Matthew: It seems as though music players are a bit like mail clients: they’re a problem that you might think are easy to solve but, in practice, no one ever seems entirely happy with what’s available. How are the Exaile team tackling that problem?
Adam: Before I started Exaile, I was somewhat happy with Amarok. I liked most of it, however, I was using Gnome and Amarok was quite buggy at the time. I thought, “well, I’ll write a Gnome clone for it”, and that’s how it got started. Once I had all the features in that I wanted, it moved to the users to give ideas by requesting features.
Now it’s a cat and mouse game, to keep up with what users request. Can’t really give everyone what they want, but we do try.
Matthew: How many people contribute to Exaile?
Adam: There are three developers, and three or four people that contribute regularly with patches.
Matthew: What made you choose Launchpad and Bazaar for Exaile?
Adam: I chose Launchpad because I wasn’t in charge of hosting it. Prior to Launchpad, I was using trac on my own server, which eventually got hacked. Launchpad was a natural choice to me because Ubuntu was using it, and I chose Bazaar because Launchpad used it.
Matthew: Is your team PPA an important way to distribute stable Exaile release or just for test versions?
Adam: It’s to distribute stable versions of Exaile. Prior to PPA, I’d only distribute packages for different architectures when someone contributed them, but this is much easier
Matthew: What features do you feel are missing from Launchpad?
Adam: A wiki would be nice, or some sort of documentation section.
Matthew: Is there anything in Launchpad that is much harder than it should be?
Adam: Sometimes Launchpad is hard to navigate, but I think it’s because it does some things that no other projects do. Terminology is sometimes an issue, for instance, the word “driver” to describe the person (or team) that is in charge of decisions and bugs for a series is probably something that a new user hasn’t heard before, even though it does accuratly describe the purpose.
All in all, though, the documentation is good, and the community is very helpful, so it’s really not a big deal.
Matthew: Have you used merge proposals and code review in Launchpad?
Adam: Not extensively. We’ve had probably two or three merge proposals.
Matthew: Do you use the bug tracker’s ability to track one bug as it affects different projects?
Adam: Yes, if there is a bug Exaile and also another Python project that gets fixed, sometimes I’ll look through to see what they did to fix it.
Matthew: What’s next for Exaile?
Adam: Right now we’re doing a complete rewrite of the codebase that’ll allow features to be added more quickly and easily. It’s currently in a very usable state and we’ve released a beta. No word yet on when we’ll be done, but people seem to be pretty excited about it.
Matthew: Thanks Adam!