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