[maemo-users] Steve's Ranty Review #1: N800 ogg support

From: Steve Greenland steveg at moregruel.net
Date: Thu Oct 18 02:51:15 EEST 2007
Background: I'm a long-time Debian user and developer, and have grown
used to 'apt-get install somepackage' *working*. That's one of the
reasons I purchased the n800; I naively expected that having adopted
the best packaging *tools* available, the maemo community might also
adopt the Debian packaging *practices*. You need *both* to get the
Debian experience. Others have ranted about the general problems, and
it appears that Nokia and the maemo devels have plans to try to fix the
problems, so I won't repeat the rant here. Except as it applies to the
specific packages, of course.

Current state of ogg support, 17-October-2007.

Summary: the good news is that you can play oggs with N800. The bad
news? Read on...but let me first throw out a big "thank you" to all the
people who have worked on this. I rant because it's more fun to write
rants, and because if you don't write about the problems there's not
much to say, but I *can* play oggs on my N800, and I appreciate that.

Also, if I there are any errors, please correct them. I've not spent
days on this, just a little poking around.

Firstly, for some unknown reason there are *two* different ogg support
packages. One, from Tuomas Kulve, I'll call 'ogg-support'. The second,
by Marko Nykanen and Tilman Vogel (according to the garage page,but see
below), is 'mogg'.

Ogg-support is available from Mr. Kulve's repo at
http://tuomas.kulve.fi/debian, along with the necessary supporting
libraries and gstreamer plugins. Mr. Kulve signed the repo, and his GPG
key is available from the keyservers. (This is good.) OTOH, some of the
libraries are duplicates (by name, at least) of those available from
repository.maemo.org. This is bad, because as versions churn, you might
sometimes get the version from t.k.f, and other times from r.m.o. If
this works, then there's no reason to have the duplicates to begin with.
At least one of the package (gstreamer0.10-plugins-good-kulve) claims
to be maintained by a Nokia person, rather than Mr. Kulve. Mr. Kulve
- you've done lots of good work here; please update the control files
properly before your next build.

Mogg is available from r.m.o extras. Yea. The packages file shows the
maintainer for 'mogg' to be Jussi Kukkonen. Libraries are pulled from
r.m.o when available, no obvious dupes. 

Onto the players.

Built in media player: doesn't work. Mogg claims that it should (and
maybe it does in the IT2006 version), but it doesn't even find the files
on the card. (It does find MP3s.)

Canola: I've no idea if this works with either. Besides not being free
software, it wants to run some web-based configuration system. Which
didn't work for me. I lost interest.

UKMP (v 1.61): By Urho Konttori. No repository. The one-click install on
the maemo website is to the .deb, rather than an install file. Package
depends on python2.5-runtime (and all *its* dependencies), but since
it's a deb rather than in apt-able repository, you'd have to manage it
by hand. Oh, and though the webpage calls it UKMP, and the .deb is name
UKMP, it actually installs as "mediacenter", and creates a menu entry
called "UKTUBE". Yea consistency! It did find my oggs. Yea! It crashes
when trying to play them (with mogg, didn't try ogg-support). Boo!.
(To be fair, Mr Konttori notes that "ogg support is not good at the

Kilikali (v 0.2): Also by Tuomos Kulve, from his repo. Works (no surprise) with
ogg-support, doesn't with mogg (no sound). But it's a pretty barren
experience: the library interface is just a list of files, in random
order. Also, when loading files into the library, it doesn't recursively
scan the directory tree; instead, one must visit each directory and
load the files one-at-a-time. Oh, and it restarts at the top folder
("Gnochii") each time. Also, it loads (to the library list) *all* the
files it finds, not just the music files. I realize that this is a work
in progress, but it's hard to recommend right now.

Kagu: package maintained by Jesse Guardini. The homepage lists the
authors as "trevarthan" and "disq". Installed from r.m.o/extras. Well,
sort of: the postinst fails because it tries to run the scanner, which
needs X11, which doesn't work when you're ssh'd into the N800 running
apt-get. Not only that, it does this on upgrades as well as the initial
install. (Digression: why am I not using the Application Manager?
Well, besides the fact that apt-get is the One True Way, the AM is
*slow*. And unreliable (upgrades and updates often fail, but work with
apt-get). And there's no obvious way to upgrade packages except one
at a time, which is both slow and tedious. End digression). There are
two work-arounds: go to the AM, *remove* kagu, and then re-install.
This, you will be amazed to find, is slow. The second is to edit
/var/lib/dpkg/info/kagu.postinst and comment out the line that calls
kagu-scanner, and then run "dpkg --configure --pending". This is much
faster, but must be redone for each upgrade.

The next step is to run the scanner, which found the oggs (recursively).
Yea. Why is the scanner a completely separate program? I don't know.
Why are people so enamoured of having album covers on a memory limited
device? I don't know that, either, but at least you can disable it.

Anyway, once you get past the niggly bits, it works. Well, with mogg,
but not, AFAICT, with ogg-support. With ogg-support, it finds the oggs,
and lists them, and says it's playing them, but no sound. The interface
is overly fancy, to my taste, and not particularly snappy, but does
work. (Except why can't I add an album directly to the playlist? I have
to go to the song listing for the album. One should be able to add
the current selection (artist, album, song) to the playlist without
burrowing through the menus.

So, long story short (too late!) I'm using kagu with the mogg libraries.

Now, a quick rant at the kagu developers: you get bonus points for
using trac, but letting your users spend their valuable time entering a
bug report ("New Ticket", in trac language) to help *you* improve your
product, but then rejecting the ticket as "unauthorized" is just a giant
"Screw You" to your users. OTOH, is does keep the bug reports down.
Either make it useful, or just disable the new ticket functionality, or

Ah, now I feel better. Hey, don't complain. I told you it was a rant in
the subject line.


Steve Greenland
    The irony is that Bill Gates claims to be making a stable operating
    system and Linus Torvalds claims to be trying to take over the
    world.       -- seen on the net

More information about the maemo-users mailing list