Freecom Musicpal and GPL

Seeking the ideal radio alarm clock that can wake me up playing music from my MediaTomb UPnP server, I stumbled across Freecom's Musicpal. At first I dismissed it instantly because it does not play ogg/vorbis audio files - and my whole collection is .ogg. And permanently transcoding ogg to mp3 isn't something you want especially on a small Epia 5000 with 500MHz clock speed.

I almost had forgotten about it when I discovered that the Musicpal uses Linux underneath, and makes the sources available under GPL. With the sources, I could simply add ogg support and compile my own Musicpal firmware image. Some minutes later, the order was sent out.

Playing around with the source code I discovered that all the open source tools they used and modified (Linux kernel, busybox, uboot etc.) can be downloaded from their site. The applications they developed (like nashville, the main software driving the player), are shipped as binaries only. This discovery set an abrupt end to my efforts getting ogg/vorbis files playing on the Musicpal. Reading their GPL page again, I saw it:

In accordance with the GPL, Freecom makes the relevant code available for download.

So now I am back to be the dumb user needing to plead the producer to please, please include this or that feature. Next time, I'll read the statements carefully and look at the code before ordering.

Written by Christian Weiske.

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