crypograhic hash function.) Or, even better, MD5 the individual tracks, so it would even recognize tracks on collections. As you are already reading them to rip them, it would not be much more work. The problem is that it would not be useful for just playing CDs because it would only have the song/album metadata after reading the entire track/CD. Also, in the case that the data is not already in the database, the user would not be asked to enter it until after the CD was ripped, which would be annoying. Of course, there is the even better solution of publishers actually using CD Text in the first place so the data is already on the CD.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 03, 2006 @12:52AM (#15648329)
    your retarded myspace page [myspace.com] says that your musical interests are as follows: Thursday, Flogging Molly, The Academy Is..., Death Cab for Cutie, Bright Eyes, Panic! At The Disco, Green Day, Brand New, The Matches, Elliott Smith, The Hush Sound.

    your last.fm profile [www.last.fm] backs this up.
    you have shitty taste in music, even if you hate itunes. you're an emo faggot, and you buy major label discs just like all the other emo faggots, while feeling high-and-mighty about it. whiny adults acting like whiny teens? no thanks. no have no license to an opinion on music, you smug little prick. kids like you are more loathesome than the corporations you pretend not to support. suck a dick.
  • by jeriqo ( 530691 ) <jeriqo.unisson@org> on Monday July 03, 2006 @01:18AM (#15648379)
    "What exactly about this situation couldn't have happened in a corporation?"

    If you don't see the difference, then just wait for CDDB to stop, and call me back.
  • Re:Good riddance (Score:3, Interesting)

    by qbwiz ( 87077 ) * <john&baumanfamily,com> on Monday July 03, 2006 @02:14AM (#15648487) Homepage
    I don't know much about the format itself, but if they let you store 8 bits/character, then you could just put UTF-8 data in, and it should work fine. The unofficial CD Text FAQ does say that at least the lead in area does support storing double-byte characters (for Kanji), so it seems like that still should work).
  • by topham ( 32406 ) on Monday July 03, 2006 @02:18AM (#15648491) Homepage

    Not sure how much I want to get into this discussion (I AM NOT A LAWYER) but...

    Copyright is for creative works, not database collections of fact. While there have been countries making changes to allow for the copyright of databases (collection of facts), it is very much untested waters.

    You'd need a lawyer to make a definitive decision (OBVIOUSLY), but it is quite likely that no licensing terms can be applied to the database files, or any derivative works thereof.

  • by smallpaul ( 65919 ) <paul.prescod@net> on Monday July 03, 2006 @02:21AM (#15648497)

    For almost two years now Ari and I have supported a developer from Australia, who was working on the next generation of the freedb server, which would have overcome most of our current technological problems and offered text searching. This was the biggest chance for freedb in years. Unfortunately there have been rising tensions in our team about the question, how long we should support a development project, which has not yet been made open source by the developer and which is not yet running on freedb servers.

    Is it true that you accepted money (which is how I interpret "support") to do open source development and then did not release the code? I'd like to hear your side of the story.

  • Re:Damn. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Fnkmaster ( 89084 ) on Monday July 03, 2006 @02:42AM (#15648536)
    No, that's an example of terrible board oversight. The whole point of a Board of Directors is that they have a fiduciary duty to represent shareholder and company interests and are supposed to be composed of a mix of folks representing different constituencies.

    They are supposed to make sure a CEO's ego doesn't take precedence over the interests of shareholders, employees and other persons with an interest in the company's success. When the Board fails in this role, as at SCO, the consequences can be dire.

    I seem to recall that the SCO Board was padded with Ralph Yarro and a Mormon cabal of Ray Noorda (founder of Canopy Group, SCO's largest shareholder) buddies. Yarro put McBride in the CEO's chair and his yes-men bought into their immensely stupid plan. The end result was millions squandered, an old UNIX brand absolutely destroyed forever, and worst of all, several suicides, including Ray Noorda's daughter. She had apparently engineered Yarro's ouster, which was followed by the mysterious settlement transferring all of Canopy's SCO shares to Yarro immediately before her suicide - I don't know if all of these events were ever adequately explained.

    Truly one of the most sordid tech industry stories in years.
  • Re:Gullible? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonumous Coward ( 126753 ) on Monday July 03, 2006 @03:14AM (#15648589)
    You might find this weird, but when people talk about "open source" around here, they really mean much more than just "open". All I see on http://asmith.id.au/freedb.html [asmith.id.au] next to the source code, is "Copyright 2006, Andrew Smith". Would you mind adding "licence: GPL" next to it?
  • by clarkma ( 32199 ) on Monday July 03, 2006 @03:59AM (#15648659)
    Nice plan, but it won't work because CD-Audio is too error-prone to have a high confidence of getting the same bitstream twice off different copies of the same CD, or indeed off the same CD played in a different player.
  • Who cares? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Qbertino ( 265505 ) <moiraNO@SPAMmodparlor.com> on Monday July 03, 2006 @08:14AM (#15649319)
    The essential part about all this is the collaboratively filtered and collected data, right? And that is out in the wild and still available as a package, correct?
    Copy, Fork, Install, Build a cool website, have yourself a fresh OSS project. No big deal.
    Ideal for anyone who needs to make themselves a name as DB admin / web services expert. ...Mmmmh... Coming to think of it ... does anyone know the mean load of late freedb?

    Anyway, a handfull of weeks and we'll have an alternative and freedb will be history (no pun intened).

    My 2 cents.
  • by Horar ( 521864 ) <horar99@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Monday July 03, 2006 @07:04PM (#15653118) Homepage
    Accepted money? Hell no. I've spent 6 months full-time out of the last 19 months, and most of what little money I had, to develop freedb2.org. The fact is I've had very little useful support from anyone and one hell of a lot of obstruction.

    The so-called freedb team has always been incompetent and dysfunctional and I have made it my mission to fix that. Kaiser and Hevers have behaved like a pair of spoiled brats from beginning to end and now you see the result of that splashed all over the internet.

    Whatever freedb2 ends up becoming I can guarantee you that it will be even more free than freedb.org. Please see http://freedb2.org/news.html [freedb2.org] for the specifics on that.

"For a male and female to live continuously together is... biologically speaking, an extremely unnatural condition." -- Robert Briffault