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They don't put it that plainly actually. It's more like "The CD wasn't found
on this server" and at first it leaves you wondering that something may be
wrong. But the fact is that Gracenote (developer of CDDB) has closed access to the
CDDB for any client that is not using CDDB2. We should we care at all? Well,
in my opinion we should be concerned.
In case you don't know what I am talking about at all, CDDB means Compact
Disk Database. This database carries information about a myriad of CDs including
title, artist, the tracks' names, the year of release, and the genre and resides
on a server that is accessible via the Internet. A client calculates an ID from
the data on a CD and sends it to the server that in turn responds by sending the
related information. This provides a very convenient way to setup and maintain a
database of your own CDs or make a cover for the CD you just burned for instance,
as the client can simply fill in the required information for you.
While CDDB2 provides some advantage over the old CDDB like better support for
certain characters and more detailed information, there are strong reasons why both
developers and users wouldn't want to use it, besides the fact that OS/2 users can't
use it, since it is and will not be available for OS/2 (neglecting the existance
In contrast to CDDB, which is an openly defined protocol that could easily be
implemented by developers, the CDDB2 applications now have to use a closed source
Windows DLL, which also has been ported to a number of Unices. Who knows what this
black box transmits to Gracenote's server? If you have a look at the license, it's
very easy to get suspicious about this topic, not to mention others. Every user
has to register first and provide some info about him/herself. The license states
that this information and that collected by logging your requests may be used for
creating user-profiles and for advertising. Greetings from Orwell...
Furthermore, once a developer signs the contract he/she is bound to using CDDB2
exclusively. CDDB2 doesn't allow using any other databases besides itself. Gracenote
doesn't even accept seperate versions of a program which would allow connection
to one database each. As a result users would be locked out of alternative offers,
their freedom of choice is voided.
Last but not least the service won't be free any more. Developers will have to
pay for supporting CDDB2 with their applications - depending on the number
of users and per year! And requests generated by pirated versions count, too, of
course. One can easily imagine the result: No more free updates, higher registration
fees across the board, and no freeware with CDDB2 support.
So the users are going to pay dearly for this improved service. Quite interesting,
especially since CDDB began as a private, non-commercial project and it's the users
that made it big by submitting their whole CD collections' data for naught. I can't
help associating the term theft with this new scheme. And lately we can add
abuse as Gracenote signed a contract with Napster/Bertelsmann to help filtering
unwanted song offers from Napster.
Obviously Gracenote has learned well from the master monopolist of the dark side,
M$ itself. Maybe too well. When Gracenote first published their plans, few people
cared. But some gathered and created an alternative to CDDB called FreeDB.
This database is run under the GNU General Public License and uses the old standard
CDDB protocol, so any client that can be configured to use other servers than cddb.com
is able to use FreeDB. They began with a relatively small database, few servers
(3 when I first noticed it) and a small web site, but have grown enourmously. It
is even possible to download the whole database which hasn't been possible with
CDDB.com for years. Thanks to this alternative, Gracenote's strategy seems to be
about to backfire on them. Judging from what can be heard on the net, Un*x developers
have almost completely dropped CDDB in favour of FreeDB and the trend seems to continue
on the Windows platform, too. For instance the developers of Feurio!,
a very popular shareware CD writing package from Germany especially designed with
samplers in mind, decided that they won't support CDDB2 months ago.
So what does the future look like for OS/2 users? Well, to my knowledge all existing
OS/2 applications with CDDB support should be able to use the FreeDB service. You
may need to add the correct address, but that's it. Those that are still actively
maintained have meanwhile been preconfigured for using FreeDB. You can find links
to some at the FreeDB
home page. So far OS/2 applications are missing one important feature, though:
The ability to submit data to the FreeDB database. I strongly hope that it is going
to be implemented soon. We don't want this relationship to be parasitical, do we?
There is really no reason to use CDDB2 applications for other OSes, e.g. with Odin.
Instead I strongly encourage you to heavily use FreeDB with native OS/2 applications
and submit data about missing CDs once this feature is available (you can also do
it via a browser, but it requires some editing).
This behaviour cannot be tolerated. It's high time that users stop silently accepting
what the monopolists see fit for them. Gracenote's and Microsoft's (think of their
plans to tie licenses to hardware etc.) recent strategies clearly show that things
are going to get even worse. Write to Gracenote at email@example.com
and firmly but politely express your opinion on the matter. Here is the chance for
users to make clear that it's this far and no further. Make them realize that to
your purses and personal data for them is: Access denied!
VOICE Server Update: We now have a secure site at https://www.os2voice.com, though
it is not functional yet. The new domain was contributed to VOICE by Internet Walkabout.
VOICE has purchased a Thawte SSL server authentication certificate also.
In May we had two general meetings on May 7th and May 21st at 8PM EST (00:00
GMT, 02:00 Berlin). You can review the transcripts of these and other VOICE IRC
events at http://www.os2voice.org/transcripts.html
This month we have a general meeting on Monday June 18th at 8PM EST (00:00GMT, 02:00
Berlin). We will have a Speakup with Sundial Systems scheduled on June 4th at 8PM
EST(00:00GMT, 02:00 Berlin). For more information on attending online VOICE IRC
meetings please see the VOICE Meeting Information page - http://www.os2voice.org/meetinginfo.html
If you have an idea for a Speakup event, please submit it to firstname.lastname@example.org,
and we will try to schedule something. Also on the VOICE Calendar are weekly Warp
Doctor team meetings every Wednesday at 9PM EDT (01:00GMT, 03:00 Berlin). As always,
please be sure to check out the updated VOICE Future events
Calendar in this newsletter or on the VOICE website at http://www.os2voice.org/calendar.html
for more details on future VOICE events.
This month we start with a review of FileStar/2 V2.10,
a feature-rich filemanager for PM, by Bob Stan. Next, Chris Ayers reports on his
venture of updating an old machine in Resurrecting an AT
Then Isaac Leung presents us what he found out investigating Simplicity
for Java, the RAD tool by Data Representations, followed by Don Eitner's
comments on the soon to be released eComStation in eComStation
Preview - It's about time. Don provides us with the latest facts as of his
writing and his experiences with the preview.
This year's Warpstock takes place outside the US for the first time: in Toronto,
Canada. Read about what's already going on in the planning process and what this
city has in store for you besides computer stuff in Canada
welcomes Warpstock 2001! With the GA of eCS imminent, Frank Berke takes
a step back and a look at what is concerning him in the OS/2 world: Quo
Finally we have the VOICE Newsletter OS/2 Tips page
and the Letters, Addenda, Errata page. If you have
any OS/2 or eCS tips you've uncovered, please send them to email@example.com.
If you have any comments or suggestions about the newsletter or articles in it,
please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org
That's it for this month. So far, for July, we have have articles covering the
release of the eComStation GA release by Isaac Leung and Don Eitner. The review
of Limewire, (a Java Gnutella client) by Frank Berke has been postponed so Frank
can have a closer look at the latest version. Manfred Agne is going to provide us
with a view from a different perspective on the trusty old Impos/2 image manipulation
package. Another thing in the works is an in-depth review of Xact 7.x by Stefan
Deutscher, but a date for publishing hasn't been determined yet.
We are always interested in your thoughts and views on subjects related to OS/2,
and would like to see opinion/editorial pieces as well as hardware/software reviews.
If you can help by writing an article please contact me at email@example.com.
Guidelines for Article Submissions to the VOICE Newsletter
Mark Dodel and Christian Hennecke
Editors, VOICE Newsletter