juke: Just a little more than the bare minimum

At the absolute minimum, you could expect to get sound playback out of your computer simply by tacking on file names and a few oddball flags to something like mpg123 or sox.

It’s not ideal, and it lacks the grace and dignity of a proper console application, but it will work and there are plenty of similar tools that can do it. So even in a worst-case scenario, you have your tunes.

In that sense, juke doesn’t offer a whole lot over those programs, either in terms of an interface or playback controls. In fact, juke is really only doing the tiniest bit over the bare minimum.

2014-12-24-jsgqk71-juke-01 2014-12-24-jsgqk71-juke-02

juke takes on a two-screen approach that might remind you of cplay or its kin. By default juke starts in a browser mode, showing files that you can add to a playlist with “a”, or navigate with HJKL or arrow keys.

Once you add a tune, it immediately starts playing. Press “t” to switch to the playlist view, and your navigation keys will again allow you to move through queue. If you need more help than that, press “h” and juke is kind enough to give you a rundown on key commands. There aren’t many to learn.

I made the point about juke offering very little over a command-line playback tool because juke is really just a frontend for mpg123 or sox. So you might find that it’s only the tiniest improvement over tacking filenames on to those programs.

juke adds a small layer of obfuscation as well. juke won’t start without a .juke.conf file in your home directory, but there’s no sample, and you need to copy-and-paste one out of the MANUAL file in the source tarball (it’s not terribly confusing).

juke also seems to also require a target directory, in the same way as ksmp3play or muzikq. I won’t split hairs here: That style is obtuse for me, and all the more so since juke is prepared to navigate through directories to find music files. So why not just start in the directory where the executable was issued?:\

juke is also not particularly beautiful, and aside from tagging files with a “q” when they are added to the queue, not a whole lot happens visually.

There’s also no time display, no obvious controls for playback except to skip titles, and no indicator that playback is started, unless you can hear it playing. I would strongly recommend you don’t use juke to troubleshoot your audio hardware.😦

juke has two small positive points that I can find: It’s written in C, and that means it’s fairly light. Neither of those makes up for juke’s extremely lackluster performance though.

If you clicked on the link above, you already know the home page 404s. The source code for juke is in the Debian repos, and I was able to build it in Arch and use juke without issue. Oddly, the Debian rendition would install through the Mint repos but wouldn’t play back any sounds for me.

No major loss. I don’t think juke is a particularly fantastic audio playback tool, but I suppose it could hold its charms … if you’re looking for one step above the absolute minimum.😐

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