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Most modern computers can play music in a variety of formats, and Linux systems are no exception. Just about every Linux distribution comes with a variety of applications that can play audio CDs, MP3 files, and a most other music formats.

Most modern computers can play music in a variety of formats, and Linux systems are no exception. Just about every Linux distribution comes with a variety of applications that can play audio CDs, MP3 files, and a most other music formats.

The GNOME and KDE desktop environments, used in most Linux desktop systems, each sport a number of music playing applications. KDE, for example, usually includes Noatun and Kaboodle, among other applications. The GNOME desktop includes a CD player and an audio file player. Each of these applications can work fine in other desktop environments.

The granddaddy of Linux music players is XMMS, the X Multi-Media System. XMMS looks and works much like Winamp, a popular Windows application. One of the reasons for its enduring popularity is that XMMS supports a number of plug-ins, software add-ons that extend the core XMMS application to deliver new features.

Plug-ins for XMMS include CDcover and Cover Viewer, both download and show album covers. Quite a few plug-ins show graphics to help visualize the music.

A special XMMS-Winamp bridge plug-in allows you to run visualization plug-ins for the Windows application Winamp on XMMS on Linux. (This is only supported for Linux on Intel systems.) Other XMMS plug-ins are also available.

The Album Cover Art Downloader, which downloads album covers from Amazon.com, allows you to get a good set of album cover images.

The program 123mp3 helps convert your CDs into MP3 files. You have to be very careful here, to avoid breaking the law.

Another music player, amaroK focuses on providing an easy-to-use interface without a lot of buttons. Designed for the KDE desktop, amaroK truly supports a clean interface.

Rhythmbox aims at more than music playback. Inspired by Apple’s iTunes, Rhythmbox provides sorting, searching, and a host of other music playlist features. It also supports Internet radio. If you like MusicMatch or iTunes, chances are, you’ll also like Rhythmbox.

Xine plays audio files as well as quite a few video formats. Xine is also used as an engine for other applications.

The Helix DNA client supports the Real Player streaming media formats. Helix DNA applications run on a variety of platforms, including Linux. See the Helix Community Web site for more on Helix client and server applications.

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