Originally Published: Monday, 24 April 2000 Author: Jan-Erik Mouzakis Gagnum
Published to: enhance_articles_multimedia/Audio Articles Page: 1/1 - [Printable]

XMMS Plugins: A New Look.

This is ment to be a quick overview, introducing Linux users to one of the most widely used multimedia systems in Linux: the X MultiMedia System (XMMS). We will talk about what makes XMMS so popular, including its plugins. The main reason that XMMS is so popular, apart from its distinct name, is because it is quite expandable due to plugins. A Plugin to an application, as the name implies is....

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This is ment to be a quick overview, introducing Linux users to one of the most widely used multimedia systems in Linux: the X MultiMedia System (XMMS). We will talk about what makes XMMS so popular, including its plugins. The main reason that XMMS is so popular, apart from its distinct name, is because it is quite expandable due to plugins. A Plugin to an application, as the name implies is a piece of software that, when compiled, can further expand and extend the functions of the application without actually recompiling the original source code. To give an example, if I had a really cool idea for a Scope, I could write it up as a plugin and never actually worry about including an implementation in the source code of the XMMS. XMMS itself makes numerous plugins available for the common user.

Plugins are categorized by their functionality. There are Plugins that add additional Input and Output capabilities. Input plugins affect how XMMS is going to read the input audio file. For example you want XMMS to be a able to play AU, or WAV format files, then you have to install the input plugin that enables you to do this.

Likewise, output plugins control how XMMS will produce output and where it will be sent. Some Output plugins affect how the output is sent to the audio device. For example, if you have an audio card that supports eSound, then the Output plugin to use would be eSound - one compatible with esd(Enlightenment Sound Daemon). Other output plugins are available for OSS, and ALSA compatible audio cards. Output plugins do not necessarily have to output to audio devices. They could output files and hence, in a sense, act as a file format converter. Next we have General and Effects plugins. General and Effects plugins generally deal with the way one can control XMMS. I remember seeing one that seemed to look really cool. It was an XMMS lyrics plugin that I checked out and was really nice! Effects plugins like LiveICE allow XMMS users to broadcast music to an Icecast server for others to listen too.

Now we come to the Visualization plugins. These plugins include software such as visual audio analyzers, known as scopes, and other interesting things. There are quite a few XMMS visualization plugins out there, and new ones are being developed every month. I'm just going to mention the ones that won the XMMS Plugin Competition earlier this year due to the fact that there are so many out there.

XMMS Speakers 2.0 by Kristoffer Brånemyr came in first place. These are two speakers that have the bass vibrate back and forth synchronously to loud bass beats in music being played. It's really funny and works well too.

In second place was Jakdaw's XMMS Plugin 0.0.4 by Christopher Wilson - an alternative to the original XMMS Blur scope plugin. The reason why I prefer to use it is because it's much more configurable. One could choose for one or all of the blur, ripple and rotate effects on the scope, changeable blur decay rate, and a number of color options.

The winner in third place was the K-Jofol skin support Plugin by Tim Ferguson. This plugin will allow you to use skins from the Windows K-Jofol player. If you would like to have a look at the different skins available go here. Skins plugins to XMMS just give it a different look. Under all the fancy visuals, it's just the same application.

Now that you are all XMMS plugins experts, you can venture into the exciting world of Plugin development. You never know...you might be the next winner of the XMMS plugin Competition. Even if you are the casual XMMS user, we hope we have given you something more to experience with XMMS than just simply listening to music.

And remember: listening to music on Linux using XMMS allows you to do so with Plugins you have developed.





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