Tuesday, August 4, 2009


I continue to search for a decent music player. I just want something that will play tracks either from my laptop directly or from my desktop computer in the basement. Most of my music is on my desktop, I just mount the music directory on that computer using sshfs as a folder on my laptop, then I can pick and play whatever.

I was using Amarok for quite a while. It is decent, but has a lot of features that I don't use. I really don't use playlists, I usually just pick an album and play it from start to finish. Then I "upgraded" to Kubuntu 9.04, and found KDE lacking and Amarok had morphed into some sort of abomination not worth using. Long story short, I dumped both KDE and Amarok.

As a replacement for Amarok, I ran across Exaile. It seemed to be a pretty decent player, not too flashy, not a lot of features, but really, beyond a file chooser and play and stop buttons, what else does a music player need? The 0.2.x versions tended to lock up on me, so I got into the habit of using the lastest development version. While the 0.3.x versions don't lock up like the earlier versions, it does consume a significant amount of CPU cycles. I tend to listen to music while coding, and usually I'm running an IDE, JBoss, possibly a database, an SQL tool. All of these take a fair amount of horse power, so I don't want my music player using up 30% of the CPU.

Today I found a mention of Decibel on a blog about XFCE. It really is a minimal music player. The left side is a file chooser, the right side is the playlist. It has pause, stop, and play buttons, as well as forward and backward buttons. It has repeat and shuffle. That's about it. The preferences are minimal. It's memory footprint is tiny, and it uses almost no CPU. It does exactly what it needs to do to play music, and no more. Nice!

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