After living with Rockbox as the alternative operating system for my Sansa Clip Zip for a week, I’m prepared to give it unqualified praise in the wrong sense: I am not at all qualified to pass judgment one way or another on the merits of the system.
The last copy of the manual I downloaded runs 221 pages, approximately eleven times the size of SanDisk’s Quick Start Guide, half of which is safety precautions and EULA. The Rockbox guys, to their credit, assume from the getgo that I am not actually an idiot; then again, they’ve never met me and wouldn’t know me from Yahoo Serious.
My needs are absurdly simple: I want the machine to play my 5000-item playlist in no particular order, with approximately the same volume level on every track. The latter is no problem, since I have affixed ReplayGain tags to every single file; it’s not perfect, but it works reasonably well, and it avoids the alternative: horrid compression.
Still, the options are downright daunting, and while there’s a text editor of sorts on the premises, I am klutzy enough using 12 phone keys to produce text; you don’t want to see me with a machine that has only seven keys, one of which is OFF. In the end, it was easier to connect the little box to the PC with Sansa’s oh-so-generous 9½-inch USB cable, pull over the appropriate files, and tweak as needed.
I crashed it once. It recovered nicely after being allowed to sit with its power off for two minutes. I figure, if that’s the most damage I can do, I’m in like Flynn used to be.