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XMMS Plugin Competition 116

Olle Hällnäs writes "XMMS team is proud to announce a plugin competiton with prizes. The competition will be held between the 10th of November and will run until the 10th of December. The XMMS team has also releaseed a QSound iQ Effect plugin for XMMS - more details are online, along with a press release. "
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XMMS Plugin Competition

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  • We need a plugin to make Xmms a shoutcast server!
  • Fix it... Would be less confusing then...
  • by Kyobu ( 12511 )
    This is great. Winamp has so many cool plugins, and although I love XMMS, I often wish it had some better eye candy. I wonder if there's any way Winamp plugins could be used through winelib?
  • Did anyone else get hit with a flash-only site? What's up with that?

    Stick to real standards man!

  • with all the cool winamp plugins out there this should hopefully get xmms some cool plugins. For one of my friends xmms maybe a killer app to let him move to linux. He's one of those people who obessses over mp3s. this would make it easier for him and others to move to linux.

    matisse:~$ cat .sig
  • I would like to congratulate the fellows working on XMMS and 4front for their support. They really are doing a great thing by supporting a good open source media player. I like that they are bringing other players in to the scene with plugins for proprietry code. They just recently changed the license to allow binary only plugins and this is a good thing.. just like how you can do it with Linux kernel modules.

    To the other person who said they wanted a plugin to broadcast icecast streams.. uhh that's pretty ridiculous. That is what icecast is supposed to do and I don't see any real point in that. It is gpl ( or atleast generally free ). XMMS can already play (ice|shout)cast streams well, and that's what it is, a media player!

  • I think it's a good thing that XMMS got a sponsor for their contest so they could give away some prizes. However, the whole XMMS contest reminds me of the recent Loki Hack contest - with one major difference: Loki's games weren't open source.

    My question is this: Should an open source project need something like a contest to get people to develop? My understanding of open-source projects is that those who are interested in contributing do so. That would lead me to the conclusion that nobody would enter the contest that wasn't already contributing to XMMS. Say, for instance, someone who was previously contributing to XMMS wins the contest and gets a prize. Does this person go on to code for free, forgetting the momentary gain? Perhaps - I'd like to think I would. Of course, I might also just go out and look for another contest to get prizes from. After all, I'm still contributing to open source, just not XMMS anymore.

    What does everyone else think? Is this a trend in 'commercializing' (as far as such a thing is possible) open source, or just an innocent contest blown a bit out of proportion?
  • Someone needs to write a plugin that can allow DJs to use mp3s under linux. Features needed are things like pitch control and jumping forward and back in time. I don't know how bad the latency is, but there are existing plugins for WinAmp.
  • Maybe now I'll get off my ass and finish the OpenGL visualization plugin I started awhile back... I really don't care about the prizes (although another sound card would be nice... my Alpha's kinda quiet :-) And I really could give a flying fsck about an OSS license. Who needs licenses when you have GPL'ed sound drivers? :-)

    "Software is like sex- the best is for free"
    -Linus Torvalds
  • I hope people concentrate om making plugins for
    not yet supported soundformats.
    Try to take a mp3 compressed song and turn the
    bass almost of. Then try the same with your
    original CD. No doubt the CD sound is richer.
    My point is. The sound effects only sounds good
    when the music isn't psycoacustic compressed like
  • The new plugin they just announced costs $10, but I just tried the demo version, and it's definitely worth it. Also, some of the proceeds go to xmms development, and I think that's not too bad.
  • It's a good thing. Hell, people will get a better player in the least. Me personally if I got interested and learned the plugin API and whatnot, after learning it I would think about writing more. Why learn it and only write one plugin when you can write multiple better ones after that ? Anything that encourages open source development is good in my book.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 10, 1999 @12:05PM (#1544768)
    We will NEVER charge for XMMS.. The reason we charge for the plugin is the fact that we licensed the stuff from QSound. Peter Alm (
  • There are lots of reasons for contributing to an Open Source project. Scratching an itch, fame, money, or just a way to spend some time are all valid reasons. Paying someone to work on Open Source (whether via a regular paycheck or a prize for the best job) is just another way of getting things done. IMHO, Open Source isn't about free love and helping your fellow man, it's just a really good way to develop software. (Peer review is a Good Thing).

    On the otherhand, I'm a paid developer, so maybe I have a bias on this issue. (And yes, I have contributed to Open Source before).
  • Uhhh...xmms is gpl'ed. I think that means the current code will forever be free. Maybe new stuff could conceivably be charged for, but in their little irc conference, the xmms people said 1.0 would definitely be free. I have no intention of debating what they meant by "free", but I imagine they meant "GPL". Also, the file plugins.h or whatever the plugin api is based on is no longer GPL, so anyone can write their own for profit module. I consider this a Good Thing, but I bet someone will disagree with me.
  • I can see it now. Pipe the spectrum analyzer into GLWolfenstein.

    Your actions are now dependent on the audio you're playing. Spikes in intensity result in gunfire, changes in frequency alter direction (notes go down, view goes left), and tempo determines speed of movement.

    Just think...playing 'The Who' might actually get you through a level!

  • > The new plugin they just announced costs $10,
    > but I just tried the demo version,
    > and it's definitely worth it

    I totally agree with you. Now if only they could get the Buy Online thing to work. I tried it and it gave a File Not Found after making me fill out all the info! Twice!!!
  • by Capt Dan ( 70955 ) on Wednesday November 10, 1999 @12:10PM (#1544773) Homepage
    So to sum up what hundereds of poor would be plugin writers have asked in the past...

    Where's the docs? How about a plugin tutorial/guide? (in xmms's defense I just checked out winamp's page where it states: "COMING SOON: Plug-in tutorial")

    I would bet that there are a number of people out there excited about the contest, but are missing the basic information to give their learning curve a swift kick in the @$$.

    There is limited time for this contest when you toss in school and work, and that time is much shorter still if we have to go decipher the xmms code base... The plugin.h file linked from the contest page won't cut it. An architecture doc would be excellent.

    For example allow me explain a problem I had the other week. (begin whining...)

    Say I want to run multiple xmms sessions that are outputing to a software pcm mixer (esound, dbfsd, whichever you choose), and you want each xmms session to control its own output volume. The math is easy. As the input cojmes into the plugin, adjust the sample amplitude by some percentage. But, due to output buffering etc, the volume change becomes audible after a 3-4 second delay. Ideally the change should be immeadiate. Going through someone elses code to derive the architecture behind what is occuring is painful and time consuming...

    "You want to kiss the sky? Better learn how to kneel." - U2
    "It was like trying to herd cats..." - Robert A. Heinlein
  • by Yarn ( 75 )
    I think it'd be hard. Not only do you have the windows/linux transation, but you also have the ways that xmms talks to plugins vs the ways winamp does.

    Not gonna happen soon, I think.
  • by bbk ( 33798 ) on Wednesday November 10, 1999 @12:12PM (#1544776) Homepage
    Not to burst any bubbles, but OSS isn't that great of a thing... It isn't free, and the free version that is in the kernel has a lot of features removed. I use ALSA for my sound support, and it can do so much more stuff than OSS, such as:
    • Full duplex support on all cards
    • Built in PNP support (runs my AWE64 without ever messing with ISAPNP, unlike OSS)
    • Quad speaker support
    • Multiple card support (I run a Trident 4DWave and an AWE64 in my system, and both work great)
    • Multiple applications opening the same sound device simultaneously (with a card that supports this in hardware)
    • Better organization and more configurability - save and restore all your settings for all your cards in one command line
    The only things going for OSS now is a slight edge in the number of cards supported. When this is dealt with, I'm all for ditching OSS and moving to ALSA. If you're card is supported by ALSA, try it out - I guarantee you'll like it.

    It is cool that OSS is supporting the contest though - community support in any form is always nice.

  • There's a plugin.h file on the page showing the functions and structures you need to use. Chief Archer
  • We have a flash plugin for Linux Netscape.. I actually use it and it's not buggy at all. The site actually looked pretty cool in flash Chief Archer
  • When I hear the word XMMS I think of mp3 player but I've always used GQMpeg even back when XMMS was still called X11Amp. Sound playback is a pretty basic thing which can be accomplished by hundreds of programs without much issue. It's, well, an mp3 player that, well, plays mp3s. It seems like 4front Technologies is putting a lot of money into this program to turn it into the all-in-one solution for audio but I've yet to see any reason to use it for anything.
  • defining the structures is all well and good...

    But to learn how to *use* the structures requires deciphering somebody elses code. Multiple Hours of coding vs. an hour of doc reading.
    "You want to kiss the sky? Better learn how to kneel." - U2
    "It was like trying to herd cats..." - Robert A. Heinlein
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Actually, the VQF plugin for xmms was accomplished through winelib (and is in fact the winamp plugin I think). I haven't tried it myself yet, though.
  • These contests don't break the spirit of open source in my opinion. All they really do is create publicity, and give people more of a reason to develop for YOUR project. As to whether or not an open source project should need something like this to get developers, I do not pretend to know. However, I do know that doing something like this does get developers. Hey, it might even spark a few of those propriety fellows to contribute.
  • There is already a free "enhance stereo" (or something) effect plugin that comes with xmms. It works really well, and I like it a lot.

    Has anyone used the two for comparison purposes? I don't see why the iQ plugin could be so much better that it's worth $10?

    (I'm at work now on an SGI, and I can't get xmms to compile, or else I'd try...)
  • I got razzed in Efnet's #linux chatroom a few days ago for bringing this up, but now seems like the perfect time to say it (and kinda eerily concidental).

    There's a plugin for Winamp called DFX. It adds psuedo- hi fidelity sound to MP3 playback. It's demoware in Win9x, but let me just be the first person to say this -- it is INCREDIBLE. The bigger the stereo system, the better it sounds, but it even sounds great on headphones. How about something similar to this for XMMS? If it's done well, it's an almost sure-fire win.

    Note: I can't program, or else I'd be one of the first people trying to do this ^_^. Also, for those who want to check out DFX, it's at

    I'm seriously hoping something BETTER than DFX can be created for linux. OpenGL / Spectrum Analysis / Visual plugins are cool, but you're not listening to music to watch some wavy effects.
  • Check out This []. I hate it when contests act like what they're giving you such a big deal. Value $120 my butt... $40 in 4front software(that actually costs them nothing to distrubate, I'm not saying it's wrong of them to charge, just giving it out in a contest costs them _very_ little.), and a $80 soundcard that's really $18? Heh. I love xmms, and I'm looking forward to the plugins this will bring, but please don't lie to get people participate in contests.
  • To the other person who said they wanted a plugin to broadcast icecast streams.. uhh that's pretty ridiculous.

    Having recently set up an icecast server, I think I know what that other guy is talking about. I think he was looking for some way to use XMMS as a more "user friendly" front end to produce an MP3 audio stream for icecast.

    As it is right now, actually producing the audio stream for icecast to serve out to the world is something of a black art (IMO).

    Your 3 choices are:

    First option - shout: Easiest to get running, but less flexible. It only allows you to stream your MP3s at the same bitrate they were encoded at. In other words, no real-time re-encoding.

    If you want to stream the same audio at several bitrates (to give people with slower connections an option of lower quality but less skipping), you need to be able to re-encode the MP3 data on the fly. You also need re-time re-encoding if your source MP3s were encoded at different bitrates and you want to give one consistent bitrate for your stream. (this would be a good idea, since some players get out of sync if you change the bitrate within the stream)

    Second option - liveice: Much more flexible but a bear to set up. It allows you to re-encode real time, and manipulate the playlist, mix tracks together, and do more of the things you hear on over the air radio.

    The complexity comes from the "modular" nature of the software. There are license restrictions on the MP3 encoding algorithm, so there can't legally be any GPL encoders. This means that Scott Manley can't include MP3 encoding code directly in his program. He has to rely on the encoding coming from an external source, such as a commercial encoding package like Xing or from one of the "underground" packages like LAME that are simple wrappers around the unoptimized MP3 reference encoder.

    Since most people doing icecast servers want to keep things open source, they aren't very well going to pay hundreds of dollars for a commercial encoder. That leaves the "underground" packages.

    There are several packages available for Linux to encode MP3, but the stability, audio quality, and program interface varies widely among them. Scott usually has a tough task getting his code and somebody else's to play nice.

    I had such a difficult and unreliable experience trying to get an encoder to run, produce decent sound, and not crash with liveice that I eventually abandoned it and used shout. I manually re-encoded my MP3s at 24kbps and I just stream them statically. They say doing that usually produces better audio quality anyway.

    BTW, I'm fully prepared to concede my inablility to get liveice running stems from my own incompetence and NOT from flaws in Linux or mistakes of the icecast developers. YMMV...

    Third option - Winamp with DSP Plugin: Believe it or not, there are people who keep a Windoze machine around just to produce a stream to the icecast server.

    For all it's shortcomings, M$ has done one nice thing in its life and that is pay for a distribution licence for the Fraunhofer [] MP3 codec. Fraunhofer is acknowledged to be the most efficient, stable, and best sounding MP3 codec around. M$ included it in the Windows Media Player server tools/authoring package which you can download for free.

    What you do is, you get that MS package, winamp, and a Shoutcast DSP plugin that re-directs the MP3 output to an IP address/port you specify, and configure the bitrate and audio quality all from a nice user friendly dialog box. Then you load up your winamp playlists and you are "on the air", with less hassle than liveice. (unless you consider rebooting a crashing Doze box every few hours or days a hassle...)

    So what I think the other guy was looking for is some way to make XMMS give similar functionality and user-friendliness to what winamp provides under the windows platform, except provide it with the stability and performace of linux, and license it under the GPL.

    I think the functionality can certainly be written by somebody, we have a lot of real smart developers in the open source world and XMMS/icecast in particular. The tough nut is going to be a high quality, free MP3 encoder.

    The best option would be a freely distributable version of the Fraunhofer encoder for Linux. This could actaully be done, the only barrier is money. It costs MEGABUCKS (several thousands) for a distribution license from Fraunhofer, and the result would not be possible to put under GPL since the algorithm iself has license and NDA restrictions. So the best we could do is get a binary only encoder that would only run on whatever distribution and platform it was compiled for, and we'd have to find a charitible sugar daddy to pay for the license. And we would still have to hold our noses and accept a non-GPL solution.

    BTW, if anybody cares, my icecast server is online at I have several hours worth of Dave Matthews Band live show bootlegs up there. If you're a DMB fan, giv it a listen sometime. [/me hunkers down for the /. effect...]

  • What "standards" are thoes? All the ones Netscape 4.7 doesn't support yet? CSS2..
    Stan "Myconid" Brinkerhoff
  • I've been considering doing just that given the VQF plugin that uses WineLib. XMMS and Winamp's plugin interfaces are ridiculously similar - XMMS just renames all the functions so AOL won't sue them :)
  • The price of the SBPCI16 we put was basically what we paid for at CompUSA. This is a boxed version and perhaps it's available for cheaper on PriceWatch. We'll ask Creative Labs what the full retail price is.

    If the prices have come down, we'll add a cash reward to the contest to make the final prize
    come out to $125.00.

    Sincere apologies for not doing our homework on prices for SB PCI16s.

    Best regards
    Dev Mazumdar
  • Hrmn, I thought mp3enc was available from fraunhofer for linux. I'm not posative.. but I'm almost sure it is. Xing has their mp3 encoder for linux, and then there is LAME (LAME Ain't An MP3 Encoder) that uses the Gpyschoauctic mp3 engine, which I find to be comparable to Fraunhofer.
  • Can winamp plugins do this?
  • Just how? All people have to do is to reverse engineer the protocols or emulate them and presto! instant copliance.
  • Thanks for explaining this to that guy. I love you guys. BTW, I just bought me a copy of that QSound Plugin and it rocks.
  • I have a little theory. In all the hurry what happened to the pc speaker? I have always thought that someone who has much more education than me could code something that would approximate a random sampling of the music then translate the sound to notes and then produce the notes at a specific frequency on the pc speaker. There is a kernel patch that allows .wav's to be kind of send through the speaker in a garbled manner but it dosn't work too good. I have an hp48g calculator and it can produce entire symphonies (Bach I believe) from the sound in the speaker. A remember a program for dos that had files that could create whole songs and the like from the pc speaker but this stuff is conspiciously(sp) absent in linux which should be able to do more.
  • Why, plugins of course... Personally I like gqmpeg as well. But xmms plugins allow the ability to add functinality without rewrite the central code base. XMMS has greater inpur format support, and also has greater visualization capabilities. Check out the xmms plugin page for a full list of its capabilities... There are many more than gqmpeg.

    But, hey, if you don't need/want the extra functionality there's no reason to bother. GQmpeg will still take care of you.

    "You want to kiss the sky? Better learn how to kneel." - U2
    "It was like trying to herd cats..." - Robert A. Heinlein
  • I just bought and downloaded QSound Plugin for XMMS and it rox. Does what that DFX plugin does and it's for XMMS for Linux.
  • Tell me how can a larger louder stero sytem enhance actual sound quality or purity? what are the standards for these things besides personal preference.
  • Just a matter of curiousity, where the hell did you find a Trident 4DWave to begin with? I wanted to buy one to support Trident since they gave the ALSA project the docs, but I can't for the life of me find a local supplier that has them (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), and I refuse to pay a ridiculous S&H charge by buying online (don't have much money).

    NX would be nice... four speaker support...
  • Where can I get this ALSA? I have never herd of it. However I'm a big spender so I will pay.
  • The free version of mp3enc is a time-limited demo and not suitable for production use.

    Xing did some really wacky stuff with pipe I/O in their latest release that broke Scott's liveice code spectacularly.

    As for LAME, it was the best candidate I could find for an encoder, but still not suitable for my needs. Unfourtunately for me, I wanted to encode at fairly low bitrates (24 or 32 kbps) so I could serve modem users. LAME seemed to produce really bad, hissy, scratchy audio with a nasty spike around 11 KHz. It didn't matter what I did with settings, I never could clean it up.

    I eventually gave up on liveice and just re-encoded my MP3s for shout.

    This was back in June or July of this year that I was setting this stuff up, so maybe there have been advances since then, I don't know.

  • How does one gain the ability to seemingly be able to do anything interesting with hardware without assembly or head banging. How does one get the formal skill to do that?
  • Maybe I am either an idiot or cannot afford multiple OC3 lines and $30,000 worth of hardware and a neural communications link but what is shoutcast?
  • Just how? All people have to do is to reverse engineer the protocols or emulate them and presto! instant copliance.

    Yep, just like the DVD guys. You can see how great that worked out.

    Luckily the shockwave folks were serious about their technology and made a linux plugin. I applaude their efforts.

  • by Mr_Plow ( 30965 ) on Wednesday November 10, 1999 @01:28PM (#1544807)
    Interestingly enough, reminds me of a project we never finished but should have. A friend of mine and I bought a program called Super Collider, a real-time synthesis engine for the Mac. It's totally programmable (kind of like CSound on crack) and can interpret MIDI data and mouse movements. We tried to get it to run with Doom II. We programmed it to accept keyboard and mouse input and to change timbre and tempo based on the frequency of the input (interpret mouse click as firing a weapon, assume that increased firing means increase in play intesity.) The program could accept the input even in the background. We just never got the music to seamlessly change tempos or timbres. Sounded too choppy.
    ----------------------------------------- -----------------
  • The NX is probably the best card yet for linux. There is an excellent Alsa driver for it (if you haven't tried alsa, do so, its much much better than OSS/Free.
  • Perhaps it's my shoddy soundcard (a Yamaha OPL3SA-2 based card), but I really can't hear anything that great from the "Extra Stereo" plugin and the iQ QSound plugin. I have Altec Lansing ACS44 Speakers (nothing spectacularly great, but sure beats the Rat-Shack tin cans I was using for a while). The QBass makes the bass obscenely large and overpowers the rest of the music. I like some bass, but I'm not one of those people who cranks up the subwoofer all the way. It just sounds ridiculous. With the "Extra Stereo" plugin it does the opposite, and makes the high-end way too overpowering.

    I have my two cube speakers about 2 feet in each direction on both sides of my desk, with my subwoofer about 2 feet to my back right, chair in the middle of all of it. I'm not getting any "spatial" effects off either of these plugins. I'm probably "too close" to the speakers to hear that magical third channel which my brains supposed to register as being behind me (not going to happen). They both seem to just muck with the equalizer a little, pump up the high-end and low-end a decibel or two and introduce some echo. Is this supposed to sound "good"?. A friend of mine has a true 4 speaker setup, and this just simply doesn't compare, or even come close - even at $10 or free.
  • Why are plugins necessary for sound? If you add random effects to the sound then the sound will have changed it's quality. Are they for quality control?
  • by Wah ( 30840 )
    sonique has some tripped out ones too (and way cooler skins). Great for that NT box at work or if your lava lamp is on the fritz and you need something to stare at.

    also by far the easiest plugin scheme I've seen, very well done.
  • by Capt Dan ( 70955 ) on Wednesday November 10, 1999 @01:41PM (#1544817) Homepage
    Granted i have not tried alsa yet... But I didn't see any reason too.

    Last month I shelled out $30 for the OSS license and driver (20 for the base licencse, 10 for each card...)

    I ran their install program, it autodetected both my ISA and PCI soundcards. Quite possibly the most(least?) painless of my linux experiences.

    As a DJ, I have found their code to be solid and robust when it comes to running and mixing 4+ audio players for over 6 hours at a time. No problems whatsoever.

    I look at it this way. Sound support for *nix is what these guys do for a living, nearly every day, of every week, of every year. They were the ones to release Linux sound support years before alsa was a twinkle in someone's eye.

    They might not be open source, but they do support a free version of their Intellectual Property, and also monetarially support opensource projects. There's a lot of talk about how to get funding for beneficial opensource projects, and how to get people working on opensource full time. I did my part by sending these boys a check. Monetarially, there's more invested in the rotting leftovers in my fridge.

    Honestly, what's $30 compared to the amount you'll spend on computer parts/upgrades/etc over the next two years? You can't get a good game for that amount of money. I found the cost negligable.

    As a developer, their API is simple and cross platform. I wrote my own wrappers for it in under an hour, and haven't had need to change them since. Personally, reading the ALSA api makes my eyes hurt.

    "You want to kiss the sky? Better learn how to kneel." - U2
    "It was like trying to herd cats..." - Robert A. Heinlein
  • AlsaPlayer is a varispeed mp3 player. It can even play mp3's backwards at variable speed. A quick hack on that would make an excellent DJ mp3 player. It can also play CDs forwards and backwards at anyspeed. Its an excellent package.
  • maybe it's just me but to me unless there is some form of static music sounds like music sounds like music at the same volume. Is there any real way to tell the difference. What's wrong with the original sound cards. I never really owned one that worked with anything let alone linux.
  • Currently for playing mods, xmp whips all over mikmod when you have an AWE card, because it uses the wavetable features. Unfortunately there isn't a 'libxmp' available so porting it over to Mikmod isn't easy, and the mikmod owners seem not to be interested in AWE wavetable support. Bah, mikmod authors just read the stinking xmp code and integrate! sheesh. mikmod is feature-stripped IMO.
  • I worked for a while on a VQF plugin and got it working most of the way ( n). I said I would do the rest - seeking and visualisations during the Christmas. I think I'll drop 4th year and try and win me a sound card instead :-) .

    then again.........

    maybe I'll just submit it as it is :-/

    Vote me if you like VQF's :-))))))))
  • To quote []...

    SHOUTcast is Nullsoft's Winamp-based distributed streaming audio system. Now you can listen to live streaming audio, and even broadcast your own SHOUTcast station from the comfort of your regular Internet connection.
  • I know how to win! How about a plugin to monitor a user's listening habits, and transparently send that information back to a central site that can keep a big database of all user's listening habits?

    Why should the commercial people have all of the fun of selling purloined user information? I think it's about time that the open source community got in on the action!

    So that's my proposal: the Open Source User Exploitation (OSUE) plugin. Let's act like all those "professionals" out there at commercial software companies!

    The best supported card for AlSA is the Trident 4DWAVE-NX or DX (NX has quad speaker output). You can get these from for $50. It also supports a ton of other cards.
  • OSS has its place, but I trust ALSA more. The main benefits I see of free software are in the areas of security and compatibiliy. Who knows what's in the proprietary OSS? Yeah, it runs, but how many bugs are in it that could crash the kernel? (not to say that is has bugs, but who knows?) Having many eyes look at something (ie if it had freely availible source code) is the best way to ensure that problems don't exist. Money isn't an issue, reliability is.

    To correct you - the current kernel version isn't even supported by the 4front - most of the additions and bug fixes come from other kernel developers (mainly Alan Cox).

    OSS has always seemed like "baitware" to me - give a version away for free, and then offer a much improved version for sale. In my experience, most people using OSS want it for the PNP functionality, which I doubt OSS will ever release to the public, as it would kill their sales. I don't see how that could be viewed as a positive thing in regards to the rest of the community.

    They've also had a bad record of getting card support out, saying that they will release support only to announce later that the card in question will not be supported (mostly higher end cards) I've also heard of hardware manufacturers denying information to other developers because "4front is making a driver under our very restrictive NDA".

    I don't have anything against people making a living, but when it impedes others, something isn't right.
  • It has to do with the quality of the playback of the system. For example, speakers can be designed for a certain level of sound output. If the input is less than this level, the speaker does not resonate properly causing noise and distortion to be added in, making the output sound poor, and possibly causing permanent damage to the speaker itself.

    personal preference is personal preference. There is not standard.

    "You want to kiss the sky? Better learn how to kneel." - U2
    "It was like trying to herd cats..." - Robert A. Heinlein
  • All valid comments/points. It really just comes down to a matter of preference.

    Maybe they just need to hire more people.

    "You want to kiss the sky? Better learn how to kneel." - U2
    "It was like trying to herd cats..." - Robert A. Heinlein
  • XMMS plugins, as far as I know, are used for two things. One is to modify the program so that it can read certain formats. Ice/shoutcast, VQF, .wav, .mod, .mid, .ram are examples (the lst three don't exist yet AFAIK, but there's no reason they couldn't. The other (and more interesting, in my opinion) is to make pretty pictures. XMMS already has one called Blur Scope, and there are some others, which mostly reqire OpenGL. Winamp has some awesome ones.
  • Yeah, but the free Stereo plug-in that comes with XMMS is just about as good.

  • Actually, a MIDI plugin does exist. Sorry. I meant to say MOD and RAM don't exist.
  • I believe people contribute to the open source movement for 2 major reasons:
    1. for the good of society
    2. recognition among other geeks.

    It's always cool to tell your mates that you win some contest and I don't there's anything wrong with that.
  • There was, once upon a time, a PC Speaker driver for linux - but that was in the 1.2/1.3 days. The PC Speaker and the hardware that drives it is simply too crummy for any music use. Plus, any D/A conversion must be performed in software. It's also mono. And anymore, most everybody has a soundcard.
  • by int ( 9392 )
    If you're using gnome, checkout VSA [] for a plugin based visualization applet, works for anything that uses esound.
  • I think the coolest plugin someone could make would be a free implementation of the QSound plugin. Too bad I don't know how to do it :)
  • I have an hp48g calculator and it can produce entire symphonies (Bach I believe) from the sound in the speaker.

    I was impressed by the people who got the serial port on TI-85's to play waves. Some games had sound support.

    Now to port XMMS over to the z80 :-)* That's require quite the overclock, plus a biiig memory expander.
  • You might want to try to use TerminatorX (check at freshmeat). Allows you to scratch mp3's with each other, and I think it's audiofile/esd compliant.
  • Just because 4Front charges for the oss drivers does not make them evil. If i'm not mistaken they do also provide freebee drivers for many sound cards. I personally bought the oss drivers because it was the only way to get sound out of my machine. It worked, it was worth $30.

    This plugin contest is not about them trying to scam people into writing free code that they intend to sell. It's about providing some insentive to get people to contribute and make xmms a much better thing.

    I'd much rather live in the Linux world where people give stuff away up to the point where they need to get money to help make the development work worth while, rather than the windows world where everything is crippled or time bombed shareware.
  • I'd love to use XMMS, but I can't afford the RAM! I've only got about 64 megs or RAM in this box, and XMMS often shows up as taking up as much or more RAM than XFree. Why does an MP3 player take up so much RAM? As it runs it takes up more and more, leading me to beleive in some sort of a memory leak.

    I'd much rather use XMMS, but mpg123 works fine and doesn't take up nearly as much memory. I just wish it could do visualization plugins and stuff.

    Anyone else experienced this?
  • Here here!! I paid for a Forefront license as well. I'm not saying this to show off but this rampant IT MUST BE FREE OR ITS CRAP is just stupid and uneducated.
    "We hope you find fun and laughter in the new millenium" - Top half of fastfood gamepiece
  • 1) reading the documentation
    2) reading the docs written by other headbangers
    3) taking notes while headbanging (experience)
    4) headbanging in groups with knowledable help nearby (College level ECE lab courses)

    An ECE degree helps, but a lot of knowledge can be learned from just the textbooks. GO to a good ECE schools web page, find a class that seems interesting and read the text for that class. Although you would miss out on the Lab projects...

    "You want to kiss the sky? Better learn how to kneel." - U2
    "It was like trying to herd cats..." - Robert A. Heinlein
  • Make your buffer smaller dammit! Look in the preferences and change the buffer size for the sound driver.. It'll make the amount of ram xmms uses _far_ less. I use xmms and it works perfectly on my machine with a measly 32 mb ram, so stop complaining :-)
  • MOD does exist using the mikmod input plugin. RAM does not exist hehe :=)
  • > OSS has always seemed like "baitware" to me -
    > give a version away for free, and then offer a
    > much improved version for sale.

    FYI, OSS in the kernel existed 3 years before 4front was formed. OSS in the kernel was known as Voxware. So the commercial version came AFTER OSS already existed - so how can it be baitware?.

    So let me get this right.....sendmail existed as opensource and now it becomes baitware just becuase Sendmail Inc. released Sendmail PRO????

    In the same vein, X Windows becomes baitware just becuase XFree is opensource and MetroX and AccelX are commercial "closed source" versions?

    According to your definition of baitware, if something is open sourced, there can absolutely be no closed sourced impelementation that exceeds the open source features.

    Best regards
    Dev Mazumdar
  • Did you even read the contest rules?. What it says is that you can write any type of plugin: GPL or closed sourced. If you write GPL, we cannot sell it because it's GPL'ed, if it's closed source you keep your code and you sell your own plugin.

    Loki's hack contest was similar but different in the sense that the free hacks help them sell more Civ:CTP games. We aren't selling XMMS - it's GPL'ed for heaven's sakes.

    If you don't want to pay for OSS buy SuSE or Turbolinux - these vendors have put an unlocked (no support) version of OSS. If you want support, pay for OSS or use OSS/Free - they work just like the commercial drivers once you get them working. So where's the "OSS TAX" as you call it.

    Best regards
    Dev Mazumdar
  • How long has it been since xmms has been updated? They should at least move to a 1.0 release. In generaly, xmms is the best mp3 player I've ever heard. It uses 3% CPU and has insane quality! They really do need more plugings though.

    It does sound very good, but it uses a lot more than 3% CPU. The CPU it uses just doesn't show up under 'top' because of the way they do it - all the mp3 decoding/sound card output is handled by plugins, which don't show up in top (I don't know why, though) Awhile back I wrote a little mp3 visualization program, and since I was too lazy to write mp3 decoding code I just had it use X11Amp's plugins (back when it was still X11amp :-) When visualization was turned off it claimed to be using 0.0% of the CPU, which is impossible, regardless of how fast your processor is :-)

    "Software is like sex- the best is for free"
    -Linus Torvalds
  • I'm impressed, XMMS is a pleasure to use and the IQ plugin is so good I bought it after listening to the trial version for 5 minutes.

    Great job guys, thanks so much.

  • $50 cash. Need I say more. That brings the sound card down to a 'reasonable' $30. Lucas
  • It's on their FAQ what is happening. XMMS doesn't take up that much memory at all. Every thread shows up as taking 5 megs giving a total of 30 megs or so. In reality, it's only using 5 because it's all shared.
  • The trick is to buffer the data yourself and feed it to the output plugin closer to the actual output play time instead of just filling the buffers till they indicate they are full.

    I don't imaging that this is any more difficult than what I had to do to get around the buffering provided by the hardware/driver that I was talking to for output purposes. It was really quite easy, although I dumped the whole scheme and worked around a couple of bugs in the driver to just provide an interface to its buffering scheme. The end result is small and seems to be free of bugs.
  • I should never have said anything, huh?

Karl's version of Parkinson's Law: Work expands to exceed the time alloted it.