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fre:ac Developer Blog

Welcome to the fre:ac developer blog. I will post status updates and other information about fre:ac development here.

fre:ac development status update 12/2013 Print
Written by Robert   
Tuesday, 31 December 2013 19:59

After the 20131217 snapshot release I started making plans for the next snapshot, so here's what's planned for the next one.

The main new feature will be support for the Core Audio AAC and ALAC encoders on Windows and OS X. This will provide much higher quality AAC encoding compared to the currently used FAAC encoder. On Windows, however, you will need to have iTunes or QuickTime installed to enable Core Audio support in fre:ac. On OS X, Core Audio is part of the operating system, so the new encoders will always be available in fre:ac.

Some minor improvements on my list are support for ID3v2 chapters, drag & drop support on Linux and OS X and some more things that I will talk about later. All of these are optional for the next snapshot though, so I'm not sure if they will be implemented there or in a later one. I'll give you a status update on these in the next blog entry.

Power to the people! Print
Written by Robert   
Saturday, 21 December 2013 19:12

fre:ac running on a G4 PowerMac.Er, PowerPC that is. This summer I bought two G4 PowerBooks to try and port fre:ac to it. I ported it to OS X Leopard, tested for and eliminated any byte order dependencies, allowing fre:ac to run on the PowerPC's big endian architecture, and finally polished some rough edges.

So dust off your old PowerMac and try the latest fre:ac snapshot for OS X. It's a universal binary working on Intel and PowerPC Macs alike. You'll need OS X Leopard on your PowerMac for it to work. No video downloader on PowerPC (and Leopard in general) though, sorry. It will probably be available in a future snapshot.

fre:ac development status update 11/2013 Print
Written by Robert   
Tuesday, 05 November 2013 19:59

I just finished implementing all features planned for the next fre:ac snapshot. The next two or three weeks will be used for stability testing and packaging so the release is expected to happen around mid November early December. Here's what you can expect from the next snapshot:

  • Support for OS X Leopard and running without XQuartz on OS X.
  • Support for opening virtual CD track AIFF files on OS X.
  • A slider for seeking and to indicate position during playback.
  • Support for querying the MusicBrainz database using their freedb gateway.
  • Support for the VisualOn and Fraunhofer AAC encoders.
  • Support for running on Linux on ARM processors.
  • Fixed CD ripping issues on Linux.
  • Improved stability and reliability on all platforms.
  • Dozens of fixes and minor improvements.

Several problems have been identified and fixed thanks to Coverity Scan. That's an online service offering free static source code analysis for Open Source projects. Coverity Scan originally found 123 issues in fre:ac's code. About one third of them were false positives, but 84 potential bugs that are fixed in the upcoming snapshot. A handful of those defects had a high possibility of crashing fre:ac during normal use. I'd definitely recommend Coverity Scan to every Open Source project. It's free and a great help in improving a project's code quality.

Getting rid of the X Print
Written by Robert   
Saturday, 14 September 2013 19:12

fre:ac running on OS X without XQuartzIt's been a while since the 20130430 snapshot release and even more since my last post here, so here's an update on fre:ac development.

I have been working several weeks to try and make fre:ac run on OS X without an X server. The screenshot to the right shows fre:ac running on Snow Leopard without XQuartz.

Making this work meant implementing the smooth Class Library window and graphics backends on top of Cocoa. This was a lot more work than porting the original Win32 code to Xlib and Cairo back then. The Cocoa API is just so much different from any other user interface API I've come across before. Because of that it sometimes was difficult to map smooth calls to Cocoa and vice versa.

However, I'm making good progress on this now and think about 75% of the work is done at this point. It seems save to say that native Cocoa support will be available in the next fre:ac snapshot.

fre:ac video tutorial at Print
Written by Robert   
Friday, 02 March 2012 01:12

The folks at notified me that they made a Quick Look Video of fre:ac. The first part of it shows the menus while the second is actually a quick tutorial on how to rip and convert using fre:ac. I had a look and really liked it; the video is here. Scroll down a bit to get to the actual review with the video embedded at the right.

Large fonts support is coming finally Print
Written by Robert   
Friday, 02 March 2012 00:46

fre:ac in large fonts modeProbably the single most requested feature still missing in fre:ac is support for large fonts. Current versions use the same small user interface font no matter what your font settings in Windows are, making it hard for many people to actually use the program. That era will be over soon!

The next snapshot will include support for large fonts and fre:ac will finally obey your font size settings. I worked really hard the last few months to make this happen. It was a challenging task most of the time and a frustrating one now and then, but I think it has now reached a state where it is save to announce an imminent release.

The plan is to release that snapshot in late March or early April. Shortly after that, there will be a 1.0.21 Beta release also including large fonts support.

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