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Patrick Dixon
2005-03-12, 04:20
IMHO, the two biggest threats to Slim Devices' competitive advantage are:

* Product design - most 'normal' people think the Roku styling is better.
* Simple software installation - most 'normal' people can't (or can't be
bothered) to spend hours reconfiguring their computer to get an application
running - if it doesn't work reliably straight from the tin, they'll just
send it back and move on.

The second produces a major dilemma - the opensource community is
notoriously geeky and seems to just love wading though reams of poorly
documented or undoccumented source code to re-configure it for some strange
combination of a Linux installation. But if the company concentrates on
supporting and making the software work seamlessly with Windows and iUnix,
it will probably alienate the geeks.

I wonder what will happen when Bill Gates tries to buy Slim Devices. ;)

-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-bounces (AT) lists (DOT) slimdevices.com
[mailto:discuss-bounces (AT) lists (DOT) slimdevices.com]On Behalf Of Sean Adams
Sent: 12 March 2005 07:56
To: Slim Devices Discussion
Subject: [slim] Open firmware for SB2?




> Let SLIM hold the familty jewels so they can get a return on the
> investment they have made.
>

Holding.....

Holding....

uh...

Phil Karn
2005-03-13, 01:25
Patrick Dixon wrote:
> IMHO, the two biggest threats to Slim Devices' competitive advantage are:
>
> * Product design - most 'normal' people think the Roku styling is better.

Maybe. Personally, I think basic functionality and reliability are far
more important. Then again, my Squeezeboxes are all black.

> * Simple software installation - most 'normal' people can't (or can't be
> bothered) to spend hours reconfiguring their computer to get an application
> running - if it doesn't work reliably straight from the tin, they'll just
> send it back and move on.

Absolutely!

> The second produces a major dilemma - the opensource community is
> notoriously geeky and seems to just love wading though reams of poorly
> documented or undoccumented source code to re-configure it for some strange
> combination of a Linux installation. But if the company concentrates on
> supporting and making the software work seamlessly with Windows and iUnix,
> it will probably alienate the geeks.

I don't think that's really a big dilemma. These sorts of "sponsored
open source" projects work best when the volunteers work on the features
that personally interest them, and the commercial sponsor acts as the
project "glue" -- merging patches, conducting regression testing, and
managing the release cycle. I can't see how any geek could oppose the
mere existence of a stable Windows version (though that's arguably a
contradiction in terms) so long as the code he's interested in remains
open and hackable.

What I *do* find discouraging is the distressing unreliability of even
the 5.4 version of the server software. I shouldn't have to install the
version du jour just to get a fix for a bug that keeps crashing my
server in routine usage.

There ought to be two code bases: a relatively stable, no-frills version
with an emphasis on robustness, and an experimental version with all the
latest gimmicks. As new features prove themselves and become stable,
they can be backported to the stable version. This is hardly a novel
concept; it's worked very well for Linux.

Most of the volunteers would probably prefer to play with the
experimental release, while the people at Slim Devices would maintain
the stable version. After all, their product is pretty much useless
without a server to drive it.

--Phil

Michael Peters
2005-03-13, 02:17
On Sun, 13 Mar 2005 08:53:35 -0000, Patrick Dixon
<patrickdixon (AT) btinternet (DOT) com> wrote:
> "it's worked very well for Linux."
>
> Really? As someone struggling to get FC3 configured, googling for
> information produces many more people with Linux problems than there are
> solutions out there.

Linux runs beautifully for me, though it isn't completely without issues.
OTOH I have been using Linux for quite some time, so it's way of doing
things has become native to me, making it easier for me to use than
Windows or Mac OS X (I am an Apple fan, btw - but Apple made newer
versions of OS X difficult to use on my hardware, so I haven't used a
recent version of OS X in some time)

>
> BTW anyone care to help with my problem getting Slimserver 5.4.0 to start up
> correctly?

In fc3 for me it was as simple as installing the rpm.
I did notice that in the rpm spec file they did something I really
dislike - they turned off the autoreqprov (common with perl) without
then specifying what specifically IS required. It may be a dependency
issue that you are having.

To fulfill dependencies, I personally only use stuff packaged by rpm -
and I'm picky about my repositories - I only use fedora,
fedora-extras, rpm.livna.org, and (for java) jpackage.org.

If something I want isn't in one of those repositories - then I build
my own rpm, with few exceptions (realplayer, slimserver are only two I
can think of).

One thing I am planning on doing when my SB2 arrives is taking the
slimserver 6 src.rpm and cleaning up the spec file so that it meats
the Fedora Extras packaging guidelines (and specifying the
dependencies), and then submit it to rpm.livna.org - so that for
Fedora users, installing it will be painless. Unfortunately it will
have to go into rpm.livna.org because the mp3 dependency (and faad2
dependency) can only be filled by packages with patent distribution
issues, hence rpm.livna.org

I wish I knew what was giving you issues with slimserver.
Some thought - disable SELinux
Get the src.rpm - comment out the disabling of autoreqprov - build the
rpm, and do a test install to see what (if any) dependencies rpm
complains about.

Oh - as an FYI - the place where I see the most useful help for Fedora is

http://www.linuxquestions.org/

in the Fedora forum.


--
http://mpeters.us/

Dan Sully
2005-03-13, 10:56
* Michael Peters shaped the electrons to say...

>One thing I am planning on doing when my SB2 arrives is taking the
>slimserver 6 src.rpm and cleaning up the spec file so that it meats
>the Fedora Extras packaging guidelines (and specifying the
>dependencies), and then submit it to rpm.livna.org - so that for
>Fedora users, installing it will be painless. Unfortunately it will
>have to go into rpm.livna.org because the mp3 dependency (and faad2
>dependency) can only be filled by packages with patent distribution
>issues, hence rpm.livna.org

That would be fantastic, Michael. The spec file lives in Subversion:

http://svn.slimdevices.com/trunk/platforms/redhat/

We've actually stopped generated the .src.rpm, as it's rather redundant.

-D
--
They're techno trousers, ex-NASA, fantastic for walkies!

Victor Brilon
2005-03-13, 11:04
On Mar 13, 2005, at 11:56 AM, Dan Sully wrote:

> * Michael Peters shaped the electrons to say...
>
>> One thing I am planning on doing when my SB2 arrives is taking the
>> slimserver 6 src.rpm and cleaning up the spec file so that it meats
>> the Fedora Extras packaging guidelines (and specifying the
>> dependencies), and then submit it to rpm.livna.org - so that for
>> Fedora users, installing it will be painless. Unfortunately it will
>> have to go into rpm.livna.org because the mp3 dependency (and faad2
>> dependency) can only be filled by packages with patent distribution
>> issues, hence rpm.livna.org
>
> That would be fantastic, Michael. The spec file lives in Subversion:
>
> http://svn.slimdevices.com/trunk/platforms/redhat/
>
> We've actually stopped generated the .src.rpm, as it's rather
> redundant.
>
Michael, as the guy who originally wrote large chunks of that spec
file, I am glad someone is taking it over. I've moved my home setup to
OS X and I no longer have the incentive to work on the RPM stuff :)

Victor

Gerald B. Cox
2005-03-13, 12:19
I do not run FLAC so I am not familiar with the processor requirements. I do
know that transcoding to WAV is not insignificant; and am skeptical of the
overhead requirements for FLAC. Regardless, the bandwidth requirements for a
FLAC transmission is greater than that of ogg. I have problems now with
dropouts relating to the transcoding into WAV. I would dispute the fact that
"ogg is the least used format out there". Alot of my friends have already
switched to it, and it has quite a positive buzz in the community - as
evidenced by the growing use of ogg in portable devices and streaming
audio. Regarding using FLAC for transcoding, it is "A" solution. I
would dispute that
it is totally acceptable. If one were to extend that logic, there would be no
firmware support for any format other than FLAC in firmware. Obviously, that
is not the case. I think it is great that there is FLAC support in firmware
for SB2, but that wasn't my question. My question, again, relates to the
availability of ogg support in firmware - and if it is possible for that
support to be provisioned in SB2.

> Quoting Jason jason at pagefamily.net

> Transcoding to FLAC requires very little overhead and is lossless, so what
> is the problem? Ogg support would be nice but it's without a doubt the
> least used format out there (even apple lossless seems to have more
> devotees) and slim is providing a totally accepteable solution (transcoding
> to a lossless format).

Lars Kellogg-Stedman
2005-03-13, 13:59
> Really? As someone struggling to get FC3 configured,

You're running Fedora. That would be the "unstable, experimental"
version of the code that Phil was talking about. If you want a stable,
supported platform, albeit with fewer features, try one of RedHat's
Enterprise Linux products.

They even offer support contracts.

This is almost exactly the model Phil was proposing for Slimserver -- an
experimental, feature-rich, always on the bleeding edge codebase for
those who like to tinker, and a more stable, more controlled, and
generally less featured version for commercial release and for people
just want basic functionality.

-- Lars

Jack Coates
2005-03-13, 18:14
Lars Kellogg-Stedman wrote:
>>Really? As someone struggling to get FC3 configured,
>
>
> You're running Fedora. That would be the "unstable, experimental"
> version of the code that Phil was talking about. If you want a stable,
> supported platform, albeit with fewer features, try one of RedHat's
> Enterprise Linux products.
>
> They even offer support contracts.
>

Or save some money and try out Mandrake or SuSE, there's a reason those
two distros have been swapping the "best desktop distro" reviews back
and forth the last few years. Red Hat is not the only Linux, or even the
best Linux for all purposes.

--
Jack at Monkeynoodle dot Org: It's a Scientific Venture...
Riding the Emergency Third Rail Power Trip since 1996!

Michael Peters
2005-03-14, 10:44
On Mon, 14 Mar 2005 18:33:08 +0100, Christian Pernegger
<pernegger (AT) hotmail (DOT) com> wrote:
> >I do know that transcoding to WAV is not insignificant; and am skeptical of
> >the overhead
> >requirements for FLAC. Regardless, the bandwidth requirements for a FLAC
> >transmission is greater
> >than that of ogg.
>
> While this is true, bandwidth / size is not really an issue any more in any
> kind of stationary setup. Harddisk sizes are such that even encoding your
> CDs in a lossless codec is hardly worth the effort anymore - if it weren't
> for tagging support I'm sure some people would just rip to .wav and be done
> with it.

I'm not sure that's true.
If it were not for flac - my archive drive for ripped music would be
overful and I would need two drives.

I still have room for many more albums on that drive because it is compressed.

The other issue is backup - compressed means less media is needed for
backing up your archive.

While it is true that hard drives are getting bigger and cheaper,
storage needs of users are getting bigger as well - especially now
that a lot users are keeping video rips of movies around etc.

Compression lets you keep more of it so you don't run out out space or
have to have several external SCSI/FireWire/USB drives all over the
place.

--
http://mpeters.us/

Michael Peters
2005-03-14, 11:06
On Mon, 14 Mar 2005 18:33:08 +0100, Christian Pernegger
<pernegger (AT) hotmail (DOT) com> wrote:

>
> Don't get me wrong, I like .ogg - I just see no point in implementing a
> portable format directly on the squeezebox.

I do.
If it used could use ogg for streaming lossy format, there is a better
chance that it would be accepted in Linux distros on the installation
CD with hackers from the distribution adding cool features (like a
gstreamer client etc.)

--
http://mpeters.us/

Jack Coates
2005-03-14, 20:53
Michael Peters wrote:
> On Mon, 14 Mar 2005 18:33:08 +0100, Christian Pernegger
> <pernegger (AT) hotmail (DOT) com> wrote:
>
>
>>Don't get me wrong, I like .ogg - I just see no point in implementing a
>>portable format directly on the squeezebox.
>
>
> I do.
> If it used could use ogg for streaming lossy format, there is a better
> chance that it would be accepted in Linux distros on the installation
> CD with hackers from the distribution adding cool features (like a
> gstreamer client etc.)
>

that's very nice, but you still haven't explained why Slim Devices,
Incorporated should be implementing it in their hardware and firmware.

More format support is cool and kind of handy, and I certainly
appreciate why Ogg is "better." Unfortunately, it's the same sort of
"better" that Beta enjoyed over VHS, and consequently in actual fact the
only ogg's I have are the few I ripped while experimenting. I'm glad
that my iRiver and Slimserver still play them at all, and I don't really
care if they're more or less efficient in doing so.
--
Jack at Monkeynoodle dot Org: It's a Scientific Venture...
Riding the Emergency Third Rail Power Trip since 1996!

Michael Peters
2005-03-14, 22:08
On Mon, 14 Mar 2005 21:57:57 -0700, Jason <jason (AT) pagefamily (DOT) net> wrote:
> but it's just
> not practical for Slim to develop support for another portable format on the
> server and clients

Support in the server would not be difficult - vorbis streaming is
extremely well documented.
Support in the client would also probably not be difficult. Wether it
would be worth or not is another question - several portable mp3
players have decided it is worth it.

If they had support on the device, they may gain some free marketing
via inclusion of their server in Linux distributions - which are in
fact gaining in marketshare, on the Desktop, and with non "Power
Users"

I personally don't care - I don't use ogg. mp3 is fine for me for lossy.

--
http://mpeters.us/

Gerald B. Cox
2005-03-14, 22:26
Of course it is a business decision. SLIMDEVICES are smart people. They will
implement, the question is when. A few reasons:
OGG is an open format. OGG is the default for the FEDORA distribution.
MP3 was
eliminated from FEDORA due to licensing considerations. You can of course
obtain MP3 and install it, but the fact remains that MP3 is no longer
distributed by default. I investigated OGG back when REDHAT removed MP3 from
their distribution; and subsequently migrated my entire library to OGG, along
with my friends. Why? Because it is open, because it is better quality, and
because it is free from licensing drama. OGG can be implemented by
SLIMDEVICES
at no licensing cost. I disagree with posters who say OGG is like
"BETA". "BETA" wasn't made available via an open source license. OGG
is. Will OGG
replace MP3, probably not. Will OGG have a respectible following,
definitely. Will the decoding of OGG in firmware be a positive for
SLIMDEVICES when
marketing their device? Of course. Support for more formats is always
better,
especially when no licensing fees are involved. When people make a
decision on
purchasing a piece of equipment, one of the criteria is what it will
support. Regarding the space issue: Some say disk space is not an
issue. While that
may be for some folks, it isn't for us. We don't wish to encode in two
formats, and neither do any of our friends. OGG suits our purposes for both
portable and home devices. It is, for us, the perfect compromise in audio
quality and space requirements. The bottom line, will OGG support
cause people
NOT to buy a SQUEEZEBOX? Of course not. Will support induce others to
purchase? I think so. Does the availability of MP3 support get alot
of buzz? No, everyone expects it. Does support of OGG? Definitely,
just do a google
search.



Quoting Jack Coates <jack (AT) monkeynoodle (DOT) org>:

> Michael Peters wrote:
>> On Mon, 14 Mar 2005 18:33:08 +0100, Christian Pernegger
>> <pernegger (AT) hotmail (DOT) com> wrote:
>>
>>
>>> Don't get me wrong, I like .ogg - I just see no point in implementing a
>>> portable format directly on the squeezebox.
>>
>>
>> I do.
>> If it used could use ogg for streaming lossy format, there is a better
>> chance that it would be accepted in Linux distros on the installation
>> CD with hackers from the distribution adding cool features (like a
>> gstreamer client etc.)
>>
>
> that's very nice, but you still haven't explained why Slim Devices,
> Incorporated should be implementing it in their hardware and firmware.
>
> More format support is cool and kind of handy, and I certainly
> appreciate why Ogg is "better." Unfortunately, it's the same sort of
> "better" that Beta enjoyed over VHS, and consequently in actual fact
> the only ogg's I have are the few I ripped while experimenting. I'm
> glad that my iRiver and Slimserver still play them at all, and I
> don't really care if they're more or less efficient in doing so.
> --
> Jack at Monkeynoodle dot Org: It's a Scientific Venture...
> Riding the Emergency Third Rail Power Trip since 1996!
>

Michael Peters
2005-03-15, 04:14
On Tue, 15 Mar 2005 11:42:40 +0100, Christian Pernegger <pernegger (AT) hotmail (DOT) com>
>
> But there's one thing I just noticed: STREAMING. I


Yes - if SlimServer could stream in ogg, there's a good chance it
would make it into distros like Fedora etc. Streaming in flac/PCM is
OK but not a lot of people keep lossless around. Streaming in mp3 has
the patent issue. Streaming ogg vorbis on the other hand would be
extremely beneficial. The license for mDNSResponderPosix (Apple) would
need to be looked at.

Yes - that's SlimServer and not firmware, but if ogg is in firmware, a
side effect is that the Server would need to stream ogg - which would
open up the product for potential inclusion in the mainstream
distributions.

--
http://mpeters.us/

Michael Peters
2005-03-15, 04:20
On Tue, 15 Mar 2005 11:26:49 +0100, Christian Pernegger
<pernegger (AT) hotmail (DOT) com> wrote:
> >OGG is an open format. OGG is the default for the FEDORA distribution.
> >MP3 was eliminated from FEDORA due to licensing considerations. You can of
> >course obtain MP3
> >and install it, but the fact remains that MP3 is no longer distributed by
> >default.
>
> Wait, you're telling me that the packages a certain commercial Linux
> distributor ships have any impact on the market? Sorry, but no.

Linux marketshare is definitely growing - don't ignore it.
Just a few years ago, if I mentioned the word Linux to a phone tech
support person, chances are they would never have heard of it. Now
several times - when it has come up, they not only knew what it was,
but had played with it - especially knoppix and Ubuntu.

Existing mainstream apps that were half baked on Linux are now
suddenly getting attention - Adobe Acrobat 7 and RealPlayer no longer
suck in Linux, and other mainstream apps are starting to appear - Nero
just released a Linux port of their CD Burning software (and no, it's
not just a front end to cdrecord)

Linux has come a long way on the desktop - and it is continuing to improve.
A lot of people are really starting to get sick of the MS Monoculture
world that invites malware and viruses etc. to target it, Macs are
still expensive (even with the Mini), and Linux is quite good now.

--
http://mpeters.us/

Mark Komarinski
2005-03-15, 07:08
On Tue, Mar 15, 2005 at 03:06:10PM +0100, Christian Pernegger wrote:
> >> Wait, you're telling me that the packages a certain commercial Linux
> >> distributor ships have any impact on the market? Sorry, but no.
> >
> >Linux marketshare is definitely growing - don't ignore it.
>
> Yes. But to push one product with another you need a far bigger chunk of
> the market than Linux currently has. Redhat or other Linux distributors are
> in no position to push a certain audio codec.

Much of Slim Devices' success to this point can probably be attributed
to Linux users.

-Mark

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Daryle A. Tilroe
2005-03-15, 08:21
Mark Komarinski wrote:

> Much of Slim Devices' success to this point can probably be attributed
> to Linux users.

OK now where did you get that statistic from?

--
Daryle A. Tilroe

Michael Peters
2005-03-15, 14:06
On Tue, 15 Mar 2005 15:13:26 +0100, Christian Pernegger
<pernegger (AT) hotmail (DOT) com> wrote:
> >Yes - if SlimServer could stream in ogg, there's a good chance it
> >would make it into distros like Fedora etc.
>
> Again, what has support of a particular format got to do with
> putting slimserver in a distribution? Nothing.

Everything - Red Hat / Fedora will never ship mp3 support until all of
the relevent patents expire. Since slimserver requires mp3 support for
lossy streaming, that means it isn't going to be in Fedora/Red Hat.

>
> >Yes - that's SlimServer and not firmware, but if ogg is in firmware, a
> >side effect is that the Server would need to stream ogg
>
> Why would it NEED to do that?

What would be the point of ogg in the squeezebox firmware if the
server did not stream in ogg?

--
http://mpeters.us/

Michael Peters
2005-03-15, 14:32
On Tue, 15 Mar 2005 22:23:32 +0100, Christian Pernegger
<pernegger (AT) hotmail (DOT) com> wrote:

>
> This would only be relevant if you were streaming formats other than
> mp3 to the sb as mp3, i.e. if you were transcoding to mp3
> on the server.
> As long as you just pass through mp3 data to the Squeezebox
> you don't violate any patents.

While true - it would mean the Red Hat/Fedora would be shipping a
product for which they do not ship the capability for users to use,
the users would have to encode their mp3's elsewhere - and I think you
can understand why they would not want to do that.

The software they ship rips to ogg. That means the users would be
required to broadcast as lossless - or install third party software to
transcode their ogg to mp3 for the streaming.

--
http://mpeters.us/

Michael Peters
2005-03-15, 14:56
On Tue, 15 Mar 2005 22:47:45 +0100, Christian Pernegger
<pernegger (AT) hotmail (DOT) com> wrote:

>
> Ah, so what? What you're saying is that slimdevices should spend time and
> mony on adapting tremor to the sb2 just because RedHat doesn't ship
> something you want out of the box.

It's a business decision.
If they supported ogg decoding in the player, they may get more customers.
Supporting ogg in the player doesn't even guarantee Red Hat/Fedora
would include it - it would just make it easier.

More customers though is a good thing, right?
Would there be enough to offset the cost?
Possibly - if for no other reason then there would be slashdot buzz
about it, giving free advertising to slimdevices (and not just for ogg
users)

I really can not imagine it would be difficult to support ogg in the firmware.
I also am having trouble understanding why you are opposed to it - did
an ogg file damage your hard drive or something?

It wouldn't take anything away from you or how you use slimdevices -
it would open up slimdevices to more people. Yes, there would be a
cost - it would take a developer some time, a QA guy some time, a
developer to fix what the QA guy found, and the occasional bugs after
release. Would the ROI be worth it? I think it would.

--
http://mpeters.us/