Mauriat Miranda     mjmwired

From XMMS to Rhythmbox

Back in 2000, xmms was the hot MP3 player for Linux that everybody loved. Most likely due to it’s near perfect match in design and functionality to Winamp. Well time makes you bolder and MP3 players get older. And with no major updates (not even a port to GTK2), xmms just sits around. Recently some distributions have stopped including it in favor of more modern players. So I tried Rythmbox (the Music management and playback software for GNOME.). After 2 week I can say modern does NOT mean better.

A look at XMMS, a very simple interface.


All the standard playback buttons including play, pause, previous, next. As well as volume, balance and position sliders. Note that I’m at track 330 (Velvet Revolver) in my playlist.

A look at Rythmbox, a very simple interface as well. Maybe too simple.


Hmm, so I can hit play, go previous or go next. But wait how do I stop? Of course silly me, I can hit Play again to Stop. Or wait is that hit Play to Pause?? Hmmm? I guess play just isn’t what it used to be. Perhaps I have no Pause or Stop because I have no room. That must be it. Why? Because on my toolbar I have my most common functions which includes “Create an Audio CD…”. Yup, that sure sounds like something I do every single day.

Okay, so the toolbar buttons aren’t intelligent. At least we have a button for volume. I don’t know who prefers a button, but press it and lo and behold it reveals a slider. The whole volume changer is absolutely quirky. Why oh why hide the slider? Another space issue?

While I could go on, there’s one more absolutely annoying feature. Why is it everytime I close the player listening to Oasis, I start again with .38 Special? The position in the playlist is lost. Lost! Like the tv show.

Before 2 weeks ago, I had never really used any other MP3 player other than XMMS. I was using FC6 and Rythmbox 0.9.7 and to be fair there are many features I do like. However the small issues can be incredibly annoying. I plan to try some other players as well.

Posted in: FC6, Fedora, Multimedia, Software,


  • Marlon on March 28, 2007 - 08:20 PM

    Amarok is pretty good, at least when you hit play the button changes to a pause symbol.

    On the music management side its very solid espeically since it can actively scan a folder for changes, I still manually update the collection occasionally but I’m a bit paranoid that way with my music. It seems a bit inadequate if your used to using MediaMonkey on Windows though, thats still the best music management program I’ve tried to date, really wish they would make a Linux version.

    You’ll have a small irk with your zen though, it supports transfer to MTP but I haven’t seen anything about syncronizing, maybe I missed it? I don’t know. In terms of cataloging I use a MySQL installation rather than the default database option and I find the search to be very responsive but it happily eats 30MB+ of memory so that may be a gripe for some.

  • Mauriat on March 28, 2007 - 08:20 PM

    Hi Marlon,

    Amarok is in my opinion, not as simple as Rythmbox or XMMS, and that was the basis for my test. I will give it a 2 week run as well in due time.

    As for the Zen, I agree that Amarok has been quite a bit quirky for me as well. I only have about 3GB of MP3’s so my search is really quick. As for the syncing they are synced, but nothing plays off of the Zen. I need to investigate further.

    As for the IDv1 and IDv2 tags, that’s a little screwy as well. Unfortunately, I’ve been booting into the other OS on occasion to fix that.

  • Marlon on March 30, 2007 - 01:01 AM

    When you give it a run I think you’ll find the mini player to be a bit more intuitive than the Rhythmbox one, that sent me screaming. Amarok’s also a bit more visually appealing but nothing is perfect and I’ve just found it to be the most balanced player of the one’s I’ve tried.

    I’ll admit that there was a bit more madness than method to me running through the other players.

  • dale on April 8, 2007 - 11:11 AM

    Rhythmbox has some pretty cool features like DAAP support (does Amarok have that?) and the interface is easier to understand than Amarok, but if I try to point Rhythmbox at my whole collection it blows up. I think that’s because it stores all your metainfo in a giant XML file. Amarok on the other hand will chew through any amount of files. The mysql backend is very cool.

  • Marlon on May 4, 2007 - 12:12 PM

    Yeah it does but not Version 7+ of itunes for a full list of compatible programs you can try here.

  • Sparks on July 14, 2007 - 10:10 AM

    I’ve been looking for an MP3 player but everything I try, Rhythmbox, XMMS, and Amarok all say that they can’t play MP3s! What gives?

  • Mauriat on July 14, 2007 - 11:11 AM


    You need to enable MP3 support. For FC6 - MP3 or F7 - MP3.

  • Sparks on July 15, 2007 - 11:23 PM

    Thanks for the info. I tried to grab those files via yum but apparently it couldn’t find them. I finally got mp3blaster working so at least I’m up and functioning.