After careful consideration, we’ve come to the painful conclusion that we should discontinue support for the Linux version of Songbird.
This news, posted to the official SongBird blog last Friday, came as a shocking slap in the face to someone who only recently freed his music library from the clutches of iTunes. Songbird was the logical choice to prepare for my eventual immersion in Linux, and now Songbird’s future on that OS is no more.
My own anger was mirrored in the comments to Songbird’s announcement:
Wow. As someone who uses Songbird on Windows, Mac, and Linux, you should know that I choose Songbird because it’s cross-platform. You will lose Windows and Mac users because of this, as well as momentum from the F/OSS community.
Wow. Just wow.
You’re dropping the only users that don’t already have access to alternatives that are as good or better than SB?
Couldn’t you drop OS X support instead? iTunes is used by almost all Mac users, but Songbird is best player around on Linux.
Now hang on, you may be on to something there…
Taking a second look at my own situation, I’m stuck on at least one Mac for the moment but have zero interest in the bloated delivery system for fart apps that iTunes has become. There are alternatives for OS X (notably VLC) but not so many fully-featured ones, with support for playlists, album art, DRM-free music stores, etc.
This is where SongBird can fill a niche — as a gateway drug to digital freedom.
It does most certainly suck that SongBird won’t be waiting for me when I install Linux on my main desktop machine. But there’s no shortage of excellent media players for Linux, so I’ll be covered one way or another.
And SongBird will continue to fight the good fight, behind enemy lines on proprietary operating systems, ready to give safe harbour to POWs who have escaped the forcible confinement of locked-down media.
That’s not so bad, is it?