Category Archives: Open Source

Open Source, Free Software, and similar

Linux Sound, part II

Here’s a follow-up on my previous rant about Linux sound still lacking:

I got the advice to try shutting off my on-board audio in the BIOS settings, and indeed I think that’s a great idea as with only one sound card present in the system I figure the chances are much bigger that things would auto-detect and work smoothly.Music Note

Forget that. When I did that, I failed to get any sound at all. Not by default and not after trying one of my alsaconf and aumix tricks. I went back and enabled the on-board sound again, did the insane command line invokes and voila, sound is now back…

Someone mentioned that this situation of course may be different with different distros, and while that may of course be entirely true it really doesn’t matter much to me since I won’t change distro (now) and I would expect Debian to be at least around the distros that do a half-decent job.

download flv videos from youtube

My wife wants to keep some videos found on youtube, and I really can’t recommend just keeping bookmarks to a random web site like that. Not if you want the content to be available in a few years ahead, or even ten or twenty years. Then downloading the files to keep the locally is the only sane way to make it somewhat more reliable.

To download the files you can do it with a browser or with a command line tool:

Browser StyleGreasemonkey

  1. Use Firefox
  2. Install Greasemonkey
  3. Within Greasemonkey there’s concept of user scripts that customize it, and we want a certain customization for youtube pages. So we get the YouTube to me v2 script installed.
  4. Now, each youtube web page gets a red stripe on the top of the page that allows you to download the FLV.

Command Line Style

There exist several command line tools “out there” that do the job. I tried youtube-dl and it did the job splendidly by only proving the main HTTP URL on the command line.

The main lacking feature is that it names the output flv based on the ‘v’ variable in the URL so the downloads end up being named things like “f_8wuVEYMZ8.flv”…

Play the local FLV movies

For this, I can only recommend the lovely VLC media player, available on all modern platforms.

curl vs wget, really

Ok, since people truly and actually often ask me about what the differences are between curl and Wget, it might be suitable to throw in my garbage here and state the main differences as I see them. Please consider my bias towards curl since after all, curl is my baby – but I have contributed code to Wget as well.

curl

  • Features and is powered by libcurl -a cross-platform library with a stable API that can be used by each and everyone. This difference is major since it creates a completely different attitude on how to do things internally. It is also slightly harder to make a library than a “mere” command line tool.
  • Pipes. curl is more in the traditional unix-style, it sends more stuff to stdout, and reads more from stdin in a “everything is a pipe” manner.cURL
  • Return codes. curl returns a range of defined and documented return codes for various (error) situations.
  • Single shot. curl is bascially made to do single-shot transfers of data.It transfers just the URLs that
    the user specifies, and does not contain any recursive downloading logic or any sort of HTML parser.
  • More protocols. curl supports FTP, FTPS, HTTP, HTTPS, SCP, SFTP, TFTP, TELNET, DICT, LDAP, LDAPS and FILE at the time of this writing. Wget supports HTTP, HTTPS and FTP.
  • More portable. Ironically curl builds and runs on lots of more platforms than wget, in spite of their attempts to keep things conservative. For example, VMS, OS/400, TPF and other more “exotic” platforms that aren’t straight-forward unix clones.
  • More SSL libraries and SSL support. curl can be built with one out of four different SSL/TLS libraries, and it offers more control and wider support for protocol details.
  • curl (or rather libcurl) supports more HTTP authentication methods, and especially when you try over HTTP proxies.

wget

  • Wget is command line only. There’s no lib or anything. Personally I’ve always disliked the project doesn’t provide a man page as they stand in the GNU side of this and consider “info” pages to be the superior way to document things like this. I strongly disagree.
  • Recursive! Wget’s major strong side compared to curl is its ability to download recursively, or even just download everything that is referred to from a remote resource, be it a HTML page or a FTP directory listing.A gnu head!
  • Older. Wget has traces back to 1995, while curl can be tracked back no longer than 1997.
  • Less developer activity. While this can be debated, I consider three metrics here: mailing list activity, source code commit frequency and release frequency. Anyone following these two projects can see that the curl project has a lot higher pace in all these areas, and it has indeed been so for several years.
  • HTTP 1.0. Wget still does its HTTP operations using HTTP 1.0, and while that is still working remarkably fine and hardly ever is troublesome to the end-users, it is still a fact. curl has done HTTP 1.1 since March 2001 (while still offering optional 1.0 requests).
  • GPL. Wget is 100% GPL v2, which I believe is going v3 really soon when they release their next release. curl is MIT licensed.
  • GNU. Wget is part of the GNU project and all copyrights are assigned to them etc. The curl project is entirely stand-alone and independent with no organization parenting at all.

This turned out to be a long post and it might in fact be usable to save for the future, so I’m also posting this as a more permanent doc on my site on this URL: http://daniel.haxx.se/docs/curl-vs-wget.html. So possible updates will be done there. Do let me know if you have further evident differences or if you disagree with me on details here!

Reality Check October 2007

Right now there’s darkness outside my window. It is in the middle of the night and this is my prime hacking time, when the rest of the family are all sound asleep.

The three first days of nursing Rex full time has been gentle, as he’s been his very happy himself and we’ve had some great weather allowing walks outdoors and visits to the nearby playgrounds etc. Also, Rex’s two naps per day (totaling at around 3-4 hours) does allow for some personal time as well, so I manage to read my mails and even do occasional commits during the days.

Things will get rougher when the days go darker, colder and wetter. Or when Rex is getting more cranky and similar. But I’m optimistic.

Keeping up with IRC like I can when I’m sitting in front of my computer all day at work isn’t really possible and the no commuting will prevent me from keeping up with the podcasts I used to listen to, but those are no biggies to overcome. I quite like not having to go anywhere particular in the morning and thus not have to “travel” home again in the later afternoon.

Instead, I’ve fixed bugs and worked in several patches to curl and c-ares and I’ve even been able to submit blog posts at a decent pace.

Zunes, New Zunes and Hacking it

Microsoft (New) Zune Microsoft hasn’t given in yet it seems, as they announced their updated Zunes yesterday. They’re available as 4 or 8GB flash and a 80GB hdd version, and these ones are claimed to play more movie formats (like h.264 and MPEG-4) and they actually seem to be capable of using the wifi for things like syncing music etc.

The zune music is also said to go DRM-free… All in all, I’d say they seem to really make an effort to be a serious iPod alternative.

Anyway, there hasn’t of course been any serious dissect of these new Zunes yet but given how their earlier models were made it seems unlikely that they will attract any larger crowds of eager hackers. They also seem to have applied a fair amount of cryptography, another Apple-like approach, so it is hard to put a replacement firmware on it.

The guys in the Zune Linux project have really no clues about what hacking these things require, and their early chatter on deciding what logo to use and what “distro” to base their work on have just been hilarious jokes. I don’t expect this new set of models to change this situation in any significant way.

I’m not aware of any known skilled (Rockbox) hacker having a go at Zune. The old Zune models are however quite similar (but not identical) hardware wise to the Toshiba Gigabeat S models, for which there is a Rockbox port in the works (as I’ve mentioned before).

Rockbox on iAudio 7

Cowon iAudio 7We’re slowly building a team and effort in the Rockbox project to make a port to the Cowon iAudio 7 player.

It’s a 60 gram 4/8/16 GB flash player with a 1.3″ 160×128 TFT LCD, FM tuner, Telechips TCC771 MCU and a bunch of chips familiar to us from other existing Rockbox ports.

TMM already bricked his first player…

Update: this entry does not allow comments anymore. Go to the Rockbox forums to continue!