HAL’s audio player handling improvements

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Jeff Mitchell announced a cooperation between several audio player support libraries and the hal developers to improve the audio player awareness of HAL. It will enable HAL supporting applications to detect what kind of player is actually connected.

Linux supports several different portable audio players. For these which do not simply use usb mass storage there are additional libraries supporting the devices: libgpod (iPod), libifp (iRiver), libkarma(Rio Karma), libnjb(Creative Nomad JukeBox and Dell DJ digita) and libmtp (mtp is used for example by Windows Play For Sure).
As Jeff describes the problem now for Linux applications is that HAL can tell them that a usb device is attached, but that the application has to figure out by itself which kind of device was attached (for example by asking the user). This is working, but it is crappy – it would be nicer to have it autodetected.

Therefore Jeff talked to all important people – and the development took place:

However, for the last few weeks I’ve been working with HAL developers and the developers of libgpod, libifp, libkarma, libnjb, and libmtp. The goal has been to come up with a way that device access protocols can be auto-detected.
[…] Well, this has been done, and as a result the HAL portable_audio_player namespace spec is being modified to allow libraries to insert information they know about devices into HAL — while at the same time keeping libraries from clobbering each other.

This means that soon after all the patches for HAL and the different libraries get upstream a massively improved devices support will enter the Linux world. And since this is Free Software not only Amarok will take advantage of this: I’m pretty sure that other applications, also for example from the Gnome world, will take up this feature pretty soon. Also device specific applications could automatically be started after HAL detects a certain device type – in case there is some device specific application which you would like to use.

With such news I’m really looking forward to Amarok 2, it looks promising!