A few years ago I went to one of those "Computer Expo and Sale" things that you always hear about on TV (the ones with the monster truck esque "sunday Sunday SUNDAY!" announcer that really speaks volumes about what the advertising people think of the target audience). I had never been to one of these shows and my only reason for going this time was to pick up a very large hard drive for a very small amount of money.

After a few hours of very careful comparison shopping, I settled my eyes on a 20 gig drive priced at a modest $150 or so (roughly the exact same price I would have payed for it anywhere else). The size of the drive was adequate for my purposes, since all I wanted to do was to pack it full of mp3's for my new "home-stereo" Linux box I had just setup, and you can fit somewhere around 10,000 mp3's on a 20 gig drive without any problems, so I was fairly pleased with purchase.

At any rate, I took the drive home and quickly began ripping every single CD I owned onto it, and for a month or two it served me well as a fairly large repository of mp3's. Then, one sad day while I was trying out some "experimental" software (namely the BeOS demo for Linux), the entire drive was hopelessly corrupted beyond the reach of fsck or any other diagnostic software I could get my hands on. Needless to say, I was not happy. I ranted and raved for a while. I posted to newsgroups and mailing lists trying to find ways to blame anyone but myself for using software that was very clearly labeled "alpha" and "100% totally and completely unsupported, use at your own risk". Then, I just sat there, and after a few hours, I went on with my life and totally forgot about the drive.

About a year passed, maybe more, maybe less, and one faithful day a few months ago I randomly ran fsck on the drive for kicks, and because I had upgraded things quite a few times since I had last tried anything on the drive. Well, to my total shock, fsck started running normally on the drive and, where previously it had very slowly spat out I/O errorrs, it quickly spat out less serious but still not-kosher errors about inodes and last-mod times, and after about 20 minutes of checking, it finished up and I was able to mount the drive. Things were still a mess on the drive since the directory strucute was trashed and all the files had archaic names in the lost+found directory, but after a little reorganizing, I had access to my beloved mp3 collection again.

Since I suddenly had a reasonable collection of mp3's again, I really wanted a good way to use and maintain them. I did a little research on mp3 players and collection managers and came to the conclusion that one of the SQL based mp3 players was the best solution. I downloaded a few of these apps and after trying them out I became somewhat irritated at the amount of effort it took to setup a database, index it and load it up into an app just to find out that I really didn't like the app all that much because it lacked some feature I wanted. I was not really suprised since most of the non-SQL mp3 players out there don't do everything I want them to do, but since they all interact directly with the mp3 files, there is no problem with using one app to create playslits, another to listen to them, another to tag them, and a another to rename the files based on the tags. The problem with the SQL based apps is that they all used thier own custom datbase designs, so one app could not use the database created by a seperate app. So, my little brain started to churn out some smoke and I decided that it would be very cool if there was some sort of standard database for storing mp3's that all these apps used, hence the creation of the Standard Mp3 Database Proejct.

At any rate, the SMDP wont change the world, in fact, most people will never even know it exists, but it has so far been serving to entertain a small handful of coders around the world. All I really wanted out of this project was a little fun, and with some luck a useful end product, and while the use of the ned product has yet to be determined, I have certainly enjoyed the experience to date. So, I hope you like it.

- Tom