Music is important to me. I spend all day every day listening to it and much of my free time making it. As such, the choice of media player is pretty important to me. I have tried all sorts – Rhythmbox, XMMS, Songbird, Amarok to name a few. Despite my experiments, I always come running back to Rhythmbox. Why? Well, I am looking for something that is elegant and well designed, simple to use, reliable and does what I need it to do.

Rhythmbox has always provided an elegant, simple and reliable player, but has lacked on the features side. My ideal music player would include the following vital statistics:

  • Be able to play all of my media without drop-outs or huge gaps between songs
  • Provide album art
  • Sync up with my iPod
  • Support Internet radio – I have always wanted to see the excellent StreamTuner integrated into a media player
  • Stream media across the network with DAAP and uPnP where possible
  • Last.fm support
  • Podcast support
  • CD writing
  • Crossfading
  • Preferably be a GNOME application that uses GStreamer

Well, I have now found a replacement for Rhythmbox – the rather excellent Banshee.

Banshee does pretty much all of the above, aside from Crossfading, and it adds to Rhythmbox with decent Internet radio, podcasting, CD writing, iPod syncing and more. What is nice about Banshee is that it is clearly going for a complete feature set but not willing to sell its UI grandmother while getting there. This has always been the thing that has kept me away from Amarok; sure it provides the kitchen sink, but it is just overkill, and the user interface suffers because of it.

I think what has also encouraged my change has been the excellent recent performance work by Aaron that has dramatically improved startup time (no media player should have a frikken splash screen!) and Joe’s Banshee Media Server hacking. It is all looking good for this little media player. Incredible that a man who looks about 12 years old can pull off such an incredible project. 😛

…and no, I have not tried sharing Jono’s World Of Metal with it. I wonder if it is possible.

Novell Hack Week

While on the subject of Banshee, I think Novell deserve a hefty chunk of kudos for Novell Hack Week. From what I can tell it has been an excellent week, well run and resulted in some incredible contributions to upstream software. Novell are a very good citizen when it comes to upstream software development, and the week has produced some excellent results. Thanks to everyone who has contributed – I am itching to have a poke with some of the things that have been produced, particularly the Banshee related stuff. Joe is getting a beer at LUGRadio Live 2007 next weekend for his Banshee web frontend, and if Aaron can it along, I will buy him a pepsi or something. 😛

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