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Songbird Flies Today 412

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the free-as-a-bird dept.
fr1kk writes to tell us that with the recent advent of a preview version for the new open source response to iTunes, Songbird, BoingBoing has taken a few minutes to interview team lead Rob Lord. While this program may be a great alternative to the DRM ridden iTunes and Windows Media Player platforms it is still only a Windows release. The good news is that by being open source that will (hopefully) not last very long. The Songbird site appears to be swamped right now, but there are several different mirrors available to download the client.
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Songbird Flies Today

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @01:32PM (#14670678)
    It's not just the source that's open. The program is also a convenient user interface to buy music online, not just from a single monopoly (e.g. iTunes music store) but from all sources. DRM-free. Note in the screenshot, they have an icon to buy MP3s from amazon.
  • Mozilla-based? (Score:5, Informative)

    by eMartin (210973) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @01:34PM (#14670708)
    Right after I opened it, I noticed the column header control, and that the popup menus look more like the Firefox ones than the Windows native ones, so I checked Songbird's directory, and yes, it appears that it is Mozilla-based.

    Now, maybe that's common knowledge, but it's the first I've heard of it, and I think it's worth mentioning. Especially since talk of cross platform porting is.
  • Proxy settings (Score:5, Informative)

    by nullvector (694435) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @01:41PM (#14670780)
    I didnt see a menu for proxy settings in the app. Might be helpful for those who are at work right now.

    You can add the following lines into your config.js in the Songbird directory.

    pref("network.proxy.http", "type proxy here in quotes");
    pref("network.proxy.http_port", YOURPROXYPORT);
    pref("network.proxy.type", 1);

    Of course, replace the port and proxy values, and you're in. Its based on firefox, so I just got the settings from the Firefox config and changed from user_pref() to pref().
  • FUD, FUD, FUD (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @01:44PM (#14670801)
    While this program may be a great alternative to the DRM ridden iTunes...


    I'm calling FUD and misinformation on this one. I've been using iTunes since it's inception, I've got well over 10,000 songs loaded, and *none* of them are encumbered with DRM. Why? Because I ripped them from CDs I own. And you know what? *You* can do that too! Look, no DRM!

    It's just bad journalism to call iTunes "DRM ridden".

    Go find yourself a new job, because accurate reporting is not your forte.
  • Re:More on Lord (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @01:47PM (#14670833)
    Although I dislike Winamp for it's complexity

    v1.82 [oldversion.com] man, v1.82.
  • by LightningBolt! (664763) <lightningboltlig ... om ['aho' in gap> on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @01:54PM (#14670887) Homepage
    Only on slashdot can iTunes be equalled to Windows Media Player...

    OK, here we go...

    Get your facts straight:

    A very good idea.

    files encoded from your own CDs do NOT have any DRM in them. Only tunes bought from the built-in on-line music store have DRM.

    True.

    iTunes is a player/ripped/jukebox/music store program.

    Windows Media Player is a player/ripper/jukebox/music store program.

    You DO NOT NEED to buy DRM tunes online, you do not even need an internet connection (although it comes in handy for the CDDB feature when ripping your own CDs).

    Also true of Windows Media Player. Like iTunes, Windows Media Player 10 will rip your CD's to mp3, with no DRM.
  • by UseFree.org (950344) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @02:09PM (#14671047) Homepage
    Here's a list of sites that sell DRM-free music by independent artists:

    UseFree.org/drm [usefree.org]

    Songbird works with most if not all of these sites, and thus makes it easier than ever to break our dependency [pledgebank.com] on RIAA's music [magnetbox.com] and the cancerous DRM technology [gnu.org] that it is pushing.
  • Re:DRM Ridden? (Score:2, Informative)

    by TheBigMacMan (938594) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @02:20PM (#14671181)
    http://www.snappingturtle.net/jmc/tmblog/archives/ 003518.html [snappingturtle.net] explains, iTunes uses quicktime to play audio files. Since quicktime supports plug-ins, all you need to support flac or ogg is to get a plugin for quicktime. The link refers to a flac plugin (haven't searched around for the best one) and the following link has a ogg plugin. http://jsp.vs19.net/osx/oggtunes.php [vs19.net]
  • Re:Mozilla-based? (Score:5, Informative)

    by jalefkowit (101585) <jason@nOSPam.jasonlefkowitz.net> on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @02:23PM (#14671213) Homepage

    It's actually a pretty significant milestone for Mozilla because Songbird (AFAIK) is the first major product released that is built on the XULRunner platform [mozilla.org].

    XULRunner is exactly what it sounds like -- a small runtime to allow deployment of XUL-based applications on machines that may not have Firefox installed. Think of it as a JRE for XUL.

    Until XULRunner, there was no practical way to build full-fledged apps using Mozilla tech that didn't run inside one of their products (Firefox, Thunderbird, Sunbird, Seamonkey) because that was the only way to get access to a XUL interpreter. Songbird is an interesting demo of how XULRunner gets you beyond that.

  • Re:Here's the thing (Score:3, Informative)

    by shokk (187512) <ernieoportoNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @02:32PM (#14671321) Homepage Journal
    My beef with iTunes is the memory footprint. However, because I can do a Rendezvous stream over an SSH pipe [shokk.com], it's the tool for me right now.
  • Re:Here's the thing (Score:4, Informative)

    by uradu (10768) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @02:34PM (#14671343)
    > If they did, they'd know the DRM is so invisible that most users don't even
    > know it's there. I always forget it is.

    I've bought plenty of albums off ITMS, and it is indeed easy to burn them to a CD and then rip that, especially when buying a whole album. When buying individual tracks, things get a bit messier, since CDEx can't lookup the metadata anymore.

    But saying that the DRM is invisible is silly. I have a Roku SoundBridge, which works just fine with iTunes, except for DRM-ed tracks. None of the ITMS albums and tracks will play on the SoundBridge, unless burned and re-ripped into iTunes. And this won't ever likely change, since Apple seems to have no interest in licensing their FairPlay (ha!) DRM to third parties.
  • by node 3 (115640) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @02:37PM (#14671377)
    Also true of Windows Media Player. Like iTunes, Windows Media Player 10 will rip your CD's to mp3, with no DRM.

    It would be fair to note that mp3 ripping is new to WMP 10, which is XP-only, and wasn't installed by default on most Windows PCs in use today.

    All copies of iTunes currently installed can rip to mp3, while only a fraction of the copies of WMP can, which puts things in a little better context.
  • Re:DRM Ridden? (Score:3, Informative)

    by PCM2 (4486) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @02:39PM (#14671390) Homepage
    As far as I know, and I may be wrong here, iTunes will play standard mp3's.

    It will quite nicely. In fact, with a little free help, it will play Ogg Vorbis files also. [xiph.org]
  • Re:DRM Ridden? (Score:4, Informative)

    by velgor (678231) <velgor@nyc.UMLAUTrr.com minus punct> on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @02:57PM (#14671557)
    Um, not only does Apple make it a point of telling you to back up your music to other media, but they will also allow you to re-download your library (on a one-time only basis) should something catastrophic happen. I've recently lost my backups and a quick email to Apple had me downloading my purchased tracks within a day.
  • Re:More on Lord (Score:3, Informative)

    by code65536 (302481) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @03:30PM (#14671835) Homepage Journal
    If you dislike Winamp for its complexity, then Songbird would not be your cup of tea. Running Winamp 5 (I never bothered to install modern Winamp3-style skin support), it fires up in less than a second. Songbird takes about a quarter of a minute. Changing skins on Songbird is a 10-second ordeal that involves the window disappearing for a while. Complexity? In 2006, Winamp is by far the lightest, fastest, and least complex of all the major Windows media players.

    I tried Songbird for a few minutes and gave up. The interface was simply too sluggish (even slightly worse than the bloated Windows Media Player) to be comfortable (even though Firefox doesn't seem to have this problem). I'll stick with Winamp for my media player needs (fortunately, I never really got into the whole media library thing). Small footprint and instantaneous startup.
  • Re:DRM Ridden? (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @03:35PM (#14671891)
    It's actually not a 'one-time only' deal. You can re-download it as much as needed. I've redownloaded my collection 2 times and one of my close friends who also uses the iTMS has downloaded his entire collection 6 times. But I will agree that they do allow it on a case by case basis. Generally speaking a quick email explaining the situation, and in a day or so you get a notice back saying you can re-download everything now (and don't lose it this time ;-) )
  • by Kenshin (43036) <kenshin AT lunarworks DOT ca> on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @03:41PM (#14671941) Homepage
    That would mean that if you get new hardware you could still use the music. In fact there IS a limited time period. It is limited to the life of the perticular product you original tied the song to.

    Do you even check into this nonsense you're spouting?

    You can play your songs on up to 3 computers concurrently. If you get a new computer, you can "de-authorize" an old one and then authorize the new one through a simple menu command. Do it as many times as you get new hardware. You can also play them on unlimited iPods, and burn them to CDs to play anywhere.

    Sure, it's still somewhat annoying, but far better than any other legal download service.

    "OMGDRMWTFBBQ!!!"
  • Winamp the lightest? (Score:3, Informative)

    by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn.gmail@com> on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @04:00PM (#14672122) Journal
    Complexity? In 2006, Winamp is by far the lightest, fastest, and least complex of all the major Windows media players.
    I'm sorry; I can't idly sit by and watch that be posted without repercussions.

    From other slashdot users, I've been alerted to foobar2000 [foobar2000.org], the light quinnware [quinnware.com], a crude hack of XMMS2 for Windows [xmms2.xmms.se], etc. Just check out this site [vorbis.com] if you want to look up new lightweight players. There are lists [i4free.co.nz] everywhere.

    Honestly, I was afraid that Songbird would be too bloated--trying to do everything for everyone a la Winamp.

    I do not agree with your assessment of Winamp being the lightest audio player. It probably has Windows Media Player beat but I use better alternatives in alternate operating systems.
  • Re:Ogg Vorbis wedge (Score:2, Informative)

    by crwl (802043) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @04:00PM (#14672129)
    According to a recent that's not true at all, but vice versa: Ogg Vorbis is still definitely ranked on the top.

    http://www.maresweb.de/listening-tests/mf-128-1/re sults.htm [maresweb.de]

  • by GarfBond (565331) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @05:20PM (#14672808)
    Also true of Windows Media Player. Like iTunes, Windows Media Player 10 will rip your CD's to mp3, with no DRM.
    This has not always been true. WMP7-9 (maybe it was 7-8) defaulted to having all your music automatically copy-protected when you ripped it, which made absolutely zero sense for the average user.
  • Re:Yep, DRM'd iTunes (Score:4, Informative)

    by stikves (127823) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @05:22PM (#14672820) Homepage
    Yes I had a friend who own an iPod, and he said the same thing: "it works with only a single computer".

    However this is not totally correct. (I found out after buying my own iPod).

    The summary is like this: You can manage your iPod from as many iTunes installations as your want. But in order to do this, you have to disable synchronization from Preferences window.

    I know it's still a limitation, however it's not DRM related. Actually the problem is with the sync algorithm. Consider this: you add "Metallica.mp3" to PC A'a library and another unrelated "Metallica.mp3" to PC B'a library. After that you sync with PC A, then sync with PC B and then delete the mp3 on PC A and then to the both syncs again. What should happen?

    This is a very difficult question, because there is not one anwser to it. So they chose the obvious solution: sync works with a single copy iTunes, however you can upload songs from as many PCs as you want if you disable sync.

    (Btw, sorry my moderations will be undone, hope someone else redoes them).
  • by zachdms (265636) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @07:09PM (#14673626) Homepage
    It was silently on by default only in WMP7, after which point people realized that people were ripping without checking settings, so ... yeah, that changed in a hurry.
  • by geekee (591277) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @07:17PM (#14673687)
    "It would be fair to note that mp3 ripping is new to WMP 10, which is XP-only, and wasn't installed by default on most Windows PCs in use today.

    All copies of iTunes currently installed can rip to mp3, while only a fraction of the copies of WMP can, which puts things in a little better context."

    You can't get iTunes for pre-XP machines either, and iTunes isn't installed by default on any Windows PCs, so how is iTunes any advantage for ripping mp3s?

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