The next release of Ubuntu, which will be called Natty Narwhal, will feature a new much player called Banshee. This music player with replace the popular Rhythmbox player when Ubuntu 11.04 is released in mid to late April, 2011. A recent Ubuntu Developers Summit took place in Orlando, and the attendees released the program listing what will be in the new version of Ubuntu. Rhythmbox was not part of that list. There is a proposal that will use Banshee as a replacement.
There are many media players available that will run in Linux. However, Rhythmbox has been a mainstay on many GNOME based Linux distributions, such as Redhat and Ubuntu. Since Rhythmbox will be dropped from the latest version of Ubuntu Linux, it is quite likely that the popularity of Rhythmbox will start to wane.
Both Rhythmbox are very similar programs in terms of outward appearance. The user interfaces are about the same, and the menus are also very similar. The sidebar for both players allow you to navigate through the available media library in similar fashion. There are some differences in terms of the underlying architecture of each program. Rhythmbox is based on C programming, whereas Banshee is based primarily on Python and Mono Programming. With today’s large music libraries, Banshee may run a little slower when searching large music databases. Perhaps faster computer processing speeds will make up for the difference. For the average user, the difference should be minimal.
Switching from Thythmbox to Banshee
If you are long time Rhythmbox user, and plan to make the switch to Banshee, then the switch should be fairly painless. Banshee allows you to import music from the Rhythmbox Music Player. Select ‘Media’ –> ‘Import Media’ and from the drop down menu select the option of import your music from the Rhythmbox Music Player. The utility with search your Music directory in your home folder and automatically create your music library based on your Rhythmbox Music library.
Other added goodies that are included with Banshee, are a direct interface to Amazon’s MP3 music store. MP3 music files can be ordered and downloads within the Banshee interface, similar Apple’s online iTunes store. The selection is much larger and more mainstream than Rhythmbox’s Magnatune offering.
The link to the ‘Internet Archive’ within Banshee’s is especially interesting. This plug in allows your to search and playback many audio files that are available within the archives database. For example, It seems there are a multitude of concerts available from the Grateful Dead and other bands. There are also old time radio programs, audio books, and certain texts that are available for download.
Overall, Banshee stacks up nearly as well as or better than Rhythmbox as a music player, The offering from Amazon’s music store should make Banshee a welcome addition to any Ubuntu Linux desktop.