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Songbird Drops Linux Support 356

Posted by Soulskill
from the business-realities dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The Songbird developers have announced that they will no longer support Songbird in Linux. This is really a shocking announcement, as Songbird has its roots in open source. Songbird will, however, continue to be available for Windows and Mac." In their blog post on the subject, the developers said, "We remain loyal to Linux and the ideology it represents, so we will maintain a version of the software for use by our Songbird engineers who develop on the Linux platform. We’ll make that version available to the community. We will keep Linux build bots and host the Linux builds on the developer wiki. That said, those builds will not be tested and may not pick up new features developed by Songbird’s team."
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Songbird Drops Linux Support

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  • Help in TFA? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Gothmolly (148874) on Sunday April 04, 2010 @09:26AM (#31723912)

    Not once in TFA or the summary does it say what Songbird does.

    • Re:Help in TFA? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by tomhudson (43916) < ... <nosduh.arabrab>> on Sunday April 04, 2010 @09:32AM (#31723950) Journal

      Neither does the original story.

      What's Songbird? Who cares ...

      • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 04, 2010 @09:38AM (#31723996)

        and in other news, my mate Dave said the 12 line shell script he uses for grabbing entries from /var/log/messages won't be get ported to Windows

      • Re:Help in TFA? (Score:5, Informative)

        by psnyder (1326089) on Sunday April 04, 2010 @11:29AM (#31724828)
        It was the only fully featured music player / organizer (that I know about) that ran on the platform trinity (Linux, Windows, and Mac) out of the box. It looked and acted the same irregardless of the platform.

        This is rather important in my opinion, and I find myself recommending these kinds of programs (Firefox, Open Office, VLC, Gimp, Pidgin, etc), because when a computer illiterate friend learns a program like this, they are less locked into their OS. They can use them on their Macs at work, their Windows at home, and Linux if they happen to stumble on it, and they'll feel comfortable with the same familiar programs.

        Songbird is far from perfect, but it is an easy switch from iTunes (it can keep the iTunes library in sync with its own), has more features (with some excellent addons) and plays more file types. So now I'm looking for the next platform independent player / organizer to recommend.
        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward

          It looked and acted the same irregardless of the platform.

          "Irregardless" [wikipedia.org]. Shut up... you cuntsniff.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 04, 2010 @02:04PM (#31726096)

          When I had two machines with two OSes it was nice to have Songbird look the same irregardless. It could play most of my music irregardless of the file type. Now I'm a fan of OSS, but irregardless I couldn't use Songbird for too long because it resembled iTunes too much - almost like it was trying to be a substitute irregardless of being a music player. However it did have on-the-fly playlists so irregardless of its flaws it did have its good points.

          Irregardless I kept using it because it was nice. But then I started using other file types and, irregardless of my feelings for Songbird, I had to part with it. Irregardless of what a "music player" is, I need mine to have CD ripping.
          Don't get me wrong: I don't give it ill regards, less I suggest to people it's a bad product, but if it doesn't have enough of the right features I can't use it - irregardless of its age.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by MBGMorden (803437)

            Big fan of the world irregardless huh?

            On topic though, personally Songbird just never did it for me. The interface looked nice visually (I actually love the iTunes interface and would probably use iTunes if Apple supported a Linux release). The problem was that it just didn't do what I needed it to. It didn't support podcast syncing. It didn't support iPods on Linux. It also crashed more often than I'd like.

            Personally, right now for my media player I pretty much just settled on RythmBox. It's not perf

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by mrsteveman1 (1010381)

      Helps you sleep at night by filling your room with the sound of doves and seagulls, but only if you use Windows or Mac.

      • Re:Help in TFA? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Dogtanian (588974) on Sunday April 04, 2010 @01:30PM (#31725818) Homepage

        Helps you sleep at night by filling your room with the sound of doves and seagulls

        Speaking as someone who lives near an area with a fair number of seagulls, I can assure you that (a) they are definitely *not* songbirds and (b) having frequently to shut my window due to the noise of those fuckers, I can assure you that it's the *last* thing that would help you sleep at night.

    • Re:Help in TFA? (Score:5, Informative)

      by spyrochaete (707033) on Sunday April 04, 2010 @09:38AM (#31723998) Homepage Journal

      Songbird is a music player and library organizer similar to iTunes or Winamp. It's based on the Mozilla Firefox Gecko framework. It inexplicably uses about 130MB of RAM while idle.

      • by NewbieProgrammerMan (558327) on Sunday April 04, 2010 @10:04AM (#31724176)

        It inexplicably uses about 130MB of RAM while idle.

        Thanks, that's all I needed to know!

      • "Uses" or "has mmap()ed into its address space"? There's a galaxy of difference between the two.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Hurricane78 (562437)

        Wow, for a Gecko-based (actually xulrunner-based!) program, that’s very little.

        So it’s basically Amarok, in slow, with an inexplicably low memory usage...

        The last time I tried songbird, it was horribly slow, had a really badly designed interface (more “stylishness”, lest “actually usable”ness), and was just all around crappy.

        I’ll keep Amarok. TYVM.

  • by IANAAC (692242) on Sunday April 04, 2010 @09:26AM (#31723916)
    I use Linux pretty much exclusively, excepting a virtual instance of XP.

    I've tried Songbird for Ubuntu each time a new release came out and frankly, it was a horrible experience.

    I loved the layout of the software, but having to wait damn near a half hour (or more) each time I'd start it up to reindex all my music was annoying, to say the least.

    I've ended up just sticking with Rhythmbox, which is OK,but I really did prefer the Songbird layout.

    • I agree.

      Back on XP, Songbird seemed like a stop-gap measure to avoid having to deal with the atrocity named iTunes, without having to ditch Windows. Songbird had a neat layout and nice features, but it was very apparent that it was still an early development version.

      On Linux, there are many good media players and no reason to continue to use it. I switched to Rhythmbox on the day I installed Ubuntu.

      • by hairyfeet (841228)

        If you are on Windows and want a FOSS media player I would suggest Kantaris [kantaris.org] which is based on VLC (which means it doesn't use much memory-currently using 28Mb listening to LastFM- and will play just about everything) and has a much nicer interface than VLC IMHO when it comes to managing music.

        Now if someone in the FLOSS community wants to convert it to Linux the source code [kantaris.org] is there to be had. While I don't know how hard converting C# code to Linux would be (not a programmer or Linux guy) considering VLC

    • I tried Songbird, too. I wanted a music player with a modern interface that was cross-platform so I could always have the same expectations on Windows or Linux. Firefox and Thunderbird taught me the value of that. I was also frustrated with the slow loading times, however, and have found that I simply listen to music less often overall. In the end I've never found anything I've liked quite as much as Winamp 2.95.

    • by Bieeanda (961632)
      Songbird is just as terrible on Windows. There's nothing like having your music player just stop playing in the middle of a song, refuse to start back up unless you kill the process and restart it, only to have to repeat five or ten minutes later.

      Worse than iTunes, after years of active development. That's an impressive feat.

  • Alternatives (Score:2, Informative)

    by tokul (682258)

    Rhythmbox, amarok, xmms.

    So long, Songbird. You won't be missed.

    • Re:Alternatives (Score:5, Interesting)

      by DarkKnightRadick (268025) <the_spoon.geo@yahoo.com> on Sunday April 04, 2010 @09:31AM (#31723944) Homepage Journal

      XMMS 1.x is no longer supported and I hate the client/server model used in 2.x Amarok won't install without KDE and Rhythmbox is nearly unusable for my needs. Granted I am running FreeBSD. VLC is ok for most of my needs but I've been using Grooveshark [grooveshark.com] lately to bolster up my music collection.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Tyr_7BE (461429)

        What needs do you have that Amarok satisfies but Rhythmbox doesn't? Just curious.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by jadrian (1150317)

        Amarok won't install without KDE

        What do you mean by that? It needs kde libs, what's the big deal? It's not like you need to install the desktop environment.

        • by Night Goat (18437)

          Those libraries are what's keeping me away from Amarok. There are a TON of libraries that need to be installed in order to get Amarok going. I'd rather not install all the libraries for the sake of getting a music player working.

          • Re:Alternatives (Score:5, Insightful)

            by walshy007 (906710) on Sunday April 04, 2010 @10:53AM (#31724540)

            I fail to see why so many people using gnome hate anything that uses QT/kde libraries with such a passion. By doing so you are seriously limiting yourself and overlooking some nice software.

            Amarok, k3b, k9copy (only decent dvd ripper I've found on linux suitable for recommending to others), konqueror (meh as a web browser but great for viewing local filesystem and sftp'ing with other machines, like a swiss army knife), kino for converting dv cam footage. etc.

            The recent trend over the last few years for everyone to default to gnome and nobody having used any qt stuff seems strange to me, I always have both sets of libraries installed and use the best tool for the job.

            • Compiling both qt and gtk on Gentoo is a bear for every security fix. Thank god for Qt being recently split up into different components making things a bit easier, though.
            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by Artemis3 (85734)

              QT libraries are no problem, but KDE are. for starters, they usually screw up Brasero and the likes. Not to mention you have to load all that stuff and take more memory, etc.

              If you just use k3b for burning, you wouldn't notice Brasero, Gnomebaker, Nautilus (cd writing) are screwed, or wrongly assume they are broken.

              So the Widget libraries are not as much problem as the Desktop Environment libraries. I always prefer to avoid anything that depends on the opposite DE library of the environment I'm using. When

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by pydev (1683904)

              I fail to see why so many people using gnome hate anything that uses QT/kde libraries with such a passion.

              Because when run from a Gnome environment, they take a long time to start up, print a lot of crap, don't respect all Gnome preferences, look and work different, and start up extra processes that may or may not hang around.

              I think KDE is a decent desktop, but I want to use one or the other and not both. And I generally prefer Gnome.

      • by Yaa 101 (664725)

        I use Audacious simply because it sounds better than VLC, somehow VLC sounds hazy and dull even when using it's equalizer.
        Further, any music application that enables me to remove my files by accident is a nono for me.

      • by markdavis (642305)

        > XMMS 1.x is no longer supported

        When what you are after is called "Audacious" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Audacious_Media_Player [wikipedia.org]

      • Granted I am running FreeBSD. VLC is ok for most of my needs but I've been using Grooveshark lately to bolster up my music collection.

        I'm using FreeBSD too, and find that taking a little time to script mplayer (no gui) and using find to write playlists (i.e. find ~/audio/ -name '*.mp3' > allmusic.m3u) is a great solution. Amazingly flexible, and takes far fewer resources than anything else I've tried. Read man mplayer for some ideas.

      • Tried GMPC? Anyways, there are other MPD clients that you might like.

        http://gmpc.wikia.com/wiki/Gnome_Music_Player_Client [wikia.com]

      • by antdude (79039)

        What's wrong with XMMS v1.x? Are you doing something fancy that requires newer versions/alternatives? For me, v1.x is fine for playing MP3s.

    • Re:Alternatives (Score:5, Informative)

      by TeknoHog (164938) on Sunday April 04, 2010 @09:45AM (#31724046) Homepage Journal

      I currently use Herrie where I formerly used XMMS and Audacious. It is a light textmode player that does everything I want. In fact, I originally wrote a textmode frontend for XMMS/Audacious simply because it was more convenient to use that way. Later it turned out to have other uses, for example controlling my media machine via ssh from my work computer.

      My main problem with most music player software today is the idea of a 'media library'. In order to play a file, you first have to put it in the library. I understand such a database has its benefits, but to me it is unnecessary complication of a simple operation. In fact, I do have a custom script for managing music files burnt to DVDs, but in the unix spirit I like to keep thing separate, so I am free to use different players.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by markdavis (642305)

        I couldn't agree with you more. This is why I have always used XMMS, and recently switched to Audacious. I don't *want* something to "manage" my "library". I don't want a database. I don't want 1,000,000 features. I just need a simple, fast, efficient music player. And xmms/audacious do just that :)

        (I do use Amarok sometimes when I need something more powerful... but haven't used it since KDE 4, since they totally hosed the user interface :( )

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Tapewolf (1639955)

        My main problem with most music player software today is the idea of a 'media library'. In order to play a file, you first have to put it in the library. I understand such a database has its benefits, but to me it is unnecessary complication of a simple operation.

        This. I work with sound effects and speech clips a lot, usually ones that I've been sent as part of a project, and one of the things I want to be able to do is play a bunch of short files quickly and easily, with no messing around. I used to use XMMS, but it kind of faded away. I use mocp a lot now, more recently audacious. Having to register something into a database when I only want to listen to it once just quickly to make sure the recording was okay, that's just a pain in the ass.

        • by TeknoHog (164938)

          I work with sound effects and speech clips a lot, usually ones that I've been sent as part of a project, and one of the things I want to be able to do is play a bunch of short files quickly and easily, with no messing around. I used to use XMMS, but it kind of faded away. I use mocp a lot now, more recently audacious. Having to register something into a database when I only want to listen to it once just quickly to make sure the recording was okay, that's just a pain in the ass.

          I have worked as a theatrical sound designer/technician, and I have also used XMMS/Audacious, even in the final performances in some cases. However, for the kind of working stages you describe, I often use mplayer. Besides simply playing some number of files after another, it has a simple playlist where you can move back and forth.

          During a performance, you can pause mplayer when a file has finished (but not quite moved on to the next one). Then at your next cue, you can simply press enter to start the ne

      • by pizzach (1011925)

        My main problem with most music player software today is the idea of a 'media library'. In order to play a file, you first have to put it in the library. I understand such a database has its benefits, but to me it is unnecessary complication of a simple operation. In fact, I do have a custom script for managing music files burnt to DVDs, but in the unix spirit I like to keep thing separate, so I am free to use different players.

        Which used to be the difference between Quicktime and iTunes for me when I used to use a Mac. The nice thing about those programs is one is one is 'media library' based, and one isn't. On the linux side it it is comparable to Totem vs Rhythmbox. Windows forces them to be together in WMP. Don't know about KDE, but I think they only use Amarok?

      • so I am free to use different players.

        But that's the thing: I use a DB based player for all my "resident" music (MPD & ncmpcpp), and mplayer for single files. I also have a script (playany.pl) to automatically add a link to a single file, run the MPD DB scanner and auto-play it, but it's not worth the trouble.

      • by Pecisk (688001)

        "My main problem with most music player software today is the idea of a 'media library'. In order to play a file, you first have to put it in the library. I understand such a database has its benefits, but to me it is unnecessary complication of a simple operation. In fact, I do have a custom script for managing music files burnt to DVDs, but in the unix spirit I like to keep thing separate, so I am free to use different players."

        Well, Rhythmbox "Library" is nothing more than manually changable path to fold

  • by BadAnalogyGuy (945258) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Sunday April 04, 2010 @09:27AM (#31723920)

    There's a housing development not far from where I live that has draconian rules about "community involvement". In order to own property there, it is necessary to spend time on the board or doing board-approved activities. They have immaculate lawns.

    I own my own property here, and I have no connection to any third party except the bank and the government. My lawn is a mess, but I welcome anyone who would like to mow it.

    Isn't the spirit of Free Software about everyone pitching in and helping each other freely? Or did I misunderstand freedom to mean freedom for others to do work for me for free?

    I see nothing in Songbird's announcement that is negative in any way.

    • by skine (1524819)

      Isn't the spirit of Free Software about everyone pitching in and helping each other freely? Or did I misunderstand freedom to mean freedom for others to do work for me for free?

      Open source is about a few people helping themselves and allowing everyone else to easily help themselves. This would be inventing an automatic lawnmowing system, letting everyone use the blueprints free, and allowing them to use their own resources to build the system.

      However, in open source software, this last step is practically trivial and resource-free.

    • I don't think Bad Analogy means what you think it means.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 04, 2010 @09:34AM (#31723964)

    Linux is open source. Open source is not Linux.

    Its not really that shocking.

  • by Pecisk (688001) on Sunday April 04, 2010 @09:39AM (#31724008)

    So far on Linux desktop there have been three excelent iTunes like media players - Rhythmbox, Banshee and Amarok (last one mostly after features not gui). All three players excels in different ways, but what's important - they just work and I doubt we need more iTunes type clones in ui and functionality for Linux platform.

    I know that Songbird guys are those positively mad people who did huge piece of dirty work to port Gstreamer to Windows and OS X and it shows what's their main priorities are. And that's fine, because Windows and Mac need a nice open source music player too (and ported Gstreamer framework of course).

  • solongbird (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 04, 2010 @09:45AM (#31724042)

    Not long before the Windows and Mac development stops, too. This software failed to gain traction.

  • Performance Issues (Score:4, Interesting)

    by bmo (77928) on Sunday April 04, 2010 @09:50AM (#31724074)

    If there was ever a music player on Linux that was worse than the worst versions of Amarok, it's Songbird. Nice ideas, but it never ever did work correctly for me, and it wasn't for lack of memory or processing power. I kept installing it and removing it from time to time to see how it was going.

    It's like they never tried getting it to perform correctly on Linux. Oh well.

    Maybe it works better on Windows, but I'll never know since I never use that unless I absolutely have to.

    --
    BMO

    • by KiloByte (825081)

      There is one with much worse performance: Banshee. And Ubuntu guys want to make it the default player in place of Rhythmbox...

  • In my opinion Songbird became irrelevant anyway the moment it dropped ipod support. I don't know how they think they can gain any semblance of marketshare, or cred for that matter, by dropping key features from it's codebase. It ran like crap anyway. Who builds a music player on top of mozilla?

  • by BrandonJones (1581809) on Sunday April 04, 2010 @09:58AM (#31724136) Homepage
    Out of curiosity I dowloaded songbird just now and tried to install on my Windows 7 machine. Got a nice dialog saying "We don't support this OS. You can try, but things may not work properly." So you don't support Linux, and you don't support the latest version of Windows (or, I'm willing to bet, Vista)... Why not just call yourself a Mac product and be done with it?
    • by Spad (470073)

      I've got it running on Win 7 x86 and x64 without any issues or warnings.

      Sadly I haven't been able to find anything better to replace it; it is terribly sluggish.

    • by h4rr4r (612664)

      It does not run well on Mac either. It is just a pretty sad application.

  • by overnight_failure (1032886) on Sunday April 04, 2010 @10:12AM (#31724236)

    N.B. I am a Windows 7 user and it did say when I installed that Windows 7 was not supported.

    I dropped iTunes out of my home setup a while back and thought I've give Songbird a go. I've been running it for about 4 months now and I have to say, in IMO, it is one aweful piece of software which I rarely use now. Barring the crashes (ack. NB above) its usability is pretty poor.

    I hope others have hade better experiences with it.

  • by bgfay (5362) on Sunday April 04, 2010 @10:17AM (#31724266) Homepage

    ...but I tried Songbird and it was slow, prone to crashes, and generally not very useful. Compared to Banshee, it just didn't work well enough. I don't like to see any company stop supporting their software on Linux, but I'm hardpressed to find anyone I know who uses Songbird anyway.

    This is a sad thing at the general level of Linux software, but so far as usefulness goes, not that big of a deal to me.

    • by bgfay (5362)

      Bad form to reply to my own post, but here goes.

      I just had a thought: this is exactly the way it's supposed to work. Songbird is a pretty bad player and I wouldn't imagine that many people are using it, so it dies.

      I like the idea of natural selection. It works.

  • I think the unix philosophy says that life's complex tasks should be accomplished by a collection of independent utilities that interact well together. In particular, the library and player functionality must be separated. In fact, you want the same basic library tools managing all your big file sets, ala ebooks, pictures, music, movies, porn, etc., albeit using different column sets.

    How can one best achieve this? Do we even have a good separate file library system that'll track diverse file attributes?

  • While Linux doesn't have a player I like as much as Winamp, it has many which are adequate. I tried Songbird on Linux, and cannot remember what I thought of it or why I didn't continue using it, so I guess I have nothing to regret if they drop Linux (where I mainly use gmusicbrowser [gmusicbrowser.org] now).

    Songbird is mainly useful on Macs, where iTunes doesn't support Flac or many other formats, and there is not a lot of choice of music players as there is on Windows or Linux.

  • I can see why Songbird wants to get away from Linux support.. sound architecture on Linux is continually evolving... which is surprising because that's been the state of Linux audio for about 15 years. Every other Linux distro release features a completely new audio backend (admittedly, with benefits) but this breaks audio support in a lot of applications. That was one of the final straws for me on Fedora (now I use Ubuntu which suffers the same problem, but hasn't created as much work for me to have to fix

  • I installed it when Amarok's UI got buggy and stuck with it since then. It crashes when attempting to read in my SID collection and I can't for some reason push any part of its window outside the borders of the screen (like on an Amiga) -- but other than that it's good enough.

    The way it presents the music library made me listen to full albums again instead of constantly cobbling together impromptu playlists of isolated favourites-of-the-moment.

    Too bad. But of course I can keep using it.
  • by pyite69 (463042) on Sunday April 04, 2010 @11:50AM (#31725020)

    It is perfectly understandable for a business to avoid spending a lot of money building a Linux-specific version.

    However - what they should do is add Wine as one of their officially supported "windows" platforms. For example, they can guarantee that a stock Ubuntu 10.04 desktop will be able to load their software with just one pre-requisite: apt-get install wine.

    Mark

  • How can a company "remain loyal to open source" if it is dropping support for Linux? Sounds like more coporate "non-speak." Well, there are other good choices out there.
  • Oh well, at least I actually tried it. So I can say that it works. It is one of the better music players out there, but I don't like it, since I cannot collapse the song title column which makes my 20,000 plus song archive hard to use.

    Most music players fal over if you have a really large number of titles. So my fallback is to use the file manager and a double click to launch XMMS.

    Oh well.

  • by Bruha (412869) on Sunday April 04, 2010 @12:21PM (#31725276) Homepage Journal

    Desktop development of Linux has stagnated over the last 2 years. We have not seen anything but more fragmentation of the underlying building blocks and several high profile vendors have all said the same things. Adobe said the sound system sucks, Nvidia and ATI have complaints about X.Org windowing systems and in general while I love what Ubuntu has done, it "Appears" that they've dominated the direction desktop Linux is taking lately. I used to be impressed with every new build and the features it has brought, the last few releases bring nothing but yawns and maybe a new skin or some flashy effects, but nobody is addressing the more pressing issues of standards for underlying systems. I understand people want something customizable, but in the end you have to have standards so people who make you all these fun custom things can know what to expect when building them.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by MrHanky (141717)

      Stagnated? With KDE transitioning to 4.x and developing quickly, and Gnome about to go to 3.0? With DRM2 and Gallium3d somewhere in the not so distant future? It hasn't stagnated at all, the main problem is that it's in a state of flux. It hasn't stagnated at all.

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