[Rhythmbox-devel] Noise or How I learned to love the state of the Gnome audio software

This information is reposted from my blog

Sending to the mailing list in addition because I am a nobody in the
world of Blarghs. Please I ask you to not cut down my person, I am
only trying to offer constructive critiquing of Rhythmbox in regard to
the other top audio players on Gnome. I do realize that my particular
use of this software is different then others, however this does not
make my use irrelevant.


This was originally posted to a bug report
(http://bugzilla.gnome.org/show_bug.cgi?id=327254) but it seams that
either this is not worthy of noise, or the Rhythmbox developers would
rather argue and not fix something, then accept real critiquing of the
software they develop. I realize this was outside of the scope of this
particular bug, but this text in and of itself is not exactly a bug
either. I wanted to post this directly where the developers were sure
to look, instead of on my blog that is completely unknown to the
world. Sure I could have done something such as go to IRC, or a
mailing list, but users who are not developers, who do not know the
ropes, let alone know what an IRC or a mailing list is, should be
helped when they step outside of the proper channels instead of what
they have to say just being disregarded in the name of being noise.

I find myself deeply disappointed with the audio player scene under
Gnome. The above is an additional reason why, and not a step in
solving the issue.

This is not the first time this has happened to me. I don't regard
myself as a user who doesn't know the ropes. And I am certainly not
new to the Linux or Gnome scene. I am also not saying that what I have
has any merit, but I have been around the scene for a decade now. What
I am saying is that times like these the barrier to entry should be
easier, not harder.

Now to the meat and gravy.

I have a very large music library, I have spent years looking for the
perfect audio manager for my library, and though there has been great
progress, I still don't feel like we are there yet. I very much
dislike having to micromanage what is playing, I have spent enough
time hand picking what goes into my music collection, that I care less
about which album or song is playing, and more about the music just
never stopping. Sort of a perfect radio station, if you will.

As of late, what I have the most desire for is along the lines of what
Charbucks has been working on over at http://undamped.blogspot.com
called "In The Mood". I have not been able to test this out, but I
understand it to be along the lines of the music genome project
used by Pandora.

I have used last.fm suggestions supported by various players, but this
dynamic playlist support leaves something to be desired. What I have
found is that all suggestions lead to mainstream artists/songs and at
some point stops offering suggestions of my obscure music.


Place in queue The Moving sidewalks
Last.fm suggests ZZ Top, Jimi Hendrix, 13th Floor Elevators
ZZ Top Plays, Last.fm Suggests Led Zeppelin
Jimi Hendrix plays, Last.fm suggests The Rolling Stones
13th Floor Elevators plays, Last.fm suggests Pink Floyd
Now there are no more obscure artists left in my queue, so none get suggested

In the same regard, I also feel that Smart Playlists leave something
to be desired. If I want to play Slow Blues for example, I would have
to tag which songs are not just blues, but slow blues in the genere
tag. This is major micromanaging.

The example for In the Mood, I understand that it takes a fingerprint
of the audio and it attempts to figure out which songs are similar by
tempo, volume, key, etc. and should provide a more accurate selection
of songs. Where in my example above with playing a Moving Sidewalks
song, It will pull music from any and all genre, but which has a
similar finger print.

Here I am providing a critique of audio players and I hope this
provides a "State of audio players on Gnome" and not, "This sucks, you
suck, everything sucks"

Quod Libet, very nice audio player, major slowdown of development once
it hit 1.0. I feel that it is missing podcasts and dynamic playlist
support. Has the best tagging support IMO for an audio player. Does
not support "party mode" (full screen). Has an extensive plugin
selection, but most of the functionality is for tagging, This is one
reason I say it has the best tagging support. I very much like the
"Album List" view in Quod Libet.

Exaile, more of a cosmetic problem for me, I dislike the vertical tabs
along the left edge, I dislike the use of the "gaim" looking icons,
has poor tagging support even though it borrows mutagen library from
quod libet. Does not support "party mode" (full screen).

Rhythmbox, very basic though it has lots of functionality that other
audio players do not. Lacks some very major features that I have come
to expect, including, dynamic playlist generation (I am not talking
about smart playlists), has poor tagging support, Play Queue doesn't
function as expected (as described in the above mentioned bug report).

Listen, has many of the features that I enjoy, including it was the
first player under gnome that I found which offered suggestions from
last.fm so your play queue never runs out of music. The interface
needs some major love, and it is simply not usable with the size of my
music library.

Banshee, I am a little envious with the progress that has been made
here. But I feel it is not an option due to the use of mono. I realize
that parts of C# are standardized, but many parts of the .net universe
are not and are heavily patented.

Muine, not an option due to the use of mono. I realize that parts of
C# are standardized, but many parts of the .net universe are not and
are heavily patented.

BMP (Formerly Beep), sorry but winamp clones just don't do it for me
or have the features I am

MPD + Sonata & Ario , This is a nice setup, but again, does not
support many of the features I describe above.

I might have left out some audio players, but I feel like all of the
major audio players supported under Gnome & GTK+ have been listed

Lastly, Jonathan Matthew pointed out that the bug report is not my
blog, and I agree. I don't consider myself to be a blogger, and I feel
the level of quality to make a factual blog entry is quite a lot of
work. I am now talking to the world who might not understand half of
what is being said here so I feel I have to provide links to facts and
the software mentioned to make my point, where when I comment in
bugzilla I am talking directly to the developers.

In either case, he is right and I was wrong. This doesn't change the
fact that we have a long way to go to make the Gnome desktop kick all
other desktop ass. I felt I was providing a very deep idea, I felt
that all I got was a very shallow response.

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