Songbird 1.0 Takes Flight

Dec 04, 2008

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

Multimedia player Songbird is one among a group of Mozilla Foundation tools with Linux versions for 32-bit and 64-bit systems. "We’ll be the first to admit that there’s plenty left to do.... You gotta start somewhere, this is our 1.0," says "raffel" almost apologetically in the Songbird blog. But the features Songbird provides is nothing to be embarrassed about. Most of them went through significant rework before 1.0 debuted.

Songbird's look and feel could be considered somewhat unusual (Figure 2). For one thing, the player picks up local as well as hidden media on websites. To do this, Songbird integrates a specially adapted Firefox variant. It also comes with preconfigured access to the Hype Machine music blog and supports the multimedia site. As with Firefox and Thunderbird, you can simply integrate numerous add-ons. The MediaFlow add-on, for example, shows album covers for currently playing titles.

Songbird's integrated playlist display is clearly an iTunes knock-off (Figure 3). In fact, you can integrate iPod playlists along with those on the hard disk. MashTape lets you call up tons of information about a currently playing band or singer. As a backend, Songbird uses Gstreamer and plays in MP3, OGG and FLAC formats that should satisfy most Linux users. Windows and Mac folks can also play WMA and WMA DRM (for Windows) and ACC and Fairplay (for the Mac).

Linux users can download the software as a large tar.gz package, unpack it and bring in the new subdirectory. Simply start the software by entering ./songbird. A wizard will lead you through the installation, including attending to EULA licensing. The final step is to define where you want the music stored and which add-ons to use.

Gallery (3 images)

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  • Thats of course true

    Since Songbird is powered by Mozilla and Sunbird is a product from Mozilla Foundation, I confused those two. In fact Songbird has nothing to do with the Mozilla Foundation.

  • No relation with the Mozilla Foundation whatsoever

    Besides the fact that Songbird uses the Gecko engine to render HTML and the XUL engine to create its graphical interface, both technologies created and maintained by the Mozilla Foundation, there is no relation whatsoever between the Songbird project and the former. Would you say that Google Chrome is a Microsoft product because the MS Windows version is compiled with some version of MS Visual Studio?

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