Another small user interface suggestion

February 5, 2007

Dear Xine: since various modern sound systems are amply equipped to play multiple audio sources at once, your 'mute' button should mute only your audio, not the entire audio chain. That way I can turn down the Internet music stream I'm listening to in the background in favour of something of more immediate interest, like YouTube videos, without having to quit out of you entirely.

While we're here, it would be nice if you didn't block purely audio streams just because you can't get some X events in edgewise because I'm busy placing a window at the moment and my window manager has an X server grab. Especially if you happen to be iconified at the time, with your geegaws turned off.

(I know, Xine is not exactly the best application in the world for playing streaming Internet music. However, it seems to be the only Fedora Core 6 application that can consistently play AAC+ streams, which means that I am stuck with it for the moment.)

('Another'? Yes; see SmallUISuggestion, the first in the series.)

Comments on this page:

From at 2007-02-05 16:45:32:

Hey, Chris, I lost the link to your blog for a while, but found it again after some googeling.

You are so right about xine audio controls. Lately I've been using mplayer more, but it seems heavier on the cpu than xine. I would like to mention that the new Windows Vista has built in volume control for each individual application. Maybe something like this would be useful in linux for apps like xine that put the main volume down.

While we're on the subject of audio streams, amarok comes with some great preloaded radio streams. also has a lot of good stuff.

By cks at 2007-02-05 18:28:13:

Prompted by this comment, I did some poking. Amarok and (g)mplayer both play AAC+ streams fine, so it's just xmms (and audacious, which is derived from it) that balks mysteriously. Gmplayer seems to take less CPU and memory than Amarok, although I'm not really concerned about either.

(xine uses about as much memory as amarok and seems to have CPU usage midway between amarok and gmplayer.)

Ideally I'd be able to find a command-line AAC+ player that did streaming over the Internet, like mpg321 will do for MP3 streams, but I'm not holding my breath on that. (I'd be happy with a command-line player that ate standard input, because I have other tools that could do the network stuff.)

Written on 05 February 2007.
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