On April 2, 2010, a lot of Linux fans, including myself, felt the loss and the sadness caused by the end of Songbird for Linux. This ultra-complete audio player born in 2006 left the penguin for Windows and Mac OS. However, a couple days ago, a great team released the first stable version of a fork of Songbird working on Linux – Nightingale. Even if it is still a bit early to migrate completely to this new software, this version is already very advanced and can only bring great hope for the future.
At this point, there is no official package to install it properly on your computer. However, you can download the latest release here, extract it, and run it by launching nightingale.sh.
If you really want something that looks more like a proper installation, you can use a script found on Ubuntu Forum:
for a 32-bit architecture, or
for a 64-bit architecture.
Notice that these scripts may change depending on your distribution or the version of Nightingale that you want to install. And after that, you will have to manually add a launcher on your desktop referring to the command
As I said earlier, Songbird was a very powerful audio player. It integrated a web browser, syncing capabilities, themes, add-ons, etc. The good thing is that Nightingale directly inherits all of these features. You have an extended playlist management tool, a built-in syncing add-on, an automatic cover fetcher…anything you need to manage your library. And as much as I hate comparing it to iTunes, Nightingale already offers a real alternative to Apple’s software.
The interface while playing a song is quite developed: album display with its cover, lyrics, playlist, etc.
You can install an extension for a cover-flow like in iTunes.
You have access to all of the shoutcast radio.
You can perform advanced syncing operations.
The add-on mashtape puts all the information about the current track in one box.
The extensions and themes are easily manageable.
What it lacks
As much as I admire the Nightingale Community for such a great result, there are still a couple of things that could be done to enhance the Nightingale experience:
- More add-ons. So far, the team ported a couple of extensions from Songbird, but there are still a lot that we would like to use and that are not available yet. The same applies to feathers, or themes, with only two different versions available.
- A better cover fetcher. I really like the cover fetcher in Amarok; it’s the main reason for using it right now. If Nightingale could bring in something similar, it would be perfect. It is really fancy to be able to select the source of the cover and the actual picture in a small navigator like in Amarok.
- The iPod sync did not seem to work for me.
- There are still a couple of bugs left like the sound going back to 50% between each track.
As I’ve said, this version is already very promising. We can only hope for the last bugs to be corrected quickly, and maybe an official package will come for the distributions. I can only express my admiration for the Nightingale Community, and for the work they have done so far. And they are currently searching for help, so if you were seduced, don’t hesitate to contact them.
Have you tested the new Nightingale? Do you think that you will migrate as soon as possible? Or, on the contrary, do you stick with another player for certain reasons? Please let us know in the comments.