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Xnoise is a lightweight desktop media app for Linux

Another week and another media player. Say hello to Xnoise – a self-described ‘lightweight’ music and video player that has been making a lot of noise of late.

Written in vala – and therefore more nimble than other applications of its ilk – Xnoise stakes itself on being different to its competition. The use of a ‘tracklist centric design’ certainly helps differentiate the app but to users attuned to the melody of Rhythmbox and Banshee is Xnoise nothing more than static?

Charades by Better Luck Next Time on A Lifetime Of Learning _001

XNoise: Features

Feature wise Xnoise covers most of the bases you’d expect and resources wise it’s very light – you won’t find it chomping away on RAM just to play a track.

The media browser is hierarchical (like that of Amarok and Clementine) which is a boon to some and a meh to others. Given the ‘track list’ centric design it actually makes sense. Dragging and dropping single tracks or entire albums is swift and easy, rearranging them in window is also allowed.

A lyrics feature is included by default. Simple press the ‘lyrics’ button positioned on the lower bottom track window and the lyrics view will appear. Press again to hide.

Fighting Fists, Angry Soul by Better Luck Next Time on Hybrid _002[6]

There is no traditional ‘menu bar’ in Xnoise, all options are tucked away inside a ‘settings’ icon on the far right. A tray icon complete with player controls inserts itself into your panel.

The application is young and as such there are plenty of issues present; adding my music library took a very long time. Xnoise seemed to have a penchant for ‘greying out’ (freezing) – so much so that I spent more time with a frozen Xnoise than with a working Xnoise!

Xnoise: Plug-ins

xnoise_004[3]An application wouldn’t be an application in today’s extension-crazy world without some form of plug-in framework & Xnoise happily obliges.

The range of extensions offered by default is pretty measly. Aside from 3 or 4 separate lyrics services, the ability to put the track name in the window title bar and Last.FM cover downloading there is precious little else to get excited about.

Many features that are fast considered ‘common’ aren’t present; there is no Last.FM scrobble support, no indicator applet, no desktop art applet and no configurable interface.

Xnoise: Videos

Xnoise can play any video format supported by Gstreamer so chances are that if it plays in Totem it’ll play in Xnoise. Video playback is fine – nothing majorly detractive to comment on other than the lack of many video features you may be accustomed to such as subtitle support.

Connivance aside, I’ve yet to find much reason to have an integrated music and video player. Xnoise isn’t a media center but a desktop application and, chances are, you don’t want your videos ‘managed’, muddled up with your music and played in a combined media player.

I might be alone on this score which is fair enough but the old adage – ‘do one thing and do it well’ comes to mind.

Install Xnoise in Ubuntu 10.04 via PPA

Xnoise has a PPA for Lucid and Maverick users from which installation is advised.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:shkn/xnoise
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install xnoise xnoise-plugins-core

Xnoise is simple and if simple is what you’re after then check it out. Being quite a young application it has bugs and stability issues but is much better looking than other ‘lightweight’ music players out there – and much more simple to use too!

Also see Minitunes