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erland
2010-01-08, 01:00
As some of you already know we currently have a situation where several of the third party developers have got a feeling that third party contributions isn't important to Logitech in the future, so to get a better feeling how important support for third party plugins are for real users, please answer this poll.

Yes, I'm aware of that all real user categories aren't represented on this forum but I still like to get some kind of indication from those categories that are.

The current state for the new products (Duet/Touch/Radio) is that there are very few third party plugins/applets available compared to the old products (Classic/Boom/Transporter) and some of those which are available aren't maintained anymore, for example none of the plugins/applets developed by me(erland) is maintained anymore since end of November 2009.

It should also be said that as I've understood there are developers within Logitech that like to support third party development but they can't due to tight release plans and maybe also directions from management.

For anyone that wants more details before voting there is a thread in the Developers section of the forum that describes the current situation:
http://forums.slimdevices.com/showthread.php?t=71754

=== Clarification ===
There are posts in this thread that indicates that Logitech already has banned third party developers or that they are abandoning the community.

Please!
I'm 99% sure no such decision has been taken, if that was the case there is no way the Logitech developers would be as positive as they are in both official posts and private messages.

There is a tendency that other things are prioritized in front of third party development and I think it's important to try make this tendency visible to Logitech. Still, at the moment it's just a tendency, it has already affected the activity among some of the third party developers but there is still time for Logitech to do something to fix it. At least as long as this poll indicates that we think third party plugins/applets are important for our Squeezebox purchases.

=== Update 15th January ===
It looks like there are some good indications that third party development will be better supported in the future, see the following thread where Logitech announce they have now changed the license to simplify collaboration with third party developers:
http://forums.slimdevices.com/showthread.php?t=74049

pfarrell
2010-01-08, 01:19
Lets see, I've bought three SB1, a Transporter, and have put in many hours as a beta tester for both the server and new hardware over the past 6 or 7 years. While its true that beta testers get first shots at cool hardware, and nice discounts, there is no way that my time is properly compensated by getting a discount on a $200 mass market device. Lets get real, professional software people make at least $50 per hour in the US, unloaded. The typical billable rate for a professional is more like $150 to $200 per hour. Check out my resume, http://www.pfarrell.com/resume/index.html and make an educated guess as to what I make as a software professional. Even net of taxes, none of the SqueezeBoxen take more than a couple of hours of my time, professionally.

That is not even beginning to count the time it has taken me to make "Posts: 3,914"

The Open Source community support, i.e. 3rd party developers is why I've spend several thousand dollars buying this gear, and contributed many thousands of dollars more of "in kind" support.

If Logitech closes down support for third party development, apps, applets, plugins, etc. then I'm done.

Yes its important. Its more than important, its critical.

htrd
2010-01-08, 01:20
Third party development was not a factor when I purchased my first SB3, and I can understand why any other first time buyer might think that they just want a device to play music.

But today some features provided by third party plugins are a critical part of my music listening. I certainly wouldn't upgrade squeezeboxserver if the plugins wouldn't work, even if that means skipping a generation of logitech products.

Saughassy
2010-01-08, 01:24
Another vote for 3rd party devkit. Thanks for your works Erland! I hope Logitech will change his decision.

jsa23
2010-01-08, 01:25
It is exactly what differentiates Slimdevices (Logitech? :-) ) Squeezebox solutions from many others.
If 3rd party plugins are not supported/allowed anymore I am not interested in Logitech products.

ltb76
2010-01-08, 01:33
I agree with "htrd". When I got my first "SB Classic" I did not care / know about all the cool plug-ins.
But today they are important to me. Loss of plug-ins might not make me abandon the SB, but I will definitely not upgrade the server or purchase new devices.

DaveWr
2010-01-08, 01:37
If many of the music playlist selection apps, remote controls and players don't make it to core Squeezebox Server, or are developed to operate in the new environment, then no more investment from me.

I think third party will be more important in the future. Logitech development over the past two years has deferred most enhancements indefinitely. They need the help / commitment.

Dave

dip
2010-01-08, 02:01
3rd party plugins are very important for me. Some of them are a "must have" for me. For example browsing classical music is not reasonably possible without Erland's plugins. The flexibility of squeezecenter resulting from the plurality of 3rd party plugins is for me the reason that I have decided to buy squeezeboxes (meanwhile 5).

Mahesh78
2010-01-08, 02:02
This is exactly what I feared when I read that Logitech had acquired Squeezebox! While Logitech has a reputation for making quality products, it is also known for closed source drivers/apps and proprietary solutions. For example, how many Logitech products can you download (original Logitech) linux drivers for? Not many.

As has been mentioned by others in this thread, one of the big strengths of the Squeezebox platform is its open source and portable software. The server program can be installed on multiple platforms, leaving the user with a real choice as to which OS they prefer. Also, the community developed plugins provided solutions and features which were not a part of the main server app itself. Together, these properties set Squeezebox apart from *all* other software/hardware music solutions out there!

I really hope that Logitech won't kill the Squeezebox platform by going in the direction of not letting the community contribute. If this is the case, I will certainly drop all my future purchases of Logitech Squeezebox products.

To erland: Thanks for your great initiative, and keep up the good work! I sure hope a lot of people will speak up in this thread, and express their opinions in your poll!

smst
2010-01-08, 02:18
The open nature of the server software, and the availability of 3rd-party plugins to extend the server's functionality, was what attracted me to the Squeezebox over the competition. I knew that if the official developers were too busy to add bells and whistles, 3rd-party devs would add all sorts of interesting things that the community would embrace.

For example, Stuart Hickinbottom's Lazy Search plugin is an essential for me; for a numeric remote like the (old) Squeezebox's, it's a surprise that it's not been rolled in to the core product.

dip
2010-01-08, 02:31
The open nature of the server software, and the availability of 3rd-party plugins to extend the server's functionality, was what attracted me to the Squeezebox over the competition. I knew that if the official developers were too busy to add bells and whistles, 3rd-party devs would add all sorts of interesting things that the community would embrace.

For example, Stuart Hickinbottom's Lazy Search plugin is an essential for me; for a numeric remote like the (old) Squeezebox's, it's a surprise that it's not been rolled in to the core product.That's true, I never use the standard search but only the Lazy Search plugin on my numeric remotes. When I read the description of this plugin I was sceptically since at the beginnning of typing only numbers are shown but if you once try to use it you will see that you don't look at the display but only on the keys during input and if after 3 or 4 key presses you look at the display there is already a real name list shown. Lazy search is in my opinion at least 10 times faster then the regular search and SHOULD be included in the core.

smc2911
2010-01-08, 02:35
I have used erland's plugins for years now. They are the most important ones to me, but I do use a number of others, including Lazy Search for my SB3 (I also have 2 Duets and a Boom). Without thee support for 3rd party plugins, you may as well buy a Sonos!

ModelCitizen
2010-01-08, 02:38
Third party apps are very important to me, and even more important since Logitech have taken over. I have invested a lot of my time and energy into this product. For me a large part of the attraction is the fact that I can customise the product to suit my needs. In reality, without this I am left with an increasingly limited, fairly unstable, buggy and third rate product. I'd probably sell all my players and go the Sonos route. Limited, less customisable, more expensive, but much more solid.

To me it looks like Logitech need to address their software issues overall. They appear to do OK with cheap hardware, but as far as I understand fail pretty much across the range when it comes to software.

I am suspicious that they have bought a product that they don't really understand and are about to jettison the USPs.

MC

danco
2010-01-08, 02:56
The developers' thread erland refers to in his first post is very long, and I'm not inclined to read it all.

Could we have a brief summary, erland? And why aren't you maintaining your plugins?

As I understood it, the SBS architecture (and SB itself) had changed considerably recently. That means that developers do need to learn different programming methods. That obviously takes time, but the software is still open source.

I agree that having open source software was one of the reasons I went with Squeezebox, and there are several plugins I find essential.

Did Logitech previously have a staff member part of whose job was communicating with third-party developers? If not, then unless Logitech move to a closed structure, third-party development shouldn't be affected.

I'm just a user, and don't have any notion of what's involved in developing. So feel free to say that I am talking nonsense.

On a different but related point, does anyone know if an incompatible plugin can stop connection of an SB to the SBS? I would have expected that connection would be fine, but the plugin would just not load. I ask because this possibility is the only one I can think of that explains why I had troubles with my SB Radio in the past.

audiomuze
2010-01-08, 03:13
Let's see...4 x SB3s, 2 x Duets (regrettably), 1 x Boom, 1 x Transporter. all this began as one SB3 and soon grew only because of the ease and capabilities the plugins added (and by plugins I don't mean facebook and all that crap). Lose your 3rd party developers or ability to implement their plugins and I'm most definitely gone.

SteveC
2010-01-08, 03:24
I have in use an SB2, an SB3, two Booms, A Radio and a Transporter. You can see I've been a happy customer so far, increasingly so as useful plugins have evolved and the community has chased down bugs. If Logitech takes the course described I will most likely change over to Linn and or Sonos.

mherger
2010-01-08, 03:25
> I hope Logitech will change his decision.

Please note that there's no such thing as a Logitech decision to ban 3rd party development or similar, thus no decision to change. It's rather a matter of fact that we (the Logitech developers) lack the time and resources to better support 3rd parties (by providing documentation or stabilizing APIs etc. - see that other thread).

Don't panic!

Thanks Erland for bringing the topic up again. It's important to us too. We need your support.

erland
2010-01-08, 03:51
Could we have a brief summary, erland? And why aren't you maintaining your plugins?

All I like to do is improve the Squeezebox platform and music listening experience for the users, it's just a bit frustrating that the biggest obstacle in the way is Logitech itself.

However, this thread is not about why I stopped maintaining my plugins, it's about how important it is to you to be able to continue using third party plugins, anyway, here is the short version from my perspective:

I'm just tired of:
- Enhancements regarding APIs(programming interfaces) being postponed to the future, even though patches sometimes has been supplied
- Not being able to discuss anything with the Logitech developers that is more advanced than very simple questions, they don't have the time to answer anything besides simple questions.
- Having no clue of what Logitech plans to do in the next release, when implementing a new feature in a plugin I have no clue if Logitech plans to solve that problem in the next release making my work unecessary.
- The SqueezePlay source code being licensed so it doesn't allow you to redistribute modified version, which for example makes it very hard to make a customized version of the Now Playing screen on Controller/Touch/Radio.

I also know that other developers has complained of:
- Changes in APIs(programming interfaces) without any notice and information that they have been changed, in the best case you find these changes when testing.
- Almost no documentation on a large part of the APIs (programming interfaces), the code is basically the documentation.



As I understood it, the SBS architecture (and SB itself) had changed considerably recently. That means that developers do need to learn different programming methods. That obviously takes time, but the software is still open source.

Learning new programming languages is the fun part, so that's definitely not the problem, at least not for me. As mentioned above the source code of the new players is available so you can read it but you are not allowed to modify it and redistribute the changes.



Did Logitech previously have a staff member part of whose job was communicating with third-party developers? If not, then unless Logitech move to a closed structure, third-party development shouldn't be affected.

As far as I know they've never had a dedicated staff member to support third party developers. This is something that the developer responsible of each part of the code has been unofficially responsible to handle. The problem during the last 2-3 years is that the priority has changed, now any enhancement that improve possibilities to write third party plugins seems to be low priority.

Also as Michael says, I don't think there has been any decision to stop supporting third party development, it's just that Logitech has decided to focus differently which in the end IMHO will result in less or no third party developers.



On a different but related point, does anyone know if an incompatible plugin can stop connection of an SB to the SBS? I would have expected that connection would be fine, but the plugin would just not load. I ask because this possibility is the only one I can think of that explains why I had troubles with my SB Radio in the past.

Sounds like a topic for a separate thread.

peterw
2010-01-08, 04:05
As I understood it, the SBS architecture (and SB itself) had changed considerably recently. That means that developers do need to learn different programming methods. That obviously takes time, but the software is still open source.

You're right about the architecture, but unfortunately you're wrong about the source code. The code for Squeezebox Server is based on the old Slimp3 Server code and is released under the GPL (http://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/gpl-2.0.html). This means that anyone can copy from the core code, that anyone can share improvements with other people, etc. But the "SqueezePlay" user interface/playback code that runs on SB Controller, SB Radio, SB Touch (and probably every new Squeezebox from now on) is not open source, but is released under the Logitech Public Source License (http://svn.slimdevices.com/jive/7.5/trunk/squeezeplay/src/squeezeplay/LICENSE?view=co). Here's one of my posts from 2007 regarding the LPSL's problems (http://forums.slimdevices.com/showpost.php?p=199181&postcount=11).

The source code is available -- in fact, right now the only way you can get a SqueezePlay Desktop app for Linux is to download about 330 MB of source and compile it yourself. (I have my own binary, but the LPSL says I cannot share it with you.) But the sole purpose of the LPSL license is to act as a flytrap for intellectual property -- asserting Logitech's right to take any change that any developer makes.

This is a big change from the GPL. Years ago when I started writing software for my Squeezeboxes, it was common to see developers include a line like

# SlimServer Copyright (c) 2001-2005 Sean Adams, Slim Devices Inc.
because many of us started with the core code. With LPSL, third-party developers have to write everything from scratch, relying on what little documentation Logitech provides. Slim Devices wasn't the best at documentation -- certainly there's nothing like a Javadoc or MSDN set of official, published APIs. But Logitech is no better, and with recent reorgs, there are fewer developers at Logitech working on ever-more-complex software, so the documentation is unlikely to improve much in the near future.

Switching to the LPSL is a rational business decision -- Logitech wanted to prevent a "clone" market using its software (maybe Roku Soundbridge hurt them, or maybe they're just cautious). But one of the effects of this defensive move is that third-party development is more difficult. In any case, the software is not "open source" by the commonly accepted definition (http://opensource.org/docs/osd) of the phrase.

peterw
2010-01-08, 04:16
As far as I know they've never had a dedicated staff member to support third party developers.

There's an article from 2007 that suggests Dean Blackketter pretty much had that role: http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/111/ears-wide-open.html?page=0%2C1

Now [Blackketter] presides over the community, a task that, among other things, requires a talent for suppressing his own ego. "The hardest part is giving up control," he says. "Do I make decisions myself about changing the product, or do I open it up? Every single time I've opened it up, it's paid off. A couple of times, I've been this close to doing it my way, but they"--the people in the community--"changed my mind. Their hearing is better than mine, their ideas are better than mine. They're doing it because they love it."

I think Dean's role changed after the acquisition, when the new Logitech money allowed Slim Devices to hire more full-time staff, and the balance of development started to shift to internal resources.

adamslim
2010-01-08, 04:34
> It's rather a matter of fact that we (the Logitech developers) lack the time and resources to better support 3rd parties (by providing documentation or stabilizing APIs etc.

I think it's important to note that this is not a criticism of you developers in any way - you have a lot to do. It is Logitech that should provide further resources to fully support the products that they are releasing.

For me this would be a show-stopper. I am absolutely reliant on erland's plug-ins for classical browsing, and would certainly stop upgrading SB Server if it broke compatibility with these, which would stop me from buying future products. I'd rather make do with the setup that I have than break my main setup to add further (cheaper) products.

Also, I have a Radio already and a Touch on order, and the lack of customisability of these is already of minor concern to me. If nothing progresses on the Radio for a few months, I may well cancel the Touch. It will be replacing a Receiver, and if I can't get the screen to do what I want then I'd rather get a used SB Classic.

kweller
2010-01-08, 04:50
> I hope Logitech will change his decision.

Please note that there's no such thing as a Logitech decision to ban 3rd party development or similar, thus no decision to change. It's rather a matter of fact that we (the Logitech developers) lack the time and resources to better support 3rd parties (by providing documentation or stabilizing APIs etc. - see that other thread).

Don't panic!

Thanks Erland for bringing the topic up again. It's important to us too. We need your support.
To be honest Michael, you saying Logitech developers have no time to support 3rd parties by providing documentation or stabilising APIs etc. pretty much confirms Erlands point that 'third party contributions isn't important to Logitech in the future'.

Not giving the developers time to provide this support is a strategic decision by Logitech, it's not an accident.

If your future sales strategy is to target new customers then the decision not to support 3rd-party development may make sense. OTOH if you are trying to sell new products to the existing community, many of whom use and have come to depend on 3rd-party plug-ins, I think it is a mistake.

Kevin

rectorydp
2010-01-08, 05:34
Integration with my Home automation has always been critical to me and was the main reason for buying the SBs. I have always liked the open-source approach and it is one of the key USPs for SB, IMHO. Originally I did the integration using the CLI but now I use the xAP plugin. I also value the ability to access the code for some limited customizations, eg IR from the controller. Without these sorts of abilities, SB will start to lose my interest. That would be very sad after 6 years of constant use. I hope we can see some official comment from Logitech and appropriate action.

autopilot
2010-01-08, 06:03
It's critical to me. Other than VFM, plugins are what made me get into Squeezebox over Sonos etc. BBC iPlayer is about 50% of our usage. Plugins are what make these products so special and not just another streamer. I put up with the bugs for the trade off of having access to to services and being able to customise. Im not sure i could if plugins for BBC iplayer did not exist.

NPendrigh
2010-01-08, 07:22
It is pretty obvious and well accepted that the IBM PC became so successful because it had an open architecture that anyone could write to or add hardware to - that is why most people are using Windows on Intel chips now and almost all of the other architectures disappeared: Amiga, Commodore Pet, BBC, etc. even if they were / are technically better

It was the same for AutoCAD - it was the plug-ins and extensions that made it so successful

It is the same as saying there is no I in Team

The point is this:

Lose control a little bit to get a much greater reward because you increase the size of the game that you can play and win in :-)

fphredd
2010-01-08, 07:53
Started with iPeng (I realize it's now an 'app', not a plugin, but same principle...), and as I discover more plugins, I use more plugins...

In this 'era' of embracing open source for third party development, wouldn't this be backward progress?

david_f1976
2010-01-08, 07:53
Like many others the 3rd party plugins have become near-vital to my squeezeboxes. AlienBBC/BBC iPlayer allowed me to get rid of my tuner for a start.

What differentiates the Squeezeboxes from Sonos is price, infrared control and 3rd party plugins. I now have iPeng and have noticed the Sonos street price lower than the Squeezebox Touch's RRP - that mainly leaves 3rd party plugins as the differentiator. As I've not yet completed my audio player purchasing, if the Sonos is as easy to use and maintain as everybody says the loss of 3rd party support could trigger a push to jump ship.

Danny8
2010-01-08, 07:54
You don't have to go to the ends of the Earth to help 3rd-party devs. just don't screw 'em over. That's all we're asking!

If third-party plugins were dropped, I would cease to install future server upgrades.

--

I believe Logitech makes high-quality keyboards and mouses, but Logitech-supplied drivers for these devices are disappointing--to say the least.

If I had to buy a new keyboard or mouse, I'd look for a MS model that wasn't overly obnoxious or too complicated.

mstokoe
2010-01-08, 08:38
In our house, we've gone completely digital and have over 4000 tracks cataloged our on SBS. The availability of plugins was the only way that I was able to address each family member's set of preferences on using the system (i.e. multi-library, access via smart phone over wi-fi, NPR, updating cover art from the SBC, playing audiobooks w/o needing to first rip them)

traut
2010-01-08, 08:55
Dropping support for 3rd party development of plug-ins would result in me not purchasing any more Squeezebox products, and never again upgrading Squeezecenter if it did not support what I consider critical plug-ins. I currently own one Classic, two Booms, and was planning on purchasing a duet and an additional receiver soon. Also, I had plans of a Transporter purchase in the future, once the rest of my main system is up to par. I've also purchased several other Logitech peripherals, but if they decide to kill support for something that has revolutionized the way so many of us listen to music, I would probably decide to boycott their products from henceforth.

-traut

Paul Webster
2010-01-08, 09:01
I did my research before buying my first Squeezebox - and the open nature was a clincher.
However, the core out-of-the-box offering has much more functionality than when I started - and I could imagine that if I was researching afresh now (without my current knowledge but scanning the main site) then I would still have bought and then later discovered that despite the BBC logo I still needed a free 3rd-party plug-in to get the Listen Again content. At that point I would have breathed a sigh of relief.

Knowing what I know now ... I would want to see continued support for plug-ins/add-ons before buying another and that is how I voted.

pippin
2010-01-08, 09:04
It's rather a matter of fact that we (the Logitech developers) lack the time and resources to better support 3rd parties (by providing documentation or stabilizing APIs etc. - see that other thread).


Well, not changing APIs so that existing plugins work in the future as well would be a start, wouldn't it?

It's more than "no time", it's also "no priority".

And THAT is a decision, the decision about how to prioritize things. "No time" then follows suite.

The priorities are something like (I'm guessing and doing examples, I don't know about the real priorities)
1 Get Touch done
2 Fix Radio's Alarm
3 Get services intensive bugs out
4 do some other strategically important things (after all, the ressources that got moved off the project must have been moved off for a reason)
5 maintain 3rd-party functionality

Given the fact that indeed some pretty important - even for new and not-so-experienced customers - features of the Squeezebox are provided by 3rd parties this is a decision that very much has a short-term focus.
As long as it only stays for the short term (e.g. until 1+2 are done) that may be fine, if it continues after that, I'd expect it to eventually impact sales of existing products.

DaveWr
2010-01-08, 09:12
I don't think there is any priority to backward compatibility. Lots of user features have changed, for the worse in my opinion, just to suit the new squeeze OS, touch screen, MySB approach.

I am not expecting great futures for my SB3s and Boom.

It would not surprise me that existing plugins fall into the same category - don't fit the TinySC mould.

Dave

Bert57
2010-01-08, 09:30
Did some research before buying a duet and it was third party plugins that swayed me. They offer so much more flexibility to the product and allow me to do what I want.
Have recommended the product to many others who eventually bought. I help them with their setup and integrating the product to suite their needs. The plugins are always a priority.
Steve

ModelCitizen
2010-01-08, 10:28
It must be time for an official Logitech statement about this matter. If they don't do it the rest of the third party developers will leave anyway so they've got nothing to loose.

BTW. Did Dean's basement collapse on him?

MC

kakklank
2010-01-08, 10:41
It must be time for an official Logitech statement about this matter.I'll preempt: ..."You're a legacy customer, your revenue potential is limited...we don't give a hoot about your wants and needs, get it!"

MessierObject
2010-01-08, 10:58
The title says it all. Imagine searching through a large collection for 'Symphony No. 3'....!

kphinney
2010-01-08, 11:03
When I bought my SB2 I didn't think twice, or was even aware that it was an open architecture. After finding how much more useful the device could become with plugins I was pleasantly surprised.

Then I bought a SB3, then a Transporter, then another SB3.

A month ago I bought a SB Radio as a gift for my Mom knowing full well that if I installed the right plugins she would use it. So far it's been running daily since Christmas and I owe the developers my thanks -- and Logitech does as well as the purchase would not have happened without them.

wnshall
2010-01-08, 12:51
The open-source nature of the squeezebox as well as the extensive 3rd-party plugins available was a major reason I originally bought a squeezebox. My thoughts, which were verified by my subsequent experience, was that active 3rd party development meant a more responsive device. Users would write plugins to do all sorts of useful and cool things and this would get done more quickly than if left up to the main developers.

Today, certain plugins -- primarily erland's suite -- are critical to using my squeezebox. I'm already frustrated at how poorly they appear to be accepted by the main developers of SqueezeCenter (or whatever it's called these days.) For example, it's simply incomprehensible to me that some sort of "smart list" creation tool hasn't been built-in to the main server. This is a basic feature of most every other music player available, and is going to be a feature that new users look for. Of course, playlist generation in general is painful, another missed opportunity in my opinion.

I can't understand why Logitech would want to stand in the way of 3rd party development. Firstly, as others have pointed out, they get a lot of free help from 3rd party developers. Secondly, it seems to be the paradigm of the future; see the iPhone and the iStore. Thirdly, they might do well to consider the economic of the Long Tail. Some attribute the success of amazon.com to capturing the Long Tail. Here it means that 3rd party developers can create tools that only a few customers want, but those customers *really* want them and they'll only be customers if those tools are available. Might not make sense for the mothership engineers to do the development for a handful of customers, but if a 3rd party does it for free, then Logitech just captures some more customers. Multiply that by many similar "niche" markets and you have a sizable effect.

Well, anyway, they know all that. Not clear what our effect our comments will have ...

leng
2010-01-08, 13:04
I'm completely dependent on several plugins to make my library system usable. Without them I cannot realise the benefits of the Duet controller or keep my mixed pop/classical/spoken-word collection under control.

Logitech can only go a certain amount on their own. The open nature of squeezecenter and the many plug-ins are what takes this product to a level above its competitors.

SilverRS8
2010-01-08, 13:49
My music collection consists of many single tracks and many full albums. Now without Custom Browse I would not be able to browse just the full albums.

With the default Logitech browsing solution the list provided is unuseable.

Erland, do you support Custom Browse on the Touch? If not I cancel my reservation.

Although it would be very sad when this is the case I seriously think this would be a back against the wall move for Logitech. Custom Browse and iPeng are simply the most used plugins the majority of users is using. Maybe something like that is required for Logitech to see the light.

Frank

snarlydwarf
2010-01-08, 14:46
Erland, do you support Custom Browse on the Touch? If not I cancel my reservation.


CustomBrowse works fine on the Radio and Touch.

(And SBC... all three are using 'mostly' the same code.)

DaveWr
2010-01-08, 15:03
Yes it does, but the author is not supporting it.....

a matter of time with the way the developers change features....

pfarrell
2010-01-08, 15:07
Please note that there's no such thing as a Logitech decision to ban 3rd party development or similar, thus no decision to change.


Sorry Michael, but there has been a management decision to not allocate any time for the Logitech developers to help the third party folks or to stabilize the API, etc. So perhaps you are technically correct and will be shown right in a court of law, but in practice, when there is no support for openness, and that means specifically allocating some small amount of engineering resources to helping the third party developers by documenting and stabilizing the API, then in fact, the support is gone and the efforts of the third party developers end.

No need to split verbal hairs here. If third party apps/plugins are important to Logitech, they have to pony up some hours for it.

How many hours, that is a management decision. But zero hours is effectively a ban.

Also a ban is "allowing Logitech employees to contribute to the effort in their free time" as I've never seen a good software engineer who had any free time. There are always either features to add, bugs to fix, or vacations to take to recharge the mental batteries.

snarlydwarf
2010-01-08, 15:32
Yes it does, but the author is not supporting it.....

a matter of time with the way the developers change features....

Well, officially Erland isn't supporting it on SB3 either...

Yes, I know Erland is frustrated, but there is also a lot of over-reaction around....

No doubt that people like Andy, Michael and Ben (is Fletch still around?), are very much supportive of "we need 3rd party plugins"... Michael and Ben were (are?) 3rd party plugin authors long before they got hired and I'm sure they know exactly the frustration that Erland has. (And I'm sure Erland knows this...)

The catch is most likely something they have hinted at. Well, two things most likely:

1) Touch is late. They are under a ton of pressure to get TinySC, the UI tweaks, buggy WMA codecs, etc fixed... now. I am sure this makes them grumpy when pressured... they don't have TIME to deal with anything else, and are feeling a lot of pressure. This also affects the API: "clean up, document, and enhance the API" is much lower on the priority list than "get the Touch shipping".

2) Big Companies are Painfully Slow. There has been an open bug about the licensing issues on Squeezeplay for, what, 2 years? This is all out of the hands of the folks who post here... they need someone in the corporate legal department to sign off on a better license. Getting some PR-shill to announce a 'Rededication to an Open API' etc takes forever. PR people are almost as slow as lawyers in writing their drivel.

Now, don't get me wrong: I like Erland, he seems to be genuinely nice, and I rely on his plugins. I even contributed to his beer fund.

But there's something about the tone of things around here: I like Andy, and Michael and Ben and the rest of the developers, too. I don't want to see them getting prematurely bald or grey, or just pissed off and frustrated as they try to put out multiple fires, especially since this one isn't their doing. (It's one thing to have to fix your own buggy software, it's another to have political nonsense holding you back from saying your mind, or doing what you want... most of us have experienced such nonsense at work, and I for one don't want to add to their headache.)

That said, any ammo I can give them to complain to corporate about "we need to do something here, could you please get your ass in gear and fix the licensing concerns about SqueezePlay..." would be good.

IMHO, it would be nice if Andy or Mickey could give Erland, Pippin, and other major contributors at least a side-chat. "Look, I know it sucks for you right now, and it sucks for us, too.. we're on your side, and we're going to keep fighting, but for the moment we have Touch to deal with as well, so it may take a bit."

Not Official Corporate Crap. But human to human. I think that would do wonders.

However it is trivial for me to say that: Big Corporations usually have no clue about communications, and the value of honestly talking to their customers without the PR shills in the middle. For some reason corporations LIKE that crap, even though most customers would rather have real contact. And, sadly, they often forbid such stuff because they like their own spin on things more than honesty.

So Andy and the rest probably can't actually say the above to anyone, even though my guess is they would want to. (Again, Michael and Ben contributed a ton of code long before they were hired: they know how 3rd party developers feel.)

Gotta remember who the 'enemy' is.

Ancient Document that someone at logitech corporate should actually read:

http://cluetrain.com

As I've said before: third party plugins are so essential to Logitech that they used MusicInfoSCR in their product photos. Whether corporate recognizes that is another matter.

aeo12
2010-01-08, 15:34
I have a very large music collection and couldn't get by without the functionality of Erland's Custom Browse and Custom Scan. I use several other 3rd party plug-ins, but would characterize them as "very nice to have", rather than essential. Custom Browse and Custom Scan are essential.

pippin
2010-01-08, 15:54
@snarlydwarf

They've done so. Repeatedly. Here on this site.
This is not about the developers, I think all of them understand how important 3rd party contributions are.
I believe this is not even to critzize Logitech. To be honest, in their situation, I, too, would focus on Touch first.

This is to make a point about just how important this is for Logitech sales as I am very convinced it is, and I believe Erland is seeing it the same way.

Erland and a lot of other 3rd party developers provide essential functionality without which Logitech could not sell SBs. There's lots of 3rd party code even in the core product.
And most of those contributors are in a less favorable situation than I am because I can at least make some money with iPeng which helps around some frustrations.

ModelCitizen
2010-01-08, 15:57
Mr SnarlyDwarf.
What a very great post. I wish I'd written it myself. However, if Logitech do intend to support third party plugin writers after the Touch is released I think it would be wise of them to let "the community" (sic) know sooner rather than later. Otherwise there won't be any third party left and they'll be left flogging cheap short-term Facebook crap.

MC

pichonCalavera
2010-01-08, 16:10
I think third party support is very important, since they extend the functionality and make it a better experience in many cases.

I myself only use IRBlaster and the Ipeng App from 3rd parties right now, but those 2 are critical for my enjoyment of the Squeezebox and my music, and right now I'm interested in the SB Touch, but first I'll wait and see how the 3rd party support works by the time is released.

erland
2010-01-08, 16:18
Well, officially Erland isn't supporting it on SB3 either...

Correct, an API change somewhere and they will stop working on all devices. Hopefully there won't be any last minute change like this in the 7.5 release, if there is, I currently have no plans to fix it.



No doubt that people like Andy, Michael and Ben (is Fletch still around?), are very much supportive of "we need 3rd party plugins"... Michael and Ben were (are?) 3rd party plugin authors long before they got hired and I'm sure they know exactly the frustration that Erland has. (And I'm sure Erland knows this...)

Believe me, they know and I know.
As I tried to say initially, the developers are the good guys, this thread is more directed towards the management that direct the developers regarding what they should prioritize.
I won't quote your whole post but I suspect your description of the current situation in many ways are pretty close to the reality.



But there's something about the tone of things around here: I like Andy, and Michael and Ben and the rest of the developers, too. I don't want to see them getting prematurely bald or grey, or just pissed off and frustrated as they try to put out multiple fires, especially since this one isn't their doing. (It's one thing to have to fix your own buggy software, it's another to have political nonsense holding you back from saying your mind, or doing what you want... most of us have experienced such nonsense at work, and I for one don't want to add to their headache.)

I understand what you are saying but I think it's also important that Logitech realize that the third party contributors are here because it's fun or interesting, they aren't here because they are payed for it. As soon as it isn't fun anymore, third party contributors will leave. There are people that have been very active before but now isn't because it no longer feels like they are part of the development. After a third party developer has decided to leave, it's not easy to convince him/her to start working for free for Logitech again.

I also have to say that I'm not just talking about the last six months, the situation has been gradually worse during the last two years or so. The licensing issue is important to get an indication in what direction Logitech is heading but it's about a lot more than that. I think pfarrell said it quite nicely, it's all about dedicating man hours to support third party development. Without these hours, the third party contributions will slowly disappear and with them I'm pretty sure this community will soon be transformed into a discussion forum with mostly beginners and a lot less experienced users.




IMHO, it would be nice if Andy or Mickey could give Erland, Pippin, and other major contributors at least a side-chat. "Look, I know it sucks for you right now, and it sucks for us, too.. we're on your side, and we're going to keep fighting, but for the moment we have Touch to deal with as well, so it may take a bit."

I'm sorry to say that it doesn't help me to hear this from the developers, I need to hear it from someone that I trust have the power to make sure something really happens after the Touch release.

I've personally decided to stay around until the Touch has been released and probably a few months after that, but unless something changes I suspect I'll either stop participating in this community and/or change to some other products or find some other more effective way to make sure the existing Squeezebox products is able to do what I need them to do.

I think we also have to realize that there is always going to be a new product soon to be released, after the Touch Logitech is going to start working on either next bug fix release or next new product. Believe me, the history will continue unless the prioritization changes, first I heard that getting the Radio out is top priority we will get more time after that, then the same history was repeated for the Touch immediately after the Radio release and I suspect there is going to be something else after the Touch release that's more important than supporting third party development. It's all about prioritization, something I suspect are done by someone else than the developer resources from Logitech available on this forum.

snarlydwarf
2010-01-08, 16:25
Mr SnarlyDwarf.
What a very great post. I wish I'd written it myself. However, if Logitech do intend to support third party plugin writers after the Touch is released I think it would be wise of them to let "the community" (sic) know sooner rather than later. Otherwise there won't be any third party left and they'll be left flogging cheap short-term Facebook crap.


Oh, I'm sure they do. (Though probably not many on TinySC... the CPU/RAM could be a real issue for complex plugins.)

'tis why I wish that Andy or Mickey or Michael or Ben or Caleb or, actually, any of the SB team could give 3rd party developers and aside that they really do understand. (Actually, Michael has been pretty good on that, but I get a feel that he's feeling 'leashed' about what he can and cannot say.)



Erland and a lot of other 3rd party developers provide essential functionality without which Logitech could not sell SBs. There's lots of 3rd party code even in the core product.
And most of those contributors are in a less favorable situation than I am because I can at least make some money with iPeng which helps around some frustrations.

Oh, I get that completely. Hence my comment about the irony of using MusicInfoSCR on the Boom packaging and probably elsewhere. 3rd party plugins are so essential that the marketing people use them without even knowing it.

3rd party fixes (someone is actually working on fixes to the Radio's alarm code) are also essential.

Other than 'stop changing the API every two weeks' (it seems that 7.5 hasn't made serious changes to the API at least), I don't know what the solution is here...

Is it more "we need to actually come up with a proper API, and allow more places for plugins to hook themselves in" or something else?

'FIX IT' is all well and good, but... fix what? How?

What support is it that you need, that you feel is lacking?

Is it because people have no time as they bury themselves in code trying to figure out what makes the WMA decoder barf? Or is it something else?

erland
2010-01-08, 16:39
3rd party fixes (someone is actually working on fixes to the Radio's alarm code) are also essential.

Yes, that thread in the developers forum is an example of something that I'd like to see more of. A lot of credit to Ben for listening and working together with third party developers with that issue.



What support is it that you need, that you feel is lacking?

I summarized my view in this post earlier in this thread:
http://forums.slimdevices.com/showthread.php?p=504121#post504121

The full discussion can be found in the link to a thread to the Developers forum in the initial post of this thread.

In my opinion it's about getting the third party contributors feeling that they are important and that they get to participate in the development. I think the keyword here is "communication" which requires man hours.

DaveWr
2010-01-08, 16:55
The developers might be real committed guys. But somewhere in the chain above them is the owner of what programs to do and when. Hopefully somebody interested in definition, design and verification techniques. This has not been that formally controlled in the past (Dean & Sean ??). Where it sits now post business re-organisation is anybodies guess.

The Controller (Jive Squeeze OS) wasn't very smooth from an external perspective.
The Radio, well alarms and mySB
Touch - No SB3 Stock, No new product.

I can see Logitech senior management screaming. They may be naive about what they bought, but they need (probably already have) to decide what they want.

They also need to understand the fragility around their current methods. Unless you can allow significant time to interchange with the third party developers, or stop the changes that every release causes to interfaces, then there will be no external applications.

Finally they need to decide what these Forums are for. Currently mostly a one way commentary to developers from people with problems, perceived problems, and desires. If there is no commitment to make this two way with the investment decision owners, then edit this whole operation down to a support function.

Dave

snarlydwarf
2010-01-08, 17:27
Yes, that thread in the developers forum is an example of something that I'd like to see more of. A lot of credit to Ben for listening and working together with third party developers with that issue.

Yes, classic Ben. Why I'd treat him to a beer if he dropped off in Oregon some year.

It's interesting to watch the personalities: Ben seems completely oblivious to politics. He just does his thing and ignores it all. Michael and Andy seem more stressed. Michael seems to want to jump in and say something but doesn't want to cross some mysterious line. ("Yes we are reading this", but he won't go beyond that...)



The full discussion can be found in the link to a thread to the Developers forum in the initial post of this thread.

I read that this morning... the time issue is I think temporary, at least with Andy and Michael. I think Andy's up to his eyeballs with TinySC at the moment, and no clue what Michael is working on (I don't look at SVN logs... :)

Don't some non-Logitech people have SVN commit access? I would think you would be able to get that for your commits if anyone does. (Hah! Then you could just commit your plugins and make everyone else maintain them!)

That would get around the submit-patches-hope-they-get-taken in problem.

API changes do suck... My day job is dealing with some Drupal servers and the way Drupal changes API's at every version is... annoying. It makes upgrading a pain in the butt between versions, since many 3rd party plugins break.... sound familiar? At least there is a ton of documentation on most of the API, but I'm not sure there is a good changelist for API changes with Drupal either.

It's not an easy problem to solve, though it should be less of a problem with SBS since it isn't as bloated with 3rd party stuff. But, Drupal I think has a better designed and documented API to begin with, so cheating to get things not provided by the API (or not allowing theme overridden) doesn't happen all that often in 'major' plugins.

The SBS API seems to have a lot of cruft especially since there are some major design changes between the SB1/2-3/Duet/SqueezePlay devices. Then you have the whole json stuff and cli stuff (which to use when?)...

And god forbid removing any of it. (I could easily see a case for yanking the CLI access and focusing on json/http functionality.. but too much stuff depends on CLI, and can't break that, even if there is a ton of duplication...)




In my opinion it's about getting the third party contributors feeling that they are important and that they get to participate in the development. I think the keyword here is "communication" which requires man hours.

Which are sadly short. (Well, and officially everyone was gone for at least a week, though Andy and Michael were workaholics and checking here...)

(And here I go trying to submit this... am I the only one having some odd issue with this forum and timeouts? It refuses to load "sometimes" from both home and work.)

erland
2010-01-08, 17:33
(And here I go trying to submit this... am I the only one having some odd issue with this forum and timeouts? It refuses to load "sometimes" from both home and work.)

No, I'm also seeing this, it's has been this way at least the last 12-24 hours.
For me it seems to help to restart the web browser.

mbonsack
2010-01-08, 19:02
For me it seems to help to restart the web browser.

Chrome fixes (or bypasses) this problem 100% for me; Firefox on Linux has been having the stated issues for the last day or two.

mark-e-mark
2010-01-08, 22:38
Anybody at Logitech paying attention to the whole Google/OpenSource thing going on?

The development community for Slimware or Squeezeware (yes, I made those up) should not be taken for granted. This is a real resource for design, development, and testing. The question is for Logitech Product Management: what is the roadmap for the Squeezebox products, and how can Logitech leverage this community in the design and development of these products?

My suspicion is that there is tremendous concern around confidentiality when considering opening product development to the community. The question I would pose to the community is how can we assist? Are there devices or methodologies that would allow for a community to participate in design and development while maintaining confidentiality?

danco
2010-01-09, 01:32
So it's clear from the poll figures that third-party plugins are very important to people on the forums.

Logitech management might say that we are not typical of the people they want to sell to.

But we are the evangelists for the product. I have always recommended the SB as the way to go for streaming music. It's not clear that I should continue to do so if third-party plugins cease to be available.

epoch1970
2010-01-09, 09:13
I have always recommended the SB as the way to go for streaming music. It's not clear that I should continue to do so if third-party plugins cease to be available.

+1. I have stopped already.
I wish Sean Adams would quit polishing the 996 and get back to work...

DaveWr
2010-01-09, 10:02
Epoch

+1 I think they miss his guidance

Shame about the development, I remember your help with Server Power Control on Macs, but I understand your position.

Dave

ajkidle
2010-01-09, 12:31
But we are the evangelists for the product. I have always recommended the SB as the way to go for streaming music. It's not clear that I should continue to do so if third-party plugins cease to be available.

Absolutely. This is the point I was going to contribute to the thread, but you beat me to it. The people on this forum (I suspect) represent the most devoted contingent of the user community. There is something to be said for the word-of-mouth power represented therein. Logitech would be well served to keep this in mind as they decide on the quality of support they are going to offer to 3rd party developers.

And incidentally, I'd be lost without iPeng -- that one would be a deal breaker for me. I also greatly enjoy MusicInfoSCR and SuperDateTime, would be very sad to see those break. I'm sure there are other gems out there too, I'm just not familiar with them.

Pale Blue Ego
2010-01-09, 12:58
Logitech does not care about customers. Their answer to me about deleting a longtime feature told me everything I needed to know. They could not conceive of a reason anybody would ever use the feature - that in itself told me they have zero imagination and probably do not even use their product.

When I gave several examples of how the feature is used, they admitted, "Yes, you're right, in those situations it's essential, but no, we have no interest in doing the tiny code change that would restore the feature."

Logitech should buy Erland's plugins and incorporate them into the standard code. It's crazy that there is no rating system in the Logitech code.

Time for them to stop riding the backs of the much smarter volunteer army.

TimM
2010-01-10, 04:56
Logitech should buy Erland's plugins and incorporate them into the standard code. It's crazy that there is no rating system in the Logitech code.

Time for them to stop riding the backs of the much smarter volunteer army.

Can't argue with that, in fact that should apply to quite a few plugins.

Whilst the bare bones SB is a good music playing (note the playing not streaming) platform, the plugins make it so much more than the sum of the parts.

Losing the Itunes updater plugin and Alien/BBC Iplayer would be complete deal breakers for me. Likewise Grab playlist(or switch player), remove played songs should all be part of the core code.

In the past I used erlands plugins an awful lot, and they do fill in a lot of the gaps that SB has, particularly if you have any interest in classical music - not I guess the target of the Logitech marketeers.

I guess the question is would I have bought my first SB without the plug in functionality? The answer is yes, because I did not know that they existed. However after many happy, if occasionally frustrating years of use, I would not want to contemplate a 'system' without them.

Another question for Logitech - what's the point of having two very good displays without all the neat third party screen savers? May as well buy a receiver if that's going to be the way forward.

I really do hope that Logitech kiss and make up with their most loyal supporters if not then the future for SB does not look good. After all who's going to test their often shaky software out in the wild for free??

Hey ho

2 x SB2, 1 x SB3, 1 x Boom, 1 x Radio

orsolina
2010-01-10, 07:31
I have just read through this thread with interest and growing fascination - what a hornet's nest! My daughter bought the latest Squeezebox for Christmas having researched it (she thought) thoroughly. We live in France & she bought it primarily for the BBC R4 Listen Again facility which, of course, the latest version does not support. It is a wonderful little box & has lots of other attractive features but not Listen Again. We will probably trade it in for an alternative that does support Listen Again. What a shame it had to go backwards.

mikedoyle
2010-01-10, 07:58
I wouldn't have bought my Squeezebox if it couldn't access BBC iPlayer. As this is a 3rd party app, then yes, access to 3rd party apps is vital for me.

Triode
2010-01-10, 08:29
I have just read through this thread with interest and growing fascination - what a hornet's nest! My daughter bought the latest Squeezebox for Christmas having researched it (she thought) thoroughly. We live in France & she bought it primarily for the BBC R4 Listen Again facility which, of course, the latest version does not support. It is a wonderful little box & has lots of other attractive features but not Listen Again. We will probably trade it in for an alternative that does support Listen Again. What a shame it had to go backwards.

Just to make sure this is not confusing people. BBC listen again is supported on all the latest versions through the BBCiPlayer 3rd party plugin. This is a squeezebox server plugin and so requires you to have squeezebox server running on your local PC to use it. Please post on the 3rd party forum if you need help with this. Clearly it would be preferable if we could make this plugin work without needing a local server, but this is not supported at present.

Phil Leigh
2010-01-10, 08:29
I have just read through this thread with interest and growing fascination - what a hornet's nest! My daughter bought the latest Squeezebox for Christmas having researched it (she thought) thoroughly. We live in France & she bought it primarily for the BBC R4 Listen Again facility which, of course, the latest version does not support. It is a wonderful little box & has lots of other attractive features but not Listen Again. We will probably trade it in for an alternative that does support Listen Again. What a shame it had to go backwards.

??? - Listen Again works fine in the "latest version"...(7.5 in my case). Make sure you have the BBCiPlayerExtra plugin installed.

erland
2010-01-11, 11:11
After sleeping and having some time to think this through I really want to clarify something.

There are people in this thread that posts things that indicates that Logitech has already decided to ban third party developers or that they are abandoning the community.

Please!
I'm 99% sure no such decision has been taken, if that was the case there is no way the developers would be as positive as they are in both official posts and private messages.

The intention of the thread was ONLY to create a representative poll result that makes it easy for the Logitech management to understand how important third party plugins/applets is to members of this community.

We need a representative poll result, so if you haven't voted please do, but I'd like to beg to everyone that we try to not draw any premature conclusions based on anything said in this thread and other places in the forum. If you think it's fun spreading rumors and don't want to stop doing it for Logitech, please at least stop for me.

I've personally only seen a tendency that other things are prioritized in front of third party development and I've recently felt that it's important to try make this tendency visible to Logitech, it's not always easy to realize things when you are sitting in the middle of it. Still, at the moment it's just a tendency, it has already affected the activity among some of the third party developers but there is still time for Logitech to do something to fix it. If they decide to not do anything, I'm personally convinced we will end up with a situation with a lot less third party development, but we are not there yet, there is still time to fix it.

I'd like to beg to everyone that we try to not add more premature conclusions and rumors neither in this thread nor in other threads in the forum. Really, the best thing you can do if you want to make sure Logitech management understands how important third party plugins/applets are, is to vote on this poll and they should be able to get it from the poll result.

I think there is a risk we will make the developers (which I know are on our side) more frustrating by spreading rumors or making premature conclusions based on unreliable or too brief information. We really don't want to remove the spirt from the guys fighting on our side, do we ?

As a beta tester of the Radio and Touch I can honestly say that I haven't been this excited regarding any Logitech hardware so far. Sure, there is still some bugs to fix in the software, but both these devices really have a huge potential to be something great, especially related to third party development. So assuming Logitech management understands the potential of third party plugins/applets we should have a bright future in front of us.

iamnemo
2010-01-11, 22:18
3rd party plugins are a vital part of the SB system. Without them the system looses much functionality and interest.

They have also kept the interest of advanced users alive since the early days. Advanced users hate closed, non-extensible systems. And who do newbies rely on to make a decision on buying SB products? Certainly not sales persons at BB or CC! They rely on advanced users from their family, circle of friends or colleagues.

I have recommended and helped to setup more than two dozens SB systems for friends and colleagues and more than half of them bought SB products because of some available 3rd party plug-ins they needed.

Plugins are essential! Long live plugins!
Nemo

peachmelba
2010-01-12, 04:46
It's a moot question for me, since I've already frozen/forked the server. What tipped me over the edge was the Transporter's firmware being reflashed without so much as a by-your-leave, and the nexus between firmware and server version when Transporter firmware bugs seem to come and go. I don't care to have an expensive device bricked, and the Transporter is working well now. (I'm referring here particularly to the Optical In bug.)

Having made that decision, plugins become problematical for me to install, because their authors probably test against the latest version.

I'd like to say something about the quality of documentation for these plug-ins. Erland's plug-ins look useful for my classical collection, but as long as I can't understand what they are doing (as opposed to blindly following a setup recipe) and I can relatively easily hack the server itself they're not something I care to tangle with. Nor, as far as I can see, do they fully solve the classical problem.

Whether or not Logitech decide to open a plug-in API for third parties, they have little choice but to break existing plug-ins and go quiet on their developers while that is shaken down. My reading of the SQL schema is that it has major design problems. The move away from perl to Lua and C is also IMO a good and necessary thing if the server is to be reliable - go and look at the server's hand-rolled Unicode normalization for a few favoured characters and tell me otherwise.

P.S. not even the forum software works properly...

HalleysComet
2010-01-12, 06:31
As a classical music lover, Erland's plug-ins have become central to my daily use of my Transporter & Duet. I spent a lot of time on these forums before deciding to purchase the Transporter, and I do not regret my purchase. I have enjoyed and utilized a number of plug-ins to optimize my Squeeze experience. The developer community has been a major contributor to my satisfaction with these products.

However, recently I bought a Squeezebox for my sister who lives in Stockholm. I got her all set up and running, only to have a Squeeze Server/Center software upgrade shake her confidence by changing the way her stereo works. She is totally non-technical. All she wants to do is listen to music, and have it be easy to find/listen to what she wants -- classical music mostly.

The difference between her experience and mine, is that I'm not afraid to go in and muck about to get things working the way I want, but she has no interest in doing this. If it doesn't work the way she wants out of the box, she'll find another product that does.

I think Logitech is stuck strategically on this point. I suspect there are FAR more people in this world like my sister than there are people like us. Ideally, you should be able to satisfy both audiences, delivering a product that delights the average user, with extensible "hooks" that support the developer community (with appropriate staffing/oversight to benefit from the synergy of joint development). But when push comes to shove, corporations follow the money.

Obviously, we all believe that this is short-term thinking. The "open source" nature of the Slim Devices world was a fantastic way to bring in new ideas and creativity for future development. I doubt that Logitech feels this in their bones. Hence, not enough internal resources devoted to nurturing third-party developers. Properly utilized, the user community can and should be a creative engine for growth. The more Logitech thinks, "we can do this ourself" the more closed the opportunity becomes. It's like cutting the tail off the dog in tiny pieces. Each little bit doesn't hurt a bit... but after a while the poor dog has no tail!

I can't blame Logitech for evolving away from the Slim Devices roots. But I would argue to their management that they are missing an opportunity by not investing in support for the developer community.

mikelee999
2010-01-12, 20:35
The popularity of 3rd party plugins should be treated as invaluable customer feedback.

Logitech--do you gather informtion about installed 3rd party plugins in your "Report Statistics"?

There are a lot of other mass market products that are really really good already. Microsoft's XBox 360 and Windows Media Center look great and have everything most people care about, and I hear good things about PS3.

I really wonder how smart it is to take on Microsoft, Sony and Sonos head on.

70% of the time I listen to music, one of Erland's plugins is controlling the experience. Squeezebox, with plugins, especially Erland's query-power, gives me the fine-grained experience I want. Without that, I'm probably going to go cobble together some kind of Windows solution--dump everything into my own SQL database and output playlists that work with some kind of software player.

I understand that you need to go in a new direction and boost market share. But I think it's a really bad idea not to take the benefits of open source and 3rd party creativity with you. That's a resource you have that none of your major competitors do.

A great deal of the current value of Squeezebox is that it's a platform, not just a player. Does it really make sense to throw that away?

snarlydwarf
2010-01-12, 21:26
I really wonder how smart it is to take on Microsoft, Sony and Sonos head on.


The SB line predates any of those...



Without that, I'm probably going to go cobble together some kind of Windows solution--dump everything into my own SQL database and output playlists that work with some kind of software player.

I understand that you need to go in a new direction and boost market share. But I think it's a really bad idea not to take the benefits of open source and 3rd party creativity with you. That's a resource you have that none of your major competitors do.

A great deal of the current value of Squeezebox is that it's a platform, not just a player. Does it really make sense to throw that away?

?

Who said they're going to "throw that away"...

No one has said 3rd party plugins are going away.

The issue is allocating resources to support them while trying to get the Touch finished and shipping.

That's a very difficult balancing act: the Touch will really shine with 3rd party applets (the new Weather applet is great). But none of that will matter if it doesn't ship, will it?

)p(
2010-01-13, 03:04
As a classical music lover, Erland's plug-ins have become central to my daily use of my Transporter & Duet.

+1 Without custom scan and browse I would move on to other solutions for sure.

On the other hand functionality like this is so important to me that I would like to see it integrated in the core. That way if a third party developer looses interest we don't loose it.

peter

DaveWr
2010-01-13, 03:47
The issue is allocating resources to support them while trying to get the Touch finished and shipping.



That is pure speculation. As Ben has stated, Logitech have reduced resources on Squeeze. Nobody knows what the future holds yet, outside of Logitech management.

Dave

mherger
2010-01-15, 00:10
Squeezeplay now under BSD License:

http://forums.slimdevices.com/showthread.php?t=74049

DaveWr
2010-01-15, 01:07
That is a fantastic start to a renewed future for 3rd party development.

Dave

bigbill
2010-01-15, 15:12
Hi,

I'm a home automation / AV installer and integrator and have purchased well over 30 Squeezeboxes of various types for clients. The open source nature of the product is one of the reasons I recommend it and if Logitech essentially remove it and their support for 3rd party developers I will be taking my business elsewhere.

Cheers and good luck.

Gadgety1
2010-01-15, 15:32
I'm not using any 3rd party software yet, however it's VERY important to me they exist as it makes this community unique, it gives more options, geniuses like yourself, Erland, get to develop cool apps that I may one day use, and in general, it makes the product more attractive. The more Sonos-like Logitech makes this offering, the less attractive it becomes. The more enthusiast driven it is, the more attractive it becomes. To my mind, Logitech would be very, very ignorant if they don't realize they paid for the user community and not just the product stuff.

amcluesent
2010-01-16, 06:31
If the Logitech bean-counters withdraw support for plugins and fail to produce a successor to the TP, I'll certainly jump over to Naim or Linn.

toby10
2010-01-16, 07:07
It would be interesting to see these same Poll results in two years.
If Touch's inbuilt TinySC server is as popular as they think it will be, then this same Poll would be vastly different with many more people voting for "I don't use third party plugins".

Why? Because TinySC can't run any plugins. But I suppose their could be an additional Poll choice "I'd gladly use third party plugins if TinySC supported them". :)

DaveWr
2010-01-16, 09:12
It maybe that the Touch Tiny SC isn't going to be popular with the current SB3 generation. But newer customers different needs and views.

Dave

DaveWr
2010-01-16, 09:16
Well I would polish up your Linn / Naim negotiation skills.

I don't believe Logitech will ever build a unit with a few thousand sales prospects, especially with the current limited resources. The Transporter was a idea from a personally committed guy, who owned the company.

Dave

iPhone
2010-01-16, 12:07
If the Logitech bean-counters withdraw support for plugins and fail to produce a successor to the TP, I'll certainly jump over to Naim or Linn.

I think you better start saving your money for Naim/Linn gear for I personally feel that it is very unlikely that we will not see a Transporter II now that Logitech is in full control and Dean and Sean are both gone. Logitech is in the consumer masses electronic gear business not the high end limited production limited market segment.

Does this mean a cheap product, no it doesn't (just look at the Touch). But I think it does mean products that will be easier to use, more consumer friendly, more widely sold with much higher production run numbers.

Logitech brings a bunch of advantages to the table, but at the same time, some things must go to blend in with their overall business model. I personally feel Transporter and the possibility of a TP II are one of the things that will be going.

Just my opinion and hope I am wrong. And hey the SB+ is still for sell.

autopilot
2010-01-26, 03:54
Just my opinion and hope I am wrong. And hey the SB+ is still for sell.

Good point, a Touch based SB+ is surely a strong possibility. Could potentially better the TP is those SB+ guys did it right.

I also agree that the likelihood of seeing a TP2 is highly unlikely.

mikelee999
2010-01-30, 17:41
The SB line predates any of those...

The issue is allocating resources to support them while trying to get the Touch finished and shipping.

That's a very difficult balancing act: the Touch will really shine with 3rd party applets (the new Weather applet is great). But none of that will matter if it doesn't ship, will it?

It won't matter if you put the "t" in "ship."

I hesitate, briefly, to call out a Senior Member who's turned into a Senior Shill.

I hesitate, briefly, to reiterate my previous point, more bluntly.

You're not going to beat PS3, XBox or Sonos. If there are hoo-yah dumbasses at Logitech demanding that everyone drink that kool-aid, then bye bye Squeezebox.

Your goal is to be Lamborghini, not to beat Ford. Go upscale, not mass market. There's nothing in the mass market for you except disaster. Think Bose. They're a half-assed should-be-mass-market product that gets people to pay way more than they should. And Squeezebox isn't even half-assed.

You can so win.

snarlydwarf
2010-01-30, 21:01
I hesitate, briefly, to call out a Senior Member who's turned into a Senior Shill.

It took you two weeks to come up with this rambling nonsense?

Perhaps you should drink more Koolaid and less booze.

Mnyb
2010-01-30, 22:39
It would be interesting to see these same Poll results in two years.
If Touch's inbuilt TinySC server is as popular as they think it will be, then this same Poll would be vastly different with many more people voting for "I don't use third party plugins".

Why? Because TinySC can't run any plugins. But I suppose their could be an additional Poll choice "I'd gladly use third party plugins if TinySC supported them". :)

Yea substitute plugins with third party applications :) Touch would still run lua apps. And with the new licensing in place. I think we will se extensive mods on the stock applications too, hopefully lua is not to hard to learn for those who can write code.

toby10
2010-01-31, 05:19
Yea substitute plugins with third party applications :) Touch would still run lua apps. And with the new licensing in place. I think we will se extensive mods on the stock applications too, hopefully lua is not to hard to learn for those who can write code.

Yes, I'm sure we'll see many new Apps to replace old Plugins.
But which ones? How many? When will they be available?
If I'm mixing old players with new players and using TinySC I'll lose the App/Plugin capabilities for the old players.

For a current SB user who uses many Plugins, or just can't live without a particular Plugin, it would be a gamble to assume a replacement App for said Plugin(s) is coming and will function similarly to the existing Plugin(s).

The new concept of TinySC is incredible, but comes with limitations and setup senerio issues that will add complexity to the buying decision of both new and existing SB users. :)