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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.

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.
 

wnurse

macrumors regular
Jan 6, 2004
206
0
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?
 
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Ja Di ksw

macrumors 65816
Apr 9, 2003
1,310
6
Sigh, won't work with mine (1G and 3G), I'd be interested in testing it
 
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shalghamz

Cancelled
May 2, 2006
6
0
SoCal
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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kainjow

Moderator emeritus
Jun 15, 2000
7,958
6
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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kainjow

Moderator emeritus
Jun 15, 2000
7,958
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shalghamz said:
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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longofest

Editor emeritus
Jul 10, 2003
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Falls Church, VA
kainjow said:
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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Wingdings

macrumors newbie
Aug 10, 2005
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dferrara said:
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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kainjow

Moderator emeritus
Jun 15, 2000
7,958
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longofest said:
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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Anawrahta

macrumors member
Sep 9, 2005
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亞洲
dferrara said:
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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DJ Bliss

macrumors newbie
Feb 8, 2006
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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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nagromme

macrumors G5
May 2, 2002
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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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Ranma13

macrumors newbie
Apr 12, 2006
8
0
DJ Bliss said:
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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ErikGrim

macrumors 603
Jun 20, 2003
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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).
 
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elo

macrumors regular
Feb 6, 2003
140
0
DJ Bliss said:
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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syklee26

macrumors 6502a
Jul 26, 2005
506
970
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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c-Row

macrumors 65816
Jan 10, 2006
1,193
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Germany
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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freiheit

macrumors 6502a
Jul 20, 2004
643
90
California
ErikGrim said:
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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Shamus

macrumors 6502a
Feb 26, 2006
651
0
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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