technology notes… mobile and embedded.

Songbird 1.0 a review

with 2 comments

Over the past weeks ,I’ve been using a new media player from the Mozilla stable. Songbird1.0 was released recently and  there was lot of news that finally there is some competition to the much popular iTunes Media player. This is a brief on my  experience with this player both on Windows and Ubuntu Linux .

Installation: The installation was straightforward with a few questions and a typical EULA. The installation recommended  some add-on’s for me .I installed most of them. The application starts with a 3 column library view.The indexing of songs was pretty fast. My 12G song library got indexed within 3 minutes!  Songbird1.0 uses GStreamer,a cross platform  multimedia engine for its playback.

Add-ons galore: I am a great fan of the various add-ons of Firefox. Songbird is also replete with several add-ons.   And its this feature that sets it apart from conventional players.The add-ons are nicely integrated with the internet. Data is fetched from various sources transparent to the user.

A good example would be ‘mashTape‘,which collates information from various sites based on the song that’s being played.   Another add-on I liked is LyricMaster ,an add-on that displays lyrics of a song by searching the internet. The last.fm add on enables scrobbling my song history.

Feathers for the bird: Songbird is built upon the same (XUL) framework on which Firefox is based on.XUL would allow for very deep customization on the UI. Anything in Songbird could be customized using JavaScript and CSS. Skins for the player are called as ‘feathers’. A popular feather is the iTunes feather that could convert the player to look like iTunes.

iTunes playback:  Speaking of iTunes, the player imported my iTunes library without any issues. I am able to hear audio ,however, I was not successful in playing iTunes video files. I hope the next update would resolve it.

There are some rough edges too. The player freezes at times. I am yet to figure a pattern for this bug .But it happens occasionally (not just during double click as reported here). The freeze is quite nasty and it slows down the  entire machine .I had to restart my machine to get out of the freeze. Another minor bug is a brief pause in playback when I post a tweet using TwitterFox from Firefox.

Summarizing, my experience with this player has been pretty good. Its add-on system is quite addictive 🙂 If you are someone looking for a cool cross platform alternative for iTunes and the Windows Media player, do try Songbird .This bird is set to fly high !


Written by sujai

December 12, 2008 at 7:03 pm

2 Responses

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  1. How’s the performance of this Sujai? Is it as slow as iTunes 😀 ?

    I’m currently using Media-Jukebox for Windows and this would be a nice both-Windows-Linux solution since I have my music on a shared partition.


    December 15, 2008 at 5:36 pm

  2. @Raj : Never tried iTunes 😦

    BTW, Songbird is good on Windows. But still some issues edges in Linux. Esp when I open some Flash site with Firefox. Audio in Songbird fails to play. This might be a sound server issue than with Songbird itself.


    January 6, 2009 at 11:47 am

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