Rockbox 3.0 Released. Quietly.
Three years after its last major release, Rockbox 3.0 is now available. This popular app is a great open source solution for replacing the firmwear on many types of portable media players including Sansa, iRiver, Archos, and iPod.
Rockbox's developers say that the most important changes to the software won't be particularly obvious to the average user. "The first players supported by Rockbox decoded MP3 files using a chip specifically for this purpose. This made things a lot simpler for Rockbox, but also limited the amount of formats supported to variants of MPEG audio. Newer players don't use this approach, and as such, it was needed to expand Rockbox to do sound decoding in software on these players. This opens up the possibility of supporting a lot of different file formats, which is of course exactly what we did! "
Other changes include a new installation tool and support for SWCODEC targets.
In addition to an all around great app, developers have also had a hand in making the features of the Archos Jukebox MP3 player accessible to visually impaired and blind users.
Surprisingly, hype surrounding this release is relatively minimal for such a useful alternative to simply tossing out old MP3 players. As LWN's Jon Corbet points out, "Now would seem like the time for the project to begin its hype campaign with lots of screenshot-heavy articles on all of the features this major release will bring. Evidently the Rockbox developers have some strange ideas about actually working on the code, though; they haven't gotten around to the promotional side of things yet."