Tuesday, November 11, 2008

linux on the laptop, round 2

i last tried installing ubuntu linux on my computer last september. the lack of sound made it a little impractical -- the primary things i use my laptop for are internet and music, so it didn't last all that long.

a year makes all the difference. now all the drivers work straight from the cd. back in college, when i regularly used linux (mandrake-flavored!), it pretty much took a fairly knowledgeable geek to deal with it. my tech skills have deteriorated, but it's a nice surprise -- ubuntu's user-friendly! i've only gone command-line so far for a few bouts of moving files around, and that's just because i've missed doing it that way.

i was intending to go dual-boot, but, um, "experimental" is probably not the ideal method for figuring out why a windows vista partition isn't shrinking properly. the internet tells me -- too late -- that it's better to use vista's built-in partitioning tools. i think my oops would've been fixable, but i couldn't find my windows cd. (ransacking the apartment did reveal some floorspace we hadn't seen in a while, though...) i finally decided to just go for it. i'm very very glad that jesse talked me into finally getting a backup hard drive; i tend to reformat when frustrated, and having another copy of everything significantly reduced the associated angst.

tonight's project? see if i can get itunes playlists imported over and set up so i can DJ off this system without having to sort all the music again. preferably by thursday! amarok looks promising, and i actually already managed to get from the itunes library xml file to m3u form playlists... they still point to windows filepaths, though, so learning a teensy bit of perl might be in my future.

(and yeah, we skipped the dancing last night... jesse was tired, and i was wanting to play with the fresh operating system. i don't know what was leading to all the confusion yesterday, but not going out was NOT meant as a political statement!)


Brooks said...

Definitely use Amarok. It's a fantastic piece of software. I've done all my DJing with it. Don't bother with importing your iTunes database though, it's just a waste of time. In the Amarok settings, select the folders where your music is stored, and Amarok will go through and index it all for you. It also has a "watch folder" feature so that music will automatically be added to Amarok when you put it in those folders (a feature that is _still_ missing from iTunes). Finally, if you have a large large collection, switching the backend to postgresql instead of mysql will greatly improve performance. It takes a bit to set up, but I've done it a couple times and can help walk you through it if you'd like.

kait said...

thanks! 20ish Gb isn't large large these days, is it? i did get the music imported, but i miss my gazillions of layers of playlists! (i tended to sort nearly every song into one of 20 or so playlists as i listened to it for the first time, then made way too much use of itunes smart playlists... they're not THAT smart, but you can build pretty complex filters using several of them together.) i AM already impressed at how quickly amarok got everything imported.

Brooks said...

You'll notice a good performance boost if you switch to postgresql, even at 20GB. Although, it's not really necessary.

For the playlists, importing those should be fine. I was just suggesting not to import the iTunes database. (You may have playlist importing issues if the two players label their music with different paths (relative or absolute)). I've never used smart playlists, so I can't help out in that regard, but there might be some support there. Also, there are a bunch of Amarok plugins. If there is something you want Amarok to do, try google-ing for a plugin.