KDE vs. GNOME: Photo and Music Management: Page 2

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Of the three, Rhythmbox is the most basic. Its unique features are more or less confined to the Small View, which displays just the player controls, and Party Mode, which is so-called apparently because it displays the window full-screen, making it easier to read in passing or when drunk.

Rhythmbox's main weakness is that its interface is not immediately obvious. To switch between views, you either have to know the keyboard shortcut or rely on the View menu.

Even more annoyingly, while having tracks listed in the largest pane of the window allows you to read the details about them more easily, the two or three filters for the list -- artist, album, and, if you add it, genre -- all affect the others. That means that you often have to make several clicks to get the list you want. Often, you are better off using the search function about the filters, assuming that you know your music collection well enough to know it from memory.

kde, gnome, music apps, photo apps


In general, the most efficient way to use Rhythmbox is to set up your own playlists or play queue, both of which are shown in screens on the left side of the window like a table of contents. Even then, you might fumble before you notice that tracks can be dragged and dropped, and that the main window has a context menu. But if you prefer to listen by album (something I'm told that only the middle-aged and elderly still do), then you might be frustrated by Rhythmbox before you learn its eccentricities.

By comparison, Banshee looks like Rhythmbox with more organization and features. Album-listeners are likely to find Banshee's sub-menus of artists and albums far easier to user.

Similarly, those who listen by track should appreciate the pane of choices that includes Favorites, Recently Added, and Unheard, as well as an entry for New Playlist. Track listeners may also prefer Banshee's ability to shuffle a playlist by metadata in contrast to Rhythmbox's basic ability to shuffle.

kde, gnome, music apps, photo apps


Once you start a playlist or album, Banshee displays the album cover beside the control and the current track.

On the bottom right, Banshee also displays a Context Pane of Recommended works as well as top albums and top tracks by the same artist. Unfortunately, though, all three seem arbitrary, despite their authoritative appearance. For instance, when I played an album by Canadian folk legend Stan Rogers, the recommendations included his brother Garnet, whose works are far more introspective, and Gordon Lightfoot and Great Big Sea, two acts whose only resemblance to Rogers is that they are all Canadian. Based on this performance, I would suggest turning off the Context Pane in the View menu, and giving more space to the Artists and Album panes.

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Tags: open source, Linux desktop, Gnome, KDE

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