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Jason Warner 11-07-2011 09:47 PM

Default Music Player in Ubuntu 12.04
 
Hi All -

During the recent Ubuntu Developer Summit we discussed moving from Banshee back to Rhythmbox as the default music player for Ubuntu 12.04. No definitive decision has been taken yet (major default apps tend to have many integration points and broader discussions are needed before we can make that decision, such as the Thunderbird decision in Oneiric) as we need to kick off the further discussion.

It was an interesting discussion overall and I wanted to reach out to the broader Ubuntu community to get further feedback. So, feel free to reply with your thoughts in this thread.

For context, here are some of the discussion points.

Areas of concern in Banshee were stability, start-up time, the overall resource intensive nature of the application and how responsive an upstream they were to Ubuntu specific needs. It was noted that Banshee is by far the better UI, but many people experienced significant issues in stability thus making it feel less usable.

Areas of concern in Rhythmbox were U1 music integration, usability and how active an upstream they were. Most people in attendance felt that Rhymbox "just worked" but needed quite a bit of UI/usability work to make it a great default application choice.

I would like to welcome further feedback on the proposal to move back to Rhythmbox here. Thanks in advance for your input.

Jason
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Andreas Schildbach 11-07-2011 11:45 PM

Default Music Player in Ubuntu 12.04
 
Banshee just does not work for me.

For one, it's a real resource hog. It takes ages to load and is slow to
use. I have an aging Pentium M machine, but heck, it's got 2 GB of RAM
and other apps run reasonable.

And next, it can't connect to my iTunes share because of this bug:

https://github.com/jasonmc/forked-daapd/issues/54

Granted, this could also be a problem of forked-daapd, but Rythmbox does
not have this problem.

Cheers,

Andreas


On 11/07/2011 11:47 PM, Jason Warner wrote:
> Hi All -
>
> During the recent Ubuntu Developer Summit we discussed moving from Banshee back to Rhythmbox as the default music player for Ubuntu 12.04. No definitive decision has been taken yet (major default apps tend to have many integration points and broader discussions are needed before we can make that decision, such as the Thunderbird decision in Oneiric) as we need to kick off the further discussion.
>
> It was an interesting discussion overall and I wanted to reach out to the broader Ubuntu community to get further feedback. So, feel free to reply with your thoughts in this thread.
>
> For context, here are some of the discussion points.
>
> Areas of concern in Banshee were stability, start-up time, the overall resource intensive nature of the application and how responsive an upstream they were to Ubuntu specific needs. It was noted that Banshee is by far the better UI, but many people experienced significant issues in stability thus making it feel less usable.
>
> Areas of concern in Rhythmbox were U1 music integration, usability and how active an upstream they were. Most people in attendance felt that Rhymbox "just worked" but needed quite a bit of UI/usability work to make it a great default application choice.
>
> I would like to welcome further feedback on the proposal to move back to Rhythmbox here. Thanks in advance for your input.
>
> Jason
>
>
>



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Chow Loong Jin 11-08-2011 02:08 AM

Default Music Player in Ubuntu 12.04
 
Hi All,

I know this is going to sound defensive, but I would like to clear up some
issues with the areas of concern in Banshee. Please raise any issues you have
with the points I am making below, or anything I've missed out.

On -9/01/-28163 03:29, Jason Warner wrote:
> Hi All -
>
> During the recent Ubuntu Developer Summit we discussed moving from Banshee
> back to Rhythmbox as the default music player for Ubuntu 12.04. No definitive
> decision has been taken yet (major default apps tend to have many integration
> points and broader discussions are needed before we can make that decision,
> such as the Thunderbird decision in Oneiric) as we need to kick off the
> further discussion.
>
> It was an interesting discussion overall and I wanted to reach out to the
> broader Ubuntu community to get further feedback. So, feel free to reply with
> your thoughts in this thread.
>
> For context, here are some of the discussion points.
>
> Areas of concern in Banshee were stability, start-up time, the overall
> resource intensive nature of the application and how responsive an upstream
> they were to Ubuntu specific needs. It was noted that Banshee is by far the
> better UI, but many people experienced significant issues in stability thus
> making it feel less usable.

== Stability Issues ==
Most of the stability issues I've seen recently come from a bug in gconf[0,1]
concerning SIGHUP during upgrades, which broke a number of applications
including hamster-applet[2], Banshee[3,4], Tomboy, and Evolution[1]. I believe
hamster crashed, Banshee hung hogging the CPU, and Tomboy and Evolution kept
spewing error dialogs.

This was fixed recently in oneiric-updates, but the fix took quite some time to
land, unfortunately, and as a result, there were quite a number of people
affected by the bug. Banshee has a workaround committed upstream[4] (and
released in 2.3.1) to avoid hanging/crashing, but will not save configuration
options until it is restarted as it's not very easy to reboot GConf#/libgconf
when the database vanishes from DBus.

Another major issue was a bug in Mono.Zeroconf[5], which I just completed a fix
for yesterday. I plan to backport the patch to oneiric-proposed soon, but would
like for upstream Mono.Zeroconf to look at the patch[6] first.

The other issue comes from the UbuntuOne Music Store extension when the Internet
connection is broken[7], which I believe Rodney is working on a fix for. There
was an upload to -proposed that was supposed to fix it, but had regressions
instead, so it's not quite fixed yet.

There's one other tricky bug to do with canvas sizes[8], but it looks like it's
being worked on, and the issue will hopefully be fixed soon.

I can't think of any other stability bugs at this point in time, so maybe
someone might want to point them out to me.

== Startup Time ==
Start-up time came from a bug in the UbuntuOne Music Store[9], afaik (which is
fixed in 2.2.1, which I will be uploading shortly). But on
my system, where I can't reproduce that bug, let's have some benchmarks:
Cold, Banshee: 22s
Warm, Banshee: 3s
Cold, Rhythmbox: 19s
Warm, Rhythmbox: 3s

Benchmarks were done with a 7827 song library.

Let's compare this with another default application, Gwibber:
Cold, Gwibber, with gwibber-service already running: 31s
Warm Gwibber, with gwibber-service already running: 31s
Cold, Gwibber, with gwibber-service not running: 40s
Warm, Gwibber, with gwibber-service not running: 40s

== Resource Usage ==
CPU usage according to top:
Rhythmbox, playing: 8%
Rhythmbox, idle: 0%
Banshee, playing: 9-10%
Banshee, idle: 0%

Memory usage (ps -C $app -o rsz):
Banshee: 96M
Rhythmbox: 74M

Let's compare this with some other applications (especially since I've been
complaining about memory leaks all the time since two releases back):
compiz (with Unity): 87M
compiz (without Unity, from my memory): ~20-30M
indicator-messages-service: 126M

I'm quite interested to know why indicator-messages-service needs more memory
than Banshee and Compiz, but let's put that aside for the time being..

== Upstream responsiveness ==
Now, this is something I really don't get. If there were patches that
Canonical/Ubuntu wanted in, why haven't I heard about them? I get a lot of bug
mail, so sometimes patches slip past my notice on the launchpad, but I'm almost
always present and pingable on IRC, and check my e-mail regularly.

My patches that I have submitted to Banshee upstream thus far have more or less
all been committed in. I'm interested in hearing about any outstanding patches
Canonical/Ubuntu has that Banshee upstream hasn't paid attention to.

I hear that some people think that there's some resentment from upstream Banshee
due to the whole Amazon referral ID fiasco, but personally speaking, I have
never noticed any one of the upstream developers or major contributors express
any dissatisfaction about this. Most of the negative views were from the users.

I also hear that Banshee doesn't work on the arm hardware that Canonical wants
Ubuntu to run on. But none of the upstream Banshee developers have access to the
hardware so... ┓(゚ペ; )┏゚ The bug is being worked on[10], though.

> [...]

[0] https://bugzilla.gnome.org/show_bug.cgi?id=659835
[1] https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/gconf/+bug/848198
[2] https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/hamster-applet/+bug/816460
[3] https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/banshee/+bug/854845
[4] https://bugzilla.gnome.org/show_bug.cgi?id=659841
[5] https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/mono-zeroconf/+bug/883023
[6] https://github.com/mono/Mono.Zeroconf/pull/6
[7] https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/banshee/+bug/875632
[8] https://bugzilla.gnome.org/show_bug.cgi?id=624976
[9] https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/precise/+source/banshee/+bug/872972
[10] https://bugzilla.gnome.org/show_bug.cgi?id=661112

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Christopher James Halse Rogers 11-08-2011 03:49 AM

Default Music Player in Ubuntu 12.04
 
On Tue, 2011-11-08 at 09:17 +1030, Jason Warner wrote:
> Hi All -
>
> During the recent Ubuntu Developer Summit we discussed moving from Banshee back to Rhythmbox as the default music player for Ubuntu 12.04. No definitive decision has been taken yet (major default apps tend to have many integration points and broader discussions are needed before we can make that decision, such as the Thunderbird decision in Oneiric) as we need to kick off the further discussion.
>
> It was an interesting discussion overall and I wanted to reach out to the broader Ubuntu community to get further feedback. So, feel free to reply with your thoughts in this thread.
>
> For context, here are some of the discussion points.
>
> Areas of concern in Banshee were stability, start-up time, the overall resource intensive nature of the application and how responsive an upstream they were to Ubuntu specific needs. It was noted that Banshee is by far the better UI, but many people experienced significant issues in stability thus making it feel less usable.

I was not aware of general stability problems - of course, it works just
fine for me :).

Last time I benchmarked Banshee startup time, about 2.5 seconds were
spent JITing. This was on my Core 2 Duo - netbooks and ARM should see
an even bigger JIT time. It seems we could largely eliminate this by
building AOT modules for the class libraries. This shouldn't be hard to
do - we could either do this ad-hoc, or extend the mono debhelper tools
to do this at package install time. It's highly likely to work, as the
MonoTouch framework that Xamarin sells requires AOT to work - iOS
doesn't allow runtime code generation.

I've not noticed Banshee upstream being particularly unresponsive; there
are more bugs filed than people to work on them, but that's hardly
unique to Banshee :). What Ubuntu specific needs have we actually had?

Chris
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Martin Pitt 11-08-2011 05:21 AM

Default Music Player in Ubuntu 12.04
 
Jason Warner [2011-11-08 9:17 +1030]:
> Areas of concern in Banshee were stability, start-up time, the overall
> resource intensive nature of the application and how responsive an
> upstream they were to Ubuntu specific needs.

That's actually not true -- we sent patches, and they were discussed
and accepted. Certainly not within a day, but that's fairly normal in
the OSS world, and RB (or GNOME) patches often take very long to
review as well.

The problem that was raised is that the package doesn't get well
maintained in Ubuntu (but is maintained well upstream). It did get
quite a lot of uploads in oneiric, though.

I tried banshee when we introduced it and during oneiric again, and
both times it was very unstable and rather slow, and did not get my
collection imported without crashing. Henceforth I noticed that wiping
my configuration improved the stability quite a bit, that might
explain why it's working better for others.

My main reasons why I like to switch back to TB are:

* Spending ~ 30 MB of CD space for a music player seems rather
excessive (if you count in the Mono stack)

* There is no sign of GTK3 support yet, which keeps the old GTK2 and
much more importantly webkit-gtk2 on the CD (which alone is 8 MB).

* Our ARM team says that the current versions still work rather
poorly on ARM.

* We have shipped Rhythmbox in many previous releases, so while
constantly switching back and forth is certainly bad, LTS->LTS
upgraders will at least have consistency, and other upgraders won't
lose Banshee either.

* With the recent layoffs, Mono's future remains a bit fuzzy. I heard
the developers founded a new company, so it's certainly not going
away soon.

I also personally prefer RB's UI, but I hardly have a technical
argument for it.

Martin

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Chow Loong Jin 11-08-2011 06:15 AM

Default Music Player in Ubuntu 12.04
 
On 08/11/2011 14:21, Martin Pitt wrote:
> [...]
> The problem that was raised is that the package doesn't get well
> maintained in Ubuntu (but is maintained well upstream). It did get
> quite a lot of uploads in oneiric, though.

I'd like to hear more about this, actually. It would be nice to know where I've
been slacking off so I can at least figure out areas to improve on.

> I tried banshee when we introduced it and during oneiric again, and
> both times it was very unstable and rather slow, and did not get my
> collection imported without crashing. Henceforth I noticed that wiping
> my configuration improved the stability quite a bit, that might
> explain why it's working better for others.

It would be nice if you backed up your configuration before wiping it, and filed
a bug with logs each time it crashed. In my previous email I mentioned that
majority of the bugs were caused by a broken gconfd (which may explain why
wiping your configuration helped matters), broken Mono.Zeroconf, and issues with
the UbuntuOne Music Store in the absence of an internet connection, most of
which should have been fixed in my 2.2.1-1ubuntu1 upload I did earlier today.

> My main reasons why I like to switch back to TB are:
>
> * Spending ~ 30 MB of CD space for a music player seems rather
> excessive (if you count in the Mono stack)
>
> * There is no sign of GTK3 support yet, which keeps the old GTK2 and
> much more importantly webkit-gtk2 on the CD (which alone is 8 MB).

You might like to see http://git.gnome.org/browse/banshee/log/?h=gtk3. With only
one remaining outstanding bug in Gtk# standing in the way of that branch being
merged into master, I don't see precise not having Banshee with full Gtk3 support.

> * Our ARM team says that the current versions still work rather
> poorly on ARM.

I saw one bug about that, also mentioned in my previous post, which is being
worked on, but that's about it. What other issues are there?

> * We have shipped Rhythmbox in many previous releases, so while
> constantly switching back and forth is certainly bad, LTS->LTS
> upgraders will at least have consistency, and other upgraders won't
> lose Banshee either.

Doesn't sound like a plus point to me, although it does lessen the impact of
switching back and forth. Does Rhythmbox have a migration path back from
Banshee, though?

> * With the recent layoffs, Mono's future remains a bit fuzzy. I heard
> the developers founded a new company, so it's certainly not going
> away soon.

Xamarin's handling Mono development now, and it looks pretty active[1]. It was
fuzzy, but I don't think it is any more.

[1] https://github.com/mono/mono/commits/master

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Martin Pitt 11-08-2011 06:30 AM

Default Music Player in Ubuntu 12.04
 
Hello Chow,

Chow Loong Jin [2011-11-08 15:15 +0800]:
> I'd like to hear more about this, actually.

Me too.

> It would be nice if you backed up your configuration before wiping it

I should have, sorry for this.

> You might like to see
> http://git.gnome.org/browse/banshee/log/?h=gtk3. With only one
> remaining outstanding bug in Gtk# standing in the way of that branch
> being merged into master, I don't see precise not having Banshee
> with full Gtk3 support.

Nice to hear that! I was talking with one of the upstreams a couple of
months ago, and back then there were still quite a lot of problems.

> > * Our ARM team says that the current versions still work rather
> > poorly on ARM.
>
> I saw one bug about that, also mentioned in my previous post, which
> is being worked on, but that's about it. What other issues are there?

This needs input from the ARM team, I CC'ed some of them.

> Does Rhythmbox have a migration path back from Banshee, though?

No, it doesn't, you'd need to reimport your library if you want to
switch (you aren't forced to, as the upgrade wouldn't remove Banshee).

Thanks for the heads-up, it's great to see that many of these concerns
are being addressed already.

Martin

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Chow Loong Jin 11-08-2011 08:14 AM

Default Music Player in Ubuntu 12.04
 
On 08/11/2011 15:30, Martin Pitt wrote:
> No, it doesn't, you'd need to reimport your library if you want to
> switch (you aren't forced to, as the upgrade wouldn't remove Banshee).

I think this should be an area of concern for switching back to Rhythmbox. I
recall the Pidgin → Empathy, F-Spot → Shotwell and Rhythmbox → Banshee switch
requiring this as well.

There's also the issue of ratings and scores of songs, which are definitely
non-trivial to copy over manually.

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Sebastien Bacher 11-08-2011 09:54 AM

Default Music Player in Ubuntu 12.04
 
Le 08/11/2011 07:21, Martin Pitt a crit :


* There is no sign of GTK3 support yet, which keeps the old GTK2 and
much more importantly webkit-gtk2 on the CD (which alone is 8 MB).


That's being worked apparently but we still have no mono GTK3 bindings
in the archive and it seems suboptimal to land a new stack of untested
bindings and switch one of the default applications over to those in one
cycle, the cycle being a LTS one.



* With the recent layoffs, Mono's future remains a bit fuzzy. I heard
the developers founded a new company, so it's certainly not going
away soon.
Not sure how active is the mono desktop side, there are not lot of
softwares being written using this stack nowadays around GNOME for sure,
the LTS getting support for 5 years it seems like we would be better off
not supporting mono for that time...


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Martin Pitt 11-08-2011 09:59 AM

Default Music Player in Ubuntu 12.04
 
Sebastien Bacher [2011-11-08 11:54 +0100]:
> Not sure how active is the mono desktop side, there are not lot of
> softwares being written using this stack nowadays around GNOME for
> sure, the LTS getting support for 5 years it seems like we would be
> better off not supporting mono for that time...

I don't think we can/should push it that far, though. Mono will still
be in main for precise and onward, and Banshee should probably stay in
main, too (if we switch, that is).

Martin
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