Review: Napster And Rhapsody For OS X And Linux? Sort Of
With the launch of new Web-based services from two major online music subscription providers, Mac and Linux users can finally get in on the all-you-can-download action. But are these services any good?
Linux and Mac OS X users may have their differences, but the two groups share some common ground. Both, for instance, enjoy the benefits of working with stable, reliable, relatively secure operating systems with open-source pedigrees -- and as a result, both groups tend to think Windows is about as useful as a nagging chest cold.
Unfortunately, Linux and OS X users also share a problem that Windows users never worry about -- waiting, often in vain, for popular software that works on their systems. Case in point: Sorting through the small army of subscription-based music services to find one that offers major-label music as well as Linux or OS X support is like trying to find a needle in a haystack -- minus the needle.
Not everyone who uses Linux or OS X cares, or even realizes, what they're missing. That's especially true for OS X users who prefer to buy their music downloads outright, as opposed to renting access to a provider's online music catalog: Thanks to Apple's iTunes Music Store, they can stuff themselves (or, one hopes, their iPods) silly with 99-cent song downloads.
Linux users have it harder: iTunes doesn't play in Linuxland, and Apple is having too much fun tearing its Windows-based competitors limb from limb to care. It's a state of affairs that discourages many Linux users -- and, frankly, gives many of them a compelling reason to keep downloading music illegally, no matter how many old ladies and dead people the RIAA sues to make them stop.
But now there's another way: Two of the leading subscription services, RealNetworks' Rhapsody and the new-and-improved (i.e., legal) Napster, have recently introduced Web-based players that offer access to their music catalogs without using their Windows-based, standalone client software. Although both companies are using their Web players largely to promote their respective free music offers, the result is something many Linux and OS X users figured they would never see: a chance to use a mainstream, unlimited-download, online music service.
Given their limited feature sets, however, are they really any good?
5 Top Federal Initiatives For 2015As InformationWeek Government readers were busy firming up their fiscal year 2015 budgets, we asked them to rate more than 30 IT initiatives in terms of importance and current leadership focus. No surprise, among more than 30 options, security is No. 1. After that, things get less predictable.