My first experiece with Rockbox didn't go so well...

Message Edited by TomJensen on 05-03-2010 06:11 PM

@tomjensen wrote:
 this reminds me of my first nix install, where the directory is littered with stuff, settings everywhere, and nary a readable help file to be found.

TomJensen wrote: 

at least there is a manual, and it’s well written to boot 



TomJensen wrote: 
The default font is tiny and ugly. I’m guessing it’s something like 3x5 pixels. May be 4x6.

 Its actually 12 pixels, which is about as big as we wanted to go on a player with such a tiny screen.   Most people seem to agree its about the right size.  Larger ones are included though, so if you have bad eye sight you can just increase the size.

TomJensen wrote: 

 Found that I had to install a themes package to get to the fonts. 


 No the default install comes with various fonts.  


TomJensen wrote: 

Button functions aren’t consistent. One would think that the Home key would get you back to the Home menu, or at least take you out into the next higher layer, but it doesn’t.


Rockbox doesn’t have a Home menu like the sandisk firmware, so that doesn’t really make sense.  Instead it has a file tree and a database menu, and you can get back to it by pushing select.  IMO this makes more sense.  You push select once to go in, again to come back out.  Meanwhile Home can be used for something more useful, in this case to go to your current playlist. 

You keep mentioning the home button.  It really sounds like your complaint is that rockbox is not the original firmware.  Its not.  Its rockbox.  We don’t try to imitate sandisk.  We were doing this first.


TomJensen wrote: 

Same with the other buttons. It depends on what widget you’re in. I suppose that with a bunch of different people involved putting stuff in, consistent UI isn’t a high priority as long as it works after a fashion.  

I disagree.  The controls are about as consistent as can be given the number of buttons to work with on the Fuze.  When they’re odd, its usually because we have fewer keys then we need for a screen.  

TomJensen wrote: 
Example: Select Files. There’s a ##MUSIC#, then there’s a MUSIC below that. Not sure why there’s a ##MUSIC# since there’s nothing in it.

Thats something the sandisk firmware creates.  We can’t really change how they do things.  We do have a database option though, which means you don’t have to look at the file system if you don’t want to.

TomJensen wrote: 
Go into MUSIC, select a song. Player comes up, but song doesn’t play. Press the Play button twice, then it starts to play. Press Home. Nothing happens. Press <<. Goes to the next higher level. Weird.


Single click starts playback for me.  Double click brings me back to the file tree.   Pushing << would actually skip the previous track, not go up one level.  

I think playback actually started with a single click, but your track had a second or two of silence, so you didn’t realize it.  Then when you double clicked, you ended up back at the file tree.  Either that or you’re forgetting what you actually hit.

TomJensen wrote: 
There’s a lot of weird stuff mixed in with the good. The chess plugin is nifty, and some other ones like Asteroids. But then there’s a text editor?! And a paint program?! Plus a whole lot of useless and ugly demos. I didn’t see a way to uninstall them; they’re inside the core package. I think you have to go into one of the dirs and play detective to delete them one by one.


Why would you want to delete them?  Just don’t use the demos if you don’t want to look at them.  They’re like 100KB total.  And I don’t think deleting them is a good idea, then you’ll have a bunch of broken menu options.

TomJensen wrote: 
A little disappointed and deflated. I don’t doubt that RB has all the tech widgets that are on the feature list, but usability is about on par with your commandline linux distro. Gotta read the man pages to get anything done. 


Your complaints seem to revolve around rockbox being different then the UI in the sandisk firmware.  Which is fine, but if you like the sandisk firmware you’re probably best sticking with it.  I’m not really a big fan of it’s UI, so I prefer that we not do things that way.  

I have no complaint with RB. The post is simply my experience with it, good or bad, and it’s mostly bad. Granted, it’s a personal opinion. But I’m not a noob for tech matters, nor am I unfamiliar with usability issues.

Actually, I don’t like the Sansa UI either. But at least it’s simple, which fits the purpose of the device, because its functions are also simple–to play songs/movies from a list. 

The default font chosen for RB is horrendous, your thinking it as “suitable” is emblematic of our difference in usability. There’s not much more to be said, I don’t think.

Message Edited by TomJensen on 05-03-2010 06:12 PM

If I could never see the OF again I would be happy.  I remember feeling a little overwhelmed at the number of options in rockbox when I first installed, but that lasted about a minute.  I think I only had to look up 1 thing in the manual, and it was nothing to do with any of the issues you had.  I knew what I was getting myself into though.

Wow. Well, just the opposite experience in my case.

See, even though I am very experienced with weird firmwares, and installing odd things on devices, I installed the new FW and before I did ANYTHING I sat there with laptop on and reading the manual with my player in my hand.   

I was like a kid in a candy store. Seems like every page of the manual I found myself saying “OMG! IT DOES THIS!” “OMG IT DOES THAT!” “YES YES YES FINALLY!!!”

So your complaints are:

  • Ugly font 
  • HOME button doesn’t go HOME, need to press PLAY twice?
  • There are plugins on it you won’t use

Is that right? That’s it?

Well, I think the default font is fine. On a screen so tiny I think it is pretty crisp actually. And as has been stated you can change it without a theme change. Much larger and words would spill off the screen in just the right parts where it would drive most of us crazy.

I LOVE the “press twice” option. It’s an option, by the way. RTFM. 

I don’t use any plugins. I feel no need to remove any of them.

IMO, Rockbox is so far ahead of the OF that it’s just silly to compare them. RB was created and tweaked by people that love music. That love music devices. It has every feature of just about every player on the market today. The ONLY thing I can think of that it does not have on the Fuze is RDS and that cannot be added via software only.

But to each his own. You are certainly entitled to not like it. 

  • Rockbox Addict



Interesting to see your experience TomJensen.

Like Peregrine’s, mine is the opposite too. Sure, Rockbox is different and it has its own (consistant across most supported devices) way of doing things, but the total control is great to me. It took me a little time to get the hang of it (particularly the keys used), but the amount of functionality means some creativity is needed to allow access to it all.

The only time I unfortunately still have to use the original firmware is when putting new files on the player, but that’s ok I suppose.

The biggest highlights of Rockbox on my Fuze (and Ipod Nano 2G for that matter) are real file browsing and the bookmark system. Particularly the latter is crucial for my main Fuze usage, being audiobooks.

I have never used the Rockbox Utility but I can imagine that after downloading a theme and putting it on the Fuze, you still need to select it on the device itself. 

Rockbox might not be for everyone, but it’s great to have it as an option and I would be happy if all my players would have it.

This has nothing to do with Rockbox, but @Peregrine, what does RTFM mean?  I have an idea, but it may not be right.

RTFM means Read The ummm…Firmware Manual

Black-Rectangle wrote:
RTFM means Read The ummm…Firmware Manual

That’s probably close enough for this forum. :wink:

Message Edited by TomJensen on 05-03-2010 06:12 PM

I’m still amazed that Sandisk allows open talk about RB on it’s forum.  Granted, I’m not a fan of RB; the original firmware does everything I want it to do…but, it still seems odd that Sandisk tolerates open discussion about a competing interface.

rockbox is non profit. if people want rockbox, they have to buy the fuze first. they are not competing

I guess its because… you still buy the fuze and other Sandisk devices… whether or not you change interfaces… shouldn’t matter to them…  They got your money! :slight_smile:  (and mine… :wink:

I’ve had Rockbox on and (currently) off both my E260 and my Fuze, as well as other players (iRiver H120, for which it is absolutely essential–Rockbox was the only thing that made its recorder work properly). 

I found themes and fonts that worked for the Fuze–sorry I don’t remember which ones–but I also found the GUI  somewhat clumsy and unlovely compared to the OF. I still use one beloved DOS program, so I can appreciate the aesthetic, but not on a daily basis. Then again, I don’t think my life is any less rich and satisfying without gapless playback or video games on the Fuze.

As I understand it, Rockbox is one big, constantly tweaked firmware that is then ported to various units. It has a huge feature set, some of which are completely irrelevant to the Fuze–text editor–but might be totally rad on a Cowon or doPi player. I don’t expect the Rockbox developers to totally customize Rockbox for every different player–they’re pretty busy already. 

I’m glad Rockbox exists, because competition always sharpens up products. If SanDisk does ever get gapless playback on the Fuze, it will be due to pressure from Rockbox.  But I can appreciate it in theory without using it. Kind of like Linux. 

Well…  I said that I would have to wait until I was BRAVE enough to install Rockbox.   It seems that I would have to be HERCULEAN as well.   Seriously, I appreciate this forum because I get to read different people’s experiences.  I actually went to the Rockbox site and started to read the manual ( and knew right away that this would be a large investment of time.  For me personally, I’m happy with the original firmware (faults and all) and the sound I get from my Fuzes.  Any other improvements (other than sequential videos) would not be worth the investment of time.  The problem with techs and geeks is that once they get started, it’s hard to stop.  But my restraint could be somebody else’s holy grail.  To each their own.


Message Edited by ggin1 on 03-01-2010 07:35 PM

I certainly wasn’t trying to be rude with my RTFM comment. 

Just trying to make a point. I DO agree with you that it is not the easiest thing to pick up. Which is why I sat down with the manual and read every page of it. I couldn’t figure out how to SHUFFLE a genre. You are correct that it is not as “Fisher Price simple” as the Original Firmware. I think that is a PRO, not a CON. 

But then once I sat down and started reading through the manual?!? I was SO totally blown away with all the great features. Like the PUSH TWICE option so that you don’t accidentally pause or FFWD. You press a key ONCE to wake the player and press AGAIN to do something. That can be disabled… as can just about everything else. The level of customization is just off the charts.

I certainly do wish it was “prettier”. But that’s whats truly great about it. You could make your own theme for it. :wink: Viva la open source!

Message Edited by Peregrine on 03-03-2010 10:26 AM

@tomjensen wrote:

Well, the refresh nag is still there, since USB xfer is still via the OF.

You plug it into the computer while off so it boots straight into the connected screen, then soft reset when you disconnect.  Turn it on and you’re in rockbox without waiting for the refresh.  Pretty simple.

Crossfade is awesome.  Gapless is awesome.  Dynamic playlists are awesome.  

Message Edited by TomJensen on 05-03-2010 06:12 PM


You are being too politically correct.  RB sux.  But that’s just my opinion.

EDIT: RB fans:  Don’t get too upset.  I mainly posted this to stir up the pot.  It’s great if you like it or use it…:wink:

Message Edited by fuze_owner-GB on 03-04-2010 06:07 AM