Alternative iPod Firmware - Rockbox

Discussion in 'MacRumors News Discussion (archive)' started by MacRumors, May 2, 2006.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    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.

    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.
  2. twoodcc macrumors P6


    Feb 3, 2005
    Right side of wrong
    interesting.....we'll have to wait and see what this is really about
  3. wnurse macrumors regular

    Jan 6, 2004

    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?
  4. me hate windows macrumors 6502

    me hate windows

    Jan 18, 2002
    Cool, I'd like to see how this performs on my iPod.
  5. Stridder44 macrumors 68040


    Mar 24, 2003
  6. Ja Di ksw macrumors 65816

    Ja Di ksw

    Apr 9, 2003
    Sigh, won't work with mine (1G and 3G), I'd be interested in testing it
  7. shalghamz macrumors newbie


    May 2, 2006

    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.
  8. kainjow Moderator emeritus


    Jun 15, 2000
    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.
  9. kainjow Moderator emeritus


    Jun 15, 2000
    Apple legal doesn't give a hoot about this.
  10. Demon Hunter macrumors 68020

    Mar 30, 2004
  11. longofest Editor emeritus


    Jul 10, 2003
    Falls Church, VA
    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)...
  12. Wingdings macrumors newbie

    Aug 10, 2005
    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.
  13. kainjow Moderator emeritus


    Jun 15, 2000
    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.
  14. Anawrahta macrumors member

    Sep 9, 2005
    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.
  15. longofest Editor emeritus


    Jul 10, 2003
    Falls Church, VA
    I hope there isn't any Linux users on this forum... if so, you are about to get your answer...
  16. DJ Bliss macrumors newbie

    DJ Bliss

    Feb 8, 2006
    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.
  17. nagromme macrumors G5


    May 2, 2002
    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!
  18. Ranma13 macrumors newbie

    Apr 12, 2006
    You're impressed because Windows XP has Spider Solitaire? Boy are you misguided...
  19. Lollypop macrumors 6502a


    Sep 13, 2004
    Johannesburg, South Africa
    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!
  20. ErikGrim macrumors 68030


    Jun 20, 2003
    Brisbane, Australia
    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).
  21. elo macrumors regular

    Feb 6, 2003
    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.
  22. syklee26 macrumors 6502

    Jul 26, 2005

    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.
  23. c-Row macrumors 65816


    Jan 10, 2006
    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").
  24. freiheit macrumors 6502a

    Jul 20, 2004
    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.
  25. Shamus macrumors 6502a


    Feb 26, 2006
    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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