Podcasts are shows, similar to radio or TV shows, that are produced by professionals or amateurs and made available on the internet to stream and/or download. They are a popular source of entertainment. There’s lots of great podcasts that are Linux-centric, which I surveyed in this review.
It’s true that any music player worth its salt plays podcasts. But there’s still a call for dedicated players. I’ve looked at podcasts built with web technologies as well as an interesting command-line podcast player. To add to the mix, let’s consider a further podcast player designed with the GNOME desktop in mind.
The application is called GNOME Podcasts, a native GTK app. Its design is inspired by GNOME Music and Vocal. You don’t need a PhD to realize GNOME Podcasts is a podcast client. It used to be called Hammond, after Allan Moore’s character Evey Hammond from the graphic novel V for Vendetta.
Flatpak is the recommended way of building and installing GNOME Podcasts. Flatpak provides a sandbox environment in which users can run applications in isolation from the rest of the system.
You can also compile the source code.
GNOME Podcasts has a very simple user interface. At the top left there’s a + button which lets users subscribe to feeds. You have to paste the RSS feed into the dialog box which is a bit of a chore. For a GUI application, adding feeds should be handled better; say along the lines of how CPod does it with their useful search facility.
There are also two tabs at the centre top of the screen. The first selects new editions of subscribed feeds. This chronological listing is useful for podcasts that don’t have a dedicated release schedule.
To listen to a podcast, you must download it first. There’s no option just to stream the podcast. Strange! Downloaded podcasts are saved in ~/.var/app/org.gnome.Podcasts/data/gnome-podcasts/Downloads. Fortunately the software auto-purges downloaded podcasts after a configurable amount of time.
The second tab shows a cover-art gallery for browsing subscribed feeds. The art is rather on the large side.
The application is in a very early stage of development but runs fairly stable.
Other features that have been implemented:
- Check for new episodes.
- Playback speed – choose from normal speed, 1.25x and 1.5x.
- Skip 10 seconds forwards and backwards.
- Option to mark all episodes as played.
- Dark or light theme.
- Delete played episodes after a configurable number of seconds, minutes, hours, days, or weeks.
- Import feeds (OPML).
- Open the feed’s website.
There’s lots of functionality that’s on the roadmap to be added. Currently when you play an episode it is immediately marked as listened/played no matter how much of the stream duration has passed. The developers intend to add remembering the current playback position. gPodder integration, iTunes Search and Discovery user interface, and playback queues are just a few enhancements that would dramatically improve this player.
- Rust stable 1.27 or later along with cargo.
- Gtk+ 3.22 or later.
- Gstreamer 1.12 or later.
GNOME Podcasts is in a very early stage of development and it’s missing lots of important features. What it does it does well. We’ll be keeping tabs on its progress and will report back in a few months about the project’s development.