Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Bad Sheep: iTunes & Miro

I'm an advocate of open-source, but I'm not a purist. I don't mind paid-closed software in most cases (for example Opera browser, I like) but there is one thing I don't like and that's vendor close-in. That is when the vendor tries to keep your data or things locked to their system so you can't use anybody else's. For example iTunes music before it was unprotected was locked to the iTunes platform. I couldn't listen to the music I had purchased there on my Transcend MP3 Player, which I used for running until I bought an iPod, nor could I listen to those m4p files on another music player. And that meant I couldn't play those files on Linux.

I'm a fan of Linux not just because its free but because it is a better operating system than Windows XP and I <3 the Bash shell from my University days using Unix. But Linux lacks a good decent media player, one that could compete with iTunes. I had my hopes set on Songbird being that media player but they dropped official support for Linux.

Thankfully it looks like Miro 4 will be that player.

To put my money where my mouth is I modestly support open-source projects. I bought a songbird T-shirt, and while I never liked the earlier versions of Miro they had this cute, support a programmer-bad sheep promotion a while back, so I sent them a few bucks.

Now I'm reaping the rewards of that modest support. Miro 4, the newest version is great. Moving beyond its original mission of being an internet TV player, Miro 4 is a great music player, and a great video player. It included in-built media conversion so you can convert videos and audio to different formats which allows you to change video to work on your smart phone. And while it wont play my old m4p iTunes protected files it plays the newer m4a that iTunes sells now. It even has an Amazon MP3 store integration. And best of all, it runs on Linux.

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