Edit: Got some Rockbox screenshots from my ipod.
I finally got the motivation to upgrade to wordpress 2.0.5. Yay. Obviously it is only a bugfix/security fix release.More importantly, I stumbled across possibly the coolest thing on this entire planet: Rockbox for the Ipod. Rockbox is an open source firmware replacement for alot of popular mp3 players, including the Ipod… I read a little about it, and after seeing some of its capabilities i decided it was time to give it a shot. I had previously tried IpodLinux a few times, but was never really happy with that product.
The “goals” of Rockbox and IpodLinux are totally different, even though they end up with a similar result. Rockbox aims to be a jukebox/music playing firmware replacement that is cross platform and written from scratch. Where as IpodLinux’s goal was to port linux onto the Ipod. After hours and hours of messing around with IpodLinux, and only being half successful (i never played an mp3); i decided that ipodlinux really sounds alot better on paper than it actually is in reality. Ef you ipodlinux.
Rockbox = much easier. I read the installation instructions… I had to downolad a couple of extract/write utilities for the firmware, run a couple commands to extract the apple firmware and patch the rockbox firmware into it, and i was seriously done in 15 minutes. Rockbox booted with no problems, and vastly increased the functionality of my ipod. Rockbox can play different file formats like OGG and flac, It has more extensible customization as far as a user interface and equalizer options, and it has all kinds of nifty plugins/games that come bundled in. I am never going to switch back to the apple firmware, or to ipod linux.
A summary of the cool features Rockbox offers:
- Built in File/Directory Browser.
- “Theme” Capability – make your own or download any contributed themes from their site. Which is good, because the default theme was rancid and boring.
- Custom Fonts Capability – put an assortment of fonts on your ipod.
- Enhanced Equalizer Capabilities
- Seems to maintain all usb functionality. It even works with my DLO transpod FM transmitter in my car!
- Awesome assortment of included games. Including Pacman, Doom (yes, doom), tetris, solitaire, pong, bejeweled, chess, sudoku, asteroids, that shooting colored bubble game… i mean seriously its frickin’ awesome
- Some sweet plugins/utilities. Including a Gameboy emulator (so far i played tecmo bowl and bowling), Jpeg viewer, battery benchmark, stopwatch, disk cleanup util, etc. etc.
- Can still boot the apple firmware if you ‘want’.
- Overall “Cool factor” is there.. Ipodlinux didnt have that.
A couple “Not so cool” features of Rockbox:
- Rockbox DOES NOT read/sync to the itunes databases. Therefore, you can’t sync music using itunes. Although i have a feeling this really isn’t rockbox’s fault. Apple would probably shut them down immediately if they reverse engineered that capability. Rockbox does half way make up for this with its own database functionality – so you can still filter/play by artist, album, genre, etc. But, you have to manually copy the audio files/folders of music onto your ipod.
- Doesn’t play videos. I have an ipod video, so it would be nice to have the ability to play video files. If it can play doom, i would think it could launch a correctly formatted mpeg or avi.
- Battery life. Rockbox likes batteries alot more than the apple firmware. 5-6 hours looks like.
- Sometimes runs a little sluggishly when navigating the filesystem. Which to me was surprising, because it can only be used on FAT32. NTFS and/or other (mac) filesystems are not supported.
Regardless of those ‘negs’ – I thoroughly enjoy rockbox as an free alternative to the apple firmware. I’ll never switch back. I’ll see if i can get some screenshots or pics of my Rockbox somehow. But in the meantime checkout some screenies here and/or here. (2nd link shows themes, 1st shows the ‘default’ theme.)
If you own an ipod (or any other mp3 player for that matter), you should consider trying rockbox. Install instructions can be found here. They look alot harder than they really are. Unfathomably easier than ipodlinux. ef you ipod linux.