Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Kubuntu Fail

As I mentioned in my previous post I purchased Megadeth's Countdown to Extinction yesterday. My van does not have a working radio/cd/tape/etc. player so I use my laptop, which runs Kubuntu.

When I left the store I put my newly purchased CD in my laptop. A window comes up asking if I would like to rip it with K3B or open the folder in Nautilus. That seemed pretty stupid. The number on thing people do with music CDs is listen to them. I didn't want to rip it or view the folder contents. So I went looking around Amarok and it apparently doesn't have a CD player option. Again, a music player that doesn't play CDs seems pretty dumb. I started to get frustrated so I looked around at other programs I had installed and found mplayer, which I knew does play CDs.

I started playing the CD and rocking out and left the parking lot only to realize that mplayer found it necessary to pause every five or so seconds for about two or three seconds. Since I'm driving there really just wasn't anything I could do about it, so I had to listen to choppy audio all the way home. Given how pumped
I was to have this album back in my collection after a very long hiatus, this sucked.

So back at home I looked into this and found this thread which states regarding CD playing in Amarok 2, "We developers don't find this an important feature, as it takes about 3 minutes to fully rip a CD to harddisk with modern software. And this gives you so many advantages, that it's just not worth messing with the CD media from the 80s."

The stupidity behind such a statement leads me to desires of genocide and becoming the cause of utter bleakness. How can anyone believe that a computer being able to play CDs is not important. It is a basic function of any modern desktop operating system. It would be like purchasing a car that doesn't have a radio because that's so 80s, and everyone just does podcast now anyhows.

There are many reasons to not rip every CD you want to play. One of the most obvious is that it is an unnecessary step to get from where you are to where you want to be. I have a CD, and I want to play it. My OS should make that process as easy as possible, given this is a very common task of desktop OSes. Inserting unnecessary steps = fail.

A second reason is IP law. If I borrow a CD from a friend I do not have the right to make copies of his/her CD. In this situation one is forced to choose simply not listening to the CD, or breaking copyright law. I'm not fan of our current IP law, but an OS that forces you to break the law to perform the basic task of listening to a borrowed CD is assinine.

In conclusion Mark Kretschmann needs to climb out of his basement and look at what real world people are doing with their computers, not they specific way he prefers to use a computer.


  1. Well, two points:

    1. IP-law depends on your jurisdiction, and is not something the amarok-devs can do anything about. For example, I could borrow a CD from a friend and rip it without putting either me or my friend in conflict with the law.
    2. The thread you linked to only says currently. Not that it will never be implemented again. I can't find the thread right now, but I know I read on the very same forum (and at a later date than that thread) that someone is working on it. If someone else knows which thread I'd be happy to know!

  2. I can rip a CD in three minutes, but what if I don't want to wait three minutes to start playing the music? What if I want to preview it before I decide to commit three minutes of my life to the ripping process?

  3. Its important to remember that the software you are complaining about was built and maintained by a community. Developers tend to work on things for one of three reasons:
    1. The developer thinks its fun
    2. The developer needs the feature
    3. Someone is paying the developer to build it.
    What are your plans to help the community with this feature? Will you help to develop this feature? Will you try to find a developer that you can fund to work on this? I don't see anything in that thread that says it can't be added, just that the current set of developers aren't interested.

  4. Why not using kscd?

  5. I too don't find this feature very nessecary. I'll admit that it's strange that a modern Ubuntu Desktop can't do what my i486 with Windows 3.11 was able to do.

    However the developers are right, it takes only a couple of minutes to rip a CD and you DO get a lot of advantages. And I guess you won't find a judge who throws you in jail for ripping a CD you own. There will be always some legal idiocy in some parts of the world, FOSS can't develop around all that.

  6. @Asa: you forgot 4. Developer thinks everyone uses the computer the same as him.

    It's not a case of "not interested", it a case of "uh, no, you don't use it that way. You're wrong! Use it my way. mark bug as WONTFIX"

  7. @vadi From the link I see
    kajinek: "ok, thanks for info. However I still think it would be great when amarok support it. Are you going to implement this feature later?"
    Mark Kretschmann (Amarok Developer): "Maybe :)"

    Nothing you said is present. I'm sure Maybe means "I won't, but if someone joins the project that wants to I won't stop them." There is no mention of playing CDs being wrong or demanding that everyone must rip CDs to play them. You don't have to use Amarok, you can use any cd playing software you want, but Amarok just doesn't currently support it.

  8. @asa: While this may not be an issue for Amarok devs specifically, it is for both the KDE OS, since Amarok 2 is considered the music player for KDE4, and for the Kubuntu team since they are definitely pushing Amarok 2 as the default player for their Kubuntu Jaunty release.
    Developers that want to make their software useful will not fail to implement what most users would be considered a basic function of the task at hand.
    The Amarok project is not just for enthusiasts, but is part of the KDE project, which aims at superior usability. When you are aiming at superior usability, 1, 2 and 3 are not good catalysts to realize those goals.
    The Mozilla browser was developed mainly from what developers thought where fun, or features they wanted and it turned out to be a slow browser that nobody cared about. When the Firefox browser was built usability became the focus and the project became what it is today.