Posted by: vwbusguy | April 2, 2009

Review: Songbird and Flock

In many ways Firefox was a gateway drug for me into open source software.  The add-ons, tabbed browsing, and clean, fast interface quickly won me over from my long tenure as an IE user.  Another benefit of it being open source is that the mozilla engine has served as a basis for other projects, including Songbird, a media player, and Flock, a browser for Web 2.0 fans.

I have been able to get Songbird and Flock both working in Fedora 10, but neither are currently in Fedora or RPMFusion’s repos yet.  Flock-2.0 (not 2.0.1 or later) currently works in CentOS 5.3.

Songbird

I was a fan of KDE’s amarok up to version 1.5.  Since the new interface with amarok 2.0 didn’t rub me the right way, I haven’t been playing much music on my PC anymore.  I still listen to music on my Blackberry and my last.fm library, but it just isn’t the same.  Then came songbird.

This media player his it’s sights directly on being the open source answer to iTunes, yet offers so much more.  Songbird is another app just shouting that open source can drive innovation.  Like Firefox, it offers easy to install add-ons to enhance the music experience.  For instance there is an add-on that allows you to tap the rhythm of the song stuck in your head and it will find the song for you.  Other add-ons can fetch lyrics for a song in your library.

It also can be integrated with music stores.  When a song is played, Songbird automagically grabs album and artist info.  Add-ons can also generate artist recommendations based on what you’re listening to.  You can also play your last.fm and shoutcast stations from the media player.

Best of all, it makes music on the PC fun again for open source fans.

Flock

I’m half afraid to do a review on this one.  It has a lot of features, and many of which I haven’t used yet.  Please do not accept this as comprehensive.  It just does so much stuff at once.

Anyone who has fallen into the Web 2.0 trap is well aware that it can be hard to keep track of facebook, wordpress, myspace, twitter, and let’s not forget all our daily RSS feeds, all while trying to find the pictures from your aunt’s photobucket album about her great family vacation.  You can either have 20 firefox tabs open at once – or, there’s flock.

No longer is uploading a picture on flickr to facebook a difficult chore.  When you open flock, flock can log you into all your accounts – facebook, email, myspace, blogspot, etc.  There is a tab for social networking sites that keeps updated so when your ex-girlfriend changes her status from Single you’ll know right away.  When you visit a page that has media or feeds available, you can click a button at the top that lights up to see all videos and pictures, or subscribe to the feeds available.  The feeds are all aggregated in the browser and you can see all of them at once.

The browser also has a blog editor that can post to multiple blogs (how I’m writing this now).

This is admittedly for a targetted audience.  All the extra stuff going on does slow down the browser and it does use a lot of resources.  If you’re not into Web 2.0 stuff that much, you probably will end up sticking with something lighter (like regular firefox).  For those who have already been sucked into Web 2.0’s vicous grasp, this browser aims to be your best friend.

Blogged with the Flock Browser
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Responses

  1. Songbird looks like its moving up in the word. I do believe that’s a new interface, interesting; I’ll have to check it out again later.

  2. There’s an ongoing package review of Songbird for Fedora at https://bugzilla.redhat.com/show_bug.cgi?id=453422

    It’ll probably eventually be added into the Fedora repos.

  3. If I remember correctly, songbird is one of the packages for review in bugzilla. At the moment, the man that is currently building the Fedora RPMs of Songbird is continuing to push the review… till then, you can the packages here http://www.digitalruin.net/

  4. Songbird: The Complete Audio Player / Radio / FM software for Windows/Linux/Mac…

    Songbird is a very good audio player which has great features and plays on all platforms and all formats of audio.
    ……


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