Friday, August 10, 2007

aTunes

Figures. The day after I say I'm not going to post, I have something to post. Anyways, this is about a music player called aTunes. It's supposed to be like iTunes, but written in Java, so it's cross-platform and is compatible on all java-enabled systems (which is essentially everything). Unlike Apple, which doesn't have a linux version of iTunes. The surprising thing is that this program is NOT slow AT ALL! So take that you anti-java people! Java is no longer considered sluggish, get over that argument. Anyways, this is my pro-Sun statement for the day.

On to the actual music player. If you're part of the devil's empire (use Windows) it's a standard .exe file. You shouldn't have any trouble with that. The installation is kind of different for the *NIXs. You don't do the ./configure, make, make install cycle, because....it's written in Java. It's a big more complicated, but if you don't do extensive Java programming like I do, it'll be easy. You need Java 6.0 to run it. If you want to install it (i.e. have it more integrated with your operating system) download the .jar installer. You run that by typing "java -jar /path/to/.jar/file". If you don't want to install, (Windows or *nix) just download the .tgz package then unpack it. You'll find all of the binaries in there.

If you installed, you'll see a directory at "$HOME/aTunes" ($HOME is your home folder). That directory contains all of the files that the binary package had. Now, for *nix users, just run the aTunes.sh script by typing "$HOME/aTunes/aTunes.sh" in the terminal. Or if you installed it, you could go via a menu. If neither works, then you probably have the problem I had, and I'll go over a quick band-aid solution to that. Once you run it, you have to pick your repository, which is where all your music should be stored, you select it by right-clicking. After that, I'll let you loose to explore aTunes.

Now, aTunes is not the right player for ME, but I think it's just my music habits that make it that way. My music library is composed of many little-known songs that I harvested over the internet. That means that I can't use many of the features that come with aTunes such as lyrics and album covers etc. Also, aTunes lacks the ability to subscribe to podcasts, so I'll be sticking to Rhythmbox. However, aTunes looks super cool, I'm amazed at the power of Java Swing. If you're the typical music-listener who uses iTunes on non-linux machines, I'd highly recommend aTunes. It's an amazing tool, I'm saddened that it's not exactly what I want.

Anyways, the quick band-aid solution for people have problems. Well, the problem I had was that the version of Java that the OS uses by default is 1.4.2, not 1.6. I tried to make links and symbolic links to the version 6 one, still didn't work. So, here's the plan I came up with. I basically have the computer explicitly choose the version 1.6 binary. In ubuntu, the binary is in "/usr/lib/jvm/java-6-sun-1.6.0.00/bin" What I did was I created an environment variable called JAVA6. You do this by opening ~/.bashrc. In there, put the line "export JAVA6=/usr/lib/jvm/java-6-sun-1.6.0.00/bin" without quotes. Now, in the place with the binaries, you'll see a script called aTunes.sh. Open that, and instead of the "java" command, put "$JAVA6/java" That should call the version 1.6 compiler.

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