Category Archives: Rockbox

http://www.rockbox.org/ is a portable music player software/firmware

Rockbox on c200

Sansa c200 Since Rockbox runs fine on the SanDisk Sansa C200 there are now C200 builds provided for download since a few minutes back. This being early C200 days, please have patience and don’t feel shy to step forward and help us smooth out the remaining quirks…

Sansapatcher is being remade to be able to install the bootloader on either e200 or c200 models, so until there’s an updated one available you’ll of course have a slightly harder time to actually install this on your c200.

Rockbox on the iPod Classic?

Let me be perfectly clear on this:

Nobody has done any sufficient research or investigation on the iPod Classics for anyone to tell how feasable a Rockbox port is or not. But, based on the assumption that the firmware and design choices are similar to that of the Nano 2nd generation, it offers great challenges to any hacker wanting to go down this road.Rockbox

Many many people confuse this matter with the recently discussed Apple adding a new checksum to the itunes database, and then the subsequent “crack” of that system. This will only allow Linux-users to use these ipods. It certainly does not in any way make it easier to run alternative firmwares on them.

I would rather say that you should all take this as an indication that Apple really doesn’t care one bit about Linux users. In fact, they only care for those who buy their whole package and that package is Windows with itunes or MacOS with itunes. If you’re not buying that concept, you should avoid Apple. Yes I really mean that.

To get Rockbox running on these models or any of the other newer ipod versions, we need fearless and skilled people to get players, rip them apart and do some actual hard-core research on how their internals work and how the firmware is stored and how firmware upgrades are made etc. The same old new-rockbox port drill.

There might be “an opening” to this device using the DFU mode.

Update: during July 2009 some people in the #linux4nano-dev channel managed to run code on the nano 2g (thanks to an exploit of an buffer overflow) and since then there have been fierce activity and custom code seem to run on the iPod Classics too. Still a lot of work and problems to overcome for a Rockbox port to become reality.

Rockbox on Sansa View?

Sansa ViewOk, since we have Rockbox on Sansa e200 and e200R working and the support for the c200 series in the pipe, I feel it is about time to make a statement about the possibilities to get Rockbox for the new Sansa View player: it is (most probably) a totally different beast hardware-wise, so it will require a new port with all the associated hard work.

And no, SanDisk has not been in touch with us any further, so I would say it is highly unlikely they will donate any players or similar to us this time.

Once we get to see a detailed dissection with nice hires pictures we can tell for sure, but their talk about 30fps H.264 video in 320×240 resolution implies a major change.

As a summary, the View is indeed SanDisk’s iPod Nano killer with double the flash size for the same amount of money, with a microsdhc-port, claimed longer battery life and only slightly thicker.

A funny detail: SanDisk previously did another player called Sansa View that they put on hold just before the summer!

Dissecting iPod Touch

iPod TouchiFixit ripped apart an iPod touch.

Unfortunately these guys continue to just publish lores camera images instead of hires scans, but this pic shows the (Samsung) chip with the Apple logo on it.

Apparently this has a Wolfson codec while the new iPod Classics use a Cirrus chip!

The touch and the iphone seems to have a lot in common internally. Not too surprising really…

The touch is a whopping 120 grams beast, while I thought the SanDisk Sansa e200 players were heavy with their 75 grams…

GSOC Mentor Summit 2007

Rockbox was a participating mentor organization of Google’s Summer of Code 2007, and I was the organization administrator in our end. It turned out to be a rather easy job and in the end I didn’t end up mentoring anyone.

GoogleNow they’re arranging a Summit in Mountain View, California in the beginning of October (like they obviously did last year) and Rockbox as organization is invited to send three representatives. They are even graciously funding people to go there, and they pay for a night at a hotel and food. Very grand indeed.

If my life had been different at this point I would’ve been thrilled to go there. Now, with two small kids it’s just not practically possible. I’ve already stretched my “allowance” from my family by the upcoming week-long trip to China in mid-October. So while it wouldn’t cost me personally much money-wise, it unfortunately doesn’t fit right now.

DOS means Text Based

I find it very amusing that Windows users all so often refer to the command line as DOS, and I’ve tried to figure out how we still today frequently get to read users refer to the ancient operating system.

It was in fact still called “MS-DOS prompt” back in windows 98, as shown in this little picture:

windows 98 MS-DOS prompt

I found that even Microsoft themselves refer to the commands you use on the command line as “MS-DOS commands“, so perhaps this is a primary reason? Even the producers of Windows confuse and mix the terms “command line” and “MS-DOS”…

When they launched Windows XP they no longer called it MS-DOS Prompt, it was then plain and simple “Command Prompt”:

Windows XP command prompt!

We’ve also seen end users in the Rockbox project refer to the interface as DOS or DOS-style, and there is really nothing what so ever in common with MS-DOS in Rockbox. It is just (by default) a basic text-style interface. It is clear that to many people, a text-based interface be it a music player or a command line window, means DOS.

People are weird.

Picture Rockbox on a Camera

Canon Powershot A550Obviously the CHDK guys have working code for Canon‘s (and other’s) Digic II powered cameras, and reading their wiki they use plain arm-elf for the job and… yeah so does Rockbox and… yeah, well it certainly at least opens a possibility for a Rockbox branch for these toys!

Of course there would be porting involved and I don’t know how these cameras have on the audio front, but those are all just details…

Installing Rockbox on e200R is Scary

The initial way of installing Rockbox on the Sansa e200R series seriously scare away lots of people, and some of those who have attempted to perform the install really should better have been scared, judging from their desperate cries for help in the forum etc.

Another downside of the initial procedure was that it required the user to download a binary-patched version of the original bootloader, a bootloader that is the property of SanDisk that we have no rights to redistribute – especially not a modified one.

The current work-in-progress method is to build an installer program that can be uploaded to the player and then it does the necessary patching live in the target, removing the need to download anything that isn’t clearly a product of the Rockbox project.

We still lack a working way for this on Windows though, so the current plan is to initially provide a live CD with Linux and the e200R installer on for the Windows crowd, but we’ll see how things evolve…