The How and Why of XMMS removal
Why remove XMMS?
There has been a lot of fuss last week following the hardmasking of
XMMS and the packages depending on it for a future removal from the tree. A lot
of flames went on Gentoo's bugzilla and forums, with conspiracy theories,
shameful insults etc. The truth is the decision of removing it from the tree
was taken after a lot of debate between Gentoo developers and users and it is
for the better, despite the fact that a lot of us liked XMMS.
XMMS has been around for a very long time and was used by a lot of people.
Unfortunately, upstream developement stopped a long time ago and it became
broken over time. Gentoo developers had to maintain it and deal with the bad
design. As of late, nobody took care of it and bugs began to accumulate,
topping over 30 unresolved bugs. Furthermore, it depended on GTK+ version 1
which is old, broken with no support of UTF-8 and isn't supported anymore by
Metalgod, the current maintainer, decided to step down as XMMS was beyond
repair down and since nobody wanted to undertake the massive work, it was
decided that support will be dropped in the main Portage tree since Gentoo
obviously can't afford to offer unmaintained packages.
Audacious is a XMMS look-alike written in GTK 2. It supports XMMS
skins but does not behave exactly like XMMS. Several plugins are available like
audacious-docklet that displays an icon in the systemtray, audtty that allows
you to control audacious in the command line, audacious-crossfade that allows
continuous output and crossfading and a lot more to come or already available.
There is a thread on the
forums where you can request plugin ports.
MPD: Music Player Deamon is another good player which uses a
client/server architecture. You can even launch it at start-up and have music
playing before you get on your desktop. It has a lot of clients and obviously,
there are some that don't require X, like ncmpc which is ncurses-based.
Amarok: the well-known full-featured player, considered by many as
the best player available. Amarok was initially designed for KDE and does
almost everything, except dishes.
Rhythmbox: Rhythmbox plays in the same category as Amarok but is
designed for Gnome. Both are comparable to iTunes.
Banshee: Banshee is also in the category of heavyweight audio
players. There are lots of plugins available and under development. It uses
Muine: A simple music player for Gnome that runs upon mono
framework. It has a simple interface and supports plugins.
Listen: Listen is promising audio player, also heavyweight. It is
also designed for Gnome. It doesn't do dishes either.
mpg123: Another category here. mpg123 is a CLI player for those of
you that do not like graphical interfaces or do not have access to it at the
Quod Libet: A GTK+2 based music player written in python. It is full
featured and even has built-in tag editing. There are a number of plugins
available to add additional functionality.
If you really can't part from XMMS, you can still keep the ebuilds in an
To cleanly remove XMMS from your system, follow this procedure:
- Check in /etc/make.conf and /etc/portage/package.use that
the xmms USE isn't enabled. If it is, remove it. The command grep xmms
/etc/make.conf /etc/portage/package.use shouldn't return anything.
- Sync your portage tree with emerge --sync
- Unmerge xmms and all plugins. To get a list, you can for instance use equery -qc list xmms -i. You can then check this list against what grep xmms /usr/portage/profiles/package.mask says.
- Rebuild your tree without the xmms USE flag : emerge -auvDN world
Here are links to some developers' blogs which are relevant:
After years of using xmms, now it is time to return the goodbye issued on
the xmms homepage - thanks to the xmms team
for bringing a nice piece of software, and goodbye old sailor. :-)
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