One pleasant surprise, for 2010

I am going to go back on a promise today, but only by the tiniest bit. I mentioned earlier this week that I had no intentions of publishing a “best of” list for console applications for the year.

And that’s still true, although I do have one that has surprised me more than others, and I think it’s worth a note of praise.

It’s cmus, just to break the suspense. I first tried it almost exactly a year ago, and dismissed it for personal use just because I don’t really care for applications that “manage” my music.


cmus, on Debian

And that is also still true. But cmus won points this year for being able to handle music playback on an exceptionally slow machine, while operating under duress.

Which is to say, operating at the same time as rtorrent, while it seeds and manages a considerable list of files. That may not be impressive for most people, but it is to me.

Almost every audio tool I’ve tried to date has failed, since the overall speed of the machine just isn’t enough to keep up with the demands of the software and the environment.

And that’s not a terrible shortcoming. I don’t think less of them because they’re a teensy bit heavier. They’re still light as a feather, compared to the prevailing behemoths of audio playback. 😯

And really, it’s very rare to find someone who relies on a 133Mhz Pentium to do two things at once. Or one thing at once, now that I think about it. 😐

But cmus does its job without blinking … although I feel obligated to mention that during heavy traffic or exceptional workload, the skipping and stuttering does return.

I expect as much. I know enough to realize that there is only so much I can demand of machines of this era. Beyond that, I invite disappointment.

But for being a clean application that does a great job with old machines — even if it does “manage” my music πŸ™„ — I say cheers. A gold smilie for the cmus staff: πŸ˜€


7 thoughts on “One pleasant surprise, for 2010

  1. Pingback: Links 23/12/2010: Linux/Android Gains in ARM, Nautilus 3.0 Mockups Debated | Techrights

  2. helf

    Thats a pretty cool app. I’ll have to give it a try. I have to say, tho, my old faithful laptop is a NEC Versa P/75 with a 75mhz non-mmx pentium 1 cpu and 40mb of ram and I run windows 95 on it (remarkably stable, lol) with utorrent running quite a few torrents off my 4gb cf card via a pcmcia adapter, an IRC client, several SSH2 sessions via PuTTY, AIM, OffByOne Webbrowser with several tabs, Notepad+ with multiple documents (not notepad++, different app) and I can play my mp3s off the same CF card with no stuttering or anything via a program called winplay3. Oh, and my internet connection is had via an ORiNOCO Silver pcmcia wifi b card :p Its really rather impressive. I have 2-8mb of free ram and I use between 10-30mb of swap at any given moment. Its one of the only machines I still run windows on. I tried various linux distros and none of them handled everything I wanted to do as smoothly at once as Windows 95 somehow does on this old laptop. I’ve never even had it BSOD once, its bizarre…

    1. K.Mandla Post author

      That’s fantastic; don’t change a thing! If it’s working for you and you’re satisfied with it, keep using it. Cheers! πŸ˜€

  3. ErSandro

    I tried a lot of music players and my final choice is… mplayer πŸ™‚

    I’ve already installed it for video playback (so no necessity for new application) and it does not manage your library (basically you simply navigate the filesyste). Just cd to the directory containing the music files you want to hear and give “mplayer *” (press enter to skip to the next song).

    You can also create simple playlist text files (one line, one song) and pass them to mplayer with the option -playlist.

    It’s really low on resources (better than cmus, mpd or moc on my system).


  4. Pingback: Bring out the rack! « Motho ke motho ka botho

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