Times have changed. XMMS is, as far as I care, deprecated. Deprecated beyond resurrection. Sure, it still serves it's purpose. But anybody who uses XMMS will (should) tell you, that despite how long it's been around, it's still buggy as hell, and has a ton of problems.
XMMS demonstrating it's ability to tell you that songs are weeks, months, or even years long.
This alone is enough reason to seek an alternative to XMMS. When I went looking, I found that XMMS2 is in development. Unfortunately it's painfully difficult to acquire the source, and compile it. Needless to say, it was a no-go.. at least until it's a bit simpler.
So I used amaroK for a while. The KDE audio player. I hate KDE, but amaroK is great, it downloads your CD covers from amazon.com, reccomends songs based on what you listen to, and can even relay the information to your audioscrobbler profile. However. It's fairly resource intensive, and can be a real pain to set up. After I formatted, and reinstalled Gentoo (Stage 1), I've been completely unable to get amaroK to play anything. So that's trash, until someone feels like helping me out there.
So I've tried amaroK, Rhythmbox, Beep media player, and came to a rest with MPD. Media Player Daemon is a really awesome idea, and it's similar to how XMMS2 will/does work. A daemon runs in the background, with a database of all your songs, and plays them on request. There is no interface to MPD, however there are several frontends available in Portage. Naturally, I emerged them all. My personal preference is Gtk2MP, because it has a decent interface for managing your songs and playlists. While not nearly as polished as that of amaroK, it works just fine. And it uses next to zero CPU. The neat thing about having your music managed by a daemon, is that even though you use a frontend to access and control it, you can just close said frontend, without interrupting anything, or disrupting your playlist.
So what am I trying to say? I'll sum it up- assuming you're a Gentoo user.
- emerge -C xmms
- emerge -av mpd
- nano /etc/mpd.conf (to your liking)
- emerge -av gtk2mp