iTunes vs “Whatever I Can Get To Work In Linux”

by James R. Stoup Nov 24, 2008

I spent almost two hours trying to get to the point in which I could write this review. It has not been easy. In fact, I'm beginning to loose sight of the goal. Two hours ago when I sat down to write this I was fresh and enthusiastic about the idea. As of the writing of this sentence, I'm sitting on my couch, in my boxers, staring at a glass of Pepsi that has long since been abandoned by its ice cubes, listening to the Pussycat Girls singing "Don't Cha". The worst part? I think I'm beginning to like this song.

But why don't we start at the beginning so you can enjoy my leisurely stroll towards madness. Back before I had begun to appreciate the artistic sytlings of the Pussycat Dolls, I had decided to test out some of the media players popular on Linux. I happen to have a work laptop that runs Fedora 9 (a very nice OS by the way) and I have been wanting to play some music on it for a while. In a perfect world I would have just used iTunes . . . oh yeah, that's right, iTunes hasn't been released for Linux. And that brings me to a little something I like to call "Plan B".

From what I could find online, some of the best MP3 players for Linux are Amorak, Juk and Rhythmbox. So feeling supremely confident, I installed Amorak and began my quest to test it. However, I immediately ran into a slight problem, I had no music on my laptop. It being a work laptop that was primarily used for coding, music hasn't exactly been a top priority. Clearly I was stumped.

If only there was a way to download enormous quantities of music online. . .

A brief aside, if I may. Recently I got a chance to watch the Director's cut of the movie "Dark City" and was blown away by it. I loved the original, and this new cut is even better. I highly recommend it. But what does this movie have to do with my quest to play music in Linux? Patience, we're getting there. At one point in the movie, Jennifer Connelly (who is gorgeous by the way) has a scene in which she sings the mambo song "Sway". The song, if you were curious, was written in 1950 by Pablo Beltrán Ruiz and has been covered many times. In the original version of "Dark City" the song was done by Anita Kelsey however in the Director's cut, Jennifer Connelly's (who is still gorgeous by the way) voice was used. Both versions of the song are fantastic. So in bringing this home, I wanted any version of "Sway" that appeared in "Dark City'. Unfortunately, I was unable to find this ANYWHERE. I take that back, I found it on Amazon as a download, but they wanted to charge me $10 for the entire album (since it wasn't set up for singles) and that just wasn't going to happen. As it turns out, the Pussycat Dolls did a cover of that song and thus that brings me to this current point in time in which I'm listening to the PCD in Amarok, while writing this review.,

Still with me? Good.

Picture this, I've spent almost an hour trying to find a version of this song that I've now realized I'm obsessed with. I think I've succeeded (I haven't, as it would turn out since the PCD album I ended up getting didn't have "Sway" on it, which resulted in me listening to "Don't Cha" instead) so I open Amarok and try to play a song.

No dice, Amarok can't find the Xine MP3 engine needed to play my music.

So I open up Juk, and it doesn't play either.

Nor does it play in MoviePlayer.

Suddenly I realize that my computer has spontaneously stopped playing sound. Any sound. All sound. And it is at this point that my sanity began to slip.

I decided to nurse my warm, flat glass of Pepsi and reboot my computer. And thankfully after the restart my sound card remembered what it's job was and I could hear sound again. Amarok was still broke, but I had sound. A few more minutes were wasted while I used Yum to install as many Xine libraries as I could and finally Amarok starts to work.

I can almost taste victory.

Now I am listening to "Don't Cha" and experimenting with Amarok. My first impressions were as follows:

  1. I'm starting to like the Pussycat Dolls

  2. But I don't like it enough to forget about the song I was originally hunting.

  3. Having already wasted an hour looking for "Sway" I'm just going to get the Dean Martin version

  4. Wow, the Dean Martin version really sucks

  5. I'm now going to go find the Jennifer Connelly version if it kills me

So I end up watching a version of the song on YouTube wondering how I could capture the audio off the site and onto my computer. Thankfully, I am not the first person who has asked this question. If you want to copy something from YouTube then I encourage you to visit YouTubeHacker and explore what they have to offer. It is a rather amazing site and quickly allowed me to capture the audio I had so desperately been searching for.

Of course, after I captured the song I realized that halfway through there is this really annoying chime that effectively prevents you from enjoying the music because they are so loud. And so, at close to the 3 hour mark, I snapped. I no longer remember why I even started writing this. Oh yeah, the review.

Amarok plays music.

Sorry, that's all I can muster right now. You will have to wait for next week when my mind isn't totally gone.



  • ah, the joys of Linux’s interpretation of user friendly…

    Chris Howard had this to say on Nov 24, 2008 Posts: 1209
  • It was this very experience with Linux that got me appreciate all I had in OS X and ... cough .. Windows.  Linux as a multimedia OS is like sticking your foot out the door to stop your car.

    Khürt Williams had this to say on Dec 02, 2008 Posts: 45
  • Page 1 of 1 pages
You need log in, or register, in order to comment