India Sci-Tech
Kolkata geek finds global slot to organise music on PC
May 3, 2007 - 8:23:04 AM

Bangalore, May 3 - At 23, most youngsters are uncertain of themselves. But Debarshi Rishi Ray has used his IT skills to propel a global project forward to organize the music on computers in a useful way.

Ray is currently the maintainer of the global Free Software and Open Source project called Songanizer, which comprises a script that gives different views of the same collection of song files in computer-based formats like Ogg Vorbis or MP3 - based on diverse classifications or tags, like album, artist or title.

After reviving the project, he is now playing a crucial role in keeping it going.

'I can't think of any special reason for me to be interested in music. Maybe it is because I played tabla as a teenager, who knows?' Ray told IANS in an interview.

Kolkata born and based, Ray started work on the Songanizer project from late 2005. Since then it has gone on to become an official GNU package on the prominent-among-techies global free software network, with Ray as its maintainer.

'It was almost dead and as I needed something of this sort I gave it a fresh life,' he says.

'Right now - I have some special plans for Songanizer, which shall be revealed shortly. Other than this I also contribute to GNU Parted and GNOWSYS,' the 23-year-old introduces himself.

GNU Parted is a program for creating, destroying, resizing, checking, and copying partitions, and the file systems on them. GNOWSYS or Gnowledge Networking and Organizing System, is a web application for developing and maintaining semantic web content developed in Python.

Ray is still only an eighth semester studying Computer Science and Engineering in NIT Hamirpur.

'When I first got a computer at home in early 1999, I was fascinated by the amount of creativity that it offered. That is how I got interested in software,' he says.

He 'always had' a tough time deciding the perfect structure of his music folder. 'There were albums in media players, but I needed a way I can quickly browse the collection on the file system and play any random song using some light-weight player like XMMS or MPlayer,' he explains.

Secondly, he was looking for some interesting program that he could hack on with his limited knowledge of programming on GNU/Linux systems.

'Songanizer was the perfect answer. Basically we both scratched each others' itch,' as he puts it.

While a simple hack can achieve amazing results in the world of software, what is also impressive is the way youngsters from India are getting roped into the world of global Free Software projects in an increasing manner.

Patrick Ohnewein was the original author of Songanizer, Juergen Kofler wrote a Python implementation of the Bash script and Ray is the maintainer.

'It is a simple Bash script which gives different views of the same collection of song files - based on the different tags. For example album, artist, title, initials, etc.'

This software is aimed at anybody who has a tough time arranging his song directory and does not use media players having a good album feature.

'Even with an album in a media player, being able to view the songs in a file manager - is always helpful. Songanizer provides multiple hierarchical views of the same collection of songs, making it easier for the user to sift through his collection,' he explains.


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