Jajuk jukebox and web radio

Beat Booth

Article from Issue 171/2015

Jajuk keeps track of your music collection and keeps the party going with a digital DJ.

Collections of all kinds tend to get cluttered as content grows. Audiophiles with several thousand songs on their hard drives are familiar with the organized disorder encountered when looking for a specific track. The extremely comprehensive Jajuk  [1] software provides a solution for such situations by bringing order to a collection. Moreover, the software features a digital DJ that makes compiling playlists manually a thing of the past.

Jajuk provides a high-performance audio player based on MPlayer. The program is also designed as playback software for Internet radio. Jajuk integrates content from media platforms like Last.fm via the Internet, which makes it possible to retrieve information about artists, albums, and tracks. Because Jajuk supports a variety of formats and their tags, you are not tied to a particular platform, so you can create collections with mixed online and offline content.

On the Record

The developers offer the Java application in the form of prebuilt RPM and DEB packages. You can download the current version 1.10.7 from the program's website.

The developers don't ask for much to run the program: a minimum screen resolution of 1024 x 768 pixels (at least for version 1.6), the Java Runtime Environment (JRE), MPlayer – which can be found in the repositories of all major distributions   – as a back end, and Internet access to retrieve online content.

Check the availability of the JRE in the terminal by typing the command:

java -version

Jajuk works with both OpenJDK and Oracle's run-time environment. If necessary, install the appropriate version of the OpenJDK from the repository or, alternatively, download the Oracle version from the web  [2] as per the developer's instructions.

If you have integrated the Java environment into the system, all you need to do now is install Jajuk from the appropriate archive. Depending on the distribution, the installation creates a shortcut in Multimedia, Sound & Video, or the like.

First Start

When starting for the first time, specify the source and working directory. The source is the location of your music files on the hard drive; the working directory, however, is where the software stores its data. Afterwards, the initially confusing program window immediately catches the eye.

Jajuk presents three groups of controls that are always arranged in the same place: the menu horizontally arranged at the top of the screen, the quick launcher consisting of buttons on the left-hand side of the screen, and three groups at the bottom, with a set of smart function icons on the left and horizontal controls for the audio player in the middle, and player modes (Repeat, Shuffle, etc.) on the right [3]. The main area, or view, depends on the perspective chosen from among the icons along the left side of the screen. You can combine views, each of which opens as a new tab in the program window, to create unique perspectives.

For your first steps, you might want to start with the software's basic settings. To this end, change the settings by clicking on Config in the bar on the left. The software again opens three new tabs in which you can modify the source directory if needed and read CD data. However, the Preferences window, which presents several tabs, is more important (Figure  1).

Figure 1: You can customize Jajuk in great detail via the Preferences window.

In addition to countless ways to customize the program's overall look and display the track and album names, you can set the duration of cross-fades and enable an audio normalizer in the Sound tab. This step ensures that the volume remains the same when playing songs from different albums.

To disable access to the Internet or store proxy information, use the Network tab. After you have finished configuring the software, save the modifications by clicking on the Apply button at bottom right.

Perspectives and Trees

To add a new view, click Views | Show view, and select the desired view from the resulting list. If you then press any one of the preset views on the left sidebar, the newly activated views are kept in each perspective. The program window can sometimes become cluttered with many views, at which time you can sort out the display by clicking the close button on windows and tabs that present superfluous information.

The program provides different views in the form of a tree to give you a better overview of the collection. By clicking the Tracks perspective on the sidebar, a "Tracks tree" window displays alphabetically ordered tracks grouped by various criteria. By default, the tool groups tracks by genre, but you can change this as required. Consequently, you have a significantly better overview of large music collections (Figure  2).

Figure 2: The Tracks tree view in particular provides a better overview with large collections.

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