Recently we’ve seen progress by the linux4nano guys in their quest to get custom code to run on an Ipod Nano 2nd generation. They’ve apparently managed to extract the bootrom off a 2nd gen ipod nano (my copy of their extracted data is here – a reminder on objdump usage: “arm-elf-objdump -D --target binary -marm [file]“). I believe their intent is to port Linux to the newer ipods. Possibly ipodlinux. They do mention providing the necessary info to Rockbox and yes we will welcome it.
A large crowd of Rockbox hackers have joined their IRC channel and have been hanging out with them and helped out discussing ideas and pushed them towards publishing their news and infos on how this all is accomplished etc. Their SVN repo hosts some (most?) of the tools made so far.
The Rockbox wiki page for nano2g has been updated and hopefully it will keep track of what happens.
There have been speculations, but I don’t yet know based on what facts, that this recent news and hacks will be usable on other recent (encrypted) ipod models.
Summary: very interesting progress has been made. Lots of it is still left to figure out. There seems to be a bunch of skilled people around and now we’re seeing information and documentation for this getting published so I can’t but to hope for a bright future!
I just wanted to express this loud and clearly:
At the Rockbox devcon back in June, we discussed this issue and we did deem the Rockbox license to be “GPL v2 or later”, so during this summer we have updated the Rockbox source code headers pretty much all over to reflect this fact. (Previously we had a bit of flux where the exact “v2” or “v2 or later” status wasn’t expressed.)
Of course we have not (and should not) change the headers for files we have imported into the project, and there are still pieces in Rockbox that are plain GPLv2 (without the “or later”) like a few snippets that origin from the Linux kernel.
We also did receive permission from Bernard Leach, the main ipodlinux kernel hacker, to put his code under the “v2 or later” label as well.
The net result is of course that Rockbox is GPLv2 but with the largest parts v2 or later.
With an unfortunate Sourceforge registry date of April 1st 2008, it could very well be an April’s fools prank but then I can’t see any real reasons why someone couldn’t port ipodlinux over to the Sansa e200 v1 series.
So Sansalinux is working according to their site, and they also provide some crappy screenshots that aren’t really good enough to make it possible to tell if they are for real or fakes.
The uclinux patch on their download page seems genuine and contains a lot of code originating from Rockbox (including copyright lines from Rockbox hackers).
As in the case with the ipod version, it begs the question what they want with this apart from the fun of getting Linux on yet another target. Also, seeing how there’s really no developers around to hack on ipodlinux it’ll be interesting to see if there will be any on the Sansa version. Seeing that it doesn’t run on the v2 version (no surprise really since Rockbox doesn’t either) so there’s no new Sansa e200 to buy to run this linux on.
If someone actually tries this out, please let us know what you find out!
I listened to lugradio’s season 5 epsisode 14 podcast today and I thought I’d share that at roughly 1:20 into the show there’s a brief mentioning and discussion around Rockbox. The subject came up thanks to a listener’s email explaining how he got his Sansa e200 player to play ogg by installing it.
Unintentionally, it was also quite ironical how Adam (one of the podcast hosts) just minutes before this mentioned how he has an iAudio X5 that can play ogg vorbis (and flac) natively (as a response to a user asking what players the guys would recommend) – without mentioning a single word about Rockbox even though Rockbox worked on the X5 long before it worked on the Sansa and I would think that any Linux- liking Open Source geek should know about Rockbox and use it on their mp3 players at least as long as they have targets that Rockbox is already ported to and working fine on… and when asked, I can only recommend getting any player that can run Rockbox before one that can’t. Of course these days this is somewhat of a dilemma since none of the players Rockbox supports are manufactured anymore…
I also liked in a elbow-poking sort of way how they referred to the ipodlinux project as one of the most pointless projects in existence. Of course, that may very well also be one of the reasons why that project is now more or less dead. This also makes me think of this lwn.net post by debacle, who argues that having Linux on a portable music player is better than Rockbox simply because “there’s where the developers are”. As the ipodlinux example shows, the reality is not that simple.