The Problem with Linux Music Player/Organizers

For the past couple of days I have been working on getting my iPod working under Linux.  Sure, my iPod connects, is recognized, and mounted correctly in Linux but there are some major issues that need to be addressed before full iPod compatibility is achieved in Linux.

Let me say that the only reason I switched to iTunes in Windows from Winamp was because I hate using multiple programs to achieve my goals, when one will do the job just fine.  There was no need for Winamp with iTunes would sync with my iPod and play my music.  So lets move on wit that in mind.

My Linux music player/organizer of choice is Banshee.  I love this program for multiple reasons.  The first reason is it is written in C#, a programming language I work with on a daily basis.  So using something written in a language I already know allows me to actually submit bug reports and (hopefully/eventually) patches.  The other reason I like it is because it is  simple to use and the only thing its only interface is missing is a browser (being fixed in the latest development cycle).  Unfortunately it’s iPod features are severely lacking.  I have made a post on the Banshee Forums,  and hopefully it will get people thinking about creating better iPod handling into Banshee.

Another issue I’ve noticed is a lack of access to ID3v2 tags.  Things like BPM, Disc Number (Part in Set), and Album Artist are all missing from most of the Linux music players.  Album Artist is certainly a must for proper music organization so I am greatly surprised by its exclusion.  Also Disc Number falls into the same category.  I see that the Banshee developers have updated the taglib-sharp libraries in their subversion repositories, so hopefully this will lead to more tags and more columns to organize with in Banshee.  But these tag fields are also absent from Rhythembox and Amorak.  Also when setting up these players to keep your music folder organized, there is not an option to include the disc number so all the files end up out of order in the directory, not great organization if you ask me.  Besides who wants to have to go to two separate places in the player to listen to a multi-disc set?

The Linux based music players/organizers have a long way to come to really be ready for serious music listeners.  They work well for the casual listener but for someone who really cares about their music files and keeping them organized throughly, these players are just not quite there yet.

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4 Responses to The Problem with Linux Music Player/Organizers

  1. Brian Nickel says:

    So you know, there’s a very promising patch in bugzilla towards fixing the disk column issue. Album Artist and BPM are another story, though, and a large issue at this point would be how to change the dialog to handle so many new options.

  2. Michael Koby says:

    Brian,

    I was not aware of that patch and I’ll look into it.

    As for the interface side of things, I get where that might be a problem, however iTunes seems to handle the issue fairly well.

    iTunes does many things wrong, but in my opinion the one thing it got correct was organization of tracks both within the file system and via the metadata in the application.

  3. Michael Koby says:

    Brian,

    I was not aware of that patch and I’ll look into it.

    As for the interface side of things, I get where that might be a problem, however iTunes seems to handle the issue fairly well.

    iTunes does many things wrong, but in my opinion the one thing it got correct was organization of tracks both within the file system and via the metadata in the application.

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