Rhythmbox (0.12.8)

  • Programming Language: C
  • Engine: GStreamer
  • Age: 9 years
  • Pros: Steady development; fast
  • Cons: Conservative features and UI

The first up is the reliable GNOME standby, Rhythmbox. It’s been featured in both previous shootouts, and there’s not much new to say about it. Being the default player in a conservative environment like the GNOME desktop means that it’s unlikely to ever push the envelope either in features or user interface, but it is also enormously influential, as its been the baseline media player in terms of features and HIG for many years now.

Rhythmbox has an extremely simple paned music browser which segments into Artists and Albums (you’ll notice from the screenshot that Rhythmbox knows nothing about Composers either) and a column-based playlist (which, somewhat oddly, squirrels visible columns away in the general preferences panel). My import of about 18’000 tracks went relatively quickly, although not as fast as Banshee. I had always assumed that Rhythmbox stored its library data in SQLite, but it turns out that it uses an XML format.

Rhythmbox has tight integration with a couple of music stores and internet radio (I’m listening to some Norwegian classical channel as I type this); clicking on the Jamendo entry in the sidebar, however, proceeded to load all quarter million artists and their associated albums into the playlist viewer (and Rhythmbox shot up to 250MB+ of memory), which seems to me an awfully strange thing to do without a little more explicit user interaction.

But then again, Rhythmbox isn’t big on user interaction; it more or less decides what it’s going to do for you. If you’ve got cover art fetching enabled (and it is by default), then the cover shows up in the lower lefthand corner, retrieved from who knows where. If it’s wrong, there doesn’t seem to be any way to reset it or set it manually except dragging and dropping an image into that area (which I wouldn’t even know had I not rested my mouse there long enough to evoke a tooltip).

Rhythmbox suffers from the same faults that afflict a lot of the basic GNOME utilities: too little functionality, too little control, and not nearly enough bang for the buck1

  1. Even if, in this case, the buck is non-existent.[]

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§5650 · August 29, 2010 · Tags: , , , , ·

7 Comments to “GNOME Audio Player Shootout v3.0”

  1. Fips says:

    Feel free to delete this rather unconnected comment, but the one plugin which very much keeps me by foobar2000 is the CUE Playlist Filter. Took me ages to discover, but it keeps a tab on all those folders containing files referenced by .cue files and prevents them being loaded into playlists twice.

  2. anonymous says:

    As a peer music-lover I would suggest you actually give yourself more time to use Guayadeque (now on version 0.8 and about to produce mp3 player support). I can easily agree on icons and that but in my view Guayadeque is in fact the best music player/organizer for Linux. I really think this is not an overstatement. For the last few years I’ve been looking for and trying all the others and have never been satisfied (and very often deeply dissatisfied) with any of them. Once you find YOUR layout (and believe me it is there for you to find) and have your files properly tagged; once you’ve created your dynamic playlists and filters you’ll be hooked into how fast/responsive/flexible/powerful this software is. I won’ t give all the long list of features you have not mentioned (other than support for composer tag) and I’m really assuming that you just don’t gave yourself enough time to discover this program. I’ve never actually used myself either itunes or foobar200 but in the ubuntu thread where most of the support is happening there are plenty of former foobar users which are thrilled to finally have found a worthy substitution.
    Best regards

    • Ben says:

      I believe you that Guayadeque is powerful, and I’m happy that it’s continuing to receive developer love (do you mean v0.2.8?). I will disagree with your implication that my files are somehow improperly tagged, though. I should not have to cater my tagging scheme to a particular program; rather, the program should be intelligent enough to handle my tagging scheme, provided it’s not too esoteric.

      I’ll definitely be checking up on the program periodically—I think it’s one of the most promising players out there.

      • anonymous says:

        I didn’t mean that you don’t have your files properly tagged (how could I know!). I apologize if I seemed to suggest that. I was just stating the obvious: to use effectively this programs (or any other similar) the music files have to be properly tagged.

        But I was also pointing to a really good feature here (not so obvious): Guayadeque supports labels. Labels can be apply at three different levels: artist, album and track and you can apply as many labels as you want (a label can be any thing you want). The implications for sorting/organizing your library, creating filters/playlists etc. are obvious.

        So Guayadeque has a tabbed view (which I find excellent): library, browser, file manager, playlists, lyrics, last.fm, jamendo, magnatud, podcast, radios, but these are services it provides; if you don’t use them don’t need to have them there.

        Just out of curiosity: what player/manager do you actually use?

        My main point remain though, I had the feeling that you

      • Ben says:

        I think perhaps I misread your original tagging comment as speaking to my common complaint about the composer tag being a second class citizen, which, now that I reread it, it appears you weren’t.

        As to my current software layout, I use foobar2000 on Windows and (currently) Clementine on Linux.

      • me says:

        I have also tried many players until I found Guayadeque. Of course it’s not perfect, but in my opinion it’s the best linux player.
        And I agree that when you fist open it, it looks awful, but with a bit of simple customization it improves a lot.

        But for me the best thing is how responsive it’s developer is. I’ve seen some bug fixed and feature request implemented in a matter of hours.

        There is also a new official site http://guayadeque.org/ with forums and soon there will be a wiki and a manual.

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