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Music Media Operating Systems Portables Software Hardware Technology

After 3 Years, Rockbox 3.0 Released 248

DarkkOne writes "Rockbox version 3.0 is out. Three years in development, it marks the introduction of many new players since the 2.5 release and offers software-based playback allowing audio of nearly any commonly (or uncommonly) used format on a list of MP3 players by Apple, iRiver, Cowon, Archos, Toshiba and Sandisk. Beyond this it is FLOSS, under the GPL v2 license (or later), and includes a variety of plugins such as games and simple apps. 3.0 is the first official release for any players not made by Archos and more or less marks the beginning of a much more regular release cycle for the software."
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After 3 Years, Rockbox 3.0 Released

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  • by FauxPasIII ( 75900 ) on Friday September 26, 2008 @07:36AM (#25163929)

    The chief advantage over the iPod OS is that it plays flac and ogg vorbis files, as well as many formats of video if your player's CPU is fast enough.
    It also lets you move media to and from your your player by simple drag-and-drop operations; you don't need a special app to load it, build the iTunes database, etc.

    Disadvantages? Well, the interface is different. I like it, you might not.

  • by AvitarX ( 172628 ) <meNO@SPAMbrandywinehundred.org> on Friday September 26, 2008 @07:46AM (#25164021) Journal

    Lots of games (a few are decent even)
    Music can be copies off with no effort (just files on a disk)
    Flac, and Ogg support
    Really nice playlist builder on the device

    Harder to get a playlist from a computer
    The database option is nice, but not as seamless as from iTunes (you can browse buy database or by filesystem)

    I really like it, I think the whats playing screen looks great, and I like being ably to through a quick playlist together. If a friend has a song I want, I just copy it over, and listen on the way home. I want music on my computer at work, plug it in and copy to the computer.

    iTunes may be great within the iTunes system, but in a social world at large I find Rockbox to be more useful.

  • Superior (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 26, 2008 @07:48AM (#25164029)

    Pretty cool. I use rockbox on my sansa and it is worlds better than the stock. It fixes stupid problems the sansa has like volume leveling... Plus its pretty.

  • by theantipop ( 803016 ) on Friday September 26, 2008 @07:53AM (#25164055)
    There seem to be big battery life improvements, especially with the 5g ipods.
  • Rockbox rules (Score:5, Informative)

    by kcbanner ( 929309 ) on Friday September 26, 2008 @08:04AM (#25164129) Homepage Journal
    I've used it on my iRiver h120 player and it is 100x better than the stock firmware for that player. It boots faster, clean file browser, better power management and it can play OGG and FLAC and all that good stuff. Its awesome.
  • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Friday September 26, 2008 @08:12AM (#25164193) Journal

    This means I can play my music on the iPod, but also plug the iPod in my computer and play it on my stereo.

    The hard disk on my iPod (third gen) broke a couple of years ago, so things might have changed since I last used one regularly, but is this really better than just dropping it in the dock? I had my stereo plugged in to the dock, and when I got home I just dropped the iPod in the dock and it continued playing and charged - I only ever plugged it in to the computer after buying more music.

    It was possible to play music from the iPod on a computer too - the music was stored in a hidden folder and, although the file names were mangled, the metadata was intact, so any player that can parse MPEG-4 atoms (or ID3 tags if you still use MP3) can index it.

    Also, I don't like the 6th generation firmware on the iPod.

    I think the iPod firmware peaked with the third generation, and the iTunes UI peaked with 4.x. If they'd been open source they'd have been forked at this point.

  • Battery Life? (Score:1, Informative)

    by cloneofsnake ( 821828 ) on Friday September 26, 2008 @08:51AM (#25164519)

    I use iTunes to auto organize my music by author / album on my macbook, then I rsync the entire folder to my 5G ipod running Rockbox. It's all good, except battery life now lasts 1 day instead of 2~3 days. :( The HD seems to continue spinning no matter what! I hope they've fixed that problem in this version!

  • by morgan_greywolf ( 835522 ) on Friday September 26, 2008 @08:59AM (#25164577) Homepage Journal

    Most MP3 players that can double as USB storage devices support Linux OOTB without modification. Very few players support OGG, although I have a Meizu Miniplayer SL [meizu.com] (aka 'M6SL') that does.

    I've seen the 4GB model for as low $50 [google.com] recently, though $80 is far more typical. It comes in 2GB, 4GB and 8GB.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 26, 2008 @09:05AM (#25164643)

    I like Cowons players.

    I had an X5 (gave it to a friend), and now have an A3.

    X5 is definietly a better portable audio player. EXTREMELY durable, good sound, plays MP3, WMA, OGG and FLAC out of the box, along with some video formats, the control is good for use without having to look at the player.

    the A3 is a good multimedia player that can be moved (notice I didn't say a good portable multimedia player, there's a difference!). It's not as durable as the X5, and the case it comes with doesn't give you access to the controls without opening it up, nor does the case have a belt clip (no option to buy a case with either). The X5 cases you can buy let you access the buttons/controls without pulling out the X5, and they have cases with belt clips available too.

  • by jackpot777 ( 1159971 ) on Friday September 26, 2008 @09:07AM (#25164667)
    I just checked too, because I have been waiting for someone to crack that hardware and bring out a video player for my little iPod nano. And the short answer: no. Come ON, Apple. Bring out an update to allow us all to play video on our old hardware. /stupid thing to say. They want me to buy another one.
  • Re:Creative? (Score:4, Informative)

    by fuzzix ( 700457 ) <flippy@example.com> on Friday September 26, 2008 @09:13AM (#25164727) Journal

    Any word on compatibility with Creative's players? They're a pretty big part of the PMP market and the next company that comes to mind (for me) after Apple.

    It appears to be in the very early stages.

    I'd love to see a Rockbox port to the flash based ZENs if only to fix the pathetic functionality of the SD slot... How Creative got away with calling it memory "expansion" or "upgrades" is beyond me.

  • by freg ( 859413 ) on Friday September 26, 2008 @09:29AM (#25164883)
    That's very sad news, I have a 2nd gen and am seriously considering downgrading to a 1st gen just for rockbox...
  • by walter_f ( 889353 ) on Friday September 26, 2008 @10:10AM (#25165461)

    That reallly needs the firmware... the Zune.

    Great Hardware? This does not surprise me at all.
    After all, the Zunes are, hardware-wise, designed and manufactured by Toshiba (afaik).

    Then again, the real Toshibas are known for their excellent audio quality *and* (some of them at least) are being supported by Rockbox.

    So why bother with an under-cover Toshiba, hampered by mediocre third party firmware?
    Get a real one (Gigabeat). ;-)

  • by walter_f ( 889353 ) on Friday September 26, 2008 @10:23AM (#25165661)

    Remember, in order to run Rockbox, you have to get a rev 1 Sansa (no more available as new stock, just as used items or in refurbished lots).

    On a v2 Sansa, Rockbox will not run.

  • by Rich0 ( 548339 ) on Friday September 26, 2008 @10:30AM (#25165779) Homepage

    I've been using rockbox on that hardware for a year or two and I've been very happy with it. I actually bought this player only for the purpose of using Rockbox (a step of faith considering I'd never used it previously).

    Using the original firmware to copy files is fairly transparent. If the device is on and you plug in the USB port, it powers on and automatically boots to the original firmware. Then when you unplug it the system automatically reboots to the Rockbox firmware. I'm sure they'll set it to just boot to Rockbox once it supports USB syncing.

    About the only time it would seem to be inconvenient is if you wanted to listen to music while having it plugged into USB. That never happens for me - I can just play music on my PC if I want to.

  • by GodEater ( 7709 ) on Friday September 26, 2008 @10:44AM (#25165997) Homepage
    The battery life for *most* of the ipod range is now superior to the original firmware, and the remaining models are on a par with it. We already have our own USB stack for mass storage which will work on the sansas (and other portal player based targets), but we've had issues with it when used with SD cards plugged into the unit, which is why it's not currently enabled by default. Of course work is progressing to fix these issues.
  • by GodEater ( 7709 ) on Friday September 26, 2008 @10:51AM (#25166145) Homepage
    Be careful to make sure that any of the sansa's you pick up this way are version 1.0 of the hardware. There is a v2.0 which replaced all of the internals which (currently) won't run Rockbox. www.froobi.com (if you're in the USA/Canada) certify their sansas as "Rockbox ready" so you *know* you're getting the right hardware version.
  • Re:Video (Score:3, Informative)

    by maeka ( 518272 ) on Friday September 26, 2008 @10:52AM (#25166157) Journal

    With the iPod Video it is suggested you boot into Apple firmware to watch videos. Rockbox does not support the Broadcomm video decoder, and thus must attempt to drive the large screen with CPU decoding. You will not get 24FPS in MPEG2 on the 320x240 screen with the iPod's 80Mhz processor.
    Most all other targets have a much better processor to screen size ratio and play video better.

  • Re:Video (Score:3, Informative)

    by GodEater ( 7709 ) on Friday September 26, 2008 @10:55AM (#25166185) Homepage
    While you can use Rockbox on the 5G ipods to playback video using the MpegPlayer plugin (not based on mplayer as other comments suggest) and MPEG 1/2 format movies, we actually recommend still using the Original Firmware (OF) for movie playback (which is fine, since Rockbox allows you to dual boot back to the old OF whenever you like). This is because the 5Gs include a hardware video processor which no public specs are available for, and which Rockbox is therefore unable to use. It far outperforms our software video rendering sadly.
  • Re:Creative? (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 26, 2008 @11:09AM (#25166401)

    They are working on a few of the players. Look in the forums under New Ports.

  • by villindesign ( 1260484 ) on Friday September 26, 2008 @11:44AM (#25166923)
    I use a cowan d2 that supports ogg and linux. The d2 has a touch screen interface.
  • by muellerr1 ( 868578 ) on Friday September 26, 2008 @12:13PM (#25167373) Homepage
    I can charge my e200 while listening to Rockbox. The sound quality is also much better than the stock firmware.
  • by DarkkOne ( 741046 ) on Friday September 26, 2008 @02:35PM (#25169429) Homepage Journal
    See the BuyersGuide page on the wiki but popular hardware are the e200 (there's a website called Froobi that sells ones they make sure are the v1 hardware for the e200 series, since the v2 is not yet compatible) or the Gigabeat F or S. All of these can generally be had for USD100 or less.
  • by erayd ( 1131355 ) * on Friday September 26, 2008 @11:54PM (#25174749)
    You will need to download the source, and compile it with USE_ROCKBOX_USB and USE_HIGH_SPEED defined.

Beware of Programmers who carry screwdrivers. -- Leonard Brandwein