The new Banshee development cycle has official begun and within comes a number of big changes. Before you read any further, if you are currently using the Banshee Daily PPA now is probably a good time to disable it. With that said, let’s look at what is already in the tree now and which will be in the first development release 2.1.0 (currently listed on the Banshee calendar as landing on the 11th of May).
A new dbus implementation
As has been known for a some time, the NDesk-dbus implementation Banshee has been using up till now has been largely unmaintained since 2007 and is a source of some very hard to track down problems in Banshee. Some time ago the existing NDesk-dbus codebase was forked in dbus-sharp, a new compatible and maintained alternative. A branch to transition Banshee to dbus-sharp has existed for a while and today it was merged into Banshee, the Sound Menu extension was ported and the dependency change made official. Additional problems might arise from this move, so it is again, a good time to opt-out of the daily testing unless you are willing to and understand the implications of testing this new code. The big win for users should be a more stable Banshee for the eventual 2.2 maintained release, and for Banshee it represents a chance to remove some old workarounds as well as have a DBus implementation with an active upstream.
What is not there is the biggest feature
Since the dependency changes were announced all parts destined for obsolescent have been removed from Banshee entirely. The things removed so far: The old HAL hardware backend, The old ipod-sharp based iPod support, The bundled GStreamer equalizer (which was included to added EQ support for distributions which shipped an insufficiently new GStreamer). The required version of Mono has also been raised to 2.4.3. Additional cleanups have been performed to reflect the new foundations Banshee can now depend on being present.
Larger porting efforts such as GTK#3 and GStreamer# are unlikely to make it into 2.1.0 but would be desirable to get in quickly I suspect so we might see this as early as the 2.1.1 release (June 8th). The GTK#3 port of the backend library Hyena is actively being worked on and so far as I am informed compiles, but causes crashes when running the Hyena test tool. I suspect these foundational changes will have to go in, or at the very least would be desirable to get in, before starting to consider merging big features such as DVD support and the Video extension improvements.
It might get a little rocky, confused Dane says: “fare with caution and understanding“. With that, welcome to a new exciting development cycle.