June 8th, 2009
So I have an iPod, and I have several PCs. I have the 60GB iPod, which is enough to hold my entire music collection. I want to have my music there, and on the PCs, and sync it all together: if I rate something 4 stars one place, rate it 4 stars everywhere. If I add music to my PCs, add it to the iPod, and in the same playlists.
Nothing like that appears to exist.
So here are my reviews of some of the Linux-based music playing systems. I am not all that happy with any of them. Actually, these aren’t reviews so much as they are wishlist (or more serious) bug lists.
Last looked at it just before KDE 4.
- Copied tracks to iPod OK, but couldn’t put them in a playlist on the iPod.
- Poor sorting of stuff on the iPod. One giant list of albums, and no sorting of the playlist.
- Did seem rather stable.
- Showed album art from local collection only — not from the iPod.
- No apparent actual syncing; just copying back and forth.
- Claims to sync with the iPod, but doesn’t actually document what it does anywhere. Messed up my iPod when I tried it.
- Mysteriously can only copy tracks from PC to the iPod; can’t copy tracks from iPod to the PC.
- Rescan library wouldn’t remove missing tracks. Not sure if it did anything at all.
- Couldn’t ever get it to even see the iPod. Complex interactions with hal. Numerous bug reports with complicated workarounds — or not. Fail.
- Bug in the box that asks where the iPod is. Couldn’t get it to see the iPod.
- Doesn’t actually delete iPod tracks. Moved them to /ipod/.Trash-1000. Caused my iPod to fill up until I noticed that.
- Doesn’t update the iTunes DB at all, rendering new tracks invisible to the iPod.
- The best, most fully-featured iPod support out there. Far better than iTunes even.
- Docs claim to have some sort of iPod-to-PC syncing, but it is poorly documented and appears to break if the absolute path to the music on the PC ever changes — and doesn’t support more than one PC because it writes the paths to a file on the iPod.
- No built-in player, but can send tracks to xmms, xine, audacious, or the like.
I have had brief experiences with the popular proprietary software such as iTunes. The one time I tried iTunes, it ironically scrambled most of the metadata on my iPod, especially the playcounts and the data that said whether or not I had listened to the podcasts. I am none too enamored with other Windows software either, and of course all this stuff is proprietary.
So, I guess music players are like mail readers. They all suck. Some just suck a little less.