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Improve Your iPod with Rockbox

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the who-will-if-you-won't dept.

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.com." NewsForge is also a part of the OSTG network, and Tim Lord is "timothy", one of our own editors.

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fp? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15130019)

fp?

Re:fp? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15130023)

d'oh

#1 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15130030)

yay!

Learn to Link (0, Offtopic)

oirtemed (849229) | more than 8 years ago | (#15130035)

These editors are idiots. The article isn't even linked correctly, its linked to the allure.. which is NOT intuitive. I had to mouse over all the links to find which one was the real article.

Re:Learn to Link (1)

RetroRichie (259581) | more than 8 years ago | (#15130056)

One might even say their linking leaves a lot to be desired...

Re:Learn to Link (0, Flamebait)

Overly Critical Guy (663429) | more than 8 years ago | (#15130583)

However, iPods fail to deliver when it comes to support for free codecs like Ogg Vorbis

When will the denizens of Slashdot realize nobody cares about Ogg Vorbis outside of Slashdot? Absolutely no one. Not only that, I find Vorbis to be not as efficient as AAC anyway.

I'm so tired of hearing about Ogg Vorbis and iPods. Get over it! People don't want your esoteric format.

Finally... (0, Troll)

E IS mC(Square) (721736) | more than 8 years ago | (#15130045)

Finally, iPod fanboy gets key to the goldmine which iRiver geeks (and others) have been digging for, er, 2 yrs and more.

Anyway, better late than never.

Re:Finally... (1)

NDPTAL85 (260093) | more than 8 years ago | (#15130245)

Yeah because SOOOO many people are clamoring for Ogg support. You know, all those folks who don't even know what Ogg is...

Link to the Article (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15130054)

LINK to the article. [newsforge.com]

So... (3, Insightful)

thebdj (768618) | more than 8 years ago | (#15130058)

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... (1, Informative)

bigtrouble77 (715075) | more than 8 years ago | (#15130314)

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. It's very easy to remove. Whenever you flash a firmware (which is rare with rockbox, you only flash the bootloader once), you run the risk of bricking the device. The fact that rockbox is located on the harddrive makes updating the firmware VERY secure.

Finally, saying OGG sounds horrid should completely invalidate your whole post. You're completely wrong. Perhaps you don't have sensitive ears and can't tell the difference, but to say it's horrid (assuming you're saying you can differentiate it as lesser quality than mp3, wma, etc. in a blind listening test) is a very ignorant statement.

Rockbox is a godsend for those of use that don't want drm laden music, but do want a wealth of features and codecs.

Re:So... (5, Insightful)

Fahrenheit 450 (765492) | more than 8 years ago | (#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...

Re:So... (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15130466)

but by replying, your mod became ineffective.

loser.

Re:So... (2)

mjsottile77 (867906) | more than 8 years ago | (#15130509)

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 "backup").

See, iPod != iTunes music store. It's a perfectly reasonable audio player that on it's own does NOT impose DRM rules on you (other than not being able to easily copy files OFF on someone elses computer). So it lacks OGG support -- yes, OGG sounds good (I don't know what the previous poster was smoking - OGG sounds fine). The iPod doesn't force you into anything even related to the iTunes music store if you don't want to use it.

And why would anyone want a "wealth of codecs"? I can't see why someone wouldn't just choose one, and stick with it, and possibly use a higher quality second choice for a subset of their music. My iPod supports a "wealth" of codecs already anyways - just not OGG.

Re:So... (1, Flamebait)

DaHat (247651) | more than 8 years ago | (#15130621)

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 those artists, wanting to be heard by as many people as possible tend to choose common codecs.

Re:So... (1)

Overly Critical Guy (663429) | more than 8 years ago | (#15130628)

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 who throw out "proprietary" like it's an insult. The purpose of iTunes isn't to get you to buy music from the Music Store. It's purpose is to give you a jukebox music organization app and an interface with your iPod.

The Music Store's DRM is the most lax DRM in existence. The fact is, most people forget it's there because it has so few limitations. You've clearly never even bought from the store.

Finally, saying OGG sounds horrid should completely invalidate your whole post. You're completely wrong. Perhaps you don't have sensitive ears and can't tell the difference, but to say it's horrid (assuming you're saying you can differentiate it as lesser quality than mp3, wma, etc. in a blind listening test) is a very ignorant statement.

You can call it ignorant over and over, but it won't change his listening experience regarding Ogg. Nobody, I mean nobody, gives a crap about Ogg outside of Slashdot.

It's YOUR post that's flamebait.

Re:So... (0, Offtopic)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 8 years ago | (#15130636)

Fortunately I was able to mod you down a little as your post is complete flamebait.

That's okay, I just modded him up, so there! Oh ... wait.

Not worth the hassle anyone? (4, Informative)

Odiumjunkie (926074) | more than 8 years ago | (#15130059)

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.

Re:Not worth the hassle anyone? (1)

abscott (957865) | more than 8 years ago | (#15130194)

hassle? what hassle? Rockbox is far quicker to setup and use than iPL. Not to mention Rockbox is progressing much faster than iPL.

Re:Not worth the hassle anyone? (1)

MustardMan (52102) | more than 8 years ago | (#15130208)

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!

Re:Not worth the hassle anyone? (5, Informative)

darrenf (746898) | more than 8 years ago | (#15130223)

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.

Re:Not worth the hassle anyone? (1)

shreevatsa (845645) | more than 8 years ago | (#15130328)

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..." ?

Re:Not worth the hassle anyone? (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 8 years ago | (#15130448)

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.

Re:Not worth the hassle anyone? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15130506)

Yes, but, I believe you're missing the greater picture here.

The greater picture is that ipodlinux really fucking sucks at the moment. If Linux fanboys stopped their fanboyism for just a short while, they'd do loads to help linux adaption.

It all makes sense now (4, Funny)

Ohreally_factor (593551) | more than 8 years ago | (#15130071)

Timothy "Lord"?

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

Just kidding Timothy. Please don't smite me.

Re:It all makes sense now (3, Funny)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 8 years ago | (#15130103)

Would you prefer CowboyJesus?

Re:It all makes sense now (2, Funny)

numbware (691928) | more than 8 years ago | (#15130507)

Only if we get CmdrMohammed!

will this allow me to play .avi's (1, Insightful)

DDiabolical (902284) | more than 8 years ago | (#15130074)

Going travelling soon, got the camera connector to allow me to transport photos from my camera to the ipod, but on video the ipod falls very short; requiring me to get access to a computer to convert it so that I may watch it on the ipod.

This reason alone has made me wish I bought the Zen.

Rockbox seems to have lots of support for audio (though not much use when I use solely mp3) but doesn't mention video.

Re:will this allow me to play .avi's (0, Troll)

HardCase (14757) | more than 8 years ago | (#15130159)

Rockbox seems to have lots of support for audio (though not much use when I use solely mp3) but doesn't mention video.

For good reason - it doesn't support video.

Rockbox Does support Video (3, Informative)

meehawl (73285) | more than 8 years ago | (#15130551)

For good reason - it doesn't support video.

You sound like you are very sure, but you are wrong. Rockbox has supported video on my Archos for several years now [rockbox.org] . It's an impressive feat, considering the extremely limited CPU available. I don't doubt that as soon as the major plumbing work for Rockbox on the beta iRiver and iPod platforms is finished, video will be implemented.

Re:will this allow me to play .avi's (1)

Old Thrashbarg (963675) | more than 8 years ago | (#15130485)

While the zen will play AVIs, DivXs and the like, they still have to be downsampled with a computer to get a pixel count that the player can handle.

You're fine with your iPod.

none for 3g T.T (1)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 8 years ago | (#15130106)

i notice a lack of firmware for my 3g..

it's beaten up and heat from my car has caused the case to distend.. but it still works and I plan to keep it until it gives up the ghost..

Re:none for 3g T.T (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15130260)

None of the main developers own a 3G ipod, but someone from the "outside" was working on 3G support, and was actually coming fairly close to decent support, I believe. Someone just needs to pick up where he left, and 3G support is around the corner - could be you!

Also consider iPod Linux (4, Interesting)

fak3r (917687) | more than 8 years ago | (#15130108)

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.

If you're going to advertise on Slashdot... (0, Redundant)

setirw (854029) | more than 8 years ago | (#15130120)

...at least don't use such Madison Avenue-esque language. --Julian

iTunes sucks? (5, Insightful)

MustardMan (52102) | more than 8 years ago | (#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.

Re:iTunes sucks? (5, Funny)

jcr (53032) | more than 8 years ago | (#15130173)

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? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15130254)

i didn't think it was possible but, It both sucks and blows at the smae time

Re:iTunes sucks? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15130359)

When is the smae time again? Is it in June this yrea?

Re:iTunes sucks? (1)

jargoone (166102) | more than 8 years ago | (#15130388)

library management I have come to enjoy from itunes.

There's one aspect I've found sorely lacking. I have a hodgepodge of Linux tools I use, and only use iTunes for my iPod. Every time something new gets added, I have to add it manually into iTunes. Winamp has an option to periodically scan from your library root directories.

Anyone know of a solution to this?

Re:iTunes sucks? (1)

MustardMan (52102) | more than 8 years ago | (#15130519)

Since you're on linux (I assume running itunes in WINE?) it will probably be tougher. I only know the apple side of things, so what I would do is write an automator script or applescript to automatically import all files in a certain directory into itunes. This is pretty straightforward and only about a three-line automator workflow. I know people have written plugins for the windows version of itunes, so there is some ability to interface with it, but I don't know what the functionality is out of the box, or how hard this would be to accomplish.

On the mac, many programs written to download or create digital content have options to automatically add to the itunes library. For example, when my eyetv records a tv show, it is automaticlly re-encoded to h.264 and added to my ipod.

Re:iTunes sucks? (1)

jargoone (166102) | more than 8 years ago | (#15130565)

Er, no. Sorry, I was vague.

I do my ripping/encoding on Linux. I run iTunes on Windows for the sole purpose of syncing my iPod.

I should probably start syncing with Winamp and be done with it.

Re:iTunes sucks? (1)

penguin-collective (932038) | more than 8 years ago | (#15130489)

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.

Re:iTunes sucks? (1)

MustardMan (52102) | more than 8 years ago | (#15130555)

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 (2, Interesting)

meehawl (73285) | more than 8 years ago | (#15130585)

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.

Re:iTunes sucks? (1)

kotj.mf (645325) | more than 8 years ago | (#15130623)

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.

That's why it sucks, pretty much. Ogg support I can live without, but REQUIRING some giant, bloated interface do a device that shouldn't need anything more than a mass storage driver is stupid. There is absolutely no reason to force the user to go through the iTunesDB for basic playback functionality. It's fine if they wanna require it for smart playlists and all that other shit, but to just play songs? Fuck 'em.

Get it? I don't like iTunes. I'm perfectly capable of managing my songs with my directory structure and a few playlists, and I'm perfectly happy with my small, streamlined audio tools that I can link together in various interesting ways. And you know what? My opnion is 100% correct, because it's what works for me. The same goes for your opinion, but only for you.

I suspect that many other *nix users feel the same way. We're not used to giant, monolithic programs that attempt to be the alpha and the omega of our music-listening (or anything) needs, and we resent being forced (so to speak) to change that approach. Except for Emacs.

Full disclosure: I own a Shuffle, but I use it as a thumb drive that also happens to play mp3s. And no, I don't use iTunes.

Rockbox /= Linux (and it's better in a lot of ways (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#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.

downhillbattle.org? (1, Interesting)

mosb1000 (710161) | more than 8 years ago | (#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.

it does sound like malarky... (1)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 8 years ago | (#15130366)

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 makes it sound better. Anyone that knows anything about digital technology knows this claim is simply ridiculous. It's about as valid as saying that sprinkling magic blessed sand around your television will improve its reception. Another embarresment is the "monster cable" myth. It's easy to fool yourself, especially when the differences are "subtle and nuanced". That's not to say that it isn't possible that 128bit AAC isn't nearly indistinguishable from CDs. I can definitely hear artifacts in some 128 bit MP3 files (not all). But I guess I'll believe double blind listening tests before I'll believe unsubstantiated claims.

The other thing I've heard multiple times is that artists receive a much better deal on iTunes than they do with record companies. Haven't many artists switched to iTunes for this very reason? I don't see any hard evidence posted of music deals from different artists, so this just sounds like a rant by some blogger.

So, does anyone that believes either of these claims willing to dig up some evidence for it? Neither claim is so ridiculous that it's outside the realm of reality, but without evidence each claim is simply a meaningless statement.

Re:it does sound like malarky... (1)

JDevers (83155) | more than 8 years ago | (#15130511)

Damn it, you mean I ruined my floor with all that sand for NOTHING???

Well, at least the cat likes it there...

Re:it does sound like malarky... (1)

Fahrenheit 450 (765492) | more than 8 years ago | (#15130586)

Well did you stick that $1200 hunk of wood in the corner to dampen the unpleasant vibrations? That'll synergise with the sand to really sweeten the room and color even the corners.

Audiophiles are some of the dumbest people on the planet...

Re:downhillbattle.org? (1)

jargoone (166102) | more than 8 years ago | (#15130461)

you have no right to complain about apple saying iTunes pays the artists. Especially not if you advocate stealing music as an alternative.

Let me see if I have this straight.

In an article about the RIAA, a comment using the term "stealing music" is posted. It gets instantly modded down into oblivion, and there are a dozen replies about the differences between "stealing" and "copyright infringement".

In an article about iPods, a comment is made that people that don't use iTMS are said to be "stealing". There are no replies, and the comment is modded up.

I love this place.

Re:downhillbattle.org? (1)

MelvinSmalls (917177) | more than 8 years ago | (#15130606)

In an article about the RIAA, a comment using the term "stealing music" is posted. It gets instantly modded down into oblivion, and there are a dozen replies about the differences between "stealing" and "copyright infringement".

In an article about iPods, a comment is made that people that don't use iTMS are said to be "stealing". There are no replies, and the comment is modded up.

Did it never occur to you that maybe the same people didn't read both articles? Nah...that would be crazy.

Denied! (2, Insightful)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 8 years ago | (#15130154)

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.

Re:Denied! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15130298)

Now there's a surpise... From your website:

"I'm a Neopagan Witch."

"I'm fascinated by dreams, and am a practitioner of lucid dreaming."

"My Bacon number is two."

"I was apparently an "above average" student in school, which meant that I actually had a brain and could use it. I was supposed to graduate high school in 1995. However I detested high school, the work was all boring crap I could have done in my sleep, I couldn't stand the teachers, I really couldn't stand the students, and I definitely did not want to be in the goddamned yearbook. So I signed myself out of school in my senior year, grabbed me a GED, and went out into the real world six months before the other kids."

Re:Denied! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15130539)

"Nowadays I'm something of a jack-of-all-trades, mostly doing techie and non-techie side jobs as I seek somethng more permanent.

I'm also an artist, writer, and plan to start hitting the standup comedy business soon."

Man, that GED is paying off!

Re:Denied! (1, Interesting)

bostonkarl (795447) | more than 8 years ago | (#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.

Re:Denied! (1)

witort (92504) | more than 8 years ago | (#15130358)

I've never really seen the appeal of the iPod over the tons of comparable, cheaper, multi-standard hard-drives-with-headphones out there.

You misspelled "No wireless. Less space than a nomad. Lame."

Re:Denied! (4, Funny)

Dr_LHA (30754) | more than 8 years ago | (#15130406)

Girls own iPods. You'll never get laid showning them your iRiver.

Re:Denied! (2, Insightful)

brickballs (839527) | more than 8 years ago | (#15130608)

60 gigs is what did it for me. There aren't to many players out there that have 60 gigs of storage on them.
The click wheel is nice too, although not a dealbreaker in and of itself.

seriously, what does this offer? (3, Insightful)

holden caufield (111364) | more than 8 years ago | (#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.

Re:seriously, what does this offer? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#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.

Re:seriously, what does this offer? (2, Informative)

drivelikejehu (601752) | more than 8 years ago | (#15130460)

I'm an iRiver user, so I don't really know the differences between what rockbox offers on the iPod vs the iRiver, but here are some of the enhancements that made me go rockbox and never go back:

1) Gameboy emulator. Simply download a rom and execute it on your unit, and voila, instant gameboy game.
2) As was stated before, instantaneous bootup, as well as loads of other little features like changing the font used, etc.
and the main one that attracted me to rockbox:
3) Enhanced recording support. On the iRiver firmware, for some reason there was a 750mb filesize limit on the files you'd create while recording with it. So, when recording to wav it would only record for 75 minutes at a time (at which time you'd have to start recording again which would take about 10 seconds to actually start). Now, I'm an avid show taper, and have completely switched from DAT to the iRiver for recording shows. Rockbox completely does away with this stupid limitation, and increases it up to the fat32 filesize limit of 2gb. So, now I can record for over 3 hours straight. Also, recently peakmeters were added (and in the iRiver firmware you can't even control the input level when using line in, only for mic in). There's also pre-recording, which uses a circular buffer (of a length you specify) when you open the recording screen. So, I set it to 30 seconds, and once the band gets on stage I hit record, and it includes the last 30 seconds, so I don't have to guess when to start recording. Now, I don't know if there's even recording support for the ipod, although I've heard it might be possible through the headphone jack? If so, it would definitely be worth it to switch to Rockbox.

Re:seriously, what does this offer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15130512)

" I've read through the article summary, the article, and the rockbox site..."

You did? I saw the answer to all your questions on their site. You have look past the main page. Like What is Rockbox and why should I use it. [rockbox.org] And go from there.

iTunes is just fine. (5, Insightful)

Funkcikle (630170) | more than 8 years ago | (#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.

The iPod can be improved? (1)

Red Samurai (893134) | more than 8 years ago | (#15130188)

Well I'll be damned.

Not just for iPods... (5, Informative)

Civil_Disobedient (261825) | more than 8 years ago | (#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] .

Re:Not just for iPods... (1)

Chanc_Gorkon (94133) | more than 8 years ago | (#15130282)

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.

Breaking news (1)

jargoone (166102) | more than 8 years ago | (#15130527)

Not everyone wants what you want. Film at 11.

Re:Not just for iPods... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15130382)

Actually, it goes back YEARs furhter than that! All the way back to the original archos Jukeboxes in 2001.

Re:Not just for iPods... (3, Informative)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 8 years ago | (#15130484)

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!

Am I the only one that actually likes iTunes? (4, Interesting)

green pizza (159161) | more than 8 years ago | (#15130203)

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.

Re:Am I the only one that actually likes iTunes? (2, Informative)

jambarama (784670) | more than 8 years ago | (#15130503)

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 nice, but amarok is killer.

Re:Am I the only one that actually likes iTunes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15130563)

Hey, can I have some of that Kool-Aid you're drinking?

Re:Am I the only one that actually likes iTunes? (1)

mjsottile77 (867906) | more than 8 years ago | (#15130577)

I like iTunes also. It has a few features missing that I'd like, but I doubt they are interested in adding things that cater to folks with 100+GB music libraries. iTunes is good.

Re:Am I the only one that actually likes iTunes? (1)

jambarama (784670) | more than 8 years ago | (#15130612)

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, if it doesn't do what you want already, it supports extensions, and there are a ton of them. So you may be able to find what you want in an extension.

If you like iTunes because it is shiny and does things automagically, stick with iTunes. But if you want flexibility, power and a light memory footprint try Foobar2000.

(Not to mention foobar doesn't "automatically" install stuff you may not want without your consent - the iPod service that always launches, the quicktime player that sits in the system tray, and heaven only knows what else)

Nice list of complaints (2, Insightful)

Have Blue (616) | more than 8 years ago | (#15130230)

I like how the list of what's wrong with iTunes is from three years ago.

Not finished... (2, Informative)

Maugrim (947665) | more than 8 years ago | (#15130237)

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!

Winamp Folks, Winamp for crying out loud (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#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

Tiny 20GB Archos costs 50% less than iPod (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15130240)


I would suggest a Tiny 20GB Archos Gmini [archos.com] . It's about 50% less expensive than iPod, especially older models (XS200). I use it in the gym when running, it's great. Dropped it on the floor a couple of times, it survived.

Alternatively, you can buy iPod, Steve Jobs could use another $750,000,000 paycheck.

Should be cripple... (2, Insightful)

Chanc_Gorkon (94133) | more than 8 years ago | (#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!

Re:Should be cripple... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15130333)

Rockbox doesn't take away anything, really. You still have the option to use the original firmware to use for Video playback. On top of that, you get all the features that Rockbox offers [rockbox.org] .

It works exactly like dual-booting your PC.

Rockbox on the Archos (2, Informative)

devilsbrigade (930153) | more than 8 years ago | (#15130275)

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 one on the archos. Best part was, the firmware was seriously just a folder the loaded before the archos...deflashing it was as simple as deleting the rockbox folder.

You've got to be kidding... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15130287)

This thing just got SOUND on the iPod in January, and you're saying it's an improvement over the iTunes firmware? And why don't you have any screenshots?

Re:You've got to be kidding... (1)

belly917 (928006) | more than 8 years ago | (#15130588)

Rockbox on the iPod is a work in progress. If you want to install rockbox, you must understand that at this point it's pretty much beta or pre-beta firmware.

Rockbox as a firmware has been running in released and stable versions on many other players for quite some time now. So even before the proper drivers were written to support the iPod hardware, rockbox has been functioning as a powerful firmware replacement for many people. When all the bugs are worked out and a stable version is released for the iPod, expect it to put the iTunes firmware to shame. (It currently does, but there are bugs to contend with)

If you want to see screen shots, take a look at the http://www.rockbox.org/twiki/bin/view/Main/WpsGall ery [rockbox.org] WPS Gallery (pics of people's "While Playing Screens") Due to the computer geek friendly nature of rockbox, anything is possible.

"Still" leaves a lot to be desired? (4, Informative)

jpellino (202698) | more than 8 years ago | (#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! (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15130357)

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.

Regarding Shuffled Playlists... (0, Offtopic)

Quintios (594318) | more than 8 years ago | (#15130361)

I realize this is off-topic, but I seem to remember a discussion a while back about how iTunes and the iPod shuffle playlists, and how that relates to the rating of each song. Does iTunes/iPod base the shuffle on the rating at all? If it does, I haven't seen it yet.

What I do is I make 4 playlists. Each one has two rules: 1. My Rating is (2,3,4,5) Stars. 2. Last Played is not in the last (20,16,12,8) weeks.

Then my 'General Listening' playlist selects songs from any of those four smart playlists. Therefore, I can hear the same 5-star song more often than a 2-star song. Simple!

Just thought I'd pass that along. I like iTunes just fine; at first I was very addicted to Windows Media Player but after having used iTunes for a few months now I like it just fine and don't see a real need to switch.

Really now, why switch? What is the pressing need?

you 7ail 1t (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15130392)

SimilarlY 6risly

Submitter uses poor links (4, Informative)

necro81 (917438) | more than 8 years ago | (#15130398)

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.

What are you talking about? (-1, Troll)

Kunt (755109) | more than 8 years ago | (#15130430)

iTunes is simply the best music software there is. Period.

Actually, No (1)

meehawl (73285) | more than 8 years ago | (#15130615)

iTunes is simply the best music software there is. Period.

Your ignorance is understandable only if you've never tried Media Center [jrmediacenter.com] .

OGG (3, Insightful)

shidoshi (567151) | more than 8 years ago | (#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.

The point of rockbox (1)

dilbert researcher (901952) | more than 8 years ago | (#15130515)

I have had a iriver IHP 120 running Rockbox for ages. The only reason I switched is because of "Super Crippled" frimware on a super duper hardware. What Rockbox actually provides is a way to change evrything on the player. From scrolling speed to WPS(What is Playing Screen) to playlists to an actual equalizer to better battery life to changing what time the backlight stays on to better everything. I dont even boot the original firmware anymore. So to conclude, if you find the need to tweak,adjust everything in the player to your preference then please switch over, otherwise you are just fine.

iTunes DOES suck (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15130521)

While it interfaces great with the iPod, iTunes the application has some serious shortcomings. Here is a quick list off the top of my head:

Why can I not view my music in a tree view? I *hate* having to scroll through 1000's of songs to find what I'm looking for. So, I want to be able to view the tree by artist, genre, year, and that should just about do it.

Next, it's bloatware. Seriously, sometimes I wonder that the hell it's doing when it's being unresponsive. I know the OS has told it to come to the foreground but it takes way to long.

And one that I really hate: when listening to an internet feed and it loses the stream the POS consumes 100% of the CPU while it tries to reconnect. WTF is it doing? And if you click on the task bar tile to bring it to the foreground, it refuses because it's showing a dialog. Extremely annoying.

Bottom line: if I didn't love my iPod there is no way in hell I'd run iTunes.

Re:iTunes DOES suck (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15130610)

iTunes does have a browser function (let's you scroll your database in a tree view). Personally I haven't noticed any other of your problems with the application. I used iPod Linux for a while, but I really liked my smart playlists and turned back to iTunes.

I'm using rating system such that, 1 star is for deletion, 2 stars is for the songs I don't wan't to go to my ipod and 5 starts for absolute wan't to listen to songs. I'm doing these with the 5 playlists and 6th playlist to bring them together. I've a lot of music running on my iTunes and they won't fit to my nano anymore, with these playlists I can have new music running on my iPod with just updating the song lists.

When I see some support for these smart playlists on other firmwares, I might think trying them again.

<sargent voice>SITE DOWN!</sargent voice (1)

tecker (793737) | more than 8 years ago | (#15130564)

Sargent: SITE DOWN! I need a mirror in here ASAP
Medic: Working on it sir!
Sargent: Damnit man! the servers on fire! why the hell did we put him on here!
Medic: Its slashdot sir. Its hell for small time servers that aren't expecting this.
Private: Sir NYUD cache is comming through they have a back up and are wanting us to re route traffic there.
Sargent: you heard the man. Get over there now.

NYUD saved Rockbox [nyud.net]

Good work men!

Like installing Linux on a Mac mini... (2)

argent (18001) | more than 8 years ago | (#15130647)

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.
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