Canonical Discusses Banshee Decision

Jan 12, 2011

Jason Warner, Ubuntu Desktop Manager for Canonical, discusses the ‘whys’ of the Banshee decision.

The intention for Banshee to become the default music player in the next release of Ubuntu was discussed at the last Ubuntu Developer Summit in Orlando, Florida (UDS_N), and it’s now official - Banshee will replace Rhythmbox in Ubuntu 11.04, Natty Narwhal release.

Since the discussion at UDS-N, there have been many questions surrounding the Banshee decision. The Ask Ubuntu site offers many answers, but we asked Jason Warner, Ubuntu Desktop Manager for Canonical, to provide more details about the move.

Not long after beginning his role as the Ubuntu Desktop Manager, Warner started receiving user requests to include Banshee as the default music player. He says that Banshee has been the most-requested application for inclusion into Ubuntu.

“Banshee gives users a more consistent user interface," Warner says. "Banshee meets our users needs and gives them the most efficient experience.”

Some users and developers have speculated that the Ubuntu and GNOME relationship has been strained since the decision to make Unity the default desktop in Natty. Does using Banshee as the default music player help strengthen Ubuntu's relationship with GNOME? "While that is an interesting take on the decision, it is a plus for the decision after the fact," Warner says. "While the Banshee association with GNOME is a bonus, giving the user the best experience possible was the real deciding factor in selecting Banshee,” he adds.

Warner says that from the developers point of view, the criteria is very similar to that of the end user. "Banshee offers more in the area of extension libraries and has a vibrant community that allows for a better, more heavily maintained application, with a much richer ecosystem," he says. “Banshee continues to improve because users, many in the Ubuntu community, continue to test the application and give the developers feedback,” he says.

Warner encourages users who want to help test Banshee to download and install the application and report feedback. “I hope the user experience is a positive one, and if it’s not, we want to hear about it,” he says.

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  • Mono legally has been vetted

    RE: Mono legally has been vetted for by multiple lawyers, companies and Microsoft's own public statements. Legal threat: nill.
    Really ? you might want to nip across to Groklaw and see if you still think that your comment is true.
  • Ubuntu

    Ubuntu has the courage to be innovative . . . albeit . . . the criticism!
  • Mono is MS poison

    Please no mono.
  • Mint Selecting Applications More Carefully?

    To the other commenter:


    -Created new installer/updater instead contributing back to the upstream.
    -Mint created a new menu because it thought the standard GNOME panel was not good enough.
    -Mint selected Thunderbird instead of GNOME's Evolution.
    -Mint ships Pidgin instead of Empathy.

    -Mono legally has been vetted for by multiple lawyers, companies and Microsoft's own public statements. Legal threat: nill. Mint ships with proprietary codecs installed which is illegal in many countries. Legal threat: small but it is real.

    -Mint is the third largest Linux distribution where are it's upstream contributions to GNOME?

    This is not meant to be a criticism of Linux Mint I have in the past enjoyed using it and even donated to it. Yet, people do seem to be blaming everything on Ubuntu these days. It is time other Linux distributions (supporters) look themselves in the mirror and say "are we any doing better" before complaining about some else's choices.

  • Just my random thoughts

    I've moved to Mint as well. I don't know about the latest version because I am no longer running Ubuntu. Mint seems to update faster. For instance Firefox releases a new version and Mint updates it within hours.

    I applaud Ubuntu for trying to make improvements quickly but making extreme polarizing decisions when stuff isn't ready is not a good idea. Much of Linux is on the bleeding edge on many things but that shouldn't be the case in some areas.

    Maybe there should be 2 version like Debian. One really unstable and one stable. You can keep Grub 2, Wayland, and Unity in the unstable camp.

    Personally I think KDE should be the default for a desktop distro and let people run Gnome or LXDE on old hardware. Hardware is so cheap and powerful these days anything made in the last few years should be able to run KDE no problem. Even Gnome seems a bit bloaty these days. My parents old $400 laptop from 4 years was slow on Gnome but is quite fast on LXDE.

    Also what is with the ugly colors in Ubuntu? Historically the awful brown now the not quite as bad purplish.
  • what about rhythmbox ?

    banshee runs on mono, i doubt that it is better integrated with gnome than rhythmbox.
    which is default for gnome, and was in ubuntu.
    i think that last ubuntu decisions will lead to more users migration to Linux Mint, which selects
    default applications much more carefully.
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