Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Empathy and Banshee to be in Karmic (9.10)?

Pidgin 2.Image via Wikipedia
Image via Wikipedia
The debate over whether to replace the cross-platform Pidgin IM client with Gnome's own Empathy IM client has been raging since Empathy was included in Gnome (Ubuntu 8.04, Hardy). It's that time in the Karmic release cycle, and the debate begins anew.

Empathy has a much better chance this time. I give it an 80% shot for the following reasons:
  1. Empathy is Gnome's default IM client. Tighter integration is better.
  2. Empathy is pretty close to Pidgin with regard to fatures.
  3. Empathy is a better path forward, and is starting to include features which Pidgin doesn't have, like video chat or sharing your desktop with any Empathy contact.
  4. Empathy is extremely active, topping the Gnome weekly commit list for the last four weeks and having over 600 commits during that period, well above other projects.
  5. It's guaranteed to be in either Karmic or Karmic +1, and putting it in now will allow it to mature and be debugged for the LTS.
(Apparently, , and Karmic will include Empathy during the dev cycle and be re-evaluated in the Beta.)

On a similar note, the Ubuntu Developer Summit (UDS) debated replacing Rhythmbox (RB) with Banshee. This decision was probably originally driven by the RB dev's desire to stop developing the project, but that later turned out to be a tempest in a teacup, as the dev started up again and Google Summer of Code (SoC) has a couple of RB projects to add missing functions like sync'ing.

Banshee was seen as a better long-term solution during the debate, but the music player lacked some of the functionality of Rhythmbox. What are the blockers and other major problems for Banshee?
  1. It didn't have a dynamically loaded music library without the use of plug-ins;
  2. There are accessibility (a11y) problems with Mono, and Banshee inherits those;
  3. Online stores like Jamendo and Magnatune aren't supported;
  4. Migration from RB for current users needs to be tested well;
  5. There is, of course, the Mono debate, but Tomboy is included by default, so I doubt the argument will go much of anywhere.
Banshee took less space on the CD and supported video podcasts. In fact, Banshee stands a chance of replacing Totem as the standard video player (though not in the Karmic cycle) if a minimal video-only interface can be developed.

My odds on Banshee making it? 1:2. That's a 67% chance, there, by my reckoning. My reasons? I think the blockers can get handled in time and, just like Empathy, everyone wants Banshee in Karmic +1.


Anonymous said...

Everyone wants Banshee? I don't think so. I know I don't.

I went away from Windows to have more freedom, not to have a leash of Microsoft still on.


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