Raspinamp: It Really Replicates Questionable Activities Involving Llamas

In the late 90s as MP3s and various file sharing platforms became more common, most of us were looking for better players than the default media players that came with our operating systems, if they were included at all. To avoid tragedies like Windows Media Center, plenty of us switched to Winamp instead, a much more customizable piece of software that helped pave the way for the digital music revolution of that era. Although there are new, official versions of Winamp currently available, nothing really tops the nostalgia of the original few releases of the software which this project faithfully replicates in handheld form.

The handheld music player uses a standard Raspberry Pi (in this case, a 3B) and a 3.5″ TFT touchscreen display, all enclosed in a clear plastic case. With all of the Pi configuration out of the way, including getting the touchscreen working properly, the software can be set up. It uses QMMP as a media player with a Winamp skin since QMMP works well on Linux systems with limited resources. After getting it installed there’s still some configuration to do to get the Pi to start it at boot and also to fit the player perfectly into the confines of the screen without any of the desktop showing around the edges.

Although it doesn’t use the original Winamp software directly, as that would involve a number of compatibility layers and/or legacy hardware at this point, we still think it’s a faithful recreation of how the original looked and felt on our Windows 98 machines. With a battery and a sizable SD card, this could have been the portable MP3 player many of us never knew we wanted until the iPod came out in the early 00s, and would certainly still work today for those of us not chained to a streaming service. A Raspberry Pi is not the only platform that can replicate the Winamp experience, though. This player does a similar job with the PyPortal instead.

22 thoughts on “Raspinamp: It Really Replicates Questionable Activities Involving Llamas

      1. I actually found that right after I posted this and installed it immediately. Unfortunately, it seems to have been written for a much smaller screen resolution than I am running. I couldn’t find a way to make it normal sized. BUT… just for fun, I tried installing WinAmp under wine, which didn’t work out of the box. BUT… I WAS able to get WinAmp installed and running under bottles. Even installed the old TubeAmp skin! Just color me happy 🀠

      2. LSA lib pcm_dmix.c:999:(snd_pcm_dmix_open) unable to open slave
        OutputALSA: Error opening PCM device default
        OutputWriter: unable to initialize output
        StateHandler: Current state: FatalError; previous state: Stopped

        OutputALSA: setupMixer()
        OutputALSA: Failed to find mixer element
        StateHandler: Current state: Stopped; previous state: FatalError

        ALSA lib pcm_dmix.c:999:(snd_pcm_dmix_open) unable to open slave
        OutputALSA: Error opening PCM device default
        OutputWriter: unable to initialize output
        StateHandler: Current state: FatalError; previous state: Stopped

        … and uninstall

    1. I use Audacious (or audacity, never can tell them apart) which runs the same skin I used on my windows-based winamp in 1999. Not the original winamp but same button locations.

    1. Yes! I was wondering how far I would have to scroll to find that!
      And of course X11Amp (XMMS’s original name)

      Building desktops from scratch back in the late 90s.. the desktop was complete, a success and ready to be sent to it’s new home once it could run Netscape Communicator, X11Amp, GAim, LICQ and.. what was the lightweight document editor.. Abi Word maybe?

  1. Circa 2000/2001:

    -See which local ISP was available through Kmart’s Blue Light service
    -listen for the dial-up modem to get a reply
    -open Napster and search for all the songs you could think of
    -pick a list of 20 songs to download
    -go hang out with friends for the evening
    -come home and be excited over the 2 or 3 songs that downloaded successfully before the connection was lost
    -open Winamp, switch the skin to match the music, and start the visualization

  2. In 1999/2000 I mada a CAJUN (car audio jukebox) linux a pentum 70 clocked down, 2 hdd 1 to boot and 20GB with mp3’s. The human interface was a 40×4 lcd with a IRremote (lirc) on a long cable, in the dashboard. The motherboard and all build in a old vinal record box with an inverter 12v230v to get it running in the car.

  3. Wasn’t there someone who built a hardware clone of the default WinAmp skin some years back? I mean real physical buttons, sliders, etc…

    If I am remembering wrong… that needs to happen!

  4. Been a long time since I whipped a llama’s ass. Brings back memories of spending hours building and rebuilding my own skins. Not to mention hours skimming through mp3.com for new music. Great nostalgia project here.

    1. What are you using today to play mp3s? I have Winamp installed on every computer I use, been using it since v1.0 in the 90’s. Winamp still whips the llama’s ass, quite nicely too.

  5. Thank you for that title, Bryan; it made me feel like I was 20 for a brief moment — followed by the lingering glow of feeling old but part of an in-crowd :)

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