Archive for July 4th, 2006

Another reason open-source rocks: eMusic/J

So what do you do if you’re a loyal eMusic subscriber, but then one day eMusic goes and disables their Download Manager for Linux? I faced that dilemma for quite a while, until Robin Sheat wrote and released EMusicJ / An eMusic download manager for Linux. What is it, you ask? Why, it is:

eMusic/J is an open source download manager for the music service written in Java and aimed at Linux users, although may be easily ported to other platforms. It takes the .emp file that you get from the website, and downloads the music specified in it. It can easily work with Firefox to make downloading songs and albums simple.

The only thing that I disagree with regarding eMusic/J is the “easily” part (and you might notice that the blurb from eMusic/J’s website mentions easily a couple of times). There shoud be a caveat there: If you have Sun’s SDK installed and have your Linux install configured to use Sun’s SDK, then and only then will eMusic/J be easy to use.

Fortunately, in Ubuntu 6.06, installing Sun’s SDK is fairly straight-forward:

Ubuntu 6.06

    • Sun Java5: Install it from the Applications -> Add/Remove... menu, or install the sun-java5-sdk package.
      {i} Note: You probably want to do the same with jar, javac, javadoc, javah, javap and javaws:

      sudo update-alternatives --config jar

      To get common java applications (installed using .deb-packages) to run under your JVM of choice, make sure you also edit the JVM configuration file:

      sudo nano /etc/jvm

      and add the line:


    From that point, you can download eMusic/J, extract it, copy its directory somewhere that is accessible to all users (I put it in /usr/local/emusicj-linux), cross your fingers, and then launch the executable (/usr/local/emusicj-linux/emusic). If all goes well, the eMusic/J main window will open. You should then go into Options and select the location where eMusic/J should save the MP3s to, and select how you want the files/directories named. You would then have a working, stand-alone install of eMusic/J. You can manually open a .emp file downloaded from eMusic, and eMusic/J will grab your MP3 files from eMusic.

    This is cool, but not exactly what we are aiming for. We want eMusic/J to launch and grab the MP3s we select from eMusic directly. Fortunately, this step is easy. In either Firefox or Konqueror, when you click on the “Download All” button. You should get a window pop-up, asking what you want to do with the file. Choose “Open with…,” give the full path to eMusic/J as the application to use, and check the “Always open with this program” option.

    And voila! Whenever you click on an “Open with” link in eMusic, eMusic/J will automatically open, get the .emp file from the browser, and start downloading your requested MP3s.

    Mission completion!

Profile picI am a 40-ish uber-geek, Daoist and family man. Blessed to have one incredible wife and three wonderful kiddos. Dao has been kind to me.

July 2006
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