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Old May 3, 2006, 12:49 AM   #1
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Alternative iPod Firmware - Rockbox

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CNET reports on an alternative firmware for some models of the Apple iPod (as well as 3rd party MP3 players). The open source firmware is called Rockbox and attempts to offer additional functionality beyond what the manufacturer intended.

Quote:
In its current state, the Rockbox interface is utilitarian, graphically sparse, and reminiscent of a command-line system, and it lacks the flash of modern commercial MP3 players. But where it comes up short in pizzazz, it more than compensates in options and settings, many of which would make the default iPod jealous.
The software remains a work in progress with the official release not due until November, according to the article. The additional features include OGG and FLAC support, gapless playback, crossfades, photo playback, games, and custom themes.

Users will sacrifice some ease of use as well as iTunes Music Store (Protected AAC) compatibility. Currently supported iPods include the 4th Generation iPod (Monochrome and Color), 5th Generation iPod, Nano and 1st/2nd generation Mini.
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Old May 3, 2006, 12:52 AM   #2
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interesting.....we'll have to wait and see what this is really about
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Old May 3, 2006, 12:53 AM   #3
wnurse
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interesting

This would be interesting to me as i do not buy music from itunes but even then, what if the software hoses my ipod? would i be able to restore the original ipod operating system?

Last edited by Doctor Q; May 3, 2006 at 01:18 AM. Reason: no need to quote the first post
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Old May 3, 2006, 12:54 AM   #4
me hate windows
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Cool, I'd like to see how this performs on my iPod.
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Old May 3, 2006, 12:59 AM   #5
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Err....any pics/screenshots?
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Old May 3, 2006, 12:59 AM   #6
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Sigh, won't work with mine (1G and 3G), I'd be interested in testing it
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Old May 3, 2006, 01:00 AM   #7
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Eftezah.

Wow - time for Apple Legal to get on the ball with this thing before it causes ipod failures left and right....wait...if installing Rockbox voids the warrantee then GeniusBar would have to charge to fix it - upside: an influx in revenue from repairs. Downside: an influx in repairs. Something about this story rubbed me the wrong way.
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Old May 3, 2006, 01:00 AM   #8
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This is old news. Plus, iPodLinux + podzilla = way better

Last time I checked Rockbox doesn't work on HFS+ iPods, so most of you iPod owners our out of luck unless you want to reformat your iPods.
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Old May 3, 2006, 01:02 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shalghamz
Wow - time for Apple Legal to get on the ball with this thing before it causes ipod failures left and right....wait...if installing Rockbox voids the warrantee then GeniusBar would have to charge to fix it - upside: an influx in revenue from repairs. Downside: an influx in repairs. Something about this story rubbed me the wrong way.
Apple legal doesn't give a hoot about this.
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Old May 3, 2006, 01:03 AM   #10
Demon Hunter
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What's so great about OGG and FLAC?
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Old May 3, 2006, 01:05 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kainjow
Last time I checked Rockbox doesn't work on HFS+ iPods, so most of you iPod owners our out of luck unless you want to reformat your iPods.
Correct. You would have to re-format your iPod to be FAT32. The whole process is very complicated (mainly installing the bootloader, since it is completely command-line driven).

They state in their mission-statement apparently that they have no desire to support protected-AAC, so if they aren't even going to attempt to get Fairplay compatability (probably be breaking DMCA anyways), then it's really of no use for me and I'm guessing a lot of other users who have bought music from iTunes music store.

... and don't want to bother burning/ripping the songs and dealing with associated loss (since someone is bound to point that out)...
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Old May 3, 2006, 01:07 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dferrara
What's so great about OGG and FLAC?
FLAC is a lossless audio codec that requires a lot less space than WAV, for example.
AFAIK about OGG, it's another audio codec that has better compression algorithms than MP3 or something like that.
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Old May 3, 2006, 01:07 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by longofest
The whole process is very complicated (mainly installing the bootloader, since it is completely command-line driven).
Actually, in raw commands on a FAT32 iPod, Rockbox installation is way easier than iPodLinux. You only have like 2 files you have to transfer over to your iPod, while iPodLinux has tons of files and since it's Linux it's picky about permissions and such.
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Old May 3, 2006, 01:07 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dferrara
What's so great about OGG and FLAC?
OGG?? I have no idea, but some people seem to prefer it to MP3s, I would assume better quality/size ratio or something

FLAC? It's one of the main non-lossy music encoding formats. So if you're a true audiofile MP3s at any bit rate probably won't cut it, and you'll want to jam some of these files on your 60gig ipod with your amp and sennheiser HD600s.
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Old May 3, 2006, 01:08 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dferrara
What's so great about OGG and FLAC?
I hope there isn't any Linux users on this forum... if so, you are about to get your answer...
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Old May 3, 2006, 01:08 AM   #16
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Nothing New

This is nothing more than a cute trick. Whoop dee do you learned how to put something else on your iPod.

Want to impress me? Put Windows XP on your iPod. That's why I got boot camp. for the spider solitaire. love that game.
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Old May 3, 2006, 01:09 AM   #17
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I'd rather dual-boot between the Apple firmware and iPod Linux/Podzilla. Which you can do Best of both worlds, if you're brave.

But hey, more options is no bad thing!
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Old May 3, 2006, 01:20 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DJ Bliss
This is nothing more than a cute trick. Whoop dee do you learned how to put something else on your iPod.

Want to impress me? Put Windows XP on your iPod. That's why I got boot camp. for the spider solitaire. love that game.
You're impressed because Windows XP has Spider Solitaire? Boy are you misguided...
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Old May 3, 2006, 01:25 AM   #19
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Of interest is the support for gapless playback and cross fade playback. Just shows, apple can support these features.

Also supports dual booting... gota love that!
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Old May 3, 2006, 01:26 AM   #20
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There are some "beautiful themes" and screenshots in the article.

Rockbox is cute if you are a tinkering geek, but of little to no interest to the general public (unless you are absolutely dying for gapless playback). OGG and FLAC are equivalent to AAC and Apple Lossless, except they are open source and used only in very very niche markets (Read: Linux users).

Last edited by ErikGrim; May 3, 2006 at 01:33 AM.
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Old May 3, 2006, 01:39 AM   #21
elo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DJ Bliss
This is nothing more than a cute trick. Whoop dee do you learned how to put something else on your iPod.

Want to impress me? Put Windows XP on your iPod. That's why I got boot camp. for the spider solitaire. love that game.
For those of us who care about gapless playback, this is far more than a cute trick. I've been actively looking to defect from my iPods to something that can support gapless playback. This *might* let me stay with the iPods.
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Old May 3, 2006, 01:45 AM   #22
syklee26
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Ogg?

personally, I don't think OGG is all that. What I would like iTunes to have is using LAME MP3 encoder. I know that there is a 3rd party download that lets us use it but native support would be nice.
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Old May 3, 2006, 01:51 AM   #23
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I'd rather see support for MOD/XM/S3M/etc. files without too much installation and firmware upgrading hassle. Plus, I want to hear a good explanation how they got rid of the gap inbetween mp3 files. AFAIK, this gap is a result of leading information inside the file which has to be read before the track starts playing, and the process of de-encoding the file. Even WinAmp on a AMD 3500+ won't do gapless (unless you call minimum crossfading "gapless").
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Old May 3, 2006, 01:52 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ErikGrim
OGG and FLAC are equivalent to AAC and Apple Lossless, except they are open source and used only in very very niche markets (Read: Linux users).
Or anyone who doesn't want their music collection tied up in a format controlled by the marketing whims of a single company. I put all my CDs in FLAC format because I really cannot say that in 10 years I'll still be using an OS that Apple supports with iTunes.
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Old May 3, 2006, 01:59 AM   #25
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Hmm, some of those Themes do look better than I expected. But still, I prefer the standard firmware, as I dont have a need for the extra features in Rockbox, like OGG compatibility etc.
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