A look at Kaku — Media streaming in GNU/Linux

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We stream nearly everything nowadays, Spotify, Netflix, Crunchyroll…These are just a few of the services that many people nowadays use to get their favourite media wherever they are, and they all have a common theme (besides being stream services); subscription payment plans.

Pay a small fee each month and you can have all the media you want. But, there are free alternatives too, one of these is a wonderful program named Kaku.

Kaku streams music and video from multiple sources such as YouTube and SoundCloud to your Windows, MacOSX and GNU/Linux computers, for free. The best way to relate it in my opinion, is if Netflix and Spotify had a secret offspring, and it was free, it would be Kaku.

Installing Kaku

Installation of Kaku is fairly simple for most distributions.

  • ArchLinux users can install Kaku-bin from the AUR.
  • Debian / Ubuntu / Linux Mint etc users can download the .deb file from https://github.com/EragonJ/Kaku/releases
  • If you are using another OS, you can also download the tarball from https://github.com/EragonJ/Kaku/releases and run Kaku from within that.

Taking a look at Kaku


Kaku has a rather clean looking interface, and uses a MacOSX styled theme. I find the interface rather easy to navigate as well, everything is ‘where it should be’ and named appropriately so you don’t have to dig for what you are looking for.

Kaku by default searches only YouTube, but you have the option of also searching Vimeo, Soundcloud and Mixcloud, or searching all of the above at once. I personally only use it for searching YouTube, and it does it rather well. Kaku also has the ability to make playlists, which is absolutely essential in my opinion.

Searching for music is done painlessly and quite quickly, and with just a few clicks you have your music playing. The video appears in the bottom left corner of the window, and has the option to cast to devices, fullscreen, open in browser and also has a repeat feature which is something I have actually made use of on many occasions, rather than having to rely on outside third party websites to repeat a YouTube song for me.

Another interesting little feature, although one I have no use for personally is a “DJ” feature, enabling the user to broadcast whatever they are currently playing and have other users tune in to listen along. As well, there is the option for listeners to communicate with the DJ via a built in chat system; I can’t see too many people using this feature regularly, but it’s rather interesting for it to have, and reminds me of the days of Shoutcast radio DJ’s chatting with users on IRC.


Overall, Kaku is an awesome piece of software for listening to music and watching videos without the price tag associated with many of todays popular streaming services, and given that it’s available for multiple operating systems, it’s handy for users to use across the board.

What are your thoughts, do you use any other similar applications, and would you find something like this useful?

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