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Pithos: Native Pandora App (US only)

If you’ve never tried Pandora, (and you live in America, as it is US only) you probably should.

Type in your favorite artist or band, and then BAM, it starts playing tracks from them, as well as similar artists. It’s really a great way to discover new music, as well as something good to just put on in the background if you’re tired of your playlists or what have you.

Unfortunately, (for those of us who care, at least) Pandora runs inside of a browser, as a flash app. Some people just don’t like flash, some don’t like using something so resource heavy for long periods, and some people are just picky about what happens on their computer (like me) and would like to use as many non-browser apps as possible.

Pianobar has been around for some time, but it is a somewhat difficult and entirely uninspiring command line player. However, Kevin Mehall wrote a great interface called Pithos, which allows for browser and Flash free Pandora playing!

My Experience

I just installed Pithos and have been giving it a test drive. On first run it’ll ask for a username and password, and then you can access your stations, your facebook faves, or add new stations.

It’s actually been a while since I’ve used Pandora much, although my girlfriend is an addict. But Pithos gives a good quality usable experience, providing all of the features that Pandora does, in a native interface. I think it may actually be a bit better, as Pandora limits your ability to skip songs, and Pithos, as near as I could tell, does not.

Interface

Pithos fits in great with the native GTK interface, and will blend with whatever theme you have installed. Thus, it looks great, although definitely minimal. You get a pause button, a next, an option button that curiously doesn’t actually open the options (the little arrow does, it’s a seperate button) and a drop down menu with your radio stations in it, along with an info button that opens that station in a browser. It’s great that it makes use of native notifications as well, showing cover art and all.

It looks nice. I like the simple approach, which is a sweet relief from the ridiculous ad’s and overall gaudiness of the Pandora web client. The only flaws to a very simple client presence of a status bar with nothing in it except the occasional “logging in” when you first open it. It would be nice to see it go bye bye. Absent is play information in the title bar or app switchers and docks, which would also be nice.

The worst part about it? The logo. It’s just kinda cheesy, although I like the name. Maybe one of you enterprising readers want to design something awesome and email the creator about it…

Installation

Pithos can be installed via a PPA. PPA’s make installation and keeping up-to-date easy.

  • sudo add-apt-repository ppa:kevin-mehall/pithos-daily
  • sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install pithos

Done!

Give it a whirl, or drop by its webpage for more info or to donate, and tell us what you think about it in the comments!

Thanks Marcus