Why did we create HiFiBerryOS?
You might be aware that we’re working a lot on our own music player distribution at the moment: HiFiBerryOS. Some might ask us: Why? Aren’t there enough good distributions out there already? Why does the market need another one?
First: You’re right! There is a lot of very good software available already and we have even compiled a list of software that we know many HiFiBerry users prefer. Why did we still do it? Here are a few points:
Ease of use
There are lots of distributions available that can be used for basically every use case. But often those distributions are not too easy to configure. HiFiBerryOS can be fully configured with a few mouse clicks. No need to deal with things like I2S, I2C, SPI, mixer controls and codecs. Your HiFiBerry sound card will be automatically configured the way it performs best.
Our HiFiBerry DAC+ DSP and Beocreate 4 channel amplifier come with a fully programmable digital signal processor. We decided that this DSP should be “open” to let users run their own programs. With our DSP toolkit software, you can create your own DSP programs using SigmaStudio. While this offers great flexibility we underestimated the complexity for the user. Installing DSP toolkit can be complicated on some systems that come with outdated Python software and SigmaStudio has a steep learning curve.
With the new filter designer in HiFiBerryOS, there is now software that gives you access to basic DSP functions without the need to deal with the low-level details. No other distribution offers offers this ease of use.
There are lots of very good open-source music player distributions available. However, when it comes to multi-room audio, in our opinion the best software on the Market is Roon. Yes, it is closed-source (proprietary) and it is not cheap. But for music-lovers with a large local music library it’s just the best system available today. Most open-source distributions do not include a Roon player, HiFiBerryOS does.
We try to minimize the amount of software installed on the system and the amount of write operations to the SD card. This makes the system more robust. A modern system should not damage anything or corrupt the SD card if you just turn your Raspberry Pi off.
There’s a lot of development going on in all distributions – not just HiFiBerryOS. That makes it almost impossible for us to support 3rd party distributions; there are too many vendors and they change too often. Although we can help users with some problems, often we have to tell users that they must check with the developers as we just don’t know the internals of each platform. With HiFiBerryOS, we offer better end-user support since we’ve written it from the ground up.
Should everyone use it? Definitely not. It might not be exactly the system you’re looking for. Trying to build a system that works well for everyone is impossible. It would be a huge piece of software that’s extremely complex and complicated to use. It’s perfectly fine for us if you prefer other distributions. We just want to give you another choice – just have a look.
January 29, 2020