vux: Playing the odds, against all odds

I’m counting up the many things vux has working against it, and wondering how I managed to get this screenshot at all.

2014-06-19-j05sdg1-vux

Consider:

  • vux’s home page eludes me. I find man pages that date back to Hardy Heron, but no link to the original site.
  • vux’s man page is stamped with a date of November 2004, meaning it is conceivably a full decade out of its prime.
  • vux is not in Arch or Wheezy, but is in Squeeze — only. From there, the downloadable package will install and run, but that’s a close scrape with death.
  • vux is built to play to /dev/dsp, but aoss can resurrect it from obsoletion.
  • vux apparently needs zsh to run properly, and I don’t have a real strong affinity for programs that require specific shells. I’ve worked with them in the past, but I tend to step around them.

But against all odds, vux is working for me in a Linux Mint live environment, with the deb implanted out of Squeeze. And wouldn’t you know it, it’s actually kind of cool.

vux plays songs by a rating system, and you demote songs by skipping them. vux keeps track of those ratings, and a song has the chance of being played that is calculated against its ratings.

A “score list” is in the .vux directory, and you can nudge the ratings one way or another as you see fit. There’s also a list by age, to keep the same song from just playing over and over again.

It’s a neat idea … but of course, any number of online tools and players use it now. vux might have adapted the idea for us console geeks, but it has long since become common fodder in this era of the 400-pound Internet gorilla.

vux (and its controller, vuxctl) has a slew of command-line flags you can use to slant the statistics toward songs you like, and send special commands to the song that’s playing.

One thing I think vux missed though, is a proper full-screen interface. I couldn’t find anything like that, and I think it would behoove vux to adopt one with up and down arrows as rating controls, plus volume and so forth. Even something as simple as this could be helpful, as compared to typing out vuxctl up each time. O_o

I don’t suppose that’s coming any time soon though. And given my hesitance to adopt programs that collect histories, vux might be a clever trinket, but it’s not one I’m likely to take home to meet Mother.