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Neuros to open source MP3 player blueprints

Device firmware source unleashed too

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Neuros Audio, the company behind the Neuros II "digital audio computer", has released the source code that underlies the hard drive-based music player's firmware to the open source community and has pledged to open up the device's hardware schematics later this month.

"We're willing to support the community in a way that not many HW companies are, including releasing documentation and even schematics in addition to source code," said NA president Joe Born.

NA has offered the Visual Basic .NET source code for its Neuros Sync Manager application for some time.

NA's willingness to work with the open source world - not to mention the player's Ogg Vorbis support - has won it not a few customers from the Linux world.

As we noted in our recent review of the Neuros II, the player doesn't ship with Linux, Mac OS X or other Unix-derived OS-compatible software out of the box. However, as a number of Reg readers have pointed out, that hasn't prevented enterprising coders from developing a range of apps for these platforms that will interface with the otherwise Windows-only player.

The Neuros Database Manipulator, for example, runs on any is a Java 1.4-compatible platform and allows music files to be copied over to the device once mounted. Other such apps include Sorune and Positron, which are based on Perl and Python, respectively. Like NDBM, Sorune is a GUI app, while Positron runs from the command line. The latter doesn't offer full Mac OS X support yet, due to USB protocol issues.

After our review, NA posted a firmware update that provides support for European FM frequency bands. The update is available here. NA warns that it's a manual update - essentially, you copy it over to the device and force a reboot - and "not for the fainthearted", but it does open up the device's FM radio and its MyFi short-range music broadcast facility to UK and European users.

With the firmware source code release, Born said he hopes the open source community will begin work on the support code needed make the release "really useful... We need to get the GCC compiler working, and we need a program loader", he said.

"Open source software isn't much good without a community of developers," he added. "We need your help to fully realise the vision of the digital audio computer." ®

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