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FAQ

0. INTRODUCTION
   ============

Q. Who created abcde? Who develops it nowadays?
A. It was originally created by Robert Woodcook. He decided to give up 
   maintaining it at some point in 2002 and Jesus Climent took over. In 2012,
   Colin Tuckley and Steve McIntyre joined in to help. Contact
   jesus.climent@hispalinux.es, colint@debian.org or 93sam@debian.org if you
   have a problem or a suggestion.


1. INSTALLATION
   ============
   
Q. How can I install abcde on my system?
A. To get abcde you can use a pre-packaged version, available for Debian, 
   FreeBSD, OpenBSD, NetBSD and others.
   In case you want to install your own release, you need to download the
   source and install the complementary programs (abcde is just a frontend
   and its functionality is provided by other programs).

   abcde needs cd-discid. Grab it from:
   http://www.hispalinux.es/~data/files/cd-discid/

   Read the README files for a complete list of requirements.

Q. I have a problem, and I reported some time ago. Have you solved it already?
A. Maybe. Try downloading the trunk of the development from 
   http://abcde.googlecode.com/svn/trunk/
   
Q. When are you going to release a new version?
A. When it is ready. I keep on having new ideas and adding them to the trunk
   (stored in the URL above), so I dont release until all the ideas are
   finished.


2. EXECUTION
   =========

Q. I want to force abcde 2.x to behave more like 1.x. How do I do it?
A. Put these options in your abcde.conf:

   INTERACTIVE=n
   OUTPUTTYPE=mp3
   ID3TAGV=1

Q. Low on disk space?
A. abcde has different algorithms to schedule ripping and encoding - to 
   optimize for disk conservation, use -l. You can also define
   WAVOUTPUTDIR=/some/other/path to your /etc/abcde.conf or ~/.abcde.conf to
   store the WAV files on another NFS shared fisk, for example.
   Also, UNIX pipes have also been implemented, using "-P", so abcde reads and
   encodes the tracks from the CD at once. However, it has the drawback that
   only one format can be encoded at a time.

Q. How can i make abcde encode faster? My CD reader is way faster than the pace
   it can encode my tracks.
A. abcde can take advantage of SMP systems, just like make. Try 'abcde -j 2' -
   it'll run two encoder jobs while it rips the next track.
   You can also make use of systems which are networked, with the help of
   distmp3. For example, MachineA has a better CPU power and MachineB has a CD
   drive. Run distmp3host (included in distmp3) on Machine A, and then run
   abcde -r MachineA from MachineB (where "MachineA" is a dns name or IP
   address). Use this in combination with '-j 0' to shift all encoding off the
   local machine.

Q. I am having problems with *my CD reading program* reading the drive as a
   user.
A. You might have to add yourself (or the users who want to use abcde) to the
   cdrom group and change the permissions of the cdrom device to 660. If you
   have a SCSI cdrom drive, check the permissions of /dev/sg* as well.

Q. I would like to give the trackname and the artist_name directly to the
   encoder (in my case oggenc), but found no documentation.
A. That is not possible, since abcde gets the information from CDDB database.
   You can create a template and fill it with the option "-n". Also, you can 
   get the CDDB entry and edit it yourself. abcde has also an option to drop
   back to a template if you like none of the CDDB entries, selecting 0 from
   the CDDB options.

Q. (Thanks to Amaya) Where are those options and settings defined? Why dont
   you include a proper abcde.conf as an example?
A. I do. It should be installed under /etc/abcde.conf and contains more or
   less all the defaults abcde uses. You can use $(HOME)/.abcde.conf to 
   override those defaults. More information can be obtained from the man page
   which can be consulted using "man abcde".
   
Q. I keep on getting files with ".ogg.ogg" extension. What am I doing wrong?
A. The code for multiple-output adds automatically the extension of the
   different outputs you select with the "-o" extension (or with OUTPUTTYPE
   variable). Erase the ".${OUTPUTTYPE}" part from the OUTPUTFORMAT variable
   in /etc/abcde.conf or ~/.abcde.conf

Q. I have modified some of the options, and now CDDB has stopped working.
A. Check that you have modified everything in the right way. For instance, if
   you modify the HTTPGET program you might want to set some options of your
   own. If you use the predefined ones (wget, curl and fetch) abcde will try
   to use some defaults. Keep in mind that the output should go to the output
   as standard output, to be saved in a file for later use.
   
   If abcde seems to be ignoring your configuration options or not running
   commands such as the encoder, you may have misquoted something. Config
   options such as the following do not work:

   LAMEOPTS=-h -k

   Try this instead:

   LAMEOPTS='-h -k'

Q. How can I separate the different output files I get using multiple-output
   support?
A. Use the OUTPUT variable in PLAYLISTFORMAT and OUTPUTFORMAT. It holds the 
   different output file types you passed to abcde (i.e., ogg, mp3, flac) 
   during playlist creation and file/directory creation.

Q. I have a CD with a data track, and abcde complaints it cannot read/encode
   it.
A. From version 2.2 onwards, abcde includes some checkings with cdparanoia, to
   try to get this right.
   (It is not easy to find a data track on a CD. Right now, I can only think
   of getting the track info from CDDB and ask the user for continuing should
   a "data" track name is found. But the solution is far from been optimal.
   For now, if you find a "data" track and you know the number, restart abcde
   specifying the tracks to be encoded, leaving out the data one).

Q. I am requested to have "eject" when setting the speed although I do not use
   it for anything.
A. If you do not use cdparanoia, eject is used for setting the speed of the 
   cdrom drive. You can substitute it for "setcd" with "-x" as the argument,
   but you have to install it manually (setcd is, at least, available in 
   Debian).
   Another way to get the same results is using the pre_read function, defined
   in your /etc/abcde.conf file.
   
Q. I have a CD set with 1+ discs, and want to have them in the same directory,
   sorted properly. What can abcde do for me?
A. Set abcde to rip the first CD and give it the option "-t 101". Use a generic
   name for the CD, and reuse it with the rest of the CDs, editing the CDDB
   entries. Use "-t 201" for the second CD and so on. Use "-w <comment>" to
   add a comment about the CD you are ripping (-w "disc #"). Alternatively you
   can use only the "-t ###" option and then move all the files to the same
   directory, but the tag/comment information on the files will differ. If you
   want the tagged track number to be set to the modified number you should use
   "-T ###". 
   Even better! If you use "-W <cd_number>", abcde will put a comment to every
   CD set ("CD <number>") and modify the number of the tracks both in the file
   name and the tag/comment information.

Q. I have a live concert. I want to encode it in a single file. How do i do it?
A. Use "-1" and it will be encoded in a single file. Use "cue" as an action to
   make a CUE sheet file where the information about the tracks is stored.

Q. Can I use abcde to take a backup of my CD collection?
A. Yes. Use "abcde -1 -o flac -a default,cue" and it will create a single-track
   FLAC file with an embedded cuesheet. Later on, you can use the command
   "abcde -o vorbis -d flac-file.flac" to extract the individual tracks in
   Ogg/Vorbis format. Of course you can select whatever format you want.
   

3. CDDB and Musicbrainz
   ====================

Q. I need to go through an HTTP proxy for CDDB access. 
A. No problem, just export your http_proxy variable first so wget/fetch/curl 
   can see it.

Q. I already store CDDB entries in my hard disc. Can I make use of them?
A. Piece of cake. Just edit CDDBLOCALDIR to point to the repository and give
   abcde the "-L" flag to make use of it.

Q. Fine, now it uses local CDDB, but I have no network connection. How can I
   disable CDDB checks?
A. Use the "-L -n" combination. It will try to use local CDDB entries, and if
   nothing can be found, it will use a template. You will be also given the
   choice to edit such template.

Q. How can I use some other CDDB information provider?
A. abcde now uses FreeDB by default. To use a different FreeDB mirror or 
   another CDDB service, change the CDDBURL option in your abcde.conf.

Q. After requesting CDDB data, I received several answers which seem to be
   quite alike. Can I find out the difference between some of them?
A. Yes. When asked which one you want to select, use "X,Y" where X and Y are
   the numbers of the selections you want to find the difference between.

Q. I don't like CDDB/FreeDB. How can I use Musicbrainz instead?
A. Set CDDBMETHOD=musicbrainz and try it!

3. FORMATS
   =======

Q. What formats can I encode my music to?
A. As for version 2.2, abcde includes support for MP3, Ogg/Vorbis, 
   Ogg/Speex, Flac and MPP/MP+(Musepack). Support for AAC will be added once
   an FLOSS encoder/decoder is working.

Q. I want the new *put the newest and coolest codec there* format to be 
   supported by abcde. Abcde is so cool but i want to encode also to this
   new format...
A. Patches are welcome! ;)
   No, seriously, if the format is usable, available for Linux and open
   source/free software, it should be fairly easy to integrate. Support for
   AAC (m4p) should be the next one to be introduced.

Q. I use Debian/RedHat/(put your Unix flavour here) and MP3 encoding is not 
   working. What am I doing wrong?
A. Since MP3 is considered non-free (you get it for free, but hardware players
   and net broadcasters have to pay license fees), some release engineering 
   groups and release management teams have decided not to provide MP3 encoding
   tools.
   These distributions or operative systems have decided to use Ogg/Vorbis as
   the default encoding format, since it contains no (known) patent claims
   and they are (supposed to be) completely Free (released under a BSD-like
   license).
   However, there is no strong (at the moment) hardware support, although 
   some groups and companies are strongly working on getting it, real soon 
   now. For that reason some people prefer to encode to MP3.

   UPDATE *** UPDATE
   There are known brands already selling Ogg/Vorbis portable players: Rio,
   iRiver, Neuros, iAudio,...
   Go buy one and you have no more reasons to use MP3.
   
   If you are among those individuals, you might need to add support for MP3
   encoding to your system:
   Debian : check http://ftp.nerim.net/debian-marillat to install lame in your
            system. Others prefer bladeenc. Check www.apt-get.org or google.
   RedHat : search on rpmfind.net
   FreeBSD: By default includes LAME support.
   OpenBSD: Available by specifying you want to install the port with LAME
            support, or by just installing it later from the ports tree.
   NetBSD : Available in pkgsrc.

   Others : Please, help me here.

Q. Huh! Why is MPPENCODER (with MPP) and .mpc the extension?
A. Dunno. You must ask the guys who created and defined the format. The 
   standard is MPEGplus (MPP/MP+) but the files use .mpc extension.
   
   
4. MISC PROBLEMS
   ==== ========

Q. What happened with normalize?
A. Normalize has changed its name under Debian, which is the GNU/Linux 
   distribution for developing abcde (well, is The GNU/Linux Distribution
   i only use, at the moment). Now it is called normalize-audio.
   If you are using some other flavour of OS, you need to change the name
   of the executable in your abcde.conf file.

Q. I am using MacOSX and I am having problems to use abcde.
A. Well, I have a Mac, but I use linux on it. I have not been able to find
   a way to make it work there, since I do not have the development tools
   installed. I have placed a basic support, but some user reports are just
   complaining about abcde not encoding the ripped tracks, as if 
   icedax/cdda2wav/cdparanoia/cddafs would never end reading them. If you have
   such a system and experience problems, please, report them, and I will
   try to work them out with your help.

Q. My hardware player (put it here) does not recognize the playlists created
   with abcde. What I am doing wrong?
A. Try using "-m" when creating the playlists, or setting DOSPLAYLIST as an
   option in the config file.

OBSOLETE
--------
Q. I set KEEPWAVS to "y" but abcde insists on erasing my directory, along
   with the wav tracks. What I am doing wrong?
A. The default action set includes clean, which cleans the temp directory, 
   if nothing goes wrong. Take the "clean" out from the action list and you
   are done.
   UPDATE: KEEPWAVS unselects now the clean action.

--
Jesus Climent <jesus.climent@hispalinux.es>
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