Tag Archives: Rockbox

Rockbox Devcon 2011

Rockbox

Hoards of hackers in similar-looking t-shirts with funny logos having the b in front of the K (see below for some sort of explanation) were seen on the streets of London on Friday June 3rd 2011.

Thanks a lot to  Google UK who hosted our Rockbox developers conference this time in central London.

We had some short-time visitors but we were 16-18 reverse engineering happy persons in a single room most of the weekend, where we hacked away on code, whined on the amount of outstanding patches and bugs and generally made a large amount of bad jokes and Monthy Python references.

The happy core team was caught on a picture:

Rockbox team Devcon 2011

On the Saturday we plowed through a lengthy list of discussion points to really make the most of all of us gathering physically. Among the outcomes from that is that we decided we want to change to git, we think a lot of future of Rockbox lies in the app for Android, we keep the Archos support and more. The Android builds are going to get into the build system ASAP and we’re gonna setup a system where (only) trusted build clients will participate in the building of Android builds that will be distributed to users – this since applications on phones will have a much greater risk of causing harm if some “bad guy” would try to infect our system with stupid things.

Dominik “bluebrother” Riebling brought up the very interesting point that none of us had noticed: we have two different logos being used in the project: one with the K being in front of the b (like the one on the web page) and one with the K being behind the b – which is used in SVG logos and on just about all Rockbox t-shirts made so far! If you zoom in on the tshirts on the group picture you’ll see!

We will also start allowing GPLv3 code into Rockbox in order to be able to use espeak, but all our code will remain GPLv2 or later. I could only find a single USB header file left that comes from the Linux source tree and has a GPLv2 only license.

Even more than this was discussed but I figure the rest of the details will be posted properly on rockbox.org for those seriously interested.

All in all, it was a very enjoyable weekend with a lot of fun and great friends. We stayed at a hotel just a few blocks from the devcon office which was really convenient. even though its wakeup routine was a bit non-standard. Peter “petur” D’Hoye took a lot of pictures as usual.

We also managed to break the Tower of Rockbox record.

Daniel "Bagder" Stenberg Rockbox Devcon 2011

The group picture was taken by a Google person I don’t know the name of who helped us out, and the one of me was taken by Peter D’Hoye.

Rockbox bridge and tower

Keeping to the tradition and subtle arts of Rockbox Towers, but doing it with a twist to celebrate the place we have Rockbox devcon 2011, we decided to make a Rockbox bridge.

We started out by gathering all devices we had in the room that can run Rockbox and distributed them on the construction floor area. As the Android app runs fine on tablets now there’s actually a rather good way to get some solid base into the construction…

Many Rockbox devices

Once all material was known, the construction started with a large amount of eager engineers contributing with good and bad ideas and at times very shaky hands:

constructing a Rockbox bridge

(wods, scorche, gevaerts and paumary)

The result, involving an iRiver beneath the bridge catching the digital flow, became what might be the longest Rockbox construction done so far:

Rockbox bridge

Rockbox bridge closeup

After the bridge, the work started on the real stuff. Building the tallest Rockbox tower ever made. After a couple of accidents and crashes, the tireless team managed to break the previous 104 cm record and the new Rockbox tower record is now officially 117cm:

Rockbox devcon 2011 tower 117cm

(Pictures in this post were all taken by Peter D’Hoye.)

First time for Steering Board

Some years ago in the Rockbox project (2008 to be exact), we started the Rockbox Steering Board (RSB). A board with the intention of having a core group that would take final hard decision when consensus was not reached among developers, or when conflicts arise or whatever.

I was voted in as member of the board in the first RSB and I’ve been a member of it since. We have annual elections where we vote for 5 trusted persons to attend the board that potentially will make decisions for the project’s good.

But no real crises turned up. No discussion was so heated it wasn’t handled by the developers on the mailing list or over IRC. No decision was needed by the RSB. And time passed.

In February 2011, the first ever case for RSB was brought to us by a member of the project who felt there was potentially some wrong-doing going on or something that was done was against our established procedure.

The issue itself was not that easy to deal with, and it also quickly showed that all five of us RSB members are busy persons with lots of stuff going on in our own ends so each round of discussions and decision-makings took a really long time. In the end we really had to push ourselves to get a statement together and published before the pending release.

I think we did good in the end and I think we learned a little on how to do it better next time. But let’s hope it’ll take another few years until the RSB is brought out again… Thanks Jens, Marianne, Frank and Björn for a job well done!

Rockbox

Rockbox on Maemo

Nokia-N900Thomas Jarosch has been quite busy and worked a lot on the Rockbox port for Maemo, it is the direct result of the previous work on making it possible to run Rockbox as an app on top of operating systems. It is still early and there are things missing, but it is approaching usable really fast it seems

The work on the app for Android has also been progressing over time and even though it is still not available to download from the Android Market, the apk is updated regularly and pretty functional.

Going to FOSDEM 2011

Fosdem 2011We’re going to FOSDEM again. This year we’ll ship over the entire company (all three of us) and we’ll join up with a few fellow Rockbox hackers and spend a weekend in Brussels among thousands of fellow free software and open source hackers.

During this conference, 5-6 February, I’ve submitted a libcurl-related talk to the embedded-room that wasn’t accepted into the regular program, but I’ve agreed to still prepare it and I then might get a slot in case someone gets sick or something. A bit ungrateful as now I still have to prepare my slides for the talk but there’s a big risk that I’ve done it in vain! I’ve also submitted a suggestion for a second talk in the opensc/security room (also related to stuff in the curl project) but as of now (with but 16 days left) that schedule is yet to be announced so I don’t know if I’ll do a talk there or not.

So, I might do no talks. I might do two. I just don’t know. We’ll see.

If you’re a friend of mine and you’re going to FOSDEM this year, please let me know and we can meet and have a chat or whatever. I love getting faces to all the names, nicks and email addresses I otherwise only see of many people.

Update: My talk in the security room is titled “libcurl: Supporting seven SSL libraries and one SSH library” and will start at 14:15 on Saturday the 5th of February.

Rockbox seen on iPod Classic

Rockbox tiny

After a very long time of work, a very very long time since these devices were introduced on the mp3 player market, the hard working guys from freemyipod.org have produced something on yet another device. This is the same group that previously was called linux4nano and worked so long and fiercely to get code running on the 2nd generation iPod Nano and the 4th generation iPod Nano.

At the end of December 2010, Michael “TheSeven” Sparmann announced that he was running custom code including music playback on the iPod Classic. The (sometimes) so called 6th generation.

Robert Menes spiced up the story today by showing us a live picture of a Classic device that now actually is running Rockbox:

Rockbox on the iPod Classic

Awesome work Michael, truly impressive. I hope a lot of Classic owners soon will be able to try out Rockbox for real. Rockbox is said to not yet be very stable or functional, so there’s a lot of room for more hackers and developers to join in and help us improve!

My presentation on Reverse Engineering

As mentioned before, I visited the event arranged on Software Freedom Day 2010 here in Stockholm Sweden by the Swedish Linux Foundation (Svenska Linuxföreningen). There, I did a one hour talk in Swedish about how we reverse engineer mp3 players in the Rockbox project, and then I ventured in and told them about Rockbox, what it is and what it does etc. I’ve done basically this talk before. I got lots of good questions and general feedback; I believe the audience mostly appreciated it.

Haxx gets Linus over to the good side

Linus Nielsen Feltzing and I founded Haxx a long time ago, so therefore it is extra fun to welcome him to join me and Björn to work full-time for our small but already now skill-packed company. Starting December this year, Linus will do all his consultancy and contract work wearing his Haxx hat and no other. Employee number three.

He comes from an employment at the same consultant company I was employed by before (and Björn was too a while ago). With this addition Haxx is now having three full-time consultants with more than 20 years of experience each within software development and embedded systems. We have a long and thorough experience in Linux and networks, in embedded and in larger systems.Haxx

Björn and I originally got to know Linus back in 1988 when we visited a “copy-party” in Alvesta Sweden. There we (the C64 demo group named Horizon) competed against the other teams in the demo competition. We won the competition with our demo “Love This Now” while the fellows in Microsystems Digital Technology (MDT) came at second place with their “Bonanza“.

MDT consisted of two persons, and one of them was Linus.

After Alvesta, Linus and Jörgen (the other MDT member) joined Horizon and we’ve known each other since. We’ve worked on the same companies since the late 90s something until the day last year when I started working full-time for Haxx.

Linus is a hardcore embedded developer, working close to hardware and the OS, writing primarily C and assembler code. He has worked a lot with various RTOSes and Linux.

Linus is also known as one of the founders of the Rockbox project together with me and Björn.