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Recent Freebox News

Freebox is officially on hiatus (read: dead). Unless I get some ambition, I doubt the project will be ressurected. My HTPC is a long ways away, I don't have a TV, I'll be moving five times in the next three years, and there's plenty of other software in this arena, with nothing special for Freebox to offer.

My only regret is not getting 0.6 finished. I just don't have the interest or the inclination to basically rewrite everything. The core was coming along nicely; I had reached the last, most difficualt part: the GUI. However, it never quite worked the way I wanted it too, and I decided it was better to move on.

That's it. That's all I need is to finish the GUI, and then port the modules to it. The effort required (probably two months work) versus the gain (?) didn't quite pan out.

Thus, another Open Source project is dead. At least I have the courtesy to say it.

Well, I made it before July. Six months between releases is far too long for a project like this. I'm not totally happy with it, but I won't be until the new core is merged for 0.6.

The new database system is pretty cool, but still has some rough edges. I just wanted to get it out so that it could be seen and tested. Tell me what you think (PLEASE!).

I'll be updating parts of the site with better instructions soon, so watch for that sometime this week.

Okay, so 'next week' turned into 'next month', and now it's almost June. I'm just wrapping up some of the necessary bits for 0.5, so expect it 'soon'. The python update script got dropped in favour of a C++ program (python wouldn't read tags properly), so that took some time to write, plus I have to write a set of pipestreams to communicate with it. Whee. Those have been finished up under Windows; once I get the Linux versions ready I'll be set to release 0.5, assuming there are no other bugs.

Development is proceedingly nicely on 0.5, as well as on the 0.6 branch. Expect 0.5 to be out sometime next week - I still need to clean up the python script that generates the music database. The status of playlists is still up in the air; I'm not sure whether to store them in the database or in flat files. Probably a combination of the two.

The new database system is pretty slick - it uses SQLite to provide the database (I only discovered this after spending two weeks trying to write my own). It won't get integrated into the movie module until 0.6 or 0.7, but it's not really as necessary there.

CD playback has been temporarily dropped; it will return in 0.6. I decided it was seperate enough from the music module that it needed its own, but I'm not going to make any new modules until the interface is nailed down, and I need the rest of the core stabilized before I can work on the modules.

No skinning until 0.7. I need the new GUI to be able to create some better modules, but creating a GUI is time-consuming. The options module will make an appearence in 0.7 to show off the GUI. Expect the remote admin program around the same time - again, it's time-consuming, even with RAD tools like Boa Constructor. Also, a daemon needs to be written to run on the Freebox machine, which means even more development and testing before the admin program can be used.

Well, the packages were up three days ago, but I just got around to making the news post now. The roadmap below is pretty much how I want to proceed for the time being. It integrates a lot of stuff I wasn't planning on doing until much later, but the current design is pretty hard to extend.

Enjoy the new fullscreen features, even though they're not quite perfect. That's the main reason I want to move to the dynamic module system - but that's still a few versions away. Also, the Music::CD module has been causing problems under Linux, so it's commented out. It crashes every time it's used, and I can't find the cause. Should be fixed for the next version.

About time. 0.4 is tagged and ready. The builds will be up sometime tomorrow, and expect a real, honest-to-goodness source tarball this time around. Not that anyone has asked for it - no one has asked me ANYTHING about Freebox - I just figured somebody might have a use for it. I may even get ambitious and make a Gentoo ebuild for it.

For 0.5, the major change will be the music library. All the music will get tossed in a database, which should allow for much better sorting and searching of songs (and movies, since they share the same codebase). The movie module will also see some improvements, mainly in allowing for actual control over the player.

0.5 will be based on the 0.4 codebase, so there may be a couple of "test" releases before 0.5. The plans for 0.6 are up in the air - it all depends on how well mainline development goes. That branch is getting heavily tweaked - the entire system of modules is getting ditched for something much more flexible. Dynamic modules probably won't make 0.6, but are likely bound for 0.7 or even 0.8. It really depends on how much trouble they cause. The new (non-dynamic) module system should be in 0.6, or 0.7 if it's really causing problems. It may also require a new GUI to be developed, in which case it may very well be 0.7 before it's ready - I don't want to do any more major development on the 0.4 - 0.5 branch if it means rewriting a lot of code to integrate into 0.6 or 0.7.

Later releases will see the OpenGL UI augmented by a 2D SDL-based one - and probably a simple, skinnable UI toolkit at the same time. Also, a new build system will be introduced that will allow any module to be built as a standalone program or a dynamic module. Most importantly, everything will be split into multiple downloads so that people only have to download what they need.

The focus will always be on simplicity and modularity - something lacking in the current design, and the next few releases will rectify that. The admin program should also make an appearence after 0.5 - hopefully alongside, but more likely sometime soon after.

I was hoping to get a release out before I left for the holidays, but I ran out of time (exams, yadda, yadda). Expect something up early next year. Fullscreen support is in the CVS, and I'm working on a new design for the File Libraries in the music module. I may get some time to work on an external control program over the holidays.

Moved the new website over to be the default. It should work fine (although some sections need to be fleshed out).

As you can see, the new website is now up. I've checked it inside and out for errors, but odds are I missed something. Oh well. It's based on the Sinorca theme from OSWD.

Freebox 0.3 is here! Movie playback has been added. Unfortunately, the module doesn't show up on the frontend. It's the upper-right box. Media Player Classic powers the video engine under Windows and mplayer powers it under Linux. There are some issues with mplayer, mainly with fullscreen support not working, but I'll get those eventually (hopefully before 0.4).

CDDB caching has also been added, as well as a new backend for the file listings.

Also, I'm thinking of ditching the OpenGL UI. I haven't used it at all, and it adds a 3d hardware requirement. However, it has the potential to do some cool stuff. Any comments would be appreciated. Also, I want to get rid of libcdio, if possible.

Also, the player isn't fullscreen yet. SDL doesn't like me, so that's first on the todo list.

The 0.2 release of Freebox is finally ready. It now has CD playback with CDDB support, better playlist handling, a new frontend design (which looks pretty good for my art skills), and some experimental fullscreen support. As usual, bug reports are greatly appreciated. Please include the log files (frontend_log.txt, movie_log.txt, & music_log.txt) in any bug reports, as well as the best description of the problem you can.

It was ready almost two weeks ago (check the date on the CVS tag...ouch), but RL got in the way. Anyway, the schedule is updated to reflect the new schedule...maybe. Once I finish exams, I should be able to put more time into it.

Also, I'm planning a new website for around the 0.3 release. Much more organized than this one.