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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My background: I am an old Linux user (since 1995!) which has recently switched to Mac OS X. In the last five years I have ripped a large number of CDs from my collection. I keep them in a dedicated partition on my hard drive (6500 OGG files). I carefully designed the directory layout and avoided spaces in file names in order to ease backups. Each directory contains a "cover.jpg" file with the image of the CD cover. I used to run Exaile, which was more than happy to work with this configuration.

When a few weeks ago I copied my music to my new MacBook and fired iTunes, I discovered two problems: (1) it does not play OGG files, unless you download the decoder from Internet (which I promptly did), and (2) it forces you to "import" the files, i.e. to move them into newly created directories, with file names chosen by iTunes itself. The latter urged me to seek for alternatives.

I tried to install Amarok, but was scared by the fact that it depends on a lot of KDE libraries and there is no automated install process yet. So I decided to try Songbird. The two iTunes problems do not apply with Songbird: (1) it can read my OGG files without any additional plugin, and (2) it happly reads my files where they are without the need to copy and rename them. So I decided to stay with Songbird.

However, there are a few issues: (1) the Macbook multimedia keys are ignored (this is a known bug), (2) creating playlists is not as easy and quick as it is in Amarok and Exaile, (3) there is apparently no way to see the OSD rectangle which announces the new track to be played, and (4) it apparently ignores the "cover.jpg" file I put in each directory. If I manually import it, Songbird copies the cover into the OGG files, which is something I dislike and find quite annoying!

My conclusion is that Songbird is not the optimal solution to listen my music yet, but I will be using it waiting for an easy-to-install Amarok DMG file!

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