A few minutes ago I downloaded and tried out a free music player called aTunes. They had a version update to 2.1.0. My impression is it is a good try. There are a couple of features which iTunes doesn’t have but (on the Mac at least) the interface is a little clunky. For the moment Apple doesn’t have much to worry about. However I can see where this project is going so it may be worth considering in the future.
The program itself can be downloaded from http://www.atunes.org/ but for the Mac there is a dependency. It also needs mplayerx to drive the sound. Mplayer needs to be installed first. This is fine for Linux users but Mac users will need to get it from the app store or go to their website and download it from Google apps. Since Apple doesn’t need to have my information I prefer to get the program elsewhere.
Once everything is downloaded and installed, aTunes will want to know the location of your “tunes”. I told it to select the user directory. It took so long looking for the files I told it to perform the search in the background. Since I only have a couple of tunes it seemed like a waste of time.
The way it plays the “tunes” is to call up mplayer and play it through that. Mplayer on Linux is a great program which everyone who isn’t running a server should install. Even on the Mac it is pretty good. On the Mac it likes to run everything. In order to stop a tune the user has to leave aTunes and tell mplayer to stop. This is the first of a couple of annoyances I find with aTunes.
When aTunes is running it presents the user with a multi-paned window similar to Banshee or RhythmBox on Linux. One of the panes shows the lyrics to the song which is currently playing.
I tried a couple of the features. They didn’t work out too well. The “Radio” section wouldn’t stream anything (could be my ISP) and nothing showed up in the podcast section.
As I said up front, it is a good effort. Keep working at it folks. I think they aren’t too far away from a very good product.