Songbird, iTunes, and Ubuntu

I dual boot Ubuntu and Windows XP, and with most programs I use, sharing configurations is no problems. My Firefox profile is the same, my Thunderbird email saves to the same place, and even Gaim uses the same preferences. The biggest problem that I am facing right now? No iTunes on Linux.

Since I got an iPod for my birthday, I've been using iTunes pretty extensively. I've been creating complex playlists, and rating all of my music. I just rate songs as I listen to them, which is easy enough, but when you add it all up, it's a big time investment. I'm willing to boot back into windows every so often to update my iPod, but I really want to have all my playlists and ratings available when I listen to music from linux.

The solution for me was to use a new music player called Songbird. It's an easy enough install to begin with, and some folks over at the Ubuntu Forums have written a script that automates everything. (I didn't use the script, but it seems to work well for others).

Then, follow these steps that I wrote out over at the Ubuntu forums. Hopefully this helps someone with a similar setup and a similar problem.


Written by Mike Goodspeed -

I've had a look at songbird, and I'm very optimistic about its future. I mean, it uses VLC, which plays everything under the sun but has the WORLDS WORST UI. It uses XULRunner (from Mozilla) for it's application code base using XUL for the design and layout of the window, and you can immediately tell that the developers there (or at least the ones blogging) care a lot about style and know a lot about usability. I like the way they are going; I think iTunes is a whole lot better than the rest of the market right now, but I still think they can do better (for christ's sake Apple, learn how to take long jobs out of your UI thread so that my interface doesn't lock up every time perform a long task like updating my iPod). With that said, Songbird is just too young right now. I hope there is a rabid enough fanbase to keep those guys employed long enough to ship a 1.0 product (an onward!). Hell, those are some crazy-cool shirts they've got, and I'm half-tempted just to get one without using the player. I've tried the player, but need something a whole lot more stable for my needs. I use iTunes for my music and my Media Center portion of my Laptop for videos. On ubuntu, I'd use Banshee and Totem, but while usable, both are lacking in features and, well, grace.

Written by Chris -

You're right that songbird is a little clunky right now, but it works well enough for just playing my music. I'll do my song management and update the iPod from the windows side for now. AmaroK is also a really nice package, but it's interface grates on my nerves for some reason (and I have to install all of the KDE libraries to use it). If Songbird keeps progressing well, I agree - it could do for music players what firefox did for browsers (here's hoping). I'm considering trying to write an script/extension to do two-way syncing between the Songbird db and the iTunes xml library - that's on the back burner, though, until I get some things done at work.

comments powered by Disqus