After wasting way too much time yesterday, Songbird is my new media player. Mike Arrington has written about them a couple of times, but I didn’t think much of it at the time when I read about it.
Songbird is pretty slick. It has a very similar interface to iTunes. It is built using Firefox’s framework and uses your OS’s native playback libraries, so it runs on Linux, Mac and Windows… with Linux it requires the gstreamer packages. Reading the comments on their blog, I see that a lot of Mac users are even starting to dump iTunes in favor of Songbird because it can do a few web2.0-ish things that iTunes can’t do. The backend is SQLite rather than XML, so it should scale better than iTunes too.
I also had to install plugins for iPod Device Support and the iTunes Library Importer. It’s pretty cool that the Apple stuff is all plugins, because not everyone needs that bloat.
So I put it to the test… First, I had it scan my external hard drive for music. I stepped away to make some lunch and when I returned it had successfully imported 8069 out of my 8225 songs (the missing files were due to the fact that it can’t decode Apple DRM files (.m4p), but I will come back to that). Then I realized that I shouldn’t have imported my music this way because when I ran the iTunes Library Importer to import my playlists, my playlists didn’t point to the right files. So I deleted all of the songs from the Library and started over. Deleting maxed out the CPU for about 20 minutes, but thats okay… iTunes probably would do the same.
Now, to get the iTunes library to import properly, I first had to change the file paths in "iTunes Music Library.xml" from Windows-style paths to Linux paths…
Then I ran the importer and it worked perfectly… again excluding the .m4p DRM files.
Now to get the DRM files unlocked and imported I used this… http://hymn-project.org/forums/viewtopic.php?t=1553
And as for syncing the iPod… I just plugged it in a few minutes ago and it appears to be syncing. If something fails horribly, I will update this post. Otherwise you can assume that I am now a happy Songbird user.
Hey Bill, Are any of you guys in San Francisco for the web 2.0 expo?
No. I’ll be out there in August for Linux World though.