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fre:ac development status update 10/2015 Print
Written by Robert   
Saturday, 31 October 2015 23:53

Hi there, here's the fre:ac development status update for October 2015.

After the 20151004 snapshot release, development focused on features that should be part of fre:ac 1.1 but had not been implemented yet. Let's have a look at them in detail:

meh! - multi encoder hub

Configuring the meh! componentThe meh! - multi encoder hub component takes an input track and passes it on to multiple encoder components. That way you can for example create FLAC, AAC and MP3 files from CD tracks in a single rip saving a lot of time.

The new component already works with most features of fre:ac's audio conversion engine. I just need to get playlist and cue sheet generation working with it before the next snapshot release.

Core Audio AAC/ALAC encoder on Linux

About a year ago I wrote a connector component to allow the 64 bit Windows version of fre:ac to use the 32 bit Apple Core Audio API for AAC and ALAC encoding. However, it was obsoleted before being included in an official snapshot release by Apple starting to provide 64 bit Core Audio DLLs with iTunes 12.1. Those could be used directly with the 64 bit version of fre:ac, but I kept the connector code as I thought it could be useful for similar things in the future.

Using the Core Audio encoder on LinuxThen, a few weeks ago, I had the idea to try and use it to connect the Linux version of fre:ac to the Core Audio framework running under Wine. A quick test showed that iTunes and the Core Audio DLLs could be installed in Wine and encoding AAC and ALAC files generally worked in such a setup. I ported the connector component to Winelib and voila: fre:ac can use the Core Audio framework on Linux now!

To be able to use this feature with the upcoming fre:ac snapshot release, you need to install Wine, configure it to emulate act like Windows 7 or later and install iTunes or QuickTime. The same setup should work on FreeBSD as well, but I still need to try that.

Last used path saved separately for open/save dialogs

Previous versions of fre:ac relied on the OS for saving the most recently used path in the open and save files dialogs. This worked more or less well most of the time, but one situation was especially annoying: When creating single file images for multiple albums, you would add the first album to the joblist, then start the conversion and select the single output file, then repeat with the next album. However, everytime you added an album or selected an output file you had to navigate to the right folder in the open/save dialog.

To remedy, starting with the next snapshot release, fre:ac will save the most recently used path separately for the open and save files dialogs.

Other new features

In addtion to the above, the following features have been implemented:

  • support for multi-channel AAC and ALAC
  • support for the VCLT playlist format
  • a notification that asks users to translate fre:ac when their language is not supported yet

Everything listed above will be part of a new snapshot release in mid November.

Build system overhaul

Gentoo developer Sebastian Pipping had a look at the smooth library's and fre:ac's packageability for inclusion in Linux distributions. He found some issues with the build system which I fixed in the process. Among the fixes and improvements are:

  • support for VPATH builds
  • support for specifying a DESTDIR
  • ability to pass custom CFLAGS, CXXFLAGS and LDFLAGS

This should ease the task of creating distribution packages for future Linux package maintainers. Thanks Sebastian for your work!

While at it, I also had a look at the Visual Studio project files and fixed many outstanding issues with them. It's now possible to build smooth, the fre:ac CDK and fre:ac using the Debug and Release configurations for x86 and x64.

Top donors list

Last but not least, I added a list of the top 20 fre:ac supporters to the site. The full list is found at the donations page while the top three donors are listed on every page. Your name on the list is a great way to show your support for the this project. Thanks to everyone who donated thus far! Please see the donations page for more information.

This closes this issue. Be sure to look for the November snapshot release in about two weeks!