Apparently Xubuntu 16.04 won’t ship with a media manager, so they’re having people recommend options. The entire series is here.
Also, the answer is Clementine!
As Charlie mentions, he’s part of the team giving laptops to an entire high school. That’s an awesome project, but Charlie’s enthusiasm for Linux is also pretty great. When I interviewed Niki Kovacs, I was taken by his joy for Linux. I get a very similar vibe from Charlie. It also doesn’t hurt that he’s a fellow Clementine fan. I also continue to be impressed by the number of people who say they like Unity. I’m almost at the point where I think it’s time to give it another look.
I’m Charlie Reisinger (@charlie3 on Twitter), the IT Director for Penn Manor School District, a public K-12 school system in beautiful Lancaster County Pennsylvania. As a member of the district leadership team, I manage IT operations as well as educational technology programs and initiatives. I’m incredibly fortunate to work with a team who embraces an open source philosophy. For the past decade, our school infrastructure has been powered by open source software. Over the past three years, we have been increasing the number of student laptops running Linux. This winter, we are initiating a 1:1 high school student laptop program running Linux and open source software exclusively.
Why do you use Linux?
For me, it is a joyful, playful platform. Linux offers a stellar learning laboratory for students of all ages. For schools, Linux and open source software provides tremendous cost savings. I also deeply value the freedoms inherent in open source. Linux is a flagship example of the power of collaboration and a testament to human ingenuity and creativity. As corporations and governments accelerate efforts to erode privacy and ownership, Linux and open source software offers our best hope for techological freedom, innovation and egality.
What distribution do you run on your main desktop/laptop?
My main distribution is Ubuntu. I’ve played with other distributions in the past, but I always find myself back with Ubuntu. I’m currently running 13.10 and love it.
What desktop environment do you use and why do you use it?
Unity is where I spend my time. Earlier versions were certainly a first draft, but with each release cycle, Canonical continues to iterate and polish the interface. I really enjoy the clean user experience and unique design.
What one piece of software do you depend upon with this distribution? Why is it so important?
Tough question. Like most people, I spend a great deal of time living in web browsers. However, I do a great deal of writing, spreadsheet work and presenting, so my main application is LibreOffice. LibreOffice is a wonderful productivity tool. Recently, I’ve been leading trainings on screencasting, so Kazam and Shutter are near the top of the list as well. At home, I simply can not live without Clementine and Stellarium!
What kind of hardware do you run this setup on?
My work laptop is a Toshiba Portege Z835. It is super light and portable with a nice keyboard. My home laptop is a trusty ThinkPad T61p.
Will you share a screenshot of your desktop?
Here is my current desktop.
Interview conducted January 19, 2014
Picking a music player for this list was tough. Linux has a pretty big selection, and as we’ve said before, music players are an incredibly personal choice. In the end, we decided on Clementine. It’s got a good set of features, an easy-to-browse interface, and is loved by basic and advanced users alike. If you want something a bit different, we recommend checking out Banshee and Amarok, too.
Very cool that they went with Clementine. That would have been my pick, too.
I have no idea when I started using Clementine. I thought it’s something I picked up from Xubuntu, but going through my notes, I was thinking of Exaile. But at some point, I decided I like Clementine as my music player.
I don’t play much music on my computer, so day-to-day, having a preferred music player didn’t have much impact on my life. However, a few weeks ago my wife got very sick of iTunes and wanted to find a replacement. I sent her this article and then started wondering which Linux music players had Windows ports. I discovered Banshee, Amarok, and Clementine all had Windows ports, so I recommended those to my wife (I just now realized Exaile has a Windows port, too).
Around the same time, I realized I needed a music player on a Windows machine, so I decided to try Clementine, which is when I discovered (or possibly rediscovered) it’s a very impressive piece of software.
For most people, the issue with iTunes is how big it is. Opening it can often feel like a huge, resource-intensive commitment (that and it always seems to require an update — even after you’ve just updated it). The beauty of Clementine is that it’s light and responsive. You open it and can play music right away. It does one thing well.
Clementine’s simplicity is what I love. It plays music. It’s easy to change songs. It does some nice, little things, too. It doesn’t just stop playing, but fades in and out of songs, which is kind of classy. On Windows, if you mouse over it on the taskbar, you get the play/pause/control buttons, so you don’t even need to click into the interface to do things.
It also has some built-in integration with some web-based services, like Last.FM. My OpenSUSE version is running 0.7.1, so I don’t have Google Drive, Spotify or GrooveShark integration, which is available in 1.1. I have those features available within Windows, but it doesn’t interest me, so I don’t miss it (or try and find a more recent version than lives in the OpenSUSE repos).
People seem a bit excited about the new GNOME default music player. I’ll definitely look at that, but I really like to just have a list of artists in one pane, and the songs in another. What’s even nicer about Clementine is you can drill down through individual songs on the left pane, with the main pane acting as a playlist. Playlists are retained across sessions, so you can pick up where you left off.
Most user interfaces favor complexity and customization. Too many tools are afraid to go simple. Clementine isn’t. It’s not robust, but that lack of robustness is a feature. Just point it to your music folder and let it go. It doesn’t matter if you’re on Linux, Windows or OS X. Or all three. Clementine lets you listen to music easily, without slowing your computer down. Sad to say, it’s a rare trait in many desktop music players.