Control iTunes from the command line with ViTunes

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Maybe iTunes is just a little too graphic for your tastes, what with all those buttons and icons. If you long for the days when your software was controlled only by words typed to your computer, or if you’re the kind of person who insists that the only true way to view the Web is through lynx, then Daniel Choi’s free ViTunes may be just what the sysadmin ordered.

ViTunes—which, the website helpfully informs users, is pronounced “vee-eye-tunes”—is a plug-in that lets you control iTunes from inside the command-line text-editor Vim. The program is aimed at developers who spend much of their time in Vim, as the developer puts it, “probably in a state of productive bliss.” Instead of having to toggle out of the app and—heaven forfend—use the mouse or trackpad to interact with iTunes, users can instead just hit keyboard shortcuts in Vim to quickly navigate their iTunes library, play songs, adjust volume, manage playlists, and even buy music from Amazon’s MP3 store.

Among ViTunes’s other features are the ability to control iTunes remotely over an SSH session and to let multiple users remotely control the same instance of iTunes (though it requires some tweaking). It’s also handy for folks who may use Linux in addition to a Mac, since it can let them control their iTunes library from a Linux machine.

In order to install ViTunes you’ll need Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leoaprd, Ruby 1.8.6 or higher, Vim 7.2 or higher, and a little bit of command-line knowledge—which, if you have even the slightest interest in this program, you probably already have.

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At a Glance
  • Pros

    • New social network for discovering music
    • HD TV show rentals
    • A few more customizable, useful interface options
    • Smarter album art list view
    • Noticeable performance improvements


    • Ping feels unfinished
    • Other headline features won't mature for some time
    • Senseless interface changes harm usability
    • Ringtone features removed
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