I’ve been using Linux since slackware 0.9 and I’m quite used to compiling software and kernels from source, but in recent years it’s very rare that I have to do this anymore. I run Lubuntu on my desktop as I just like things things to be clean, simple and just work - I often sacrifice the latest and greatest for stability.

One of the tools I just can’t do without is pianobar which is a command line tool for listening to music on Pandora, which incidentally is now available in Australia without the use of proxies! However, Pandora don’t particularly like people using standalone clients as it cuts out their advertising so they change the protocol often which makes the version pianobar in the Ubuntu repositories quickly get out of date.

So I had to compile it from source. There’s a few dependencies and people who aren’t familiar with the various development packages might get stuck, so I thought I’d document what I did here for posterity.

From somewhere in your home directory, do the following:

sudo apt-get install git
git clone https://github.com/PromyLOPh/pianobar.git
cd pianobar
sudo apt-get install libao-dev libgcrypt11-dev libgnutls-dev libfaad-dev libmad0-dev libjson0-dev make pkg-config
make
sudo make install


To keep pianobar up-to-date, just run “git pull” in the pianobar directory, then make and sudo make install.

You can then run pianobar but just typing “pianobar”. You’ll be prompted for your pandora username and password and you can then just follow the simple menus.

If you want to avoid typing in user/password every time, create a file ~/.config/pianobar/config with something like the following in it:

user = [email protected]
password = cleartextpasswordthatidontuseanywhereelse


The password is stored in cleartext, so obviously don’t use a password that is used elsewhere

If you like Pandora and want to help them continue to run (without having to look at adverts) I’d encourage you to upgrade to Pandora One. It’s \$36/year and gives you higher quality audio and fewer interuptions.

Now this blog post took me 10 times longer to write than install pianobar!, hopefully it’s useful to someone.