How hard is it to play an MP3? Well, if you’re using Linux, harder than it should be, as far as my experience goes.
I’ve lamented before how Ubuntu neglects to include any MP3 support out-of-the-box – if you want to play MP3 files you have to enter a series of terminal commands to enable support for the less ‘pure’ application package repositories and then install it manually. I’m using Mandriva at the moment and so I hoped the experience would be better. And it is, somewhat. It comes with a confusing array of sound programs, several of which seem to do the same thing, and I eventually settled on Rhythmbox. This was happy to play the first MP3 I gave it, but trying to play anything else gave me the error ‘Could not open /dev/dsp’ which may as well have been ‘Ooga Booga Shmoo!’ because both mean about the same to me. I then tried Amarok, which played about half a second of each song, before the system just turned itself off.
After rebooting (which takes a while on a Live CD) I did manage to get Rhythmbox to play a few songs without it moaning. But why the cryptic error message? And why did Amarok totally crash my system? I thought those sorts of things didn’t happen on Linux. I could have installed VLC, but this is a Live CD so I’d lose it when I reboot and it requires lots of long terminal commands and downloading huge files.
Anyway, apologies for the rant – I was stressing out over a plugin for some PHP guild software that I was trying to install and wanted some music to calm me down, when actually it did the opposite and just frustrate me even more. I am so looking forward to going back to a Mac.
(By the way, if you want to tell me that MP3 is evil and that I should be using Ogg Vorbis – screw you. I have an iPod.)