Linked by Kroc Camen on Thu 4th Dec 2008 18:20 UTC
Editorial Songbird is a new open-source music player that has this week landed at 1.0. Songbird is described as a "web player"- a music player for this modern, connected era. It blends the web-rendering core of Firefox (Gecko), with the media capabilities of GStreamer- a cross-platform, open-source media playback engine.
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This review seems a little biased
by OddFox on Fri 5th Dec 2008 09:25 UTC
OddFox
Member since:
2005-10-05

This review seems a little biased towards expecting a full iTunes replacement on a 1.0 release, especially when you get to page 4 and read this:

"To call this product 1.0 is like throwing in the towel, accepting that it's just not possible to beat iTunes, or even Windows Media Player, or even support basic features - like playing a CD, that's been possible for around 16 years."

Ugh, Songbird never set out to replace iTunes or anything else, it uses a very flexible technology base that gives it the freedom to develop into so much more, eventually surpassing current media players in various fields. Personally, as a jukebox app it seems like it's come a long way, and the fact that it doesn't play CDs is something I'm perfectly fine with, considering CDs don't neatly fit into the whole paradigm of playing your personal locally-stored library of music. And these basic features are things that can easily be added on if someone really wanted to. I think the fact there isn't an add-on for this functionality kind of supports the idea that not many people want it.

On page three, all the bugs he mentions very well may be easily reproducible, but only on OS X, they are Mac-specific. The reviewer couldn't be bothered to load up Boot Camp or VMWare Fusion or Parallels Desktop to give the Windows version a spin to see if it suffered the same problems? Come on, some metrics put OS X market share even further behind Linux market share (Though I would say OS X is probably ahead slightly on desktops). I point this out because this is obviously someone who is deeply entrenched not only in Apple technology but in Apple ideology. Look, a jukebox app doesn't have to support everything Apple under the sun to be a successful and useful jukebox app, it has to do what it advertises, and that's play media. In this case, the reviewer either can't read the front page for Songbird or the Songbird developers responded incredibly quickly to this article because it notes prominently that it is a music player. They aren't hiding anything.

Let's go along the cons here:

No direct podcast support, can be "emulated" through subscribing to a website or RSS feed XML - Granted, but wouldn't this require built-in video playback support, not just streaming via the web interface?
No CD support - Addressed earlier in my post.
Vague privacy - Granted, they should probably develop a privacy policy to assuage fears.
Long road ahead to feature parity with iTunes - This is so conceited, by my measure it is already far surpassing iTunes in features, most importantly playback of every format I can think of. Everything else can be added via extensions, so ultimately this program has far more potential than iTunes could even dream of. This kind of arrogance is typical of people who use iTunes for a far more specific subset of needs (My iPod!) than the average user who just wants to play their collection.

Now the sins:

I encountered many bugs, big and small, just in my normal usage - Addressed earlier, these bugs are not reproducible without using your specific platform, and I hope you submitted some bug reports.
No video support, no UX to acknowledge that - The front page says "The Open Music Player". When did music player translate to audio/video?!
Second class citizen on OS X. Lacking theme polish. Poor non-standard behaviour - Look, OS X gets less attention not because of any snubbing but because of a lack of resources. If you want it to be better on OS X, provide constructive feedback through the proper channels.

All in all I think this review could do with a little more depth and a little more thoughtfulness. It praises Songbird's innovation while at the same time bemoaning its feature set because it lacks specific technological tie-ins that he has gotten so attached to. This is a jukebox application, it is not an iTunes killer, though in time I have no doubt addons will arise that will make iTunes less necessary for those techs that Songbird currently lacks. This review is so incredibly short-sighted to ignore that Firefox became arguably the greatest web browser period not because of it's base package but because of the cornucopia of extensions to make it behave how you want it to behave, not how some developer decided it should.

Really, every single compliment given to Songbird seems to be completely backhanded, and it's insulting to say its chances of success on Linux is much greater than on Windows or Mac OS X because quite frankly it has the greatest challenge on Linux, and that's beating amaroK and the likes of mpd.

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