Amazon mp3 Downloader Woes

First if you’re new to the Amazon MP3 downloader and you’re running Debian check out the howto on the Ubuntu forums. It’s very helpful.

Now on to my complaints (that’s what blogs are for right?)

I think it’s pretty cool that Amazon released their MP3 downloader program for Linux. That’s about the only nice thing I have to say about it. Well not really. They package it for Debian and a whole bunch of other distros so they get credit for that too.

My first gripe is that they only distribute a 32 bit x86 version. Compiling and packaging this for x86_64 (amd64) would take such a small amount of effort on their part it isn’t funny. On the client side installing a 32 bit application is a real pain. You’ve gotta stumble through downloading the 32 bit libraries by hand. Utilities like getlibs make it much less painful but it’s still not nearly as good as the dependency tracking that are built into .deb files for a reason.

But the reason I’m writing this is that, after about 3 months using this application without any problems it broke this week. After buying 2 albums it started giving me an error: “Can’t connect. Please check your internet connection…” That’s just insulting guys. I’ve got Pandora streaming, 2 ssh sessions, an imap and a VPN connection open and you’re gona tell me to check my internet connection. Right.

So after mucking around for a while it turns out this is due to a dependency on the lib32nss-mdns package. Their deb package didn’t have lib32nss-mdns as a dependency so how was I supposed to know?. Even stranger is how suddenly after 2 months of using the downloader (and probably $200 spent on music) it suddenly stopped working. Why’d it work before? My guess is they updated (aka broke) something on the server side and since they don’t expose their application through an apt repository there was no way to notify users except by breaking the client application.

After finally figuring out what’s wrong I just went ahead and downloaded the new version of the Amazon MP3 client … just to find out that a few failed attempts to download your purchase will cause Amazon to lock you out. That’s right, I can’t download my MP3s because they broke their client. Now I’ve gotta go through customer service and ask Amazon to unlock my music. What a joke.

But there is hope: there’s a command line client for the Amazon mp3 store that’s opensource. I haven’t tried it yet but if this thing breaks again I’ll make the switch.

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