VMware Fusion “critical” in helping Musicbrainz.org build the ultimate encyclopedia of music.

MusicBrainz is an open-source encyclopedia of music information, created by Robert Kaye in 2000 in response to Gracenote’s purchase and commercialization of the original database of user contributed album information CDDB. Essentially, Musicbrainz is like a wikipedia for music. All data is collected and corrected by its users.

Robert Kaye (far right) at the Last.FM headquarters.

Musicbrainz uses an application called Picard, which takes a music collection loaded with inaccurate or missing information, and performs a metadata tag analysis and acoustic finger printing analysis of the sound file that underlies the music, identifying the music information and writes corrected metadata tags and directory structures for the users files. In short, Musicbrainz cleans up your music library with factual album and artist information including ratings and tags. The only request they make is that once the cleanup is performed, the user devote one hour to going back through their library and make any further corrections and make the same corrections in Musicbrainz database. 

Here’s where VMware Fusion becomes an important part of the process. The rate limit to access the main site is one request per second, which is much longer than some users with large music libraries want to wait. Musicbrainz makes their software and data available for users to download and run locally, but it's over a GB of data, and in order to run the software, users must install Linux, web servers and hundreds of modules. “It’s just painful,” says Kaye in an interview with the VMware Fusion team. The solution was to prepare a virtual machine image and offer that for people to download. Initially they recommended Virtual Box to run the virtual machine, but users found a frustrating number of problems and error messages. “I have an inbox of complaints about Virtual Box not working, so we now strongly encourage users to use VMware Fusion as a more realistic alternative as it seems to be much more stable,” says Kaye. 

If you would like to learn more about the Musicbrainz project, or to try out Musicbrainz Picard for yourself go to musicbrainz.org.


One last piece of VMware Fusion news, Techworld.com released their review of VMware Fusion 4 in which they stated, “VMware Fusion is, then, a highly attractive choice for running multiple guest OSs on a single hardware platform.” Click here to check out the full article.


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