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KDE Music Open Source Software Linux

Amarok 2.6 Music Player Released 100

jrepin writes "KDE is proud to announce version 2.6 of Amarok music player. While it brings a reasonable set of new features, the focus of this release was on bug fixing and improving the overall stability. The new features are a complete overhaul of the iPod, iPad and iPhone support including solid support for device playlists; transcoding for iPod-like and USB Mass Storage devices; the Free Music Chart service is now activated by default; embedded cover support for Ogg and FLAC files; and album art support for tracks on the filesystem and USB Mass Storage devices."
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Amarok 2.6 Music Player Released

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  • Slow news day? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LordLucless ( 582312 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2012 @08:07PM (#40991585)

    I'm a Linux and Amarok user, but do I really need a slashdot article about a primarily bugfix and stability point-release of a media player?

    • Re:Slow news day? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by oakgrove ( 845019 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2012 @08:44PM (#40991901)

      I'm a Linux and Amarok user, but do I really need a slashdot article about a primarily bugfix and stability point-release of a media player?

      Yes for one simple reason. Many Linux users fondly recall Amarok 1.4 and have been waiting on the edge of our seats for years waiting for the 2.x series to live up to the former glory*. It hasn't happened yet so new releases are always something to pay attention to if only for the inevitable let down.

      *Clementine and friends while good are not Amarok 1.4.

      • Re:Slow news day? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by marcansoft ( 727665 ) <hector AT marcansoft DOT com> on Tuesday August 14, 2012 @10:06PM (#40992587) Homepage

        Actually, I'm of the opposite opinion for the same reason. I gave up on Amarok ever since 2.0, and I'm much more interested in Clementine releases. As soon as Clementine gets arbitrary labels ("tags" in the "web 2.0" sense) and fixes up their device support a bit (I'm particularly looking forward to the day MTP works smoothly with Android devices), it'll pretty much have covered all Amarok 1.4 features I cared for.

      • Re:Slow news day? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by TheWanderingHermit ( 513872 ) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @12:03AM (#40993363)

        Amarok has been crap since 2.0. It was a great example of a FOSS project producing good software. Then, just when there was a program that everyone loved, they broke everything users liked and said, "Well, if you don't like it, that's tough, this is better and if you don't see it, you're a fool." Posts on boards where this was discussed were self-righteous from the developer end and users were angered by that.

        I checked out many feature requests and saw the same kind of developer arrogance: We're not doing that because it's not a good feature. (Or because we can't without doing tons of work or because we don't want to or other self-important reasons.)

        And that's when Amarok became an example of the worst of FOSS. Developers fell back on the old saw of, "We're not getting paid, this is volunteer work, and you're lucky we've done any of this for you." Yes, that's true, in part, but the other side to the story is that it's clear developers WANT people to use it. If they didn't, there would not have been a story submitted to Slashdot about this.

        So if you want users to use and love your program, listen to them. If you want to do what you want, then do it - but don't wonder why users don't like it or why there's fewer downloads of later versions people don't like.

        I used Amarok on Linux, hated it once it got to 2.0, but couldn't find one that was as good as the earlier version (and didn't find out about Clementine until much later). Eventually I switched to OS X, and found other Linux music players ported, but Amarok is still not ported - it relies on MacPorts, which is notorious for being unstable and problematical when updated. Developing an OS X port would be easier than developing a Windows port, yet after years it hasn't been done.

        All this has proved that Amarok developers just want to do their own thing and don't give a damn about what users want - yet they still want users to download and use it.

        And until they catch on to this, Amarok, in any version, will still suck and will never reach the usefulness it had in version 1.3 and 1.4.

        • OT: Now that you've moved to OS X, what media player are you using? I begrudgingly use iTunes, syncing my Android phone via Samba & iSync. But it's not ideal, I'd much rather use something else, but sadly Clementine didn't feel polished enough.

          • I use Clementine, based on Amarok 1.3.

            I don't use iTunes because it doesn't use FLAC, but may consider, at some point, converting to ALAC, since they've open sourced it.

        • Amarok has been crap since 2.0. It was a great example of a FOSS project producing good software. Then, just when there was a program that everyone loved, they broke everything users liked and said, "Well, if you don't like it, that's tough, this is better and if you don't see it, you're a fool."

          Ahh, so they went the name of the GNOME, eh?

          • Way or name of GNOME?

            If you mean the way of GNOME, yes. Too focused on technical details so they can't see the forest through the trees and wondering why everyone doesn't see how wonderful their stuff is.

        • by Ash-Fox ( 726320 )

          Perhaps the solution should be that users commision a developer to do something instead of complaining they can't get a developer to commit to writing them a feature for free.

          • Actually, that misses the point.

            I ran my own software company, based on my software, until about 5 years ago, when I retired at 45 so I could enjoy life. (And it was my company doing well enough that allowed me to retire that many years early.) During the time I was running it, I used FOSS in my systems and I even released FOSS programs for others to use.

            Like many people who work with FOSS, I'd love to see it out there and in use in every market and see FOSS software leaving a lot of closed source program

            • by Ash-Fox ( 726320 )

              But the sad truth is that developers, when left to their own means, without someone saying, "Do this and that," do what developers like and think is cool, and then they often try to push the result on users, saying, it's better than what was there.

              With regards to smaller projects, did you consider that the developer's audience might not the user who is bitching? I have worked on projects in the past that involved users trying to turn the project in a direction that had no relevance to the direction of what

              • I'll just take the points in order, easier that way.

                1) I wasn't even thinking of smaller projects, but that's a good point. And that's when it's necessary, if the people are persistent, to make it clear what the purpose of the project is and what their desire is and why they don't coincide (and that's a good time to point out, THEN, that it's a volunteer workforce and how much would be required to make the requested changes). If they're difficult, that's when it's time to stop ignoring them. This can als

                • by Ash-Fox ( 726320 )

                  Second, if the goal is to get users to use it, as with KDE in general, and, in this case, Amarok in particular, then someone on the development team *must* keep in touch with the feelings of users. In this case, I've seen many people bitching over the new GUI in 2.0 and, from what I saw, the new GUI wasn't tested for user feedback. That's a prime example of what I'm talking about. It's a project with a goal of gaining users, but the crew totally ignored the needs of the users. It is common sense that a majo

                  • I remember with Amarok 2.0 not being able to find the UI for 1.x - was it added later? Even recently, when I tried it on MacPorts, there was a different UI, and I did check through all the preferences. Is it possible the ability to use both UIs wasn't on all platforms?

                    I'm on an iMac, I love it. It's not perfect, but after 10 years or so on Linux, there was no f---ing way I was going back to Windows, but I needed to be able to do professional video editing and there was nothing suitable on Linux for that.

      • Many Linux users fondly recall Amarok 1.4 and have been waiting on the edge of our seats for years waiting for the 2.x series to live up to the former glory....

        I thought I was the only one who thought 1.4 was awesome, but became largely pointless and unusable with the KDE 4 conversion (which is sad, because KDE 4 is awesome [except for Dolphin -ick- and Amarok 2.0]). 1.4 was user-friendly and largely intuitive. 2.0 was a confusing, unintuitive, jumbled mess, to the point that nothing of value will be lost if that entire code tree disappears.

        It used to be a fantastic, pleasant piece of software, but stopped being so with 2.0.

    • The summary mentions quite a few things that go beyond bug fixes, have they oversold it? I've stuck with Rhythmbox personally.

      • Re:Slow news day? (Score:4, Informative)

        by LordLucless ( 582312 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2012 @09:31PM (#40992319)

        I dunno, I'm still using the old version. But, to summarize the summary:
        - Bugfixes
        - Stability Increase (really, bugfixes by another name - instability is a bug)
        - Improved iDevice support (which I don't use - I'm on Android)
        - Change in default settings (which I could have changed anyway if I'd wanted)
        - Improved album cover support (which I don't really care about - I listen to music when my eyes are otherwise occupied)

        Granted, some people will probably find it's support of iDevices useful, and someone may care about album cover art, but there doesn't seem to be any major changes here.

        • "Transcoding for iPod-like and USB Mass Storage devices that complements transcoding for Local Collection"

          AKA when I use it to copy music to my android phone, it automatically transcodes everything to a preconfigured format. I consider that a small, but very handy feature (as I keep all my music in FLAC).
    • Re:Slow news day? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by hobarrera ( 2008506 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2012 @11:07PM (#40993041) Homepage

      Don't forget better support for close propietary hardware on an open source music player, because that's what we all want in our free software!

    • Yes.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Does it have a decent interface yet? Until it does, it's Clementine for me.
  • by Tyler Eaves ( 344284 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2012 @08:08PM (#40991593)

    You know, the version that was actually a good media library and something unique? The one that didn't totally blow chunks?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Clementine is what you want.

    • by cronot ( 530669 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2012 @08:41PM (#40991871)

      Ask and ye shall receive: []

      The nice thing is that it's multi-platform, and it actually looks and works nice on other OSs - it's particularly nice on OS X, for those like me that hate iTunes.

      • Are you joking when you say "it's particularly nice on OS X"?
        Crashes about 5 seconds afters showing me it's absolutely hideous interface.
      • by Tom ( 822 )

        Thanks for that link!

        I loved Amarok back in my Linux days, and I'll give Clementine a swirl. Does it include the automatic-rating-of-songs-by-your-actions? That was one great thing I miss from back then. If you listen to a song full length it increases the score, if you skip it it lowers it, etc. - over time, it comes to a pretty good rating without you doing anything.

    • Add me to the list of people who could not figure out why Amarok's author made such ill-advised changes in 2.x. The UI went from being completely intuitive to maddeningly confusing, and (well, for me at least) iPod synching broke horribly, which effectively forced me to jettison the thing in favor of gtkpod.

      At some point, an author needs to go back to the community and say "I'm sorry. I've heard the complaints, and it's pretty clear that my last version, although well-intended, was a complete mistake. I'm

      • by jyx ( 454866 )

        The UI went from being completely intuitive to maddeningly confusing, and (well, for me at least)

        I hear you bro. I'm still having to hunt and find the stop/play/shuffle buttons. Ive got no idea how to 'save' my own internet radio selections anywhere and I am constantly getting lost between my own directory tree layout of music and the internal 'here's your songs grouped by album meta tags that is expanded to a bzillion one song groups because of that folder of c64 remixs '

        I am trying to learn how to use cause Ive gone Kubuntu after the unity debacle, it but its a challenge. Maybe when the kids are olde

        • I hear you bro. I'm still having to hunt and find the stop/play/shuffle buttons

          Wow, I was afraid I was the only one. :-)

          BTW, I installed Clementine... it's definitely worth a try if you loved Amarok 1.x.

    • Amarok 2.0 was the reason I stopped using Linux for a while, because with the KDE 4 upgrade there was no usable music player. Now Amarok works somehow, but does all kinds of useless shit. I will never buy any songs through my music player, I don't really care abot seeing album art or the lyrics in the music player. I just want to listen to my mp3/ogg files! The developers have turned it into some monster, like how Winamp 2.x was nice and did one thing well, and then in the next versions they added a toaste
      • I disagree. You can still easily search your collection and adding to a playlist has become much better than it was in the 1.x days. The rest of the "monster" features you mentioned so trollfully are configurable, easy to disable with 2 clicks of the mouse.
        I'm still on Amarok 2.5.0 but I'm looking forward to 2.6.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          How about editing a playlist and saving it over the original. Ridiculously complicated in Amarok 2.x

  • Would someone please tell me why the hell I have to pick a place to purchase my music from? All I want is a simple mp3 player. I'm not going to purchase a song as a digital download. I'd rather just get the CD and rip what I want and keep the CD around as a backup. Amarok has turned into the jack of all trades and master of none.
  • with mpd, you pick any number of front-ends, android, web, local, ncurses, pure cli! whatever you want.

    lots of plugins for sound arch. it connects to alsa just fine, of course.

    it has a decent enough api.

    it even 'tunes' in most streams ('internet radio'). I use it daily for that.

    uhm, what else do you guys want? why isn't mpd and its various front-ends more ubiquitous?

    (current system I use is based on voyage linux and mpd. fanless mini-itx box and with UAC2 usb audio and a good dac, it supports up to 24/192k music.)

    • by caseih ( 160668 )

      I think you answered your own question.

      Think about the type of user that Amarok is going to be used by. Think iTunes refugee. Somehow I doubt they will be impressed by a client/server architecture or nice programming API.

    • I'd love to have an Amarok 1.4 like front-end to MPD. Currently using GMPC
  • Not sure what many of you want, I hear so much negativity about Amarok.

    What I like about Amarok...

    It plays all of my music formats, .flac, .mp3, .ogg

    It has customizable layouts and sorting options. This cancels out any haters of the Amarok 2.X default layout, saying 1.4 was superior. If you read a little, you would realize you can make it look and act just like 1.4.

    MYSQL backend. I can backup/restore my database with ease.

    Lyrics, tabs, wiki articles, pictures it is all there if I am curious about a t

    • Re:What do you want? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by domatic ( 1128127 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2012 @09:21PM (#40992233)

      I haven't tried it in about a year and half but the killer for me is complete support for LOCAL metadata embedded in tags. I've taken the trouble to find high quality artwork and lyrics for as much of my collection as possible. I've embedded this in id3 tags and for the bit of vorbis in my collection the tags they have. If a media player I'm trying to use goes searching the net first for this information and disregarding the tags that are RIGHT IN THE FUCKING MUSIC FILE then I don't have a use for it. Amarok 1.4 could be fixed with plugins but these plugins of course didn't work in 2.x. What's more, 2.x has extensively rich functionality for pulling this information from the net and sticking it in it's database (pray it does so correctly) but neither reads or (fully) writes the tags I put considerable effort into putting correct information into.

      It should also be possible to display the artwork and lyrics along with the rest of the application's interface in a usable way. No four clicks to get to the lyrics.

      Yes, yes, yes, Amarok does use the tags for Artist, Album, Track Name, etc. But like MANY players it doesn't (or least didn't?) even attempt to look in the metadata tags for artwork and lyrics. Guayadeque gets this right and Songbird/Nightingale also get this right if the excellent MLyrics plug-in is installed. I haven't found much else in Linux/BSD that does. Incidentally, someone else mentioned MPD. That doesn't handle this either.

      • Not sure what you're talking about. Artwork and Lyrics are shown automatically when they are available.

      • As a side question, how are you adding the cover art to the id3 tags?

        I'm using easytag, but development on that appears to have stalled.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Off the top of my head the things which have made me avoid using Amarok for the past several years are:

      1. Stability: it crashes a lot. Hopefully this release fixes that.
      2. Terrible, unintuitive interface
      3. The above poster claims it plays all music formats, this is only true if the underlying operating system supports those codecs. Amarok doesn't support much of anything out of the box. Codecs have to be installed and then the player needs to be restarted.
      4. Amarok is terribly slow to start and the UI is of

      • by Ash-Fox ( 726320 )

        My only question to you is, if Amarok's interface is so horrible, why didn't you change it?

        It's not like you can't use a 1.x interface or have it appear as any other popular media player.

    • There is really a plethora/bonanza (depending on how you look @ it) of audio/video players []. Dragon Player, Juk, Kaffeine (my favorite - I prefer a single window to play both video & audio), KMPlayer, KPlayer, and more. I do wish, however, that they all could handle iPods, iPhones, IPads, Androids and everything else seamlessly.
    • by wol ( 10606 )

      Let me know when I can substitute postgresql instead of mysql.

    • I may have the same problem with Amarok that a lot of people seem to have with KDE in general (except I do like KDE, but prefer Clementine): for me there're just way too many little knobs and gadgets to search, sort, filter and browse music sources and playlist. I much prefer a classic file-manager-like list view with draggable, resizable, sortable and toggle-able columns for my playlist; with Amarok 2.x, designing playlist layouts is a bit of an art unto itself. It's not that Amarok doesn't work or anythin
  • By coincidence I just took my first look at Amarok, coming from a background with the Mac and iTunes. Wow... I have never seen a more bizarre, confusing, cantankerous user interface. I couldn't figure out how to do anything, and I couldn't figure out what Amarok was trying to do. I found myself wondering about whoever designed this program. Were they on drugs? Seriously... How did somebody come up with this?

    • by Fallingcow ( 213461 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2012 @09:10PM (#40992157) Homepage

      Wow... I have never seen a more bizarre, confusing, cantankerous user interface. I couldn't figure out how to do anything, and I couldn't figure out what Amarok was trying to do.

      Huh, sounds like the UI "designers" from The GIMP finally moved on to another project. Must be why it's (slowly) getting better.

    • by Ash-Fox ( 726320 )

      Coming from a background of Windows, Linux, OS X, Amiga OS, BSDs, Solaris etc. I had no more difficulty picking it up than iTunes, Real Player or Windows Media Player in full view mode.

      I honestly didn't really see what was so hard about Amarok's UI.

  • by ffflala ( 793437 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2012 @09:24PM (#40992255)
    I used to use Amarok as a music player until the 2.x series. I suppose they had a vision, but I certainly don't understand what it was, exactly. I want a music player that (1) plays as many formats as possible, (2) on as many different OSes as possible, for which (3) adjusting playback controls, eq, and playlists, etc are as simple as possible.

    Amarok used to seem like a good candidate for that criteria. I gave 2.x a fair try, but didn't understand what the point of the design changes were, and it seemed to become a pretty buggy application. I soon moved to VLC for playback and haven't bothered to look back at Amarok sense. Does it actually offer any advantages over VLC?
    • On a related note, does it have any advantages over Winamp? Winamp has a small footprint and plugin support (with lots of plugins), a simple UI, a decent library feature, and has been my music player of choice for a very long time. I've tried other things but alternatives just seem so bloated (especially iTunes - oh dear god).

    • by Hatta ( 162192 )

      Amarok's main advantage is its SQL backed library. You can load hundreds of thousands of tracks in it and it can search through them without breaking a sweat. Complementing this is great metadata support. So if I want to listen to all the classic rock albums I have from 1979, that's easy to do.

  • All I need is a terminal and we're in business!
  • I still use the Winamp-style XMMS 1.2.x. It's fast, slick, easy-to-use and intuitive. However, it seems to be from another era. Since the rise of iTunes, many audio players tend to become huge software packages with library functionality and dozens of other unnecessary functions like showing covers. All of them support that "You-don't-have-to-know-where-you're-files-are-we-will-find-them-for-you" thinking which is aimed at totally inexperienced computer users who don't get the concept of files being organis

    • by equex ( 747231 )
      I loved XMMS 1.x series too. I had friends way back trying to woo me into Linux by touting XMMS being 'like WinAmp but a lot faster'. I think they even clocked the playlist population speeds! Audacious is pretty decent too. The problem I always had with various Linux media players is that they have some sort of trouble streaming from network shares. While I love tinkering with Linux, I do require out-of-the-box functionality for playing music over network while doing it.
  • I used Amarok 1.*, loved it. It switched to 2.*, and I had the reaction posted all over this thread. I would be more specific, but I saw someone mention "Clementine," which I've never heard of before. A quick "sudo apt-get install clementine" and "Click here to find your music library" later I'm using the first music player I've actually enjoyed using since I was a college student in 2008! Thanks ./ and Clementine!

I've finally learned what "upward compatible" means. It means we get to keep all our old mistakes. -- Dennie van Tassel