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Exaile is similar to Amarok, but it's based on GTK+ (the GIMP Toolkit), the same GUI toolkit GNOME uses, and thus it loads almost instantly on GNOME and integrates nicely with it. The first impression the program makes is that it's a clone of Amarok, at least from an interface point of view; if you're an Amarok user, you'll feel right at home.
I tried both the stable version, 0.26, and the beta 0.27, and didn't have any stability problems with either. I recommend you install the beta version and report any bugs you find to help the project become even better.Everything you expect to find in a media player these days is present in Exaile, as well as some unique and intriguing features. For instance, Exaile offers tabbed playlists -- which means you can have multiple playlists open at one time -- and downloading of guitar tablature for the currently playing song from Fretplay. My favorite feature is the built-in Shoutcast directory browser (Figure 1), which allows you to listen to Internet radio broadcasts. This functionality is already offered by programs such as streamtuner, but it's handy to have it integrated in a media player.
Information about your music collection is stored in a SQLite database. The program can handle large libraries -- it had no problem loading my collection of about 2,300 Ogg Vorbis, MP3, and Flac files. Amarok supports MySQL and PostgreSQL along with SQLite, but I prefer to avoid the overhead of running a full-blown database server on my desktop system just for the music library. SQLite is fast and lightweight and doesn't need to have a daemon running all the time.
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Exaile uses the GStreamer engine for audio playback. You can play the audio formats of your choice by installing the appropriate GStreamer plugins without having to manually recompile the whole program. For example, since most Linux distributions don't support proprietary formats such as MP3 by default, you can add this functionality to Exaile (and other GStreamer-based programs) by installing the Ugly Plug-ins package. Audio CD playback is supported as well, as are iPods and last.fm; you can also submit tracks played on your iPod to last.fm. Exaile grabs album covers from Amazon.com automatically and can also fetch information about the current track from Wikipedia, as well as lyrics, as shown in Figure 2.
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sudo apt-get install exaile. To enable MP3 support in both Debian and Ubuntu run
sudo apt-get install gstreamer0.10-plugins-ugly. I installed Exaile on a laptop running Arch Linux by grabbing the PKGBUILD from Arch's User-community Repository and building a package myself. Exaile is also available in the FreeBSD ports as audio/exaile. Binary package installation is preferable, especially on distributions such as Slackware that don't include GStreamer, due to the long list of Exaile's dependencies, so make sure to read the documentation before you try this.
Exaile version 0.27 beta implements a plugin system that's designed to enhance the program by letter third-party developers add functionality to the package. It comes with these plugins:
I was impressed enough by Exaile that I made it the default audio player on all my desktop and laptop systems. Amarok is great and I still recommend it if you use KDE, but GNOME users should give Exaile a shot.