Monthly Archives: July 2009

Music Player Review: aTunes and Songbird

Ok, this might be confusing:
aTunes beats Amarok at it’s own motto “Rediscover Your Music”
Songbird is basically open source iTunes with the power of Firefox

aTunes!
aTunes looks how I remember Amarok the first time I reviewed it. As well as helping you organize your music it brings you a TON of information on it in the same interface:

This shows the bigger picture and similar artist view on the right side.
Similar
This shows song lyrics from lyricwiki.org. (Interesting site, btw)
Song

 

This shows Artist info
ArtistThere is a good deal more to aTunes and it seems quite powerful. Memory usage seems to be in the 100 Mb to 170 Mb range, which I find completely insane. On a related note, it uses Java and has multiple installers available (Ubuntu/Debian deb, Windows Installer, Java App Installer).

Again, it can’t win my Music Player Review because it is not in the Ubuntu repository, but still a music app to try (and if you like/liked amarok, try it). http://www.atunes.org/

Songbird!

Not much more to add. It’s based on Firefox and looks similar to iTunes, in fact with an extension you can make it look like this:Songbird-Media(3)
If you miss iTunes or want to try to write music player extensions in javascript give it a try. Grab it at [Website no longer available] Take a look at some of the add-ons at http://addons.songbirdnest.com/
(Don’t get the wrong idea, it is *much* better than iTunes)

Again, I can’t do the awesome one-click installer for these so they can’t win my review. However, they might be perfect for you and definitely worth trying.

Who’s left? Amarok, Ario, Banshee, Sonata, gmusicbrowser, Videolan Client, Quod LIbet, Exaile, Rhythmbox
Read more of my reviews

Music Player Review: qmmp vs audacious

Basic_Interfaces
These players have more in common then not. Audacious seems to have more options though and supports WinAmp skins. If you are looking for a linux app to replace (the look and feel of) WinAmp these are the two best options I’ve found, slight edge given to Audacious. Although, I personally like the qmmp default skin better. Other than options, they are practically the same program.

Look you can rearrange them in similar ways (and arbitrary)Interface-customize
And they both can become “1 Liners”:

how_small_can_you_go
So Audacious “wins” cause they have more plug-ins, options, and skins by default. Also they have a voice removal pluging (a little bit buggy) but quite awesome if you want to get some karaoke going. I will definitely be looking for that feature in more music players. (Neither is continuing in my review, as they are competiting more with each other, than the others)

Both are very light weight and good players, Go give them a try, Ubuntu users click below.

Who’s left? Amarok, Ario, aTunes, Banshee, Sonata, gmusicbrowser, Videolan Client, Quod LIbet, Exaile, Rhythmbox, Sondbird

>Music Player Review ’09 edition – Wave 1.5

>Adding Songbird and aTunes to the list, with the note that they can’t actually “win” because they aren’t in the Ubuntu repository.

Just to catch them up to where we are:
aTunes – available as a a deb that adds a menu icon, passes on all first wave items
Songbird – available as a tar.gz, extract and then run, no menu icon, passes all other first wave items

Wave 1.5 just asks two questions. Playing all the songs on shuffle. Generating a playlist is fine as long as I can select multiple (read all) folders. Who is out?

  • Alsaplayer – Playlist, no media library and doesn’t let you select multiple folders to add them. Is still awesome because it let’s you speed up (chipmunkify) or slow down a song.
  • Aqualung – It has a bunch of options that I don’t quite understand but that an audio junkie might love.
  • KPlayer – A frontend to MPlayer, not designed to handle a music collection
  • Listen Music Player – looked good, GUI is very bad at being responsive, ends up crashing
  • Minirok – Can’t shuffle, quite a simple player, simplest player with KDE theme that I have reviewed
  • Xfmpc – finally an MPD client fails, except for this one they have all been very consistent how you add the entire library, cause they share a database. Now if you add the entire database to the current playing in another MPD client, and then go Xfmpc it will work fine.
  • gxmms2 – All xmms2 clients are out. Now to be fair, there is a bug that is basially making most of the xmms2 clients not work, so maybe Karmic will have them fair better.

Internet Radio?

  • Decibel – Nope
  • Gimmix – Just focuses on being a MPD client
  • Glurp – Just focuses on being a MPD client
  • Gnome Music Player – Just focuses on being a MPD client
  • Juk – Nope
  • Muine – Nope
  • Pygmy – Nope
  • gbemol – Nope
  • gmusicplayer – Nope, but I’m keeping it just because I can :P.

These are all focused more on just the music you have, which if that’s all you use, try these out!

Next up, I switch from waves to a VS match. Audacious and qmmp have very very similar interfaces., so I’m going to compare them until I find one I like more. (Quite similar to WinAmp, Coolplayer, Xmms, etc). Who will emerge victorious?

>Music Player Review ’09 edition – First Wave

>About a year and a half ago, I did a music player review, where I went through a lot of the music players in Ubuntu and reviewed them for functionality, etc. One of my finalists from last time, BMPx, has actually gone away, but all the others are still here. This time I want to do a more thorough review, so I am including all the MPD/XMMS2 clients (I will go more in depth on what they are in the future).

In this first wave I only looked at applications under Add and Remove Applications, in the Sound and Video section and they had to say something about being able to play music or audio. From that long list, I checked the following criteria (who fails, follows the criteria):

  1. Does it appear in the menu and actually open (also is it designed for desktop use)?
    Helix Player – crashes!
    Xfmedia – crashes!
    pympd – crashes!
    Elisa – really designed for a TV
    Freevo – really designed for a TV
  2. Can it actually play music?
    Jlgui – Java app that just wouldn’t play music with OpenJDK or Sun Java, or with/without pulseaudio
  3. Can I add items to the playlist/library and play them (from within the interface)?
    (To include MPD in this review, I cheated for them, added 1 single line to MPD config file)
    Abraca - couldn’t get it to add items (it could play items added by other MPD clients thought)
    Bluemindo – added items fine, but they were invisible in the interface
    Esperanza – couldn’t get it to add items (but it could play items added by other XMMS clients)
    Potamus – A very simple client that you need to drag and drop items to. I want at least an add button.
  4. MP3 Support?
    Everyone passed.
  5. FLAC Support?
    Everyone passed.

This leaves me with:
Alsaplayer, Amarok, Aqualung, Ario, Audacious, Banshee, Decibel, Gimmix, Glurp, Gnome Music Player Client, Juk, Kplayer, Listen Music Player, Minirok, Muine, Pygmy, Qmmp, Sonata, Xfmpc, gbemol, gmusicbrowser, gxmms2, Videolan (which I added just for fun), Quod Libet, Exaile, Rhythmbox

Have I missed any, or missing something obvious with the ones I left behind today? Suggestions for future criteria are also wanted.

>Why do you like Free Software and Ubuntu?

>Why do you like Free Software and Ubuntu?

My Answer:
I consider software important. Really really important. Why?
Most people don’t really understand just how much power software has over our current society. Let’s pretend all the software in the world was really just one single person. What could that person do?

  • Change everyone’s bank account balances (and change local records to match so noone notices!)
  • Choose many elected officials
  • Isolate individuals socially, make their emails go unanswered, etc (or worse make seem to send emails creating arguments)
  • In some places, arrest people
  • Ruin a credit score
  • Change the news
  • Change history
  • Nuke the world (or just provide bad information to leaders and let them do it)

Yes, quite skynetish, eh? Luckily software isn’t just one individual, nor was it written by one person. But the power is still held by all of the software in the world (or really the people who created it).

I believe that an essential part of democracy is allowing those that are interested to have a hand in controlling the systems that have the power. How?

The (A)GPL ensure perpetually that the end user of the software will have the clear ability to take control of the software on their devices. The AGPL could also be used to force transparency, another democratic necessity, of the methods used in voting, banking, etc.

A world with just Free Software (let’s just say all AGPL for simplicity) should be substantially closer to perfect competition. Why?

  • It lowers the barrier to entry, you can just pick up the source code to Gmail and make a new product. (Which Gmail can then copy from you).
  • More sellers. The more sellers, the more responsive a supplier needs to be to you cause you can switch.
  • Similar Products. They are mostly compatible with their specific value adds that will be likely incorporated into the next version of a competitor.

Perhaps this sounds a lot like Linux distros to you? :)

Well, Why Ubuntu?
We aren’t there yet
Ubuntu makes some of the necessary compromises (proprietary drivers, etc) that give many more people, more of the freedom and control then they would have had without it. Right now, I feel Ubuntu has the best chance of getting us closer.

Community
People need help to get involved with politics; communities exist to help concerned citizens to help change their governments. The Ubuntu community is here to help new users and contributors get involved helping to shape their software. Which is critical, because even if you have the freedom or right, doesn’t mean you have the knowledge to use it. Receptive communities, like Ubuntu’s, help get the knowledge to you.

Where are you going with this?
I was actually trying to answer the question, Why do I hate Microsoft? (I mean, come on, I don’t want Mono included on the default Ubuntu install, so I clearly hate Microsoft or Novell, or somebody)

I don’t hate Microsoft. I don’t consider myself anti Microsoft or anti Mono. I have actually set people up to use both Windows and Mono applications before, gasp! And I actually like Novell. (I’m also a MCSA)

I consider myself pro Free Software and pro community created and governed languages (as well as content, and much more).

We have a better way to create software, a more democratic control structure over what we do, and most importantly, we give users great software and a path (through the community) to help them be in control of their software and have a say in its future.

Related Posts, somewhat referenced:
SciAm Column on “Rational Atheism”; The Dangers of Being “Anti” Rather Than “Pro”
Doctor Mo previously had a post called “Why do you like Microsoft”