Free Cross-Platform Music Player – aTunes

aTunes is a features rich open source, cross-platform ready music player written in Java. It’s actually a front-end that uses either Mplayer or Xine as the playback engine. It can be used in GNU/Linux, MS Windows and Mac OSX and has a GUI that’s very similar to iTunes, Banshee & other players that follows the current trend.

Make no mistakes, this is one powerful player that can handle all the popular audio codes and lets you easily manage large collections of audio albums. But it’s not the most fastest player concerning the start-up time and I think it’s mostly because it runs on top of the Java virtual machine.

It comes with a few built in themes and the ability to use the OS built in theme… although after switching to Ubuntu default theme, I’m not impressed by the quality of the font rendering (it seems to “skip” anti-aliasing) though.

Main features…

*. Thanks to Mplayer (or Xine) it supports almost all popular audio formats such as: MP3, OGG Vorbis, Flac, WMA, AAC, MP4, APE, MPC etc.

*. Also supports editing tags.

*. Has an Equalizer (although it was disabled while I was using it).

*. Search and find tracks with ease.

*. Add podcast feeds and online Radio streaming support ( etc) via the “Tools” section.

*. Add tracks to favorites.

*. Rip Audio CDs into Wav, Ogg Vorbis, MP3 and Flac.

*. Smart play-list support (you know playing your most played songs) including save/load.

*. Change between few different built UI views.

*. Repair Track numbers, Genres and Album info.

*. A separate “Status” window that gives graphical information about how many times a song/artist/album has been played, etc which is pretty cool!.

Is it useful?? I dunno, but it looks cool though ;-)…

*. Add/remove devices with ease.

*. Cover navigator.

*. Switch between Xine or Mplayer as the playback engine.

*. Show controls in system tray (which didn’t work that well while I was using it).

*. Automatic lyrics (including opening the lyrics source page) and album-art fetching.

*. Automatic song playback notifications (uses a notification engine of its own or use the Libnotify of Gnome desktop).

You can easily install aTunes in Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot, 11.04 Natty Narwhal, 10.10 and 10.04 by fist downloading the “.deb” package from this official aTunes download page (including other OS users too). Just click on that link which says “Linux (Ubuntu/Debian) Package”.

Once the downloading completes double click on the file and the Ubuntu Software Center will take care everything (installing dependencies, etc).

By default it seems to use Xine as the engine. But if you want you can easily make Mplayer the playback engine. First make sure you have it installed in Ubuntu. For that use the below command.

sudo apt-get install mplayer

Then open aTunes and from the menu go to “Edit” -> “Preferences” and under “Player” choose “Player Engine” drop down menu and choose Mplayer.

You can tweak some additional settings using this Preferences window as well.

Anyhow, even after having all these features … as said before I’m not that impressed with its resources usage since it uses Java and run on top of it (sort of like a virtual environment) and even after loading decent amount of audio files according to the “System Monitor” in Ubuntu, Java used about 90+MB my RAM, not that good at all.


So if you can cope with that, and looking for a powerful, features rich open-source music player that supports multiple OS environments, then aTunes is a pretty decent application. But I personally wouldn’t be using it as my “major” music handler, but that’s just me. Enjoy!.

2 thoughts on “Free Cross-Platform Music Player – aTunes”

    • Sekizi, I'm no programmer thus don't know if Java is really the issue here … but I think the reason for this is that the app is actually running inside a Java-Virtual environment/Virtual machine which is usually "slow".

      Oh wait, in that sense, I think you're absolutely right! lol ;-).


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