new version of Rhythmbox Alternative-Toolbar v0.8.1 released

Alternative-Toolbar v0.8.1 released – Some screen-shots showing what I’ve been hacking for the last couple of weeks.

The side-bar in Rhythmbox has been reworked to be more logical – local sources, online and playlists. If you are still in love with the old rhythmbox sidebar – just reinstate that via the plugin-preferences.

Compare with standard RB:

Similar screen-shot with Client-Side Decoration:

You’ll notice a toggle option in the toolbar. That shows some stuff I’m working on in the master branch (read that as unstable!) of coverart-browser. Toggle that and you’ll see:

So now the side-bar changes to show more views rather than sources. You even have tooltips if you like that sort of thing. Dont worry – you can toggle that off in the plugin preferences.

To get the new release of alternative-toolbar, just update as normal if you are using my rhythmbox-plugins PPA. Otherwise…

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:fossfreedom/rhythmbox-plugins
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install rhythmbox-plugins-alternative-toolbar

I’m always looking for contributors to my projects – so if you are a budding python hacker – pop-over to the projects alternative-toolbar and coverart-browser and just fork the code.

new release of indicator-sysmonitor – v0.6.2

Just a quick update … after scratching my head for several days wondering why my debian package refused to work, finally solved it.  Learned a lot on how to do correct packaging.  Will use that knowledge when I come to update some of my other PPAs.

So what’s new visually … nothing.  That’s right – I’ve released something that is visually no different than before.  That should be a good thing :D

What is actually different is the underlying plumbing.  It has been completely restructured and this makes the whole project fundamentally easier to understand and most crucially maintain.  Heck – if you feel like hacking and adding more sensors – it should be really easy now.

All sensors live in one source module –  every sensor is its own python class – so no issues with changing code and breaking other sensors.

Preferences is in another module and the overall indicator is also in its own module.  I did say logical!

A couple of bug fixes from other contributors – cheers.

How to install:

If you are using my PPA then just update as usual (trusty, utopic – and brand new vivid).  Otherwise, if new …

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:fossfreedom/indicator-sysmonitor
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install indicator-sysmonitor

Alternatively – wizz over to my GitHub project and look around at the code – use the README instructions to install

Update 26/04/15: v0.6.2 release – fixes crash on adding custom indicator

Rethinking the Rhythmbox interface



Can the Rhythmbox interface be improved?

That is one of the reasons why I developed my alternative-toolbar plugin.  For Ubuntu users, back came the compact toolbar that was lost when Rhythmbox moved to v2.99 and later.

Over the last few weeks I’ve been working with Ozon and Georgi Karavasilev to see if we could just go that little bit further.

trusty - VMware Player (Non-commercial use only)_056What do you think?

Rhythmbox in this design has morphed into something new  – something refreshed – but still the same brilliantly extendable media-application that it has always been.

Play-controls are now at the bottom.  The header-bar is used to control filtering.

trusty - VMware Player (Non-commercial use only)_057… as well as searching …trusty - VMware Player (Non-commercial use only)_058There are a number of options to play with – look in the plugin preferences.

To install you can use my PPA and add the alternative-toolbar plugin

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:fossfreedom/rhythmbox-plugins
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install rhythmbox-plugin-alternative-toolbar

If you don’t like PPA’s – or are not using Ubuntu – full manual instructions are on my project page.

The new look is the standard (automatic) for gnome-shell users.  Don’t worry – other desktop environments can use this via the preference – choose “Client Side Decoration”.

If you don’t like this – use the “Toolbar” option.  Don’t forget – choose “Show compact toolbar” for the slim-line play-controls.

I would love some feedback and most importantly help with further development – please drop by the project page (link above) or feedback in comments here.

New Rhythmbox 3.2 release for 14.04, 14.10 and 15.04


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The official GTK 3.16 release of the Gnome stack of software was last week but what was missing was a new release of Rhythmbox.

Well its here – and its now available for 14.04 (trusty), 14.10 (utopic) and 15.04 (vivid) users.

trusty - VMware Player (Non-commercial use only)_048

Thanks to the key Rhythmbox maintainer Jonathan Matthew together with the many visual styling enhancements of Trinh Anh Ngoc we have a good release that fixes a whole bunch of crashers, reworks album-art display and gives a refreshed visual look-and-feel.

This version contains the following:

Overview of changes in Rhythmbox 3.2

  • Support for disc and track total tags (Hubert Figuiere)
  • Soundcloud plugin
  • Ability to clear, re-fetch and manually set cover art using the song info
  • Build fixes for Mac OS X (Andrew Brown)
  • Many style and layout fixes (Trinh Anh Ngoc)

Bugs fixed:

330686 – same songs played after reading a playlist
554574 – no easy way to unselect the browse by album,artist,genre option
592706 – Unclear string “in” for translation
601747 – rhythmbox skips one or two songs after playing certain songs
733795 – configure warning: ‘INCLUDES’ is the old name for ‘AM_CPPFLAGS’ (or ‘*_CPPFLAGS’)
737058 – Add track count and disc count to the database
737655 – data: Add Vorbis aliases as supported mime-types
738101 – Failure to build with tdb 1.3
738529 – Crash when right clicking the track list in the library
743012 – Rhythmbox fails to import MP3 files with ID3 v2.4 tags created by PicardQT
743493 – Tracks with no embedded covert art show a random cover art from the music collection
743761 – Right click on any file in ‘Tracks list’ clashes the application
745395 – Duplicate symbol _rb_metadata_iface_xml
745399 – gdkx.h explicitly included; prevents building on Mac
746047 – symbolic icon is broken

Notable in this release is the new SoundCloud plugin.

trusty - VMware Player (Non-commercial use only)_047Also is the ability to change the album-art in a new dedicated window (right click a track and choose properties):

trusty - VMware Player (Non-commercial use only)_050

Stock Ubuntu 14.04 users should definitely benefit for 18 months worth of bug-fixes and refinements.  We are well past feature freeze so I’m doubtful that v3.2 will hit the repositories until 15.04 thus I’ve produced a built for 15.04 users as well.

If you are looking to have the latest, I’ve packaged this together and is now available in my Rhythmbox PPA. This PPA contains the existing Ubuntu patchwork – hide on close, support for local and global menu etc. N.B. – I tend to update my PPA as and when I’m investigating what is new in upstream Rhythmbox.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:fossfreedom/rhythmbox
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt full-upgrade

I’ve also included the visualisation plugin as a dependency together with the Context plugin which is not available in stock Ubuntu.

Grilo is supported just enable the new plugin found in the Plugins menu.

sudo apt-get install grilo-plugins-0.2 grilo-plugins-0.2-mediascanner

The above will give you the new media sources in Rhythmbox – the key being Jamendo – Royalty free music is just a click away. You also get UPnP & DLNA support as well.

Post Note:

Looking for a more radical look for Rhythmbox…?

trusty - VMware Player (Non-commercial use only)_049The above is part of another plugin I’m currently working on – more on that in a later article.

Rhythmbox 3.2.1

A bug fix has been released today (19 Apr 2015) with the following changes:

746975 – core dump when using shuffle and playing track changes
747053 – Rhythmbox plugins fail to connect to signal handlers with libpeas 1.14.0

plus a smattering of translation updates.

Rhythmbox Coverart Browser hits v2.1


I’m pleased to announce v2.1 (code name “Penfold”) of my Rhythmbox plugin Coverart Browser…

trusty - VMware Player (Non-commercial use only)_028Highlights:

  1. Support for my other plugin alternative-toolbar (see the screenshot above).  For me this completes the look-and-feel from my ideal media player.
  2. Ability to add an album to immediately play after the current album (“play next”).  This even works for tracks – you can select tracks to play after the currently playing tracktrusty - VMware Player (Non-commercial use only)_032
  3. Quick and easy method to view what you are playingtrusty - VMware Player (Non-commercial use only)_033trusty - VMware Player (Non-commercial use only)_034
  4. One click play now takes into account your tile styletrusty - VMware Player (Non-commercial use only)_031trusty - VMware Player (Non-commercial use only)_030trusty - VMware Player (Non-commercial use only)_029
  5. view, save and zoom your coverarttrusty - VMware Player (Non-commercial use only)_035

At the same time, my linked art search plugin Coverart Search Providers has been released.  This has even better embedded art finding abilities – using the power of GStreamer as well as the new upstream python3-mutagen library. N.B. python3-mutagen is a new dependency, python3-mutagenx dependency has been removed

Full list of changes for this release:

  • Allow switching between coverart-browser and the coverart-playlist sources via picture buttons on each source
  • tighter integration with Rhythmbox – addition of select and play using Rhythmbox’s own toolbar play button
  • Support the alternative-toolbar capability to hide/show the coverart-toolbar
  • Support for GTK 3.14
  • Support for the upcoming release of Rhythmbox (3.2?)
  • Single click icon display position changes consistently depending upon the cover-tile style (shadow/no shadow etc.)
  • view/zoom/save the chosen cover – hover over the coverart on the track pane to reveal
  • coverart information in tile-view can be now left/centre & right aligned
  • Double click track & cover pane handle to open full height or to close
  • Play Next (album)- add the selected album(s) to be the next album after the current playing album
  • Play Next (track)- add the selected track(s) to be the next track after the current playing track
  • Track Artist and Artist Information Panes can be opened and closed via double-click of the pane-handle
  • Bottom Track & Cover Pane has more space – the expander & label has been removed
  • Tidied display – visible pane handles disappear after the plugin has been run 5 times
  • Add ability to resize Icon-view with CTRL+mouse wheel scroll
  • Translated into 25 languages and locales
  • for developers – doxygen documentation:

I’m already planning for the next release – code named “Colonel K”.  I’m more than happy to receive any contributions – if you are looking to dip your coding toes – feel free to drop by the GitHub project – I’m always willing to help and guide :)

Major thanks to the Launchpad Translators – there are better more complete translations this time around. I’m always looking for translators to help out – just drop by the Launchpad Project.

As always – would welcome feedback.  Please drop a comment. Better still, say thanks though the wonderful Flattr – or buy me a beer via Paypal

To install – if you are using my PPA then just update your sources as normal.

If you are not – why not! :-)

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:fossfreedom/rhythmbox-plugins
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install rhythmbox-plugin-coverart-browser

The PPA has packages for 14.04, 14.10 & 15.04.  See this article for a full list of what these packages are.

You don’t like PPA’s … or are not using a Ubuntu based distro, then you must install both coverart-browser and coverart-search-providers. Full instructions in the README’s


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