Amarok 2 Makes Fresh Start for KDE4
Two years ago the development team of the popular Amarok audio player for KDE put themselves to work. A few days ago they released version 2 to rock the world.
Amarok 2 not only delivers a software update, but does so with a fresh start. The developers announced that the reason they made this move was that it was becoming harder to work within an existing framework where Amarok was moving in unanticipated directions.
The playlist software uses the newest KDE4 components Solid, Phonon and Plasma. The scripting API and plug-in support were also improved. Better integration with Web services include connections to such services as GetHotNewStuff and Kde-apps.org.
The redesigned GUI is not only more attractive, it provides more features. You can customize the context view and decide what information to show for the song titles. You can also integrate with online services such as Magnatune, Jamendo, Mp3tunes, Last.fm, Shoutcast and Ampach.
The Biased Playlists are a neat update to the Dynamic Playlists in previous Amarok versions. You can set biases for random playlists so that what you get starts growing closer to your biases. You can even set "fuzzy" biases such as "around 1976" and "haven't played in a while."
The new Amarok is not without its limitations. Some of the features in Amarok 1.4 didn't make it into version 2, for a number of reasons. Playlist filters and queues won't appear again until a future version. Visualizations and support for portable media players will have to wait for some more work on the KDE4 framework. Related to these complications is the fact that only MySQL databases are currently supported.
Mac OS X and Windows users will get a not yet fully supported beta version due to work still being done on KDE4. Meanwhile, downloads are available for various Linux distros, including Debian, openSUSE, Fedora and Kubuntu.
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Stepping back from 1.4I agree that Amarok 2 deserves a fair go-round, but it won't be ready to use until it has (at least) an EQ and the ability to remove the context menu and move stuff around. I dislike the new interface and the lack of options, despite being a(nother) Gnome user running KDE libs just for Amarok. Sadly there doesn't seem to be any other Linux music player that does all the things Amarok 1.4 did - Exaile is close, but not stable enough on my machine, and Exaile's library manager sucks - no tree view, and you have to enter each folder manually unless you want recursive searching. I guess I could install the old version manually, but then I'm gonna wind up having to lock the version to avoid APT getting all bent at me.....
Not Trying Hard EnoughI gave it a fair shot, 1.4 has a number of features that I require in music library program, it organises my collection into something I can flick through, it interfaces with all the different types of mp3 players I have, and it downloads and stores my podcast subscriptions. I am a Gnome user but prefer Amarok over Rythmbox, I even don't mind the overhead of running the KDE libs on a gnome system as I have spare processing power and memory. If v2 cannot offer me the 3 simple requirements listed above then its not yet for me, yeah it looks pretty but one other thing I noticed that it was very slow when browsing my collection even after it was indexed.
If you test drive a new car cause it looks good but drives like a pig you leave it alone. Amarok 2 like KDE4 is not ready for the release it still appears and acts as if it is still in Beta.
Equalizerrm: From what has been posted on Amarok's site (amarok.kde.org), a software graphic EQ is not currently possible in Amarok 2 because the audio interface it uses, Phonon, is also a new product and doesn't yet have the necessary features implemented. Presumably at some point in the (near? please?) future, Phonon will be able to support EQ and then either Amarok can add one or you could even have one equalizer for all Phonon-based apps.
Am I the only oneAm I the only one that misses the ability to adjust the sound with a graphic equalizer? I haven't heard anything about when that feature will be back, if ever.
Same Prob with KDE4I think that Lain is having the same problem that a lot of older KDE users are having with KDE 4. It's new, doesn't/didn't have the feature parity to KDE 3.5, some programmes are still not migrated etc. These people overlook the new and excited features, the improvements over the previous version and the potential that it has. The saddest thing however is that this not so good impression seems to last for a very long time.
@IainIain, you couldn't have tried too hard if you gave you were back on 1.4 in 2 hours...
A good startA few things are still missing when compared to the much more mature Amarok 1.4 but 2.0 is still a very good start. The UI is much more beautiful than that of 1.4, the integration with KDE 4 is more seamless and it seems to be tailored for online people like myself. I am sure that the missing pieces will fall into place very quickly and that we will not only have a more beautiful media player than 1.4 but an even more powerful one.
Device SupportWhat about device support, iPod extension failed to work and no support for standard MP3 players. Less than 2 hours and I was back to 1.4
MySQLThank you for the hint! The mistake in the article has been corrected -- it actually wasn't Kristians', but it slipped in when his article was adapted for the web site.
dbWe're not planning on adding support for other databases. Multiple database support was hard to maintain with good QC.
We will likely support external MySQL databases in the future.
Thanks for your review!