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  The MPEG-Layer 3 music format from the Frauenhofergesellschaft is the favorite file format in the music scene.
The whole mp3 file is as small as eight percent of the corresponding wave file.
All without loosing sound quality.

[ x11amp | GQmpeg | mpg123 | Sajber Jukebox | gmp3 | freeamp | --links --]

Copyright problems
MPEG-Layer 3, short mp3, is perfect to spread music files over the internet.
The files are not too big and you do not have trouble with a bad quality because this format was specially designed for the internet.
These features made mp3 to a standard for internet music. MP3 became the favorite format for many users and right now the Frauenhofergesellschaft wants  to protect their encoder algorithm copyrights. This is the part from the code which changes the wave- into mp3-files. If a program uses this code the programmer would have to pay a high license charge. Because many programmer were not able to pay this fee most of the mp3-encoder disappeared.
Maybe we will have a similar problem in the future because the mp3-player code was created by the Frauenhofergesellschaft (FHG), too. The concern will decide if this code should get a  copyright, too, and if they are able to earn money with a code-fee.
But this can be the end of mp3 because no one will use mp3s any longer if the players are not free. Fortunately the FHG knows this, too.
X11Amp - Logo
X11Amp
X11Amp (Screenshot) is a clone of the WINDOWS program WinAmp. Also X11Amp supports skins (the possibility to use different surfaces for this program). The program has its own mp3-player and handles bad mp3-files quite well. On the other hand it needs a lot of CPU time and other resources. It is smart to start the program with a higher priority so that you will have no music stops while working with other programs:
>> nice -n 0   x11amp&
Use this command if you are logged in as a user or if this nice level is not enough start as root with -n -20.
X11Amp supports playlists and has two different ways to visualize the music output on the screen:
X11Amp-Sound X11Amp-Sound2
Additionally the program offers the possibility to miniaturize itself. It then only needs a few pixels and you save space on the desktop although the most important functions are still reachable:
verkleinertes X11Amp

New planed features are e.g. the support of WinAmp skins and the integration of an internal mixer. Also a dockable Icon for WindowMaker or Wharf for Afterstep users are on the ToDo-list.

The X11Amp player is recommendable because of its stability, the skin support and the good error tolerance of bad mp3 files. Just the high system resource requirements do not fit in this good program.
GQmpeg - Icon
GQmpeg
Actual GQmpeg (Screenshot) is just a  GTK-Frontend for mpg123. In GQmpeg the support of skins is integrated, too, but contrary to X11Amp the forms of the skins are not limited and many nice designs have already been created (look at Screenshots).
GQmpeg bases on the mpg123 player and saves resources but has problems with corrupted mp3-files.

mpg123 - Icon
mpg123
mpg123 is a textbased program and has no graphical surface. Maybe that is the reason why it plays an important part in many other programs that do not have an own player. They use a player which has already been installed. mpg123 is spread around the world and the programmers concentrate on the surfaces like GQmpeg
The program does not need many resources and it is nearly impossible to disturb the player while working with other programs. But if mpg123 looses the contact it can happen that noise appears in the background and which will not disappear once the resources are free again. It will play normal again if you stop and restart the track or when it changes to the next track.
It is a much more serious problem that mpg123 is not able to handle corrupted mp3-files. Other programs are more tolerant and produce a crack but mpg123 stops the music output.
Sajber Jukebox - Icon
Sajber Jukebox
Another mp3-player is Sajber Jukebox (Screenshot). The program has its own player (sajberplay) and an additional QT-surface (jukebox) which is also able to work with other players e.g. mpg123. A mixer is integrated into the frontend, too.
The program offers a very comfortable playlisteditor and an access on HTTP and FTP servers.
Sajber Jukebox is available in a stable release but very "hungry". It needs much of the system resources.
gmp3-Logo
gmp3
Developing of gmp3 (Screenshot) is still in progress
The actual version is 0.08 and has not changed since the last few months.
The surface is programmed with GTK and offers a surface for mpg123.
It owns a miniaturize option and the possibility to change among different themes of appearance.
 
freeamp - Icon
freeamp
Freeamp is available for Linux and WINDOWS with an unusual design (Screenshot). The freeamp needs few resources and owns a robust algorithm that plays corrupted mp3s quite correctly. If the mp3-file has an ID3-tag this one is printed instead of the file name. The program is available for many different platforms and got a GPL.



 
Links
x11amp http://www.x11amp.bz.nu/main.html
gqmpeg http://www.geocities.com/SiliconValley/Haven/5235/
mpg123 ftp://ftp.gwdg.de/linux/mirrors/sunsite/apps/sound/
Sajber Jukebox http://kewl.campus.luth.se/~wizball/jukebox/
gmp3 http://zuel.ksirc.org/gmp3/
freeamp3 http://www.freeamp.org/
 
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