Exaile – Music Player for Gtk+

Written by BinnyVA on January 7, 2008 – 11:12 pm -

Exaile Logo

Exaile an amarok clone for Gnome – and I have to admit – I am impressed.

Exaile is a music player aiming to be similar to KDE’s Amarok, but for GTK+ and written in Python. It incorporates many of the cool things from Amarok (and other media players) like automatic fetching of album art, handling of large libraries, lyrics fetching, artist/album information via Wikipedia, Last.fm submission support, and optional iPod support via a plugin.

Exaile Screenshot


It has many features that make amarok great…

  • Automatic fetching of album art
  • Handling large music libraries
  • Lyrics fetching
  • Fetches Artist/Album information from Wikipedia

And some features that amarok does not have…

  • Tabbed playlist interface
  • Song Blacklist Manager


  • I could not find the Global Hotkeys feature


If you want to try exaile, you can download exaile and install it yourself.

Related Links

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Posted in Applications, Audio, Gnome | 8 Comments »

Banshee – Music Management and Playback for GNOME

Written by BinnyVA on November 7, 2007 – 11:02 pm -


Banshee is one of the best audio players for Gnome. It has most of the things I want in an MP3 software…

  • Stays in the system tray
  • Simple interface
  • Media Library
  • Ability to control the player using shortcuts without accessing the player(Multimedia Keys Plugin)

Unfortunately, I could not run this software in my system – it is showing a ‘No Codec’ error for all the files I tried to play. I tried to fix this problem by myself – I even tried reinstalling the software. Still no luck. I am sure that is is a configuration error on my part – I don’t think it is an issue in banshee.

Anyway, since I could not try out this software, I stop now. If I could fix this issue before my series on MP3 Players for Linux is over, I will come back and post the details on this page.

Posted in Applications, Audio, Gnome | 5 Comments »

Amarok MP3 Player

Written by BinnyVA on September 23, 2007 – 11:12 pm -


amaroK is currently the player of my choice – it rocks. Everything I ever wanted in a MP3 Player and more.

Global Shortcuts

I must be able to control some functions in the player like Play/Pause, Next/Previous song etc. with the keyboard without having to open the software. For example, you are banging away at your keyboard creating the next big thing. Suddenly someone calls you – but you can’t make out what they are trying to say because you are playing music at volumes that makes it audible to a deaf man halfway round the world. Now you have to open up the player, find the pause button(in some winamp skins, they are nearly impossible to find), pause the song and then try to listen to what someone was screaming about.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could just press a keyboard combination from any app and your player pauses? Winamp(version 5 onwards) had this feature if you enabled a plugin called Global Hotkeys. amaroK supports this feature natively – amarok->Settings->Configure Global Shortcuts.

Stays in the System Tray

Another must have feature – when I listen to music I don’t want to see the application that plays it. I don’t want to see some any stupid visualizations. I don’t want to see any dancing pixies. In short, all I want from a player is hear the music – not play some animation that’s eating my CPU cycles.

The best way to make sure of this is if the app stays in the system tray(or status bar). And amaroK does that. Some basic operation(play/pause, stop, etc.) are available from the right click menu of amaroK icon in the system tray.

There is also a hidden feature – just bring you mouse over the amaroK icon in the system tray any scroll the mouse wheel down – this reduces the volume!

amarok Volume

But I have one complaint about that – there is no way I can know what song is playing. In the XMMS Status docklet, the name of the currently song will popup if you hover over the icon for some time. That is not possible in AmaroK.

XMMS Status Docklet

Update: Amarok has this feature – but in Fedora, its disabled. Some bug, I guess

Other Cool Features…

  • Media Library
  • Fetches Lyrics/Artist Info from the Web
  • Supports Podcasts
  • Inbuilt Bulk MP3 Tag editor
  • Able to access MP3 players(the hardware players – you know – like iPod)

For More Information

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Posted in Applications, Audio, KDE | 17 Comments »

Global HotKeys For XMMS using KHotKeys

Written by BinnyVA on September 17, 2007 – 10:47 pm -

Wouldn’t it be great if you could just press a keyboard combination from any app and your player pauses? Winamp(version 5 onwards) had this feature if you enabled a plugin called Global Hotkeys. You can’t do this in XMMS – but you can set up KHotkeys or Input Action to do it for you.

This is an extremal cool feature of KDE(sorry – no support for Gnome). You can access this feature by opening up Control Panel->Regional & Accessability->Input actions. You could configure it to give some commands to XMMS when you press a shortcut key.

The Examples group already have a XMMS action – next. Follow the format of that example to set the shortcuts for other actions in XMMS. I have 3 action in my system…

  • Play/Pause – Ctrl+Alt+Home
  • Previous Song – Ctrl+Alt+Page Up
  • Next Song – Ctrl+Alt+Page Down

XMMS in KHotkeys

Working of KHotkeys

For this example, I am going to create the Next Song action for XMMS. Click on the New Action Button at the bottom.

First you have to set the action type – the simplest is ‘Keyboard Shortcut->Keyboard Input’. This type simulates a specified key input in a given application when you press the shortcut trigger. For example, when you press ‘Ctrl+Alt+Page Down’ KHotkeys will send the key ‘b’ to XMMS – that is the shortcut in XMMS to go to the next song.

Action Type

In the next tab, you can set up a shortcut trigger(Say Ctrl+Alt+Page Down).

Action Shortcut

The ‘Keyboard Input Settings’ tab does all the major work – it decides the key to be send and the application to which the key must be send. In our example, the Keyboard Input is ‘b'(XMMS Shortcut for the next Song).

Input Settings

Next click on New->Simple Window in the Window section. Now open XMMS, click on the ‘Autodetect’, and then click on XMMS. This will populate the fields of the Window popup. We only need the ‘Window Class’ – change the drop down to the ‘Is’ option.

Action Window

Now click the Apply button.

That’s it – open up XMMS and play any song. If you press Ctrl+Alt+Page Down, XMMS will skip to the next song.

Try doing other things with KHotkeys – it is a powerful tool.

Posted in Applications, Audio, Configuration, KDE | 3 Comments »

MP3 Audio Players in Linux

Written by BinnyVA on August 27, 2007 – 11:26 pm -

There are no shortage of audio players in Linux. It has everything from command line mp3 players(mpg123) to RAM eating GUI players(like Amarok). With easily available codecs, linux supports almost all available formats.

I am going to do a series on the diffrent audio players available for Linux. This will focus on dedicated audio players – not video players that can handle audio as well(like mplayer).

The most popular audio players for linux are…

A Winamp clone. Simple and user friendly, it is very popular on linux.
Amarok is the most feature rich player on Linux right now. It is a KDE app.
Another Winamp clone – this is actually a fork of beep-media-player.
Music management and playback for Gnome
Rhythmbox is an integrated music management application, originally inspired by Apple’s iTunes.
An audio jukebox that supports collections of MP3, Ogg Vorbis and FLAC files. It is a part of the kdemultimedia package.
Songbird is a desktop Web player, a digital jukebox and Web browser mash-up.
Exaile is a music player aiming to be similar to KDE’s Amarok, but for GTK+ and written in Python.
A fast, free console based MP3 audio player for Linux, FreeBSD, Solaris, Hpux and near all other UNIX systems.

I will explore XMMS in more detail in the next post.

Posted in Applications, Audio, Gnome, KDE | 9 Comments »

Turn On NumLock at Startup in Linux

Written by BinnyVA on August 14, 2007 – 11:23 pm -


Numlock is something that should be always on. I don’t understand why it is often off at start up. If that is the case for your system, this page will help you to turn on the Numlock as system start up in Linux.


There is an option in BIOS that lets you set the status of Numlock at start up. You will have to search around for this one – it is located in different places in different BIOS versions. Make sure that it is on.


If the BIOS trick did not solve the issue, KDE has a configuration option where this can be set. That’s why I love KDE – whatever you want, there is an option for that…

Control Panel -> Peripherals -> Keyboards

Control Panel Setting For Keyboard


It you still have the problem, install the program called ‘numlockx‘. This will turn on the Numlock at start up.

Posted in Configuration, KDE | 14 Comments »

KDE Control Center Customizations

Written by BinnyVA on August 2, 2007 – 9:30 pm -

System Settings

I have very specific tastes about how my system should look. I prefer the lean and fast appearance. This is one of the main reasons why I like KDE so much – you can customize the system to perfection. Gnome does not have this much options.

To modify the looks and shortcuts for the system, take KDE Menu->Control Center. Go Wild!!

This is how I have set up my system…

Appearance & Themes

Launch Feedback

  • Busy Cursor = Passive Busy Cursor

Screen Saver

  • Start Automatically = Off


  • Widget Style = MS Windows 9x
  • Enable Tooltips = Off
  • Effects

    • Enable GUI Effects = Off

Window Decorations

  • Window Decorations = KDE2
  • Draw Titlebar stipple effect = Off
  • Draw Gradients = Off
  • Buttons

    • Show window button tooltips = Off
    • Use custom button positions = On
    • Button Order = Menu, All Windows, Above others, Title, Minimize, Maximize, Close


Behavior -> General

  • Show tooltip = Off

Multiple Desktops

  • I like 8 desktops


  • Arrangement -> Size = Normal (Bigger Main Panel)


  • Quick Browser Menu -> Maximum number of Entities = 25
  • Quick Start Menu Items -> Maximum number of Entities = 0 (Hides the ‘Recently used software’ at the top of the KDE Menu)


  • Enable icon Mouseover effects = Off
  • Show Tooltips = Off


  • Show Windows from all desktops = Off
  • Sort alphabetically by application name = Off
  • Group Similar tasks = Never

Window Behavior

  • Titlebar Actions

    • Titlebar Double-Click = Maximize
  • Moving

    • Display contents in moving windows = Off
    • Animate minimize and restore = Off
  • Advanced

    • Active Desktop Borders -> Only When moving windows = On

Regional & Accessibility

Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Too many changes to list.

Sound & Multimedia

  • System Notifications -> Turn Off All ‘Sounds’

Posted in Configuration, KDE | No Comments »

Install Windows Web Fonts(MS Core Fonts) in Linux

Written by BinnyVA on July 14, 2007 – 11:23 pm -


Most site uses fonts that are available on Windows – if you want to view sites as the designer of that site intended, you need these fonts. And since I am a Web Developer, and spend most of my time on various sites, I had to install it.

Its not as easy as installing other software – but its possible. This is how you do it in Fedora 7…

  • Download the MS Core Fonts Smart Package File and save it as msttcorefonts-2.0-1.spec
  • Install rpm-build and cabextract packages
    yum -y install rpm-build cabextract
  • Build the Core Fonts package…
    rpmbuild -ba msttcorefonts-2.0-1.spec
  • Install the package…
    rpm -Uvh /usr/src/redhat/RPMS/noarch/msttcorefonts-2.0-1.noarch.rpm

More Details…

Posted in Configuration, Desktops, Fedora | 3 Comments »

Hide the Sidebar in Konqueror

Written by BinnyVA on July 7, 2007 – 11:12 pm -

Konqueror is one of my favorite Linux applications. But as a File manager, it has a slight problem – the sidebar. I have never used it. I cannot understand why it is turned on by default. It is easy to hide it by pressing F9 – but I want to turn it off permanently.

Konqueror Sidebar

  • First, open a folder using Konqueror.
  • Window->Hide Navigation Panel(F9)
  • Settings->Save View Profile(File Management)
  • Overwrite the existing File Management profile
  • Restart Konqueror – this time the sidebar will be hidden.

If you want to see the sidebar again, just press F9.

Posted in Applications, Configuration, Desktops, KDE | 3 Comments »

Enable Auto Login In Linux Systems

Written by BinnyVA on June 12, 2007 – 5:03 pm -


Since I am concentrating on the desktop aspect of Linux, ease of use is more important than security. Whenever a system’s security is increased, there is a reduction in its user-friendliness. One of the best example for this is the login screen in Linux.

If you are using Linux as a desktop system, there is no need for login – you are the primary user on your system. In such cases, the login screen is just a waste of time. And as I am using my system as a desktop system, one of the first things I do after installing Linux is enable the ‘Auto-Login’ feature.


There are 2 main software for handling logins – kdm and gdm. KDM manages logins for KDE and GDM manages the same task for Gnome. If you are using gdm, you need to configure just that.

Configuring GDM

  • KMenu > Administration > Login Screen
  • OR Run command ‘gdmsetup’
  • Security Tab
  • Make sure that the ‘Enable Automatic Login’ is on
  • Choose the default user from the drop down.

Configuring KDM

  • Launch Control Center
  • System Administration > Login Manager
  • Press the ‘Administrator Mode’ button and enter the root password.
  • Switch to the ‘Convenience’ tab
  • Make sure that the ‘Enable Auto-Login’ is checked.
  • Choose the default user from the ‘User’ drop down.

Posted in Desktops | 3 Comments »