I recently got my media server up, and fact is all my music files (legitematly ripped from owned CD’s of course) are in FLAC format. What can I say, for my entertainment center I wanted them at 100% quality. This doesn’t bode well for my iPod which I use with my in-car radio plugin. iPod’s be default don’t support FLAC, but the free firmware alternatives available don’t support the radio adaptor. One of those cases of functionality vs principle. Pragmatist that I am, and the fact that I only purchased the iPod for the accessories, the free firmware is not an option.
This does not mean that the solution isn’t found in free software. I wrote a while back on a program called MP3FS. The idea behind it was to use FUSE (Filesystem in UserSpace Enviroment) which allows for the user in question to mount many different types of file system assistants without being root. As it goes, you can mount an NTFS part in userspace and have just as good read write access as you get in Windows.
MP3FS takes this idea, and uses lame to transcode a directory of FLAC files on the fly. This allows you to use the flac files only once, and does not require you to have a completely seperate directory of applicable MP3 files. Needless to say this is a good thing, especially when you have your music shared across your home on an NFS. I tested it out some, and while it takes sometime for the program to completely catch up to the NFS server it does a bang up job for what it is. Some would prefer that the dev use BladeENC instead, but right now LAME is just as good.
Here’s hoping we can see more advancement in this field of development. I would think something like this would benifit all users.