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MPRIS Listener

Listen to notifications from MPRIS-capable players and translate them to gPodder’s Media Player D-Bus API.

Introduction

gPodder defines the Media Player D-Bus API for media players to use for reporting their current playback position over D-Bus. gPodder listens to these notifications, and uses that information, for example, to store an episode’s last-played position. This, in turn, can be used to determine whether an episode is “finished” (fully played), or to resume subsequent playback from the last-played position.

Unfortunately, to the best of my knowledge, only one media player (Panucci) implements this API. In theory, plugins could be written to implement this API in other players – there’s even a GSoC Idea to do this – but as far as I know, no such plugins have yet been written.

On the other hand, the Media Player Remote Interfacing Specification (MPRIS) seems to be more widely adopted, while offering similar functionality (and then some). It, too, runs over D-Bus, and a number of high-profile media players already implement it. So the idea of this gPodder extension is to listen for the MPRIS notifications and translate them, where appropriate, to gPodder’s native Media Player D-Bus API. In this way, we gain support for all MPRIS-capable players with a single gPodder extension, rather than having to implement – within each media player separately –a gPodder-oriented plugin.

The ability to track an episode’s last-played position plays nicely with a number of other optional gPodder features:

For more background, see this discussion (from nearly three years ago) on the mailing list. Most of the issues discussed there were already working at the time, or fixed soon thereafter. The main feature that was missing until now is the ability to receive the last-played position from many players in the first place.

Usage

In the Extensions tab under Preferences, check “MPRIS Listener” (in the “Desktop Integration” section).

Status

I have been using this on my own system for a few months now, and it works quite well. I have tested only with VLC (which supports MPRIS starting around 2.0). I imagine each player will have its own quirks, so expect new issues to turn up.

Even in my limited testing, there are a few issues I am aware of:

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