Comparing Linux media players



We compare some popular Linux media players, including Banshee, Rhythmbox, Amarok, and Songbird.

Media player applications have come a long way and are now a primary source of entertainment for many computer users. Linux has several enchanting media player offerings with many advanced features and a plethora of add-ons to spice up your listening sessions.

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Related content

  • Banshee

    In Irish mythology, the banshee’s mourning call is heard when a member of the family is about to die. The Banshee tool on Linux makes noise too, but for a far happier purpose. This banshee helps you organize your musical collection.

  • Free Software Projects

    The final release of the Songbird web player hits the tightly packed music player scene. With the same extensibility common to the Mozilla family, Songbird gets ready to find its niche and ruffle some feathers.

  • Musical Talent: Songbird 1.2 has Landed

    The new version automatically organizes music libraries and is fully integrative with iTunes.

  • Songbird 1.0 Takes Flight

    After many years of development, the Songbird open source software is finally released as version 1.0.

  • Rhythmbox

    Originally inspired by Apple’s iTunes, Rhythmbox organizes your music collection, and more.


  • Amarok and the others

    This plethora of media players aping Apple's iTunes is making Linux look like a copying monkey (no pun intended on mono)!

    Every linux media player (except Amarok) is trying to clone iTunes. In fact, most GTK+/GNOME based programs, look at Ubuntu for example, is aping Apple shamelessly. Now, this is not to say that Apple's products are not "user friendly" but blindly copying the interface tells the customers that Linux community has no fresh ideas to offer!

    Why didn't Apple ape Microsoft's interface pixel to pixel? After all, Windows is the most dominant OS around, isn't it?

    Anyway, this is the reason, I am a KDE user, not because I hate GNOME/GTK+ stuff but because there is no freshness in them. Amarok, for all its warts, is the best linux media player out there because it breaks from the blind aping theory. The interface is unique yet responsive, glitzy enough and functional enough! Ditto with KDE4 and plasma.

    Somehow, the media (print and online) that writes about Linux is being sold out on the race to reach the joe average's desktop rather than doing something unique that causes users to come to Linux.

    Unfortunately, Ubuntu, is taking the cake in plagiarism and most of us seem to help them along just fine in doing so!

    Coming back to the article, Rhythmbox, Banshee and Songbird look and work exactly alike -- like iTunes, I mean. That is nothing to write home about.
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Read full article as PDF:

042-048_mediaplayers.pdf (6.07 MB)