Open Source Ripping

Posted on Thu 01 September 2005 by alex in geek

So it came to pass I was chatting to Andy last night and I noticed he was typing the CD sleeve details for the CD being ripped. I was surprised as thanks to the magic of FreeDB every CD I've ripped in the last few years has automagically had its details filled in and tagged*. So cue a quick look around the application Andy was using to find the settings for the CD lookup and see if we can set it to use the freedb database. Unfortunately the CD lookup option was a tick box (do, or do not, there is no alternative). Whatever the application did it was hidden from us.

Now of course I could have just suggested Andy run Linux where there are a range of rippers** ready to run. Experience has taught me people don't want to change OSes, no matter how much I point out the benefits of open systems. However more and more FOSS software is available for the Windows platform so a quick search of freshmeat pointed us at jRipper.

The installation*** didn't go too well. First we needed the latest Java before we could proceed and then when actually running the app showed its rough edges by screwing up some of the shortcuts and not making it very clear how to configure the ripping drive. This is understandable as it is basically tuned to running on Linux. However it doesn't give a good impression to people running it on other systems. Luckily having experience with the tools I was able to eek out the settings Andy needed and we set it off ripping. Time will tell, now the app is set up, if Andy will find his new FOSS application superior to the commercial competition.

*Occasionally I use the excellent EasyTag to mass clean up tags. Its pattern matching abilities make re-tagging track names that are Track/Artist on compilation albums a breeze.
**For the record I use Grip to rip tracks into 160kbs Oggs.
***Since I'm used to packaged apps I find the concept of individual installers, each with their own little foibles and idiosyncrasies rather archaic. On all my systems installing a package is generally a single command line which automagically pulls in required dependencies as needed. As the software is all installed via the package management system un-installation isn't the gamble I recall from my Windows days. And don't get me started on how easy it is to audit every executable on my system and know where it came from.