Songbird

Used version 1.2.0, which is the one currently being offered as stable. The application itself takes some extra work to get it going since it’s a XUL application. There are pre-built Ubuntu packages which you don’t get from the developers themselves, but rather from third parties who offer them. This means you have to trust these packagers when performing the installation.

The program doesn’t integrate into the desktop environment at all either. Sure, you can install “feathers” (skins) on it, but if you like a unified look across all your applications you’re out of luck. It can’t be that hard to use system bindings, surely.

Any playlists imported into it need to be coded in ANSI (ISO-8859-15). If you try to import anything in UTF-8 you will get lots and lots of ghost songs in the database. In my case I ended up with 4K ghost songs in a library of 13.4K songs. All these songs would have to be rated again. Screw that.

Now, here’s the kicker. It likes to eat RAM like a legislator takes money out of the public treasury, often going into the hundreds of megabytes of RAM usage.

Gotta keep looking for a decent music player. There’s gotta be something comparable to Winamp at the very least.

Exaile

After my update to Karmic Koala I found myself in need of a new music player, specially after using the godsforsaken mess that is Amarok 2. In my search for a new music player for Linux I happened to find Exaile. It describes itself thusly:

Exaile is a music manager and player for GTK+ written in Python. It incorporates automatic fetching of album art, lyrics fetching, artist/album information via Wikipedia, Last.fm scrobbling, support for many portable media players including iPods, internet radio such as shoutcast, and tabbed playlists.

It takes a lot of inspiration from Amarok 1.4 in its layout and design choices and since it’s written in GTK you don’t have to install any KDE dependencies.

Even though it’s up to version 3.0.2 at the time of this writing, it should be considered alpha software. Beta at the most:

  • Playlist import/export doesn’t really work. You can import only from M3U playlists and export to XSPF playlists. The other choices don’t work.
  • Overuse of playlist tabs.
  • Most plugins don’t work the way they’re supposed to.

On the plus side, the developers offer a repository for it, so you don’t have to jump through hoops like you do when you want to use SongBird.

After attempting to use it for a couple of days, I’ve decided it’s not for me. Hopefully I’ll get SongBird working without too many problems.