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"In the beginning" - Amarok 2.0 released

Amarok 2.0
The world of digital music management has changed a great deal since the birth of Amarok four and a half years ago. Amarok 1 established a reputation for innovation, but maintaining development with the old framework became more difficult as Amarok grew, often in directions we never imagined. KDE4 brings many new technologies and design patterns, and we decided to use this opportunity to improve upon Amarok's original design. We thought about how to best design a program that would allow us to stay at the cutting edge of digital music management. We also sought to distinguish Amarok in an increasingly saturated market of music players. To achieve this we took the best ideas from the 1.x series, and brainstormed what else we could do to help our users "rediscover music". And then we started developing.

Now, after two years of development, we are proud to announce that Amarok 2 has arrived. This arrival is just the beginning.
This new version brings with it a lot of changes:
  • Completely redesigned user interface
  • Tight integration with online services such as Magnatune, Jamendo, MP3tunes, Last.fm and Shoutcast
  • Completely overhauled scripting API and plugin support to allow better integration into Amarok
  • Migration from the KDE 3 to KDE 4 framework, and utilization of core technologies such as Solid, Phonon, and Plasma
Amarok 2.0
The user interface has been redesigned to make context information like lyrics and albums from the same artist more accessible and allow you to decide which information you want to see by adding applets to the Context View in the middle. The new Biased Playlists offer a way to let Amarok take care of your playlist in an intelligent way similar to Dynamic Playlists in previous versions. A new service framework allows for a tight integration of online services like Jamendo, Magnatune and Ampache. New services can easily be added via GetHotNewStuff in Amarok or from kde-apps.org. More applets and scripts are being worked on and users are welcome to contribute more to make Amarok suit their needs. The migration from the KDE 3 to KDE 4 framework allows us to make use of technologies like Plasma, Phonon and Solid which make Amarok easier to use and maintain and ready for the future of music on your computer and on the internet.
These are only some of the great new features of Amarok 2. Give it a try!

It is important to note that Amarok 2.0 is a beginning, not an end. Because of the major changes required, not all features from the 1.4 are in Amarok 2. Many of these missing features, like queueing and filtering in the playlist, will return within a few releases. Other features, such as visualizations and support for portable media players, require improvements in the underlying KDE infrastructure. They will return as KDE4's support improves. Some features, such as the player window or support for databases other than MySQL, have been removed because either they posed insurmountable programming problems, or they didn't fit our design decisions about how to distinguish Amarok in a saturated market of music players.

Amarok 2.0 is now available for all major Linux distributions. KDE4 is still under heavy development especially on Windows and Mac OS X, and Amarok 2 is available as a "Beta" version on those platforms. In the coming months, we expect to regularly release a series of bugfix versions in the 2.0 series. Work on features, both old and new, has also continued. So while Amarok 2 has already been a long journey for the Amarok team, for you, the users, it is just beginning!

Amarok's journey has just begun and we are excited to have you join us for this event. Change and improvement would not have been possible without the help of everyone who contributed to this ambitious project in the form of code, promotion, documentation, donations, and a lot more. To all of you we say: Thank You!

Join us in Amarok'ing in a Free World!
download
Please consider contributing to our fundraiser, reading the Amarok 2 FAQ and of course don't forget to celebrate with us!
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Comments

Cool, I've been looking forward to this!

Note to all those naggers out there: If you don't like it don't use it - but please quit getting on the nerves of the rest of us.
If you have a valid point in your criticism I'm sure everyone will listen. But just calling something awful without giving a reason is useless.

Sure, there are some thing's I'd like to see back, but heck, I'm sure we'll get them :)

Keep going, Amarok Team!

Congratulations to the release. I like the new design and the new features, though I think there is a lot more to be done. I tested the RC for some time and fell back to 1.4. because I just missed many features e.g. file management, support for mp3-players... But I think, Amarok is on the best way to stay my favourite music player :)

Hi amarok dev team.

Thank you for your work on amarok. Amarok 1.4 is the best audio player for me so far, so I hope, the 2er series will be good as well. Unfortunatly, amarok is far from perfect for me.

Why do you focus that much on stuff around listening instead of the real listening thing? I can use google or wikipedia myself! FFS!
But I cannot:
* simulate ReplayGain without lags (and neither can the script offered on kde-apps)
* view (or dare I ask for editing) custom tags of eg ogg vorbis and flac files just by looking at them; classical music is characterized by lot of people; yes I add as far as I can get to the tags

Less important:
* support for different movements of a piece of music; always get them completely

cheers

You realise that was the original intention of Amarok, right...? To display context-sensitive information about the currently playing music. Hence, "Rediskover your music".

If you don't want context information, use Juk. >_>

Yea, woop ti doo.... tried importing my iTunes library 7 times on Windows.... it stalls at, OF COURSE, 98%!
And no way to just add my music files without importing?? What the hell?

Just select the directory in the collection setup in Amarok's configuration.

Hmm I did that.... nothing happens.

rescan your collection or restart amarok

Why release it saying for Windows when you cant even import anything?
Tried importing 7 times my iTunes library to have it stall at of course, 98% after 1 hour waiting...
And no way to just add my files without that import?? WTF?

Kudos Amarok team!
I'm happy to see the KDE 4 release of Amarok 2 :)
A few things are left to be desired, but the general direction is just exiting.
I'm already in love with the service framework and all the potential it brings.
Looking forward!

I'm trying to undestand what the hell of GUI is that..the playlist background shoulde have another color....there are so many things that aren't ok in that GUI..

The background colour of the playlist is hardly a show-stopper...

Anyway, the details (such as the playlist colour) are likely to change (at least up until 2.1) as the user interface is refined, although the overall layout is here to stay.

...once they get the Various Artists thing ironed out.

Installed it, tried it, went back to the old version. In the 1.x versions, a collection scan would put various artists albums in their own Various Artists node. 2.0 scatters all those artists through the list with no apparent way to fix it.

However nice the rest of the app may be, that is a deal-breaker for me. I'll keep an eye on it and try 2.x again when that's handled better.

same thing for me..installing amarok 1.x again now

How come there is no player window??? This is what i was waiting for in Amarok 2.0... I hope that someone will change that.... please...

The "Player Window" can be implemented as a nice Plasmoid. In fact such a Plasmoid already exists for the KDE 4.1 desktop, it's called "Now Playing".

Also check my blog on this topic:

http://amarok.kde.org/blog/archives/809-Missing-features-in-Amarok-2.html

You can use SVG and QGV in scripts. :)

This is really a new beginning. To everone who's always complaining: Use the old one 'til the new one fits your needs. The first version I used was 0.7 or so. Much of the things implemented now in 1.4 weren't there and it's the same with 2.0. It evolves! So don't be so narrow-minded: use it or leave it! Congratulations for all the great work other the years!
PS: Thank you that I can use Amarok under Windows (at work)!

I always thought the central part of a music player was creating a playlist and listening to music, now ne central part of the amarok app is displaying wikipedia or lyrics or magnatune or other stuff which I think are totaly optional for a music player and should in no case siege the place which should in my opinion clearly belong to the playlist. Not happy at all.

Congratulations on the new release. I haven't looked at it yet, but I am deeply impressed by your dedication to innovation. Amarok may just be the one application I use most frequently. It's a great piece of software. Thanks!

I haven't seen so much crap comments since KDE 4.0, that's what you get when users (without programming xp at all) get the chance to comment on a .0 release with a major overhaul.

I currently do NOT use Amarok2 as it doesn't work very well with last.fm nor does it do iPod (haven't filed any bugs because using a build from kde-redhat which is godknows how old). But, since I can't (C++) code my way out of a paper bag, I'm sure those kind of obvious things will get fixed rather fast.

As was said, if you don't have anything constructive to say ("it's crap" is crap, but saying "This doesn't work when I do this to it" or "You could try it like this" is much better) or can't code (in which case you still can't say "it's crap", better is "hey, look at my code which connects a joystick to a spaceship!"), just be quiet and/or head for some other direction. I hear Foobar2000 is nice.

I've been using Amarok for the last 2-3 years or so, and still find it the best music player/indexer on KDE.

Thanks for putting your efforts into it and keep up the good work :-)

Dear Amarok team,

Thank you for all your efforts to produce Amarok 2.0 , but....I've gone back to 1.4. There are many reasons.

1. I don't like the new GUI. What I love about Amarok is that it gives you more than other media players, more information, for example how long ago since you last played that track, what your most played tracks from an artist are, and so on. Some people may find the stats geeky, but I love them. At the moment, the GUI, while it looks nice, is just like a souped up version of Rhythmbox which I was never impressed with. The new look is cleaner and simpler but that's not what does it for me. I like the info.

2. I like the player window that's been removed from this release. I find it very useful. For example, I often transcribe audio teachings and I can have the player window and my open office window on the same desktop, with easy access to controls such as pause which you have to use a lot while transcribing. The loss of the window is major for me.

3. I liked the quirkiness of being able to look up the artist I was listening to on Wikipedia while I was listening to the track, with it all being done automatically. It's these kinds of features that make Amarok interesting for me and a cut above other players.

4. With the playlists, there's not even a readout of the playback time for the list. It's useful for me to know such things

5. The controls for randomizing albums and tracks is not as obvious or immediate in the new GUI. I prefer the old one.

For me, it seems as if lots of useful, interesting and quirky features have been removed and I'm struggling to see what's been improved. For that matter, what has been improved? There seems to be less information and less options, although it looks nicer and more modern.

I'm really sorry about this, I hope some of this will be constructive for you but I'm sticking with Amarok 1.4 which I love to death!

Except for the bit about it looking nicer. Yes Amarok needed some modernization & tweaking, however it ceases to be Amarok when the features that made it stand out are removed. In 2.0 many of the more simple & useful features that I enjoyed were replaced with little more than useless flashy clutter that hardly anyone even uses. The main reason so many people liked Amarok aesthetically was the fact that all of those sort of things were included, but stayed firmly in their place in the side bar, thus placing more emphasis on the unique playlist window. The removal of the playlist window is the biggest quandary; it makes adding tracks & organizing order very hard. Also As Ubukool also stated, much of the data that I like to know is no longer displayed. My problem with the 2.0 series is that it has become so much less usable & navigable, and in turn has become extremely cramped - my main reason for not liking itunes/songbird. It frustrates me to see one of my favorite linux apps become so useless & run of the mill. I'm tired of this trend we're seeing & I hope it is merely a fad. I would love to jump on the 2.0 bandwagon, but right now it is so unusable that it feels broken. This is why I am hoping that enough people are dissatisfied with this release to form a fork, or at least get the devs to implement some sort of complete customization/re-arrange ability similar to songbird (in theory, not practice). These are qualms that I think any long-time Amarok user can appreciate, and I don't feel out of line in saying so. I can't for the life of me understand why development continued down this road after the initial response was so clearly negative, or at least much more so than it should have been.

Thanks for all your replies and ideas - I didn't think about the keyboard shortcuts as an alternative to the player window and I didn't know about the Wikipedia widget. I've re-install 2.0 and I'm going to give it another try!

1. Fair enough. This is much a matter of personal taste. You can be sure though that the GUI will evolve over the coming releases.

2. The player window was removed mainly because it had been completely unmaintained for a long time, and no one expressed any interest in taking over the work. Besides, with the KDE4 plasma desktop, there are already now-playing plasmoids available that can take over most of the work form the old player window. In time I think these will be much more powerful and flexible than the old player window.

3. Add the wikipedia applet to the context view! :-) Or you can add the service info applet that will show you info about stuff from Magnatune, Jamendo and so one while you are browsing it (something that was not possible due to the layout of 1.4.x). Or you can have both in different containments.

4. There is a total playlist time readout below the playlist. Or is that not what you mean?

5. I agree that this should be made more obvious, and I am sure these functions will eventually find their way back to the playlist toolbar (or something similar)

While some features are (still) missing, many of them will make their way back, and many new ones that were simply not possible with the 1.4x codebase/layout will appear.

"For example, I often transcribe audio teachings and I can have the player window and my open office window on the same desktop, with easy access to controls such as pause which you have to use a lot while transcribing."

Why don't you use the keyboard shortcuts (Win+C etc.) to stop and play? I nearly never use the buttons in Amarok (1 and 2). If you can't or don't want to, you can use the playwolf plasmoid to integrate the controls and some basic information into your panel.

"I liked the quirkiness of being able to look up the artist I was listening to on Wikipedia while I was listening to the track, with it all being done automatically. It's these kinds of features that make Amarok interesting for me and a cut above other players."

The same function you have in Amarok 2, I don't see your point.

---------

To the devs: Amarok keeps rocking, whether 1.4 or 2!

To pause/restart music you can click the middle mouse button on the Amarok tray icon. It's easy and fast. I do that when using Open Office and listening to the music.

I dont like the new GUI, I like Amarok 1.4.
Is posible take other skip (or theme) in Amarok2? How?
Why u change the everything int the Amarok2?

Great work guys!
Just one thing, how do I hide the widget area?

Click and drag the handles of the playlist and collection together, and... poof! It's gone.

Well done and I look forward to what the future will bring!

I must congratulate the amarok team for a job well done. I understand the depth of efforts that has gone into making this release a possibility and I celebrate it to the max.
I really love the biased playlists, Plasma in amarok2 also rocks, also euphoric about the solid integration of those wonderful web services we love so dearly. I have really been having a swell time rocking with amarok2. The only downside to this release from my viewpoint asides the missing features amarok 1.4 is that the UI looks terribly unpolished (plasma team to the rescue!), I happen to also detest the look of the progress bar and I feel the uppermost portion of the amarok UI needs serious readjustments & Loving ( the playback buttons, the position of the progress bar and the volume slider.) I really do think these need some looking into. beside that I am really ROKing with AMAROK 2.

Amazing! This is great! My hat's off you you guys, thanks on a job very well done. I love the simplicity and ease of use the new interface has to offer, I think it's excellent. I've been following Amarok through all the 2.0 betas and the RC, and it's just gotten better and better. Now it leaves version 1.4 (and in my opinion, other music players too) far behind. Rock on!

This new version is a MAJOR step in the right direction. That being said, there are two issues which are keeping me from adopting it full time (hopefully these will be covered in a forthcoming update):

1. Track/artist/lyric information is not being displayed for radio/shoutcast streams.
2. It is not able to play streams from Orb 2.0 (.pls, .asx, .sdp or .ram) like the old version could.

P.S. I think the new "look" is WAY better than the old one. Definitely not too much grey...

How is it a major step in the right direction? I'm a huge fan of Amarok 1.4. 2.0 on the other hand seems to be missing all the features that made Amarok great.
- Playlist filtering / searching
- Queueing as someone above mentioned
- Musicbrainz
- More I'm too lazy to list.

I would have been happy with a direct KDE3 -> KDE4 port (no UI redesign). Not sure how feasible that would have been.

I cannot understand why you people release a software that is not only not superior to it's predecessor but actually stripped down to the bone as a music player and you call it a "2.0 release"... really. I tried it last night and switched immediately back to 1.4.x. I mean... come on, you cannot expect an old amarok user to use this. It should have been labeled something like release candidate and add some vital features, before throwing it out like a new product. It needs a lot of work, huge amount of work before it can be comparable to the 1.4.x.

Some of the things are.. well the UI design is kind of missing. A lot of blank/unused/wasted spaces. The initial impression the user gets is that the UI is highly customizable, but it seems it is not flexible at all(no scales no rearrange, no font sizes, no nothing). The four big buttons does not count as user interface improvement and in my opinion are oversized and even not that pretty. The font sizes in the file info panel were enormous and not stilish at all. If you ask me a cornerstone in a music player is the playlist and by putting it on the right handside, the main focus becomes the widgets, which distracts and bothers, especially when you make playlists and you have to choose from your collection on the other side of the screen, the feeling is like you watch a tennis match. The player itself is relatively heavier(personal opinion) than the 1.4 version and the import collection feature didn't work for me. So...

I really hope in the next couple of months to be some kind of developing/design miracle and to make the second version of amarok usable. Until then i shall stick to 1.4, which I see as the best music player made by man (and this is the main reason why I am so demanding - I really expected much more from the 2.0 version)

Best of luck!

Well.. I hate to say it, but I am really really dissappointed with this release. I am a huge amaroK fan and using it for nearly 3 years, loving every bit of the program, but now... I don't know what happened, maybe it is just a personal expierence but imho:

- it doesn't look good at all at the moment (i have only a small screen on my laptop, low resolution and it's nowhere near usable)
- it's slow (probably this is a general KDE4, plasma is a constant mem leak, it's worse than my old Win98 which I could at least run for 6 days in a row, KDE4 is a mess after 24 hours. I know my computer is 6 years old but KDE3 and amaroK1.4 were running smoothly. now it isn't anymore)
- it simply does not work for me: scanning a collection hangs at 88%, never finishes (ok, I have a 20000 tracks collection, but it should run, amaroK1.4 did and I was always using mysql as database) and importing my old collection from mysql does not work either (it says "success: 0 tracks imported" and that's it... great!). Is it really that hard to make at least sure that former amaroK-users can go on enjoying? Am I the only one having this problem?

I know I should not be all too negative, I believe the devs did a great job and will improve big time in the future as well. However, all the work I did to organize my collection (tagging, rating, creating dynamic playlists), if it just doesn't port out of the box, it's too hard for me to do all the work again. I am doubting right now what to do, but I'll probably be looking for a good alternative. I hope I can find it somewhere...

So... love the program... love the ideas because they are way up ahead anything else I have ever seen elsewhere. But if it doesn't work, I won't use it... Sorry :'(

PS: yes I know i can file a bug and it will probably get fixed, but well... sometimes you give up

I'll stick with Amarok 1. Amarok 2 is too buggy and slow, just like KDE 4 and Vista.

Don't group KDE and Free software with Vista. KDE and Amarok don't implement DRM and if you don't like them, you get double your money back. ;)

It's slow when you use crap like nvidia. Blame nvidia no KDE....

You seem to be on a crusade against Nvidia. I'd like to see your justification, given that the above posters haven't stated their GPU of choice.

As it happens, I had Kubuntu with KDE4 at home with Nvidia, and it was awful. I have OpenSUSE with KD4 at work with Nvidia, and it's lovely. Nice and quick.

I suspect your default assumption of 'Nvidia to blame' isn't as correct as you may think it is. Yes, Nvidia is bad with their horrible binary blobs, but ATI is no better and I don't see any other competitor on the market.

Kyle

The Nvidia problems with KDE (especially the Plasma part of KDE) are well documented all over the net. It seems that the last (still beta?) drivers from Nvidia fix those problems, so it is fair to say that those problems are Nvidia problems. So the fact that OpenSUSE works for you (tm) could just mean that they are including more recent Nvidia drivers than the Kubuntu release you are using does.

Then again, not all speed problems are Nvidia problems, although a lot of them with KDE4.

Concerning other competitors... you might want to check out Intel. They might not be big (yet) when it comes down to gaming graphics, but they have a pretty big market share when it comes down to laptops. And I have to say that I haven't had any problems with their drivers up until now. They are the only big player providing open source drivers, so much to binary blobs.

In spite of the unfortunate UI, this player stacks up pretty well against other badly designed players. Maybe just give it some time?

I like this release. I'm quite not understand of people who didn't know how to use it.

There were two things that I really liked about Amarok 1.4. One of them was the ability to easily search through the playlist and pick and choose what to play right now. The other was the ability to queue up music on the current playlist. The queueing support is non-existant (although I read somewhere that it is expected to make a comeback). But what happened to searching through the current playlist? It now behaves exactly like Windows Media Player, complete with the annoying bug that pushing space pauses the current track (but at least WMP treated the space character as another character to search for as well). Attempting to type long track names causes the music to stutter between playing and paused, and the results are complete bogus. It also doesn't filter the list and show what's relevant, it just jumps around and you have to retype the same name if you have multiple tracks with the same or similar names (especially problematic if the track name starts in something common like "the" since you can't specify more of the name due to the spacebar issue).

End result? A music player that looks more like an attempt to showcase plasma with no usability.

Hi

I was using the amarok-nightly build for ubuntu, on gnome, and there where a Amarok Nightly Audio configuration shortcut in the memus.
I don't have this anymore whis the final build from kde4 repository. How can I configure the audio in the final build ?
Thanks
P.S. Great software I think !

When I add a full album to the playlist (by draging a directory), the tracks are added in random order ... I need to reorder them manually !!! Really annoying when I want to listen a full opera ... Am I missing something???

Using Amarok 2 regularly since beta 1 now, and I like it, integrates very well with a black color scheme ;)

However, I'm wondering wether it will be possible to cascade the widgets (playlist, trackinfo, etc) horizontal in the future.
I.e. the trackinfo is on top and the playlist below that, so that one can actually read more than 10 characters of the song title...
Also, things like sorting could be reimplemented properly now.

My big complaints with 2.0 are:

1. I have a 60GB+ MP3 collection. When I edit the tags for a track then hit save, it takes about 10 MINUTES to finally refresh the collection list!!!! And I have a fast computer! Also, when the list DOES get refreshed, the top level tree is closed and I have to go hunting for where I was in the list all over again! This can be VERY annoying if you have lots of tags to fix. The collection list in 1.4 was MUCH more user friendly. The speed issue can be worked around by filtering the collection but it is still annoying to have to do that.

2. When you "Edit Track Details" and you enable the "Per Track" checkbox, as you go from track to track any changes you make are lost if you return to a previous track (it will be loaded back up with the original version instead of your modified version).

3. There is no "Various Artists" option in the collection list anymore. I have the Soundtrack to Grease where the Artist field properly displays who is singing each song. In Amarok 1.4 this was listed under the artist "Various Artists" with a SINGLE album named "Grease". Now with Amarok 2.0 I have about 10 albums named "Grease" under 10 different Artist names each album having about 1-3 tracks in it. Not good. Get the Various Artists option back!

These issues are a show stopper for me. I'm going back to 1.4 for now.

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