Goodbye freedb, long live freedb

If you’ve been following the freedb controversy you know that the two major freedb developers quit on July 1st of this year. Concerns exist that the freedb project may not be stable or reliable into the future. Obviously many freedb aware applications could be affected by a disruption in service. Thankfully a few alternatives are now available which can keep you running until applications make a switch to a new service.

Perhaps the simplest solution is simply to switch to freedb2. This project is designed to be entirely freedb compatible and is based off of the July 1st freedb data combined with new submissions. New data is released to the public domain and the server side software (forthcoming) under the BSD license. freedb2 will let you query in the standard way using as your freedb URL. Submissions are accepted in the freedb way to either (preferred) or

If you’re looking for a more robust next generation solution I would suggest taking a look at what the people at MusicBrainz are doing. With core data in the public domain and additional data licensed under the Creative COmmons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license MusicBrainz is becoming a much better database. One of the biggest problems with getting people to adopt MusicBraniz is the lack of compatibility with CDDB/freedb applications which have not been updated by their developers to the MusicBrainz protocol. Thanks to the recent events at freedb devlopers have answered this call and a freedb interface to basic MusicBrainz information now exists. Simply by pointing your CDDB/freedb application to you can access MusicBrainz data. Note that this translator uses a cached copy of the MusicBraniz database so there is some lag between database updates and the data becoming available. Additional information on the limitations of this translator can be found here and a copy of the source code (license unknown) is available from this svn server. Because of additional and different fields than those supported by CDDB/freedb data must be submitted using a MusicBrainz aware application. It should be noted that the translator is not an optimal solution and is subject to a href=””>some limitations. It would be best for for application developers to switch to native support of MusicBrainz.

One of my favorite applications that uses freedb data is the excellent (and free) CD ripper Exact Audio Copy (EAC) which has excellent error correction. I have been unable to find any other application (which is unfortunate as I would prefer a Linux application for ripping) that does as good a job. Hopefully the author, Andre Wiethoff, will update his application to support MusicBrainz in the future. Even better would be if he would release the application under the GPL or BSD license so it could be ported to alternative operating systems.

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