Few things in life can influence us quite the way music can. Music can set a mood, make us relax or feel energized, and for many people there is that special song that is forever connected with a significant moment in their life. And great music needs a great player! With Amarok 2.2, codenamed "Sunjammer", the Amarok team is very proud to present the next step towards the ultimate music player!
Many weeks have passed since our last version, and so many changes and improvements have found their way into version 2.2. Over all, the team is quite proud of all the improvements and was lucky to be able to plan and coordinate those in two developer sprints, one in Berlin and one during the Gran Canaria Desktop Summit, made possible by your support for Amarok and KDE. To put this into perspective: In the last three and a half months we closed 654 bugs, made close to 2200 commits to the code, of which more than a hundred where made in the first 24 hours after the release of version 2.1.1. The code statistics show that we changed a total of 1935 files, wrote 101693 new lines, and removed 73774 obsolete lines of code.
Amarok 2.2 comes with an almost completely new look and feel. It now has a new layout for the Browser Pane on the left and an easier navigation using "bread crumbs" on top. All elements, the Browser Pane, Context View and the Playlist are dockable widgets, which you can place how and where you like. It is even possible to stack or remove them. Of course it's up to you to change the position, width and height to your liking.
The Playlist has seen a complete overhaul and comes with many new features, allowing you to sort and shuffle the content. A layout editor comes with tree different pre-configured layouts and allows you to build your own preferred layout you can save. This way you can have the playlist only contain the information that is important to you. Clicking on a track twice allows you to edit the content in-line in the playlist for quick tag corrections and song rating.
Playing an opera where you would like to find a particular passage easily? Do you have tracks with a lot of silence before a hidden song that you would like hear with a simple click? Just add bookmarks. Listening to audiobooks and podcasts is made so much easier with bookmarks too, since you can group and edit them with the bookmark manager!
The Context View has seen layout improvements as well. It comes with automatic resizing for the applets and you can place them where you would like to have them. A new photo applet
shows you pictures of the artist and a video applet
finds contextual videos for the now playing artist. The Wikipedia applet has been extended to allow you to change the language of the content, based on the system languages installed, and you can show information either for the artist, the album or the track you are listening to.
The collection has seen a lot of changes and bug fixes: Scanning has improved and is now much faster and more accurate, the import of the Amarok 1.4 database has been improved and you can use an external MySQL database now, too. Insert an Audio CD and it will show up in the Collection Browser, allowing you to play directly from the CD or to copy the CD content to your collection. The same applies to media devices: UMS devices show up in the Collection browser, as does various other media players.
Dynamic Playlists have the new possibility to use Biases based on Last.fm and Echo Nest. Don't know what to listen to? Let Amarok decide with the help of Last.fm and Echonest.
Amarok 2.2 marks the start of a series of 2.2.x releases that will focus on improving what is there rather than adding major new features. A new release will follow approximately every 6 weeks and bring with it bugfixes and improvements, as well as a few new features. So look forward to more regular Amarok updates in the near future.
Join us and rediscover music!