Potamus: The way software should be

I like sparse software. I like programs that do one thing. I like applications that don’t try to manage my life or my schedule or my music. I want clean interfaces with straight lines and no rubbish. I don’t want glitz, I don’t want frills, I don’t want glossy album covers fanning out between tunes, all hovering over a mirrored backdrop. And I definitely don’t want one-button clickable interfaces to social networking sites owned my multimedia conglomerates.

This is what I want.

Meet Potamus, found by accident while digging around on Adam Sampson‘s site. (Adam is the author of both rawdog and cdsuite.)

Now this is an application I can appreciate. Start. Drag and drop. Play. No more menus or options than is necessary. One button to clear the list, a few more to mimic the same audio playback controls that have been standard since around 1968, and a few audio presets … just so you can’t complain that it’s featureless. :mrgreen:

Source package is a mighty 124Kb, so with a few extra dependencies here and there for the file types you enjoy, it’ll run in a slice of memory about the thickness of your fingernail. I daresay I like this even better than Alsaplayer.

In AUR. In Ubuntu.

This is the way software should be. :twisted:

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23 Responses to “Potamus: The way software should be”


  1. 1 Gutterslob 2010/04/11 at 10:22 AM

    Just tried it, and I must say it’s pretty darn good.
    I don’t really go for ultra high-end audio players and extensive playlist capability on my netbook install, and tend to prefer simple apps that take up minimal screen space. Cplay and MOC are probably still my favourite, but Potamus will probably be my preferred GUI music app from now on. Sound quality seems clean enough, and I can just leave the equalization to my headphone amp when I’m using the netbook at home.

    Thanks for featuring it. :)

  2. 2 Boabawhales 2010/04/11 at 11:15 AM

    what about mpd? my personal favorite.

  3. 3 Chris Webstar 2010/04/11 at 12:11 PM

    I’ve found mpd + Sonata quite a decent combo. You can manage the same thing from the GUI, from the console, or from wherever across the network.

  4. 4 Peter 2010/04/11 at 2:20 PM

    Very nice but of no use to me as these days I would never even think about using a music player that did not support scrobbling (sending details of tracks played to social music sites such as Libre.fm or Last.fm) so I guess as a GUI player I’m stuck with terrible bloat that is Audacious.

    • 5 quigybo 2010/04/12 at 5:00 AM

      mpd has a few ways to scrobble like mpdscribble, so something like mpd + mpdscribble + mpc is a lightweight gui-free way to listen to music with scrobbling support. Otherwise sonata is a lightweight gtk mpd client with scrobbling support.

  5. 6 jan herout 2010/04/11 at 3:18 PM

    In MS Windows world, i liked foobar2000 the most… pitty it was not ported to Linux.

  6. 8 Mark 2010/04/11 at 5:13 PM

    Any idea what this error means?

    *** glibc detected *** potamus: free(): invalid pointer: 0x0000000001be7570 ***
    ======= Backtrace: =========
    /lib/libc.so.6[0x7f19b23acdd6]
    /lib/libc.so.6(cfree+0x6c)[0x7f19b23b174c]
    /usr/lib/libjack.so.0(jack_ringbuffer_free+0x1f)[0x7f19b48d232f]
    potamus[0x409f4d]
    potamus[0x40a271]
    potamus[0x40a581]
    /lib/libglib-2.0.so.0[0x7f19b4f50b44]
    /lib/libpthread.so.0[0x7f19b46b1a04]
    /lib/libc.so.6(clone+0x6d)[0x7f19b241680d]

    • 9 K.Mandla 2010/04/13 at 1:36 PM

      Not sure. What distro are you using? If it’s a dependency issue, check the PKGBUILD in AUR for a list of what it needs.

      • 10 fuxter 2010/04/25 at 5:21 PM

        i get the same error on ubuntu with potamus from repositories. i didn’t investigate anymore, but i found that it luanches only with jackd running. i must note, i got rid of pulseaudio long ago. so without jack it doesn’t work, even with aoss.

        aur package is great though

  7. 11 Artopal 2010/04/11 at 6:59 PM

    On my list of prefered applications, Potamus is the only audio player that is graphical. Until I found it, I would exclusively use Music on Console, trying on and off the other little ones which were also mentioned on this site. All others (Rhythmbox et al.) are overkill for my needs.

  8. 12 zoev9 2010/04/12 at 1:39 AM

    this looks like a GUI version of mocp. I’ll check it out, but I doubt it will replace my favorite text-player

  9. 13 Duncan Snowden 2010/04/12 at 2:00 AM

    Hee, hee! I like the idea that a successor to Hippoplayer is considered minimalist these days. :D

    Nice program, although I tend to agree with Chris: mpd-Sonata does it for me.

  10. 14 MK 2010/04/12 at 4:21 AM

    OK, and how do you drag and drop without xserver?

  11. 15 MK 2010/05/12 at 8:26 AM

    Alright, this is belated, but I got to install Potamus, and I am worried about you Kmandla. Seriously, Potamus? 12.7MB to download -libqt4, jack and a bunch of other libs? 38.6MB of disk space to be used? Hah? That’s more then Slitaz ISO. Just for a music player. What is going on? You are the guy that tries running Ubuntu on 30MB of RAM and Arch on something like 5. Did I miss the transition? Next thing you know, you are gonna be running Vista on 8GB of RAM and a quadcore. :)

    • 16 K.Mandla 2010/05/12 at 11:04 AM

      Hmm. Can I ask which system you’re using? The Arch version doesn’t seem to imply qt at all, and even the Ubuntu version doesn’t seem to draw anything that asks for qt. And depending on which types of audio files you use, I could suppose that some of those other libraries could be trimmed out.

      • 17 MK 2010/05/12 at 9:51 PM

        That’s Ubuntu Lucid, a minimal installation in virtual box. Just added these to the cli: xorg, gdm, gnome-core, ubuntu-artwork, and then, Potamus.
        http://www.box.net/shared/n7q40z00if
        Other then that, it is a nice app, clean interface and works as expected.

        • 18 K.Mandla 2010/05/12 at 11:11 PM

          You might try the --without-recommends flag when you install it, and see if the qt packages are left out. If it still tries to install a large number of oddball dependencies, you could try compiling it yourself, or contact the package manager for Potamus and find out why qt is drawn in as a dependency.

          As far as I can tell from the home page, Potamus was intended as a GTK2 application. So the addition of qt to your system sounds bizarre, unless one of the other libraries wants it.

  12. 19 ethnopunk 2011/01/20 at 4:48 AM

    Anyone know how to configure it, doesn’t seem to load anything on Ubuntu 10:10


  1. 1 Links 11/4/2010: Oracle Loses Gosling, Google Funds Ogg | Techrights Trackback on 2010/04/12 at 3:41 AM
  2. 2 Nonbelievers need not apply: Surfraw « Motho ke motho ka botho Trackback on 2010/05/11 at 7:58 AM
  3. 3 Who are you, and where is my regular audio playback application? « Motho ke motho ka botho Trackback on 2010/09/13 at 10:50 AM
  4. 4 Keep the customers satisfied: Three more graphical apps « Motho ke motho ka botho Trackback on 2010/10/24 at 7:12 PM

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