Giving up on Vorbis

I got myself a nice Apple Airport Express, so now I can stream audio into my stereo (I know other possibilities exist, but I like the fact that this one also works as a portable base station). It was really easy to set up, but whenever I tried to play a song, it would play on the loudspeakers of the laptop, not the stereo set.

I tried to figure out what was wrong with it - and then I realized that ~AirTunes transmits only MP3 or AAC, not OGG. And there's no fix in sight, neither by the Ogg QT plugin or Apple.

Okay, I've had it. I have been an advocate of the Open Source Ogg Vorbis, a very high quality audio codec with big promises. But unfortunately it has just remained just that - a promise. It's virtually unsupported in portable players (Rio Karma and iRiver players excluded - which essentially makes them mail-order only). Some music software supports it, most do not. The development is slow. It's just making life a bit too difficult for someone, who just wants things to work. There's a certain limit on the time one can spend tinkering - and I want to use my tinkering time on other things.

So I'm giving up on Ogg, and re-encoding the 2GB of Ogg music back to MP3 (from the originals, of course). To get a similar quality, I'll use about 1.5x the disk space, but my life will be easier. Hard drives are cheap.

BTW, I'm also ready give up on Debian - Debian unstable still has Firefox 0.9.3, and tends to break on every other apt-get upgrade. Especially X causes premature gray hair. But that's a subject for an another time, though I'd love to hear ideas. I want to have the ease-of-use of APT (no RPM hell for me, please), and I want a distro that keeps its software more up-to-date.




Comments

Drooling.... I'll have one of those one day too!

--pni, 08-Oct-2004


# apt-cache policy mozilla-firefox
mozilla-firefox:
  Installed: 0.10.1+1.0PR-1
  Candidate: 0.10.1+1.0PR-1
  Version Table:
 *** 0.10.1+1.0PR-1 0
        499 ftp://ftp.fi.debian.org experimental/main Packages
        100 /var/lib/dpkg/status
     0.9.3-6 0
        500 ftp://ftp.fi.debian.org unstable/main Packages
        500 ftp://ftp.us.debian.org unstable/main Packages

--psi-, 09-Oct-2004


Yeah, with all the problems from unstable, I really don't want to run "experimental". No thanks.

--JanneJalkanen, 09-Oct-2004


I switched from Ogg to mp3 for similiar reasons (no iPod support), and it's no big deal. Lots of reencoding needed of course. I use lame --vbr-new -V 0, produces big files but the quality is excellent (to my ears). I too would love to use Ogg, but it just does not have the needed support (yet?).

About Debian... it's a great server distro, but for desktops it's not that hot because of the lagging versions even if you use unstable. I use Gentoo on my workstation nowadays, and even though it has a rep of a "hacker distribution" I've actually found it very pleasant, and you get new software almost as soon as it's released. Lot of time spent compiling, of course, but "emerge" (the Gentoo package control thingy) automates everything.

--Orava, 09-Oct-2004


I'm hearing mostly positive noises on ubuntu. If I had an ounce of OS tinkering curiosity left, I'd set it up on a spare disk. (And since I don't, maybe mentioning it to you will let me check it out some day.;)

//ebu

--ebu, 09-Oct-2004


Ogg support... Dang, I was going to get an Airport Express too, but I have a huge collection of self-ripped Oggs. Lucky you with your 3 gigs - I've got around 45 gigs which took me half an year of ripping.

Oh well.

--kimmy, 11-Oct-2004


Oh, forgot to comment on the Debian issue....

I switched from Debian to Gentoo because it offered best-of-class documentation, new and working software and because emerge is way more powerful than apt while being just as easy. The only downside to Gentoo are the insane compile times. Gentoo people always try to downplay that issue by telling you to start the emerge just before you go to sleep but it's much worse than that....

.... so in the end the compile times were the reason I switched back to Debian. Blame me for not owning fast computers, but if I can install Debian faster on a P1/90 than Gentoo on my dual P3/800 then there's something very much wrong with Gentoo.

--kimmy, 11-Oct-2004


FreeBSD / Gentoo

Of course, I'm a freebsd advocate but I hear gentoo has the same kind of friendliness for sysadmin like ports/etc...

--Sty, 12-Oct-2004


Thanks people, for the good suggestions. Ubuntu looks interesting, but I don't know how viable it is (Linux distros tend to die pretty fast). Gentoo I've been thinking about, but the recompilation part sounds a bit... harsh. But at least it is used enough so that it won't die easily.

--JanneJalkanen, 12-Oct-2004


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