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My quest for a Linux audio player

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Software

Nowadays I collect, store, and listen to music mostly on digital media, so I thought I'd find myself a Linux audio player that does all the things I need it to do. Little did I know how many options I had! After evaluating more than a dozen applications, I've found three that I feel provide the best mix of features and performance.

Before evaluating the Linux audio players, I considered what I wanted from them. I listen to MP3 and Ogg Vorbis music files, CDs, MP3 streaming Internet radio stations, and podcasts. Someday I may also want access to FLAC music files, RealMedia and Windows Media streaming radio, iPod compatibility, and Windows audio file formats (WAV, WMA, and ASF).

My test system is a Toshiba Tecra 9000 laptop with an Intel 82801CA-ICH3 sound card. I use Ubuntu Dapper Drake 6.04, GNOME, and the Advanced Linux Sound Architecture (ALSA). Dapper Drake is still a beta release of Ubuntu, which may have led to some of the instability I witnessed. I confined myself to looking at the audio players I could find included within the Ubuntu APT software repositories.

Several of the players model themselves after popular music players on other platforms. I tested three that take their cue from WinAmp and five that resemble iTunes, along with several players with more original interfaces.

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