Singing the Songbird 0.2
First of all, what is Songbird, and why should you care? The following quote by one Ross Karchner at Ross Notes should be a pretty good answer...
"It’s like taking iTunes, ripping out the music store, and replacing it with the rest of the internet."
And that's not much of an exaggeration. Even better, this "beat iTunes over the head with a hammer" app is completely free, and completely cross-platform (courtesy of being built on the Mozilla/XULRunner Platform). It will even theoretically be able to talk to your iPod (and other portable devices). More information regarding Version 0.2 can be found at the release notice page.
Here are a few important things to note, along with some initial impressions:
- This is a development release. It is not a production release. Don't expect it to be a viable and worthy iTunes-crusher yet. It is buggy, prone to crashing, and has some quirks. Note the version number. It is still a long ways away from 1.0. Don't expect 1.0 performance from a 0.2 product. If you're a Mozilla Sunbird user, you're intimately familiar with this.
- Songbird is currently a resource-gobbler. While building a music library, it consumed all available CPU resources. Initial memory usage was pretty chunky (~20 megs), continued to grow, and seemed to top out somewhere around 60ish megs. There are likely a few reasons for this...see both the above and below points.
- The program runs on XULRunner. Yes, it is a platform that has evolved from Mozilla's Gecko rendering-engine thing. Yes, it has a solid history of webpage-rendering awesomeness (*points at Firefox*). No, XULRunner is not ready for prime-time. A good friend of mine is developing a small GTD app in XUL, and attests to this. The above notes on performance can probably be attributed as much to the current version of XULRunner as it can to Songbird's code. Firefox 3 will be running on XULRunner, so expect to see some major improvements here in the near future.
- Considering what I've noted so far, Songbird is AMAZING. Yes, it barfs here and there, but the app is mature enough at this point to get a decent look at what these guys are going for. There's some good stuff happening here.
- One word: "EXTENSIONS". This really could become the Firefox of music players. Need I say more?