XMMS: Just play music

There is an interesting class of programs: audioplayers. What we expected from them? Playing music. What is required for this? Codecs, simple interface, playlist, equalizer. May be themes and control from keyboard. Many things can be applied to it, but audioplayer must stay a-music-player. This is primary task for such kind of program, and afterwards – cataloguer, tag converter, music collection organizer and so on. For this, spartanians and ancient-lovers remembers and likes simple yet powerful XMMS.

There is many a good tune played on an old fiddle..

This strings are being written in hope that there are still stayed people, who needs the only music playing from audioplayer. Without bells and whistles, and without dependencies from half of KDE and quarter of GNOME. And there is a honest hero, in an old GTKish arms, which is in Debian distribution from old times – xmms. Fast, simple, without bells and whistles, all necessary features and with support of all common formats. Here it is on a screenshot:

It`s strongly WinAmp-alike, which had been used by anybody in some less-knows operation system from Redmond. Without loads of pretties, but with themes (which there are enormous in Debian distribution), equalizer and playlist. If you don`t look you you audioplayer permanently, there is no more needed. XMMS is configured by menu, which is very WinAmp-like:

Many features can be configured here… Audio output method, codecs, startup behaviour, fonts…

After that, music can be copied into directory, and tags can be converted by another software, such as EasyTag. I like XMMS for incredibly speed of loading songs with tags: more than 400 music files are loaded with less than 6 seconds with alphabet sorting. And I`m don`t remember about it anymore – XMMS is minimized to tray and controlled by multimedia keyboard.

Searching in repository with combination

# apt-cache search xmms-

gives pabulum for reflection:

xmms – Versatile X audio player that looks like Winamp
xmms-festalon – XMMS Input plugin for playing NSF music files
xmms-liveice – XMMS plugin that sends your audio to a shoutcast server
xmms-alarm – xmms general plugin for using xmms as an alarm clock.
xmms-arts – aRts Output plugin for xmms
xmms-blursk – Powerful visualization plugin for XMMS, similar to “Blur Scope”
xmms-bumpscope – visualization plugin for XMMS that appears as an embossing oscilloscope
xmms-cdread – Input plugin for XMMS that reads audio data from CDs
xmms-crossfade – XMMS Plugin for Crossfading / Continuous Output
xmms-dbmix – XMMS output interface to the DBMix audio system
xmms-defx – A Sound alterator plug-in for xmms
xmms-dev – XMMS development static library and header files
xmms-finespectrum – XMMS Fine Spectrum Analyzer Plugin
xmms-flac – Free Lossless Audio Codec – XMMS input plugin
xmms-fmradio – FM Radio input plugin for XMMS
xmms-goodnight – XMMS plugin to stop playing at a given time
xmms-goom – visualization plug-in for XMMS with a variety of effects
xmms-infinity – full-screen visualisation effect for XMMS
xmms-infopipe – General plugin for XMMS, reports real-time information to a pipe
xmms-iris – advanced OpenGL visualization plugin for XMMS
xmms-jack – xmms output plugin to the jack audio server
xmms-jess – visualization plugin for XMMS using various 2D and 3D methods
xmms-kjofol – XMMS remote that uses K-Jofol’s skins
xmms-kjofol-skins – Skins for the xmms-kjofol package
xmms-ladspa – power XMMS with the Linux Audio Developer’s Simple Plugin API
xmms-lirc – Linux Infrared Remote Control for XMMS
xmms-mad – mp3 input plugin for xmms based on libmad
xmms-modplug – ModPlug plugin for XMMS
xmms-msa – spectrum analyzer plugin for XMMS with skin support
xmms-osd-plugin – XMMS plugin using xosd
xmms-qbble – XMMS playlist manager with search support
xmms-rplay – RPlay Output Plugin for XMMS
xmms-shell – XMMS Shell – Interface to control XMMS from the Console
xmms-sid – Input plugin for XMMS that plays SID (C64) tunes
xmms-singit – Display and edit lyrics with XMMS
xmms-skins – Skins for XMMS
xmms-stats – Make stats of your preferred songs
xmms-status-plugin – Status panel applet for XMMS
xmms-synaesthesia – visualization plugin for XMMS with a field of glowing lights
xmms-volnorm – XMMS plugin that gives all songs the same volume level
xmms-xf86audio – XF86Audio multimedia-key support for XMMS
xmms-coverviewer – XMMS plugin that displays covers while playing
xmms-find – XMMS plugin for quick, remote jump to another song
xmms-jackasyn – JACK Output plugin for xmms
xmms-kde – MP3 player integrated into the KDE panel
xmms-mpg123-ja – mpeg123 plugin supported Japanese encodings for xmms

So, that`s why XMMS is versatile. There is no need to install all plugins, but some of them are payed attention:

  • xmms-cdread – for AudioCD reading.
  • xmms-crossfade – makes song to be faded slowly at the end and at the beginnig.
  • xmms-flac – support of FLAC sound format.
  • xmms-skins – this package consists of themes, so you should install it.
  • xmms-status-plugin – permits to control XMMS, when it minimized to tray.
  • xmms-xf86audio – controlling XMMS via keyboard: now multimedia keys on keyboard will be played in full power!

There are more plugins – xmms can be tweaked for your comfort simply.

…but that`s fiddle can`t play hardrock

Of course, XMMS have contras – there no silver bullet. GTK1 menus are so ugly, that CompizBeril-lovers can harm their gentle psychology.

But, as mentioned earlier, you wanted simple yet powerful player? Here it is! And it`s better than looking at Ubuntu dialog box “for music playing, loads of codecs are required”. And here it`s playing and singing.


This post was inspired by questions on forums. And dear commentators, don`t throw addle vegetables in me: I really like XMMS, like MC. The original post is HERE.

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13 thoughts on “XMMS: Just play music

  1. 2 anonymouscoward Says:
    >> XMMS is dead, though, ABANDONED
    Program is alive until at least only one human uses it. Thus, XMMS is live.

  2. Well, it’s alive, but has been abandoned for lack of a maintainer in Debian. I am also a big fan of XMMS, but have found that after I recently installed my new laptop (with Debian testing, upgrading to unstable), I was unable to install XMMS. It is in the stable tree, been even when adding stable to my sources, it ends up with unresolvable dependency issues. The root of the problem is that it is requiring a newer libglib1.2 than exists in any of the trees. So in Debian, yes XMMS is dead until someone picks it up and becomes a maintainer.

  3. There is a fork (?) named audacity, that is available in lenny. There is also xmms2, but thats a demon that wants to manage a media library – I did not look closer look at it as it is not simple.

  4. the fork i believe is audacious (not audacity, although the names are a bit alike :]), i think it’s less stable…. i can’t remember the events, but i recall something like “wow, simple player you are back in my life” and then a “uh, not quite”…

    i want my good old xmms back in debian.. .

    : ]

  5. yep Mark, i got that backport. .however i am missing all the extras like flac support, i can’t remember the others, maybe i just stopped listening to music as much since xmms is dying.. .

  6. I tried that backport myself, and found that I was unable to get it going as regular user (it did work as root, though). So, I’m just going to use moc. I tried audacious, and did not like it — it seemed to just have too much stuff for my liking. Alas, I too wish that xmms was back in Debian.

  7. your issues seems a bit odd, are you in audio group (i assume so), did you check you audio mixer (aumix, alsamixer), they can sometimes for some reason be muted after doing $things.. .

    btw, to the site owner: there are way to many advertisements on this site it’s a shame.. :/

  8. It stated “Gdk-ERROR **: BadMatch (invalid parameter attributes)
    serial 1505 error_code 8 request_code 72 minor_code 0”, when I tried to run it as a normal user.

    Apparently (according to another poster at linuxquestions.org) this is a known issue with xmms. It’s further described at http://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=318582 This, I suspect, is likely one of the reasons that xmms was removed from Debian.

  9. hey Mark,

    this issue you have interest me a bit, i will attempt to install xmms on a fresh install just to see.

    the bug you linked concerns an older version of XMMS on lenny at the time it was in testing, it’s from 2005 and seems like the bug was resolved by removing the package from debian. .. . : [

    if you would like to continue our discussion i’d be happy to do so via standard email.. (link to my site => contact and then we’ll see from there)..

  10. xmms can be run by a normal user with the follow command: “XLIB_SKIP_ARGB_VISUALS=1 xmms” (without quotes). I discovered this via a discussion I had on linuxquestions.org, at http://www.linuxquestions.org/questions/debian-26/problems-installing-xmms-on-lenny-764631/ That was mentioned in some bug reports as well, I believe — see http://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=318093#10

    Anyway, I have moved onto audacious, and am slowly getting used to it.

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