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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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.

This is something that I don't understand about a bunch of different "media managers". I don't want to create a new directory tree that is my collection. I already have that. And I especially don't want the different users on my home system to have their own separate directory trees with copies of the same music files in them. That's why we have a central file server at home.

I just want a media manager that will look at a directory tree, import the metadata about the files in there, and let me create a library based on those files. BUT DON'T MOVE/COPY THE FILES!! Why is that so hard for media manager developers to figure out?

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.

Amarok's a decent media player ... but it's a horrible media manager. The "collection" is nothing more than a directory browser. You can't even edit any metadata (id tags, filename, etc) from within it.

If Songbird gets ports to FreeBSD as a native app, I may look at it. I'm running out of alternatives (GTK, and especially GNOME, apps are not alternatives.) ;)

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