songbird

| 34 Comments

The first public release of the Songbird music player is now available. Songbird is based on XULRunner, the technology platform derived from the Firefox code base. Give it a try and let them know what you think.

34 Comments

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I posted this on their site, seems they are monitoring comments before publishing them...

I understand that there is a need for a business model, but it seems like the sidebar contains advertising links to anyone who was willing to pay... How does this help me as a user?

A few notes:
1. If Songbird is using VLC which is GPL - doesn't it mean that the whole thing is GPL and can be freely used and distributed? How come they have their own proprietary license?
2. This thing connects to the Net - will it report my "usage stats" to the "partners"? Where is the privacy policy?
3. If this is Firefox, where is the tabbed browsing!? Where are the other Firefox goodies? How is this different from the Windows Media Player Web panel?

Interesting comment Dima. Their site is down for me (same error as Cam).

This is really nice for a 0.1 release. Obviously it's very limited in functionnality but it can play songs just fine. Very nice!!

Dima:
1- This is from Help / About
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This binary is licensed to you under the GNU General Public License Version 2 as follows:
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2- True
3- I don't think the goal is to have a full web browser like FF inside the player, but to allow us to have "web playlists", for example the OpenBSD repository. Also useful to have links to sites such as Pandora and last.fm.

Asa: I was under the impression that XULRunner would not be in production before FF 3.0? Are FF, TB and songbird using the same runtime??

I was skeptical at first, not liking iTunes didn't help with how it was styled either... But unlike iTunes, it doesn't mess with your file system or dictate how you should organise your folders. It also gives you artist and album columns to help you find exactly what your after without having to re-sort your song list.

It is very beta software however. Don't even bother if you intend it to replace your current player now. I can't even convince it to play more than 1 song at a time, and I have no idea how often it's crashed on me.

I can't believe it doesn't obey keyboard media keys yet either.

Also, that sidebar can bite me. It already has actually. It's nice that we get options out of the box, but that's just nuts. No option to delete any of it either, that really sucks considering I only need Library with perhaps Network Devices. (I assume portable media players show here too)

Lastly, If there's a prefrences window, I'm yet to find it.

phil: There is no such thing as "This binary is licensed under GPL". GPL says that both the binary and the source are GPL and are *free* to download, reuse and re-distribute. As far as I can see they already have distribution and other restrictions. Also, they say that "most" of the code will be open source. This is clearly a violation of the GPL.

Dima: Thanks! I'm no expert in GPL and I did not know that. I remember mig wrote on his blog on a few occasions that the 0.1 release was pushed back for many weeks because they were seeking legal advice, also noting that he was more afraid of Richard Stallman's lawyers than Apple's.

I really like it. There is a lot of potential there... the bit that shows the most potential is the Empty Extensions window ;)

Dynamic Skin Changing as well... when's that coming back in Firefox? :p

It's not ready to replace my Winamp yet, but I'm definitely keeping an eye on it!

I'm impressed thus far, but it's got a LONG way to go. Right off the bat, it doesn't play AAC files, which make up half of my collection. I'm certainly going to be following this software, though.

Dima: It's possible to have some code that is GPL and some that is under a more restrictive license in the same project depending on how the code interacts with each other.

Unless you actually know the specifics of the interaction of the different libraries and code and the licenses that they are under a blanket statement like "clearly a violation of the GPL" is a bit overreaching.

It may be a violation of the GPL, it may not.

Also, IANAL, I assume you aren't either. It's good to say so on issues like this.

Greg: IANAL too, but this issue is pretty straight forward, IMHO:
http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html#IfLibraryIsGPL
http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html#LinkingWithGPL

Generally speaking, if two programs, one GPL and one not are running as separate processes and are communicating through a loose protocol (without sharing any internal data structures), then the second program isn't affected by the GPL. Program that's liked with a GPL module (like Songbird is with VLC) to create a derivative product *has* to be released under the GPL.

2 TychoQuad:

iTunes doesn't have to reorganise your file system or folder structure if you don't want it to, that option can be checked off.

Dima: Gerv knows more about this than either of us

http://weblogs.mozillazine.org/gerv/archives/2006/02/songbird_preview_released_under_gpl.html

Is that sufficient for you?

^ the above link links to a site which links to another site which links to 2 download mirrors, thanks :D
Well it's still an early alpha, very promising anyway. What'd rock would be a Dom Inspector so we could start hacking!

Licenses aside, how is everyone finding it as a music player?

Mr. Lizard,

Keywords there, Checked off. It messes around with your stuff until you tell it not to. That's not default behaviour I recomend, and it drives me nuts.

TychoQuad, are you sure? I've installed iTunes on lots of computers over the course of lots of different versions, and not once has that feature been enabled by default, to my recollection.

Folders marked iTunes littered around my file system disagree.

Cant connect.. it redirects to http://69.90.210.150/ and the f***ing page is blank.

2 TychoQuad: at the risk of getting a little off-topic (mind you, we are still talking music players) when you say 'folders marked iTunes littered around your file system', I'm not sure what you mean. If the option to copy songs to the library is selected, iTunes stores them in your 'Home > Music > iTunes' folder (Mac) or 'My Documents > My Music > iTunes' folder (Windows).


When you say there are other folders marked iTunes, you can expect to find these in the Applications & Application Support folders (Mac) and in Program Files folder (Windows) as this is where the program and supporting files are held. Music should not be stored here.

--

Is anyone able to tell if Songbird offers Podcast subscription?

Yeah, the My Music > iTunes folder is what i was referring to there in particular which btw, it creates on install and recreates on every startup regardless of whether something is stored there or not. It's little behaviours like this which annoys me about any application, not just iTunes. I haven't used it long enough to find anything major to annoy me, which I have no doubt I would. (EDIT: Correction, Another major annoyance is that it forces me to install Quicktime, which I despise for many other reasons. iTunes doesn't even interact with it, so why?) First impressions last.

My first impression with Songbird was that it "looks but doesn't touch" which is exactly what I like with any app. Second impression is that it created order from the chaos which is my music organisation which makes sense to me. Third impression is that the Songbird team has alot of work to do. That's when I stopped using it. However those first impressions made sure that it wasn't the last time I would download and install Songbird.

I found it too like iTunes. I really do not like iTunes, just the way it looks and feels. I'm a Winamp guy :( .

To those who are finding the left sidebar too painful (including me :-))...in one of their earlier blogs they mentioned that it is currently hardcoded and cannot be altered but it will be possible to add remove things from it eventually.

As far as the rest of the experience is concerned. I must say it is promising but could go either ways since most of the obvious features are still to be added on. So won't know until version 0.5 or so, I guess.

Songbird is looking pretty sweet. I love VLC and Firefox's XUL, I like iTunes, but I hate how it imposes on your directory management. DRM is a bitch. All hail the Songbird!

It has potential...
For 0.1 it is quite usable, however extream memory usage. IMHO 80Mb is far too much.

I've used it quite a bit yesterday and today, and i've come to the conclusion that it can be a pretty solid product with a little work. Once it works well with my iPod and will play AAC files (hopefully it'll handle both well eventually) i'll switch to it from iTunes.

Songbird, is freaking awesome!

I hope this project pulls through, especially since it's firefox based, and opensource.

The minute it runs on a stock XULRunner I'm writing a new theme for it.

- Chris

I gave it a try, it is definately an alpha release. Could figure out anyway to stop a song and get it to restart at the beginning. The search engine was very difficult to use or to even figure out how to use properly. Also never figured out how to sort songs by artist, song title or any other way than they way the were loaded into the player. Couldnt figure out how to create a playlist. I can see some potential here, but for now I'm sticking with iTunes.

So far I like it, I had no idea that you could browse the web in it.
It�ll take some getting used to and I�m not ready to dump Winamp just yet,
but it has great potential.
Also if you want to help to promote Songbird, Moz�s own Jamey Boje (GraphicsGuru) has made some official buttons.
http://www.songbirdnest.com/community

*Thanks graphicsguru!

{censored} I wish I was a graphicsguru.. or any guru for that matter.

What a piece of bloatware! It's a fat clumsy penguin. It cannot fly.
foobar2k is much better and is also absolutely free.

dainjar, while foobar2000 is excellent and powerful, it's severely non-intuitive. Think "I wouldn't recommend this to my mum, or grandma, anytime this century" and that pretty much sums things up :)

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