2008/06/17

Banshee 1 on Ubuntu

I listened to the recommendations of the Linux Action Show and installed Banshee v1 on my Ubuntu laptop. I simply followed the steps in http://www.simplehelp.net/linux/how-to-install-banshee-10-in-ubuntu/. If you hate the command-line, use Synaptic Package Manager for installing the banshee-1 package and it's dependencies.

I'm not a big fan of the mono environment and its Microsoft origin, but I must admit: starting banshee V1 gives the 'wow'-effect. It looks like a rhythmbox on steroids:


As you can see, my muvo v100 is recognized and it shows a nice "memory available" graph. Generic USB devices like the v100 must define a .is_audio_player file in the root to be automatically recognized by banshee or rhythmbox. Banshee also has a user-friendly "eject media device" option in the context-menu.

And there is built-in podcast support. You cannot import a list of podcasts, but the "add podcast" automatically pastes the url that you copied from another window. You cannot remove older podcast from the list, but you have to "mark them as old". When copy/pasting to the media device, it uses the (usually) bogus "artist" data of the podcast. I couldn't find a way to "autosync" podcasts to my mp3 player yet.

I didn't try to connect to my firefly daap or mediatomb upnp server, but mediatomb should work through djmount at least. But maybe I'll use samba for read & write access.

I noticed a few minor problems:
  • the banshee icon is enlarged when you put the menu-bar on the left (or right) side of the screen (see screenshot above)
  • when the usb media player is already mounted, banshee hangs at startup:

I suppose those problems will be fixed soon. And perhaps Ubuntu should update the banshee package in their distro and why not, consider replacing Rhythmbox.

update 27/6/2008: Unfortunatly banshee hangs / crashes quite often once you use it more. I'm still using Rhythmbox for my 'normal' media player stuff, surviving with Rhythmbox's limitations: single threaded (and buggy) podcast retrieval, picky when media drive is unmounted, too simple media device support, almost no configuration options... But at least Rhythmbox doesn't crash that often.

update 22/1/2009: Banshee is much more stable now and really usable as a music player, more 'finished' than rhythmbox. Unfortunately, the podcast retriever still has a bug: when the download speed is too low, the download stops; retrying will download the full podcast again and fails again when the bandwidth is still too low (I experience this with e.g. 'Buzz out Loud'). It seems like a core Mono bug since no stacktrace is logged. I reverted to gPodder as my podcast client.
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