Week 14 + 15

Between a bank holiday (which threw my timing out), some other matters I needed to sort out and not much to really talk about for week 14, this update is a combination of the last two weeks (14 and 15).

So between all of that and “ooh look at that shiny thing” distractions (which I need to get in-check), what I’d intended to do (especially for week 14 didn’t quite manifest itself). The main thing that has appeared has been an (almost complete) update of the vgmstream plug-in (which I’ve not yet released as a standalone update yet as transcoding support needs to be finished off).


The vgmstream plug-in fits in well with what a lot of people have used Winamp for with being able to play video game music, module files and the like. The reason for picking this plug-in to update is because I’ve used it on-off over the last few years and finally after seeing another comment about issues with it showing as ‘not loaded’ in Winamp’s preferences (which is due to not installing all of the supporting dlls the plug-in needs), I’ve put on the development page what the changes from the existing copy of the plug-in are.


Other things have been helping koopa fix a weird issue with backuptool which was a small step in helping him to get a v3.0 release finally done. So once again, if you haven’t already done it, backup your Winamp settings!


I’ve also been starting on the basics of the installer and with things at the moment, it’s about a 1.4MiB installer at the moment (which extracts out to ~4.3MiB) so isn’t too “heavy”.

In the process of doing the installer, I’ve decided that to be more open in what could be installed and where, I’ve put up this page which does just that. Please bear with as it’s a bit crude as it’s just a basic output by using tree /F /A on the command-line so isn’t nice looking or link out to related information.

I may also do a similar thing with Winamp itself for what comes in the redux installers.


The rest of the time due to being limited has mainly been aimed at working on fixing any bugs that exist with the new code and if needed doing some patching to disable some of the features in Winamp (just so I can then for example set a menu item once instead of having to hook it via all attempts to update menu items - which means less code and less processing = win :o) ). The only downside is that it’s a bit slower to implement than just going for the hook and filter approach but it’s about doing what is right long-term than just a quick bodge fix.

I’ve also been reading up on a few things related to abandonware and orphan works which is all a bit confusing but also quite interesting in other respects.


I also on Friday against my better judgement looked at the official forums and ended up having to make a reply which in hindsight I don’t think I should have done but I’m tired of hearing snippets of things that the lack of an official Winamp update is somehow my fault due to not allowing them to include the JTFE plug-in.

My decision to not allow them to include it anymore was solely based on their management never responding to the email I’d sent to try to a) clarify any future Winamp involvement and b) to prevent such a situation arising where I’m blamed for things. The lack of any response and the subsequent pain in getting owed pay out of them means I’m now holding to my stance and as they’ve not made any attempt to contact me (i’m not hard to find), I am not going to take the blame for that (what I will admit is that how code changes were done post-sale weren’t done as well as they could have been).

Maybe the post is still there but I really don’t know as I’ve not looked back there and really don’t plan on doing so. As it just seems to have gone to the dogs (especially with the lack of any official response on the SHOUTcast side which is completely saddening to see when a lot of what is still being asked is simple to answer or can be easily found in the recent docs that are provided with the DNAS) or just having people asking the same question over and over again and others having to point them to the same post (as sticky threads are often ignored even if made clearly obvious).

And with what’s being stated for their new version imho just turns Winamp into a WMP wrapper for key formats (and even that isn’t complete it seems) and is just a way to avoid paying out (along with wanting people to work on it for free - do we see a recurring theme here..). So if that is the best that can be done then I’ll more than happily pass and keep on with this project instead. So that’s the rant over with.


Finally onto a more cheerful note after that rant, I’m looking for suggestions on what people would prefer to use for beta testing.

As my initial thought is to use something like a google group or mailing list or having a small forum and having feedback open (or private depending on consensus) and with private download links for the beta builds (done however depending on what is chosen).

So thoughts / suggestions about this (as I don’t have a preference at this time) then please leave it below in the comments or drop me an email if you’d prefer to do it that way :o)

-dro


Comments:

  1. Hi Dro, I’m a Winamp user/lover since 1998, and I’d like to help being a beta tester for the cause. Long live Winamp!

  2. I really hope that if they release a new version of Winamp that it isn’t just a WMP wrapper for key formats as you’ve mentioned, DrO. Wouldn’t it be ideal to see them build upon the already existing Winamp core? Make it lean and efficient for newer machines while focusing on bug squashing? Why redesign/reconstruct the wheel when it already works.

    I still wish that Winamp was open source. I still believe that rebuilding the community around the player will be what is best for the player (and the people who love it) in the long run. Give it back to the community that once held it up. It seems to me that it was the corporate muddling that brought Winamp to it’s current sorry state. From plugin development to skin development and everything in between, I imagine that we’d see updates more often this way if the community still existed in more modern means here and now in 2016.

    And since you’ve brought it up, I’m interested more in the concept of Abandonware/Orphan Works as it might apply to Winamp.

    Do you have any specific ideas on this?

  3. Hi Darren, DJ Egg did reply to you after your post. I wanted to link it for you since it seems like you might not go back to read it on your own:
    http://forums.winamp.com/showpost.php?p=3055628&postcount=1474

    Anyway, I’m excitedly reading your development blog weekly and looking forward to WACUP. As always sir, carry on the excellent work. :)

  4. Victor: noted on my list, thanks.

    osm0sis: long time no see :o) thanks for the link but I don’t intend on looking at it. on reflection my post / reaction wasn’t something I should have done but it’s done now and that’s that. it’s just sad to see the state of that place now *shrugs*

  5. JKX: My WMP comment is about the fact that their version will be relying on the Windows codecs for MP3 playback and a few other things (video stuff I believe). I don’t have a problem on the video side of things but from what I’ve been told it’s going to rely on Window’s MP3 decoder and that I do have an issue with. As core playback formats in Winamp have always been done so you know what you’re getting irrespective of the OS. It’s effectively like using in_dshow (directshow plug-in) for more of the formats rather than for just video / specific fallback cases if there is no native plug-in.

    The only reason to be doing it is to avoid having to pay licensing and all of that which was previously one reason for 2014 never seeing an update due to wanting to wait until at least February 2015 for when most of the MP3 patents expired.

    Maybe I’ve been mis-informed about the MP3 playback side of things but overall I’m just not hearing positive things and if the only thing for their new release is changing encoders / decoders and no new features, then there is no need to bother installing it if already using an existing install (what what is known to be broken with it due to post-sale stuff).

    And maybe it is the better way to do it but it goes at odds with how Winamp is a contained player for how it handles key formats. But all of this is done with the same Winamp core as far as I know, and is just specific plug-in changes to do it.

    —-

    Open sourcing I don’t think will help that much as you need to have existing people around to want to do things.

    Repeatedly there were calls for it to be open sourced, it was partially done with the remains of Winamp3 and also for AVS and Milkdrop and basically nothing of use to Winamp came from that. The biggest thing was that Milkdrop clones just got better (and probably to an extent surpassed it). That is why I’m sceptical about Winamp and open source as what has been done never benefits Winamp (which is meant to be the whole point).

    Some corporate decisions haven’t helped the state of things (e.g. OpenCandy in the installer but then it paid people’s wages, including mine for a while), but with so much having changed in the 19 years that Winamp has been around, overall usage patterns have changed like the general shift away from PCs to mobile.

    Though a lot of things can be done just be making a replacement of the existing plug-in that provides the feature or by manipulating them with a smaller plug-ins (e.g. my bookmark categoriser plug-in works by leveraging the native plug-in to then provide extra functionality on top).

    So there’s a lot that can be done without native source code already as existing plug-ins out there have already shown. Yes for some aspects it’d be simpler to have the native source code, but then what’s to stop having x, y and z versions which all work a bit differently, break some plug-ins, not others and all that. That is what I’ve seen with the forking of the Linux players (including those started as Winamp clones) over the years and it really doesn’t inspire me that if it were to happen to Winamp that it’d be any different (if anything I’d expect it to just be ripped to bits, scoffed at and that’s it).

    I want to be wrong on that view point but I’ve seen too many projects get open sourced and just die - it’s like open sourcing is just the means to finally kill it off. Obviously there are some cases where it works and works well, but on the whole, it doesn’t (look at the mess that happened with songbird becoming nightingale and just not having the devs to do much with it).

    —-

    With abandonware / orphan works, an issue exists in that Winamp Pro cannot be bought anymore but people still want to use it (not that it’s hard to find a keygen / crack it / find a copy of what support emails out post-sale). So if there is still a demand for it (or even if someone has paid in the past but lost their key and cannot get it back - as the database that held that information is lost if the mists of time somewhere) and it’s been stated that the pro product is no more, what is the possibility of just generically unlocking the pro functionality.

    As AOL have given up the rights (and the main entity noted in the 5.666 license doesn’t exist) and Radionomy have stated they won’t provide a pro version but still hold the general rights to Winamp. So under abandonware / orphan works, it becomes very grey as to what is ok or not (as it also varies by region) in-order to keep unsupported versions of software which have locked features going when there is a demand but no official means to get an lock code, etc.

    It’s hard to work through but I found it quite interesting reading up about. All of which stemmed from trying to make a few small ui changes so it’s easier to see if it’s a wacup install or not being used (mainly the main right-click menu which shows if it’s a pro or non-pro install) and it made me wonder about the pro functionality and that rabbit hole :o)

  6. DrO, I have already told you but I would like to help you in betatest and translation.

    About beta testing… mailing list was quite good in old times. However, I think the best option would be as you wrote, a small forum but maybe with limited access for others. I wonder what other people think…

    Ps: Is this possible to remove my posts related to backup tool on your site (https://getwacup.com/blog/index.php/2016/04/11/week-11/)? If so, please do it.

  7. DrO, well for what it’s worth, it seemed like a nice heartfelt reply from DJ Egg. I agree, it’s a pretty empty/desperate feeling over there.. The YASAPI plugin is pretty much the only interesting thing happening.

    Koopa had mentioned the lack of a playlist generator as an issue of their “5.8 Beta” there, and I wanted to pitch my idea for a basic one to you: just a simple random ML song picker with a rolling playlist like vect and I had implemented using ActiveWinamp scripts way back ( http://forums.winamp.com/showthread.php?p=2666474#post2666474 ).. but unfortunately that broke (hard) due to the general state of disrepair of ActiveWinamp overall. It had 5 previously played tracks, and an advanced queue of 15-20, all in the main playlist editor, a lot like the old Party Shuffle iTunes used to ship with.

    In semi-related news, it looks like someone started fixing up ActiveWinamp, but then also gave up: https://bitbucket.org/silverbacknet/activewinamp/

    Not sure how possible it would be given the ML code you have access to, but my forever-ago request for a little Smart View Query Language love ( http://forums.winamp.com/showthread.php?t=311323 ) still stands as well. :P

    Anyway, I’ll let you get on with your good work, I just wanted to throw my couple of ideas onto the pile! Thanks for everything over the years and here’s looking forward to great things yet to come.

  8. Pawel: And I fully intend to make use of your offer :o) (had thought I’d already said so).

    And this is why i’ve openly asked for feedback as i’m flip-flopping between a mailing list or a small forum at the moment. Which may well change again as to what I think is best, hence trying to get some other suggestions.

    Is there really a need to remove those posts as I don’t see what the problem is with them…

    osm0sis: (have you put a zero in when it was an o on the forum?) I think it was a few weeks back either on a post / comment on here or on the enthusiasts group that I said I felt sorry for Egg as all he’s getting is the crap end of the stick when it’s not his fault (but is what happens if you’re the only visible entity).

    Strange you mention about activewinamp, and the old script as it had come to mind when talking about how playlists work with Winamp (main vs library and the disconnect that confuses). As there’s definitely viability in just making it as a dedicated feature so there can be better control over playback (which has been addressed in different ways over the years whilst I was looking back at old 2.x changelogs).

    As for query language stuff, it depends on what the request is. As I can change some things, but others will effectively require overriding most of the local library view handling to achieve fuller changes.

  9. If I can remember, Egg posted info related to the 5.8 Beta in the forums as well.

    Their MP3 decoder is based on mpg123. But AAC Decoder, H.264 Decoder and MPEG-4 Decoders are based on Windows Media Foundation. Some of this stuff only works on Vista+ only other stuff on Windows7+ only.
    This means, that even for old valid registered Pro users, that playback doesn’t work on XP and on Vista in some cases anymore.
    One of the big advantages of Winamp always was, that it has shipped its own codecs and was independent from 3rd party filters.

  10. You have to understand one thing. Winamp is not the same as in old good times and it seems it never will be. Users will have to accept changes or they just have to forget Winamp (or use DrO’s plugin pack with AOL based code).

    In current Winamp situation I don’t see anything bad in using WMF decoders. If Radionomy has no resources/plan/willingness to actively develop Winamp then it is neccessary to use built-in decoders/audio API. It seems they do not want to pay for patents/licensed code. Or there is nobody who can write plugins based on open source code.

    And one more thing. Windows XP should go away long time ago. It is old and shitty. I think only Win7+ windows should be supported. I still belive we will see some day a stable 5.8 release. Maybe without few features we all know and use (JTFE for example), but it all need time…

  11. If Radionomy has no resources/plan/willingness to actively develop Winamp then it doesn’t matter what they implement(ed) or not. And nothing can die, which already seems to be dead. There would be alternatives to the Windows filters, why not using ffmpeg for the whole decoding stuff, if there are license issues, just provide an external download link. They will do the same with lame_enc.dll, which won’t be part of the installer anymore because nobody wants to pay the licenses. I think if Winamp depends on more and more 3rd party filters, it isn’t Winamp anymore, then you can directly use WMP or a clone. Windows XP is dead, right, though I bet a lot of people are still using it depending on the country, and if you don’t connect it with the Internet, it is safe as well. Winamp still supports XP, then they should drop the support for that in general. As for Win7+ only, yeah lets get rid of the Vista users, doesn’t matter that Vista and Windows 7 are nearly the same and that Vista still gets security updates. :D And about things need time, more than 2 years now were nothing happened - not one shabby announcement from radionomy.

  12.   Darthsternie  |  Sunday, May 15, 2016 - 09:38:05

    I guess a tiny forum for beta testing would be the best idea. I’d also really like to help Beta testing :)

  13. Thanks, for the insight/perspective on Open Sourcing. It actually reminds me of something that I’ve read recently on reddit regarding the development of CEMU (the Wii U emulator). One of the lead devs spoke on why they aren’t going to open source the code at this point in time. Stating numerous reasons of course but most notable is that the team will have control over the direction of development preventing numerous forks (and the potential for numerous crap variations). I see this as being quite beneficial while software is in early stages of development but I’m skeptical of how beneficial it is to the software once it’s become well established and regular development on it becomes almost non existent. The lead dev on that project had also said that when the time is right, they will have an open release of the source code. Many years after primary development has come to a crawl/stop, this has the potential to breathe new life into the software. Especially when forks reintegrate new tricks into the Official build. I think perhaps (off the top of my head) it was the Dolphin emulator (Wii/Gamecube) that was a good example of this where a fork actually ended up significantly increasing performance and now their rendering code is used in the main build. This might just be the exception rather than the rule however. I think that what is most important for Winamp if it’s going to survive is a community of people that are able to contribute to the application in some significant way. For that to happen, there has to be some level of openess even if the source itself is no completely open. There needs to be a place where new devs can read/watch(video) and learn from modern guides on how to code and test new plugins and modern skins (for 2016 and beyond). And we need a central web hub again where all of these creators can post their creations and gain valuable feedback from the community. Sort of like it used to be. But modern and better than ever. It can be done.

    Aside from that, I wanted to make a comment that I appreciate the shoutout in Week 16s blog post to the comments here. It’s what brought me back to make this post. Which actually makes me wonder since it’s been mentioned above a couple times regarding BETA testing, how beneficial a forum would be for these public seen posts as well. Or at the very least some sort of mechanism that notifies those who have posted, that another comment has been made. I would have missed your response completely, Dro, if it wasn’t for the mention in WK16’s post. Cheers :-)

  14. It’s a tricky situation to know what is the right thing or not when it comes to the availability of Winamp’s source code as for some projects it can do wonders but that also depends a lot on the number of developers and also if there is a common view point on what needs to be done. Which is easier said than done and is why even amongst the Winamp inspired clones there’s been forks of those open source solutions and some survived but most generally failed (which has probably skewed my view point on what would happen to Winamp if it was under such a situation).

    And with a project the age of Winamp (as it’s a bit over 19 years since v0.2 was released), open sourcing it just feels like giving up on it as an owner would pretty much only do that on something with that sort of history if they didn’t have the interest / intentions to fund further development. Then again maybe it is the right time to do it but it still comes back to having developers who would work on it in a consistent manner and not just do like with other parts of Winamp that were already open sourced and rip out what helps improve other projects.

    As sadly most of those behind the Save Winamp site were web developers which is ok for some aspects (a better SHOUTcast / Icecast stations view for example) but not when it comes to proper changes to Winamp like good integration of features (as I still hold that the SHOUTcast view should be like it was back in the 2.9x / 5.0x days where it was natively done and correctly followed the current skin colours, etc). But then who is going to want to develop for something that the owners off don’t care about or as the image that keeps persisting is that Winamp is dead / doesn’t work so there’s no point in doing anything as it’s a lost cause (which at times really gets me down seeing as I’m putting my money where my mouth is to try to do the opposite, hence living on my savings as I don’t feel comfortable trying to do crowd funding / pushing for donations until I’ve got something tangible to show off).

    And I definitely agree that there needs to be some way to encourage and get people re-involved but I’m not sure how other than from me trying to get WACUP to a first publically releasable state and then trying to get some buzz around it and keep that going. As I’m more than happy to answer questions and point people in the right direction when it comes to doing things with Winamp and something I’ve never done too well with in the past but need to is to better document things (as I’m sure I could do a mini-SDK update that at least covers the things that are 5.666 specific and so on - is just time that is the issue).

    Comment notifications is something I’ve still to get sorted out (am not sure if there’s a flatpress plug-in already or not) for blog comments. As I do get notifications as the blog admin, so it’s just what can be done for you and others who are replying. This is also why I’ve gone more having a little forum for testing vs a mailing list as not only does it make it easier to have related attachments for issues, there can also be a more fluid way to discuss certain things which aren’t too get as part of the blog comment system at the moment (as this whole reply would have been easier if I could quote and reply in blocks so there’s context to look back at when reading).

    The fact I’m getting comments from people still amazes me and is much appreciated for all who have taken the time to read (or skim over) my ramblings :)


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