Music players for GNOME

Wed 16 April 2008 by Peter Ward

Apologies for the short sections, and weird layouting stuff that you don't usually find in blog posts. Or maybe not.  After all, this isn't a blog post!

Introduction

After installing Debian Etch on my computer, I started looking at music players for GNOME.  The default for GNOME is Rythymbox, however, because it was so featureless and ugly, I also tried out a few others.

Later, I upgraded to Debian Lenny, and GNOME 2.22.  Yay!  So, I then had access to more music players, and I launched a second investigation.

The music players I looked at were Banshee, Quod Libet, Exaile, Listen and Muine.

Analysis

In no particular order, here is my thoughts on each of these players.

Exaile

Exaile claims to be Amarok, but for GTK.  It appeared to be a good idea, and it's interface was pretty (though perhaps a little too pretty for my liking), and is a good player to try out.  However, it didn't appear to play Last.fm streams.

Quod Libet

This was my first choice after discovering the problems in Rythymbox, and is a good organiser of music, and a generally good player.  I've only had a few crashes with it, which I believe to be the fault of it's notification icon.  However, it also didn't have Last.fm stream integration.

Listen

Listen had a lot of the features I wanted, but it's GUI didn't feel nice enough for me, and it's Last.fm stream support was dodgy.

Muine

Muine was too featureless for me, and crashed whilst importing my music library.  Repeatedly.

And the winner is...

Rhythmbox!

Wait a moment... but didn't you just say that it was featureless and ugly?

Well, yes, but that was before GNOME 2.22.  It now is a really nice player, which manages to import my disorganised music library with no problems, and has support for things like Podcasts (which I don't use), and it's Last.fm stream integration is almost always brilliant. (Occasionally it will fail to get the song metadata for the current song)

It hasn't crashed, and is part of GNOME, so I'm happy.

The future?

Well, the more astute of you will have realised that I've left out Banshee.  That's because it deserves a special section to itself. Banshee was able to do all the things that I've mentioned about Rhythmbox, including the nice GUI (although it's Last.fm stream integration is a little more dodgy), and it plays video!

So, I think that it's very possible that Banshee will take on the features from Rythymbox, or vice-versa, and one of them will emerge as the winner of the GNOME desktop music player.

Which one?  How would I know?!


Comments