Monday, August 22, 2011

Lubuntu Update

Banshee, Jack, ALSA

I played with Audacity a little bit, and quickly found out that I liked DeaDBeef much better, and it wasn't like I was that excited about DeaDBeef.  I went looking for alternatives and quickly found Amorak and Banshee.  They both looked nice, and I think Amorak looked slightly better, but since Lubuntu is still largely Gnome based, I didn't want to have even more library files running around then I already did, so I tried Banshee.  Now I had played videos and movies on the laptop with no setup required on all the Linux installations that I had done so far, and was sort of taking this as a given.  However, when I started up banshee after apt-get'ing it, no sound happened.  I then ran it from the command line to see the error and it was complaining about jackd server not being found.  So then I apt-get jackd, and still nothing.  I look and no jackd process is started, so I run it as root.  Still nothing.  Then I run it as my own user.  Bingo, it worked.  Then I realize that when jackd is running, no other program (audacity, media player, etc) can seem to use the sound card.  This is dumb.  I don't need a realtime, audio capture driver like jack is claiming to be.  I just want something that will allow me to listen to music, skype, watch a movie, watch youtube all at overlapping times.

After some searching I realize that Banshee is tied to gstreamer as a way to abstract the output layer.  I also realize that by default everything else was using ALSA to stream and that there was a gstreamer-alsa plugin.  To get that I did:

sudo apt-get install gnome-media gstreamer0.10-alsa

The gnome-media package is needed so you can run gstreamer-properties to select ALSA as the Default Output Plugin.  Once installed and this program run, Banshee worked fine as well as every other media program even at the same time.  I then removed all traces of jack from my system.


Banshee seems nice, although it is a touch unstable.  It resembles iTunes a lot, and even finds the album artwork like newer versions of iTunes do.  It also comes with importers for other music programs which I'm sure many people will find invaluable.  It's unfortunate that Apple had to be so anti-competitive and prevent 3rd party programs from accessing iTunes libraries in iTunes 7, as this would have been very convenient in our house.  With Apple moving towards an online store in Lion, I find it very possible that my largely Apple household could move towards Linux, something that I would not have bet even 6 months ago.


Removing some clutter I managed to accumulate:

sudo apt-get remove ubuntuone-client abiword gnumeric

Also, if you need to run programs on Lubuntu at startup, you can put them here:


I think I'm pretty set up at this point.  I'll probably try Bodhi when it moves to 12.04 to compare newer Enlightenment updates.  Lubuntu seems to meet my needs however and so I'll really try and get settled for a while to get a good feel for it.

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