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Magellan - Amarok released (including security fix)

Amarok 2.0
Just a few weeks after the 2.0 release the new and improved Amarok, codenamed Magellan, is ready for you. Don't let the small version number increase fool you though! We brought back features a lot of you have been waiting for and of course fixed a lot of bugs as well as one security issue.

Welcome back a few well known and loved features from the Amarok 1.4 series: queuing, playlist search and filtering as well as "stop after current track". And, long awaited and finally available: sorting the collection by composer. We of course also worked on other features and extended the Scriptable Service API to allow smoother integration of service scripts. The LibriVox service script has received some love and comes with new icons amongst other improvements. Media device handling has also seen many improvements: MTP devices can now delete multiple tracks at once, and the status bar gives visual feedback when deleting tracks from iPods. Our OS X users will certainly like the built in Growl notification support.

Thanks to the feedback of many we were also able to spot and correct some annoying bugs: The collection scanner now doesn't miss entries anymore and completes its work, and the user now gets a warning when the scanning fails. Please read the changelog below for a list of the most important fixes and features.

Security advisory: We have been made aware of a security problem concerning the parsing of malformed Audible digital audio files 2 days ago by Tobias Klein. We fixed it immediately and informed packagers so they can provide new packages for you. Please upgrade your installation as soon as new packages are available for you.



  • Add advanced, configurable, searching and filtering to the playlist.
  • Add "Stop after track" option to the playlist menu.
  • Queue track functionality has returned. (BR 171939)
  • Growl support on OS X.
  • Add automatic recovery option to MySQL embedded server.
  • Greatly improved service script. It now works for all books, and dynamically fetches a summary of each book that is shown in the service info applet. The script now also has a propper icon in the service browser and its own emblem and default "album" cover for books.
  • Sorting collection by Composer is now possible. (BR 177271)
  • Service scripts can now dynamically fetch context info when items are selected (info can still be applied statically to each item as well).
  • Album items from a service script can now have custom covers.
  • Items from a service script can now have a custom emblem.
  • Service scripts can now set custom icons for the service browser.
  • Add simple filtering to the service browser.
  • Podcast channels are automatically refreshed once per hour if autoscan is enabled.


  • MTP devices can now delete multiple tracks at once.
  • Status bar notification on copying or deleting tracks on Ipod.
  • Don't fold the Collection Browser after editing or updating the collection. (BR 166841)
  • Replace the systray icon with a more modern logo.
  • "Cool-Streams" radio service script is now enabled by default.
  • Show more verbose output when copying tracks to the local collection.
  • Custom Sorting in the Collection Browser has returned.
  • Memory use optimizations.
  • Playlist items now have tooltips. (BR 170844)


  • Fix possible buffer overflows when parsing Audible .aa files.
  • The QtScript Qt binding generator has been updated to the latest. This should complete some features such as Model/View in the QtScript API and fix building with Qt 4.5. (BR 177863)
  • The Files browser now remembers its settings, like the active directory. (BR 173742)
  • Fix problems with the collection scanner often missing a part of the collection, or potentially failing altogether. (BR 176154)
  • Fix Context View crash when quitting the application. (BR 179110)
  • LibriVox: Don't crash when double clicking "Enter Query". (BR 177991)
  • Files could be deleted when moving files to an unwritable destination. (BR 178701)
  • Don't override cached lyrics when fetching. (BR 178196)
  • Show a warning when the collection scanner dies. (BR 176154)
  • Set date correctly on MTP devices. (BR 171194)
  • Ipod ratings are read/written/displayed.
  • Ipod playcounts are read and displayed on Current Track Info applet.
  • Lastfm Settings Dialog can now check to ensure username/password is correct. (BR 144456)
  • Don't delete files if an error occurs during transfer. (BR 178701)
  • MPRIS GetMetadata() call returns arturl for streams. (BR 178695)
  • Fix grouping of various artist albums in the playlist. (BR 175604)
  • Update statistics properly on Windows and Mac versions.
  • Fix progress indicator disapearing when skipping in streams.
  • Write the discnumber field for mp3 tags.
  • Don't start a fadeout when stopping paused media. (BR 178057)
  • More accurate Amarok 1.4 database imports.
  • Ipod tracks' sample rate is now shown correctly in Tag Dialog.
  • Tracks did not always report that their editable status correctly. (BR 177058)
  • Gapless playback of MTP tracks one after another now works.
  • Podcast with some unsafe characters in them caused database corruption. (BR 172594)
  • Amarok no longer stalls on large Ipod copy operations. (BR 173707)
  • Fix switching between basic and advanced mode in the filename scheme chooser.
  • Fix MTP device attached on startup crashing. (BR 177201)
  • Tracks with same tags as a track on Ipod are no longer copied. (BR 177198)
  • When reaching the end of the playlist, actually show stopped state. (BR 177782)
  • Fixes in playing tracks in repeat modes.
  • The wikipedia applet did not give a status update when an entry was not found. (BR 173940)
  • Add tooltips to icons in context view. (BR 174478)
  • Fix icons and layout in Advanced Filter dialog.

Join us in Amarok'ing in a Free World!
PS: One free beer at FOSDEM in Belgium next month for the first person to figure out the current release name theme ;-) Leave a comment below and join us at FOSDEM.


It's looking good. Unfortunately the UI is super-confusing IMO (have now collapsed the central track info window, which helps). "My Playlists" (bleurgh, someone's been at the MS coolaid) is missing one of the top features too - the ability to quickly choose a fixed playlist based on basic criteria. Dynamic playlists are non-intuitive; they seem to be just "continuous play" based on loose matching to a criteria.

Is there currently a way to choose 50 tracks algorithmically (top 50, most recent 50, etc.) and preview the playlist before you set it running?

Can I give tracks a star rating still?

Also, bottom right would be the best placement for the key controls - play, stop, etc. - was the UI designed by a left hander? For small screens?

Look forward to seeing where this all goes, but as with KDE4 itself am annoyed that the community can't keep with properly labelled releases .. this doesn't look like a feature complete application.

Is it just me or does the import-feature not import all fields of the "old" database - e.g. my ratings seems to get completely lost (openSUSE)?

BTW, congratulations to the Amarok team. 2.0 and the devs' comments to user criticism made me consider a switch to other player software. But now, the developments I've seen from 2.0 to 2.0.1 made me reconsider this. Seems like Amarok is on the right path. That seems to be the current KDE strategy: Alienate the community with the .0 release and reconciliate them only with some later releases ;).

Thanks for listing to user's demands and bringing back those missed 1.4 features!! Now if I could only have my "Excel"-view back and get rid of that useless middle pane...

Bring back remote MySQL databases and tagging and I'll be happy again. :-)

Is DAAP support going to return in a later version of Amarok 2, or is it intended to never return as a feature in a future release? Hands down, this is the one feature I miss the most from Amarok 1.4. I'll still use Amarok 2 on my computer that stores the audio files, but for now I'm sticking to 1.4 on my laptop until I can find a solution that will work with 2.x builds.

I can't find enough information on Ampache (specifically supported file'd think they'd want to list that up front with all the other features!) to tell if it'd be a suitable alternative for me...I really don't want to install and set up a server program only to discover it doesn't handle my pet formats.

Amarok UI is more geared towards wide-screens rather than square desktop monitors. On wide-screen laptops it looks great. On my monitor it looks too much packed (I use 800x600).
I can't see all panes fully without the use of scrollbar.

What I feel is that the panes should be tightly packed so that they are viewed with equal pleasure on all screens.

hope you fixed the MP3 bug with version 2.0. I kept getting irritating messages asking me to download a libxine file. Everytime I tried, I got the same msg - dependency not supported. Am now sitting on my laptop uninstalling the old version and praying the new one works.

It seems that phonon 4.3.0 broke gstreamer support somehow, at least in Debian Experimental.

Apologies for ranting and shouting, but I really really REALLY hate it when features return after a long hiatus and disappear in the next release! This sort of stuff should NOT happen in the real world. The ordinary users would appreciate some commitment to keeping the already promised features actually working...

Is there any chance that now that the big 2.0 overhaul is finally here, the subsequent 2.x releases would FIX PROBLEMS rather than shove more and more and more features in? I'd love to see Amarok upgrades where stuff actually worked out of box!

This said, I really love and appreciate the vision the Amarok developers have. I just wish the vision of future wouldn't include any unpleasant surprises for the users.

...I nuked the KDE4 cache directories and gstreamer backed it started working again. Still, this was yet another fine example of an upgrade that didn't work without a big hitch. I'm hoping for stability and fault-tolerance!

I was hoping a lot from Amarok2, since I had been really impressed when I discovered the first version some years ago.

But...let's face it, the interface is horrible (maybe this wouldn't be too hard too fix).
Also, the playlist is really impractical.

And finally, it is so slow!!!
Could this be due to the fact that I'm running it on Ubuntu 8.10 (i.e. not Kubuntu) ?
I installed the needed KDE4 librairies and it works correctly, but very very slow (I have a quad core 2.4GHz with 4GB memory).

I'm really TIRED of all these new applications that won't run correctly, even when they have tons of power available.

Well I guess I've been a little too aggressive on this one.
One thing I really love about Amarok is that is reads all my file formats (ogg, mpc, ape, flac) and that it always works.
But why is scrolling the playlist so jerked ? Is it normal or do I have a problem with my install ?
I think I will make a fresh install of the latest Kubuntu soon and try Amarok in its natural environment :)

It really needs this one... when you have a pc with a decent set of speakers (or if you use headphones) you really REALLY need an EQ control. Without this, I can't return into amarok... Please put priority in this...

I'm updating and installing this right now, and although I'm sure I'll have some problems like many others, I would just like to say thank you for your time and dedication!

Keep your heads up! Amarok kicks ass!

- Brian

Excuse me for the harsh critics. I know you have all gone through a very though and hard road in order to make 2.0 (and subsequent) releases. However, as a user of Amarok, the new release still fails to serve its purpose. I will try to explain what are the things I clearly don't like in this release, hopefully with arguments. And I really hope some of you developers to read my post as a whole as I am not making it just to be a vocal critic of the project. I am just very sad the promised bright future is actually not bright at all.

First and foremost of all, I clearly fail to understand how the new GUI interface is supposed to be better than the old. I know I will repeat someone here, but please bear with me.

* The widget bar at the middle: Why on Earth does it have to be so big? It just wastes valuable space. Amarok1's approach of keeping things at the left side, with button-like tabs was better: saves more space, is size-adjustable, and, most importantly, can be hidden. I know I have seen some in some developer's blog in the Planet KDE efforts to remove it completely and, although I don't feel like this is the right choice, I do admire the developer for the fact that he actually listens to the users' complains. My argument is that EVERY music player should be focused first on the music-playing features than on useful (but not-so-needed) information for the artists and then of side-things. You're reversing the order here. I see more and more information that I don't want to up front while the music playing features are being left behind. That makes the player's usage more troublesome as it actually takes more steps to do what you want than your old release, instead of doing the reverse. That is a serious regression.

* The playlist: Wasted space again. Not only that, but harder to read information. I'll try to make my points carefully:
- First of all, it is not needed to have album art in front of each and every song. Quite frankly, I don't want that information in there at all, but that's another point. I clearly can see people like it, but I still think it would be just okay to show it once per a group of tracks (I have seen this happen, so it could be implemented, but with some bugs.)
- Vertical view: I see you're trying to make things in a PostIt-note like style here. What's so cool in having the artist, then the song name (or reversed) in a column? While I am not a usability expert, I can clearly tell you this way the information is processed slowly (in orders of magnitude) than if it's presented as a table, one row per each track. Don't get me wrong, people LIKE tables because they are easier to process (the same is with the computers, to some extent...) Consider the following task: Have like 40 tracks in the playlist. They surely won't fit the the display area. So you'll have to use the scrollbar. When you scroll down, you can't see all the information fast, because each row has more than one thing in it. The human eye sees best in a circle around 3-4 cm in diameter. I won't go into much of the details of the text reading, but what I can tell you is that the brain processes the text one line at a time at most (that's for the 99.98% of all the users.) Why do you force it to read 3 lines instead of one in order to process the same amount of information? Repositioning to the next line is slower than just reading from one direction to another and I need to do that 3 times for each track instead of once. I can understand your point of view, though. All of the screenshots I have seen of Amarok tend to be of people who actually like listening to whole albums of the same artist. However, this is not the case for everyone. Having different artists, albums, and songs mixed in the same playlist greatly reduces its usability.

* Collection browser: I HATE IT. Really. The treeview structure is something beyond any sensible explaination to me. Why on earth do you present a tree to the user who wants to find some tracks? I have to constantly expand all of its nodes in order to find what I need. Compare this to the table-based approach in 1.4: All I have to do there to find my song is to type its name and it appears! NO additional work of ANY kind is needed. And I can search everywhere I want, show whatever information I want... I clearly fail to see how this is not the default mode, but even more I fail to see why is not it implemented in 2.0. For people with song collection of 300mb it surely won't matter THAT much, but i have 200__GB__ and browsing a tree is something i clearly DON'T want to do.
These are the things that bog me the most in the UI. I clearly can imagine that writing from scratch looses configuration options and features, but, hey, I don't mind it, as long as the player does its job. I don't care of fancy scripts that show me wikipedia information of the artists if I cannot browse and listen to my song collection.

Now some background issues:
* Choice of database: I really can try to understand you guys for sticking with MySQL. Although I personally think it's crap, it has its share of users. I know that maintaining more than one database can become a nightmare. But a sanely developed database design is possible. At least that's what Bugzilla, Mantis, and all those big (web) projects out there's experience tells us. For sure there can be more than one database backend, I for one will maintain a PostgreSQL backend for you if you plan to do that. There sure are others out there who will want to develop an Oracle (or even MS Access) one. But this is not the most important issue. What IS important is, of course, the database integrity. I want my data in a fast, transaction-enabled, ACID ( database. Embedded MySQL is neither of those things. What happens if the application crashes? Database loss, corruption, etc. I DO NOT WANT THAT TO HAPPEN TO MY DATA. This may be a tradeoff for some people, but for others the content is more important than the shell. Not to mention even the time needed to restore the data. Waiting like 50 mins after each crash to restore the whole database using the collection scanner is an insane task. And I loose my lyrics and other collected data. NOT good at all. In order to fix this you need a separate database server. Be it MySql, be it Postgres, be it Firebird, I don't mind, but make it SEPARATE.
* Collection scanner: Its quality has degraded in orders of magnitude from the 1.4 release. In 1.4 it at least finished, although in 50 minutes per collection rescan. In 2.0 it does not finish at all. Great improvement, I can say. Make it a separate process (daemon?) and make it connect to the database and commit its transactions separately from the main player. Making a daemon that connects to a GUI program to send results for processing is, at least from my personal experience, a very inferior design. Fix this and you will have two applications to maintain, but I am sure it will solve a vast amount of problems.
* Memory usage: No matter what I do, I cannot get my Amarok go below 500MB of memory usage. This is ridiculous. Even an Oracle client does not eat that much of my memory. I know some things about memory management usage, but even the "top" program cannot lie in such orders of magnitude.

On the positive side:
There is, actually, nothing good for now, but I have faith in you. I know that you are proud of your work. I know that you want us to test what you present to us in order to improve it. But, hey, if it's not usable at all, you won't get that wide testing as you'd like. So, please keep up the good work you have done so far and don't let such comments sadden you more than they should. I may bee too harash in my speaking but I do it for good. If I didn't believe there is a chance for my critics to get to you and you to try to listen to my arguments, I wouldn't waste my time to make such long statements if I didn't believe a change was possible.

The collection scanner has been a seperate process since Amarok 1.4.0ish.

MySQL embedded handles crashes like a champ, much better then sqlite in my experience. Its likely not ACID, but its not like we're housing mission-critical information. We would welcome a patch to enable external mysql servers for advanced users. It would be pretty trivial to do this.

Amarok 2.1 will likely have a variety of playlist views for you to choose from. Part of the reason Amarok 2 took so long to develop is that we refactored a lot to give us this sort of flexibility.

I am extremely displeased with Amarok 2 in comparison with 1.4, but I won't get into that since I'd be repeating what many people have already said in this same comments page. It's terribly unstable but I blame that on KDE4 still being a flaky mess that shouldn't have left beta. You can't make a stable program based on unstable shared libraries.

Apart from the constant crashing and bad response times, which I don't blame on the amarok team, the one thing that made me jump back to amarok 1.4 was the GUI. I don't hate it, but the 1.4 GUI, in my opinion, was MUCH better. And I see that most of the negative comments here pertain to the new GUI, so I'd like to drop a note in your suggestion box: Is it possible to do like the Vuze people did, and place an option somewhere for users who prefer the old GUI to still use it? Vuze installs with the new interface by default, but the old Azureus interface is still available to those who want it. Since the new Amarok interface is so controversial, this move might be a way to keep Greeks and Trojans happy while the other problems are ironed out.

I used to alternate quite a lot between GNOME and KDE, but KDE4 has abandoned stability, so I have (for now) abandoned KDE. Phonon doesn't play nice with gstreamer and PulseAudio, which is yet another barrier, but I shall continue to try every new "stable" amarok release (and annoy you guys with feedback). Amarok 1.4 is the best media player I've ever used, but Amarok 2, so far, is a very distant fifth. I trust that it will be equally distant in the opposite direction in due time.

My best wishes to the developers.

I recently upgraded to Amarok 2.0 and then the latest security release It's definitely a great product. However, I found a particular bug that would bother podcast subscribers. After changing the settings for podcasts that they are automatically downloaded when updated, I found that it doesn't work. I am more than willing to fix this bug myself if someone will guide me through Amarok's code base.



Auto download is in fact something that is not implemented yet, though a config option for it is available. My bad.

This is however a very simple feature to implement. If you want to, drop by on #amarok on and give me a ping: nickname Stecchino.

Everything's gray! Did you guys lack the resources to develop on color monitors? :P

In fact Amarok 2 automatically adapts the whole GUI to your current KDE color scheme. Try it out, it's pretty impressive.. you can even choose a dark background with bright text, and it will work nicely :)

Some things I really like to know is when will the Video Plasmoide be part of Amarok 2 (more important: when will it be possible to play the sound of videos, just like in amarok 1.4) and what about the support of ogg files in the build-in file-browser? It's possible to play them but they are not visible there...

You're doing a great job ;-)

Another regressions I found:
- editing several song informations at a time sometimes doesn't work (afters saving the data the songs titles are not edited)
- sometimes songs are not showed as part of an album on playlist even if they are part of the album (every song has cover in playlist and album title making the playlist a mess)
- you can't show only albums in the collection list (if you choose first level to be album it doesn't change anything in the tree)
- you can't show kbsp or stars in the playlist