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Amarok 2.2 "Sunjammer" released

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 were 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 three 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 ratings.

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 do various other media players.

Dynamic Playlists have the new possibility to use Biases based on Last.fm and Echonest. Don't know what to listen to? Let Amarok decide with the help of Last.fm and Echo Nest.

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.




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Comments

I grabbed the latest release from the opensuse repo's this morning and just have to say it is simply stunning.

Intuitive, simple to use yet has a mind boggling array of features.

Not just the best music player for linux but simply the best player out there.

Many thanks to everyone for the hard work that's gone into it.

T

I still miss the menu hiding (the famous ctrl + m) function what amarok developers do not understand is very important usability feature!
Without it the Amarok2 looks still very cluttered while it has only few menu entries forced to top and not so good usability because users who do not need to refresh their databases or configure all the times it. Can not hide it to get smooth and nice looking application. Even for kiosk function would need it!

I fully agree! Bring ctrl+m back! And for all these poor souls that cant remember how to have menubar visible again you could add apropirate entry in context menu that shows when clicking on amarok tray icon.

Please add it!

Thanks for the new version.
Couldn't wait to try at home tonight ...

Ctrl+M is very nice feature and it does not disturb new users because they get in front of them a dialoge "You just pressed Ctrl+M combination. It hides the menu bar bla bla bla..." and mark for "Do not show again". And even to override the feature mistakes. _Do not add_ a shortcut Ctrl+M to feature _by Default_. Then those who needs it, can just go to shortcut editor and enable the function.

Moreover, I think it would be pretty simple to do - just have a look at other KDE apps which DO have it, like konqi for example. Wait, if it is so simple, why does nobody create a patch and send it to the amarok dev's?!?

Because we specifically removed this option.
A lot of users accidentally removed their menu bar and did not find any way to get it back. So even with a patch the probability of this getting back in is very very very low.

...of which more than a hundred where made in the first 24 hours...

"as does various other media players" . "does" applies to "players," so it should "as do various media players"

Thanks, both fixed.

wait...I didn't.

Yay!! :)

I've been waiting so long! Thank you! :)

First of all, congrats to the Amarok team ! Usability definitely made a great step forward !

Two "simple" features I would personally love (do other people think the same ?), and that are present in Exaile, for instance...

1) the return of the moodbar. Really, it can be quite useful, to identify the structure of the music and jump directly to the right position.

2) a way to quickly "switch to another playlist". In exaile it is possible thanks to "tabs". It really enables to change easily what kind of music you listen too, depending on your mood. I guess most people just "append" their favorite stuff in the current playlist in amarok, but it turns quickly into a mess :)

Just my humble suggestions of course !! Thanks again to the team for what they've done !

I miss it too

Yep, we do want the moodbar back. It's the one feature that kept me from using 2.x for as long as I could.

And there are two more things:

1. Please at least give users the Option to add shuffle and repeat toggles to the array of playlist buttons. Being someone who changes these settings frequently every day I really think they are important buttons.

2. In Amarok 1.x, when you wanted to add a new album to the collection you could select the files, edit their metadata and do the following: First change things that apply to all the files (year, gerne, artist, etc..) and then click 'per track' and edit the track-specific things while the settings made in multi-mode where still there. Since 2.x, whenever you swith from multi-mode to 'per track', the metadata is re-read and your multi-mode changes are lost. That's a really annoying bug.

Otherwise awesome. Although dragging from the collection to the playlist still feels sloppy somehow. Maybe if there was an option to disable the new context thing that appears when dragging. I never use it but it takes about a second to pop up in which I'd otherwise have added the tracks by long.

I've been using 2.2 still beta 1, and got no crashes at all using it. Great works. Can't wait for Amarok 2.3.x.

Thanks a lot to coders, you've done an amazing work. Again !

First of all, I must congratulate Amarok team on doing great job. If I may add something from me, I would like to see just two more features in further releases. They are: ape playback (I believe it is related with using ffmpeg) and parsing cue like in foobar2000, or Qmmp.
Again, many thanks!

When I enable "Automatically scroll playlist to current track" in options, it works very strange. When audio changes, playlist scrolls not to new track, but to previous played track. Just enable "Random" mode for playing and you'll see this issue.

Dear folks,

thanks a lot for your work. I LOVE Amarok more than ever!

Toe.

Oh come on. First day of Roktober and you release the next great leap forward. That's a little obvious. :p

Seriously, though. Looks like you've got quite an impressive release here. The only thing I'm still missing is labels - please. :)

Oh noes! They are on to us!

:-P

Does it have gapless, crossfading playback?

pulled sources from svn ..uupps ..git ..he he he.. tried what i miss most from amarok1 and they are still there ..podcast support

would appreaciate if the next release will have podcast support ..all i ask for is for my podcasts to survive amarok restart, for my option to download new episode to be respected and for the option to set only N number of podcasts to also be respected

on GUI front..the ability to hide the menu bar and the status bar will greatly be appreciated

the "Save playlist, undo, redo" buttons below the playlist look out of place ..i think amarok will look a lot better if there are removed, have an option to remove them and put virtualization in their place

looking forward for next release ... this release if a few steps closer to me living behind the last kde3 app on my system ..sadly, i must go back to amarok1 to listen to my favorite podcast ..

If anything about podcasts is not saved correctly to the database then your setup is probably broken. Most likely the database tables are not correct. This will happen when you use development versions. Try deleting $KDEHOME/share/apps/amarok/mysqle or the podcast* tables in the database directly. Then restart. If that doesn't fix it open a bug report.

does podcast functionality work on your system?

i deleted the amarok folder to start afresh

started amarok, add a podcast, set to download new podcasts and set maximum number of podcast to 4 and click "update all"

amarok downloaded 10 podcasts, ignoring my option to download a maximum of 4

podcasts were downloaded to "share/apps/amarok/podcasts" but no file was created in "share/apps/amarok/mysqle"

restarted amarok and the podcast i added did not show up on the list

conclusion: amarok currently does not save the podcast list on the database since the database is not created

going to open a bug report

for completeness sake ..it turn out, the problem was on my install ..i compiled QT with mysql build in and amarok seem to have issues with that as it works best with QT compiled with mysql as a plugin

With music players that show up as mass storage devices, is there a way to tell it to look in a specific subdirectory? Right now, it has to re-scan the whole device every time I plug it in. Otherwise, lookin' good!

Firstly, following PlanetKDE and running amarok-nightly from Neon, I'm fully aware of how much work you guys have put in, and it's much appreciated.

Most of my "issues" with Amarok are more along the lines of UI suggestions that are better suited for someplace like Brainstorm, but the "Configure Shortcuts" dialog is something I've seen consistently done badly across KDE applications. The dialog itself is a great improvement over previous versions of KDE, but it seems like most apps are just throwing all their shortcuts in there and leaving it at that.

It has the ability to organize the shortcuts into sections that are relevant to visible parts of the application, or some facet of the user experience. Gwenview is an example of an app that begins to use this functionality. Amarok's shortcuts could be easily divided into sections such as "Playback," "Playlist," "Rating/Scoring," etc. There aren't obvious categories for all of the shortcuts, but deciding what to do with those becomes considerably easier after you've got the obvious ones organized in a sane way.

It's not a huge issue, but I'd wager that it has a significant impact on usability, and a user's level of irritation/frustration with trying to fine-tune their settings.

Seriously, I've played around with Amarok, and generally really like it, but the playback buttons are so disturbingly out of tune with the rest of the layout, that it's off-putting - especially for a player you can't skin. Juuuust a bit of friendly advice.

There´s an option to change the playback buttons. If you right-click on them and choose Toolbar NG, the toolbar changes and the buttons are not one above the other anymore.

I loved amarok, I used it daily, but when the new layout came it bugged me. It was so busy with gradients on every line & seemed clunky. The fat play buttons annoyed me...so, I left my first love and now use Songbird. Simple, light, nice design, efficient.

Great program...lacking in the visual design.

-Jon

+1
I loved the Amarok 1, used it everyday. My moving from Win to Lin was inspired by Amarok greatly. And now? I can't get to like ver 2. I tried it again and again, but the new Amarok stayed stranger for me. It is a visual desert, uncomfortable, ugly and chaotic. Sorry for these words, but I'm very sad. :-(
Another important missing feature is the MusicBrainz support. I think it's essential today...
I'm searching my missing old-new, nearly-perfect music player...

Thank you!

By the way... I also think that that the menu bar is not good looking... if we can hide it... would be nice.... and, i think so many little buttons (playlist, markers, or the selection ones [cd, local music]) are a small visual mess....

Oh well, i know were going forward. Thanks

Right click the menu bar and there's an option to have smaller separated buttons. It looks much nicer (at least in my opinion).

Thanks you very much! this new version is amazing. Thanks for yours work and dedication!

Thank you guys for your great work ! It is good to see amarok getting better and better in an amazing speed. :)

Amarok2.2 rocks!
But one little thing annoys me: the background of the lyrics applet doesnt match with the other applets. that doesnt look so good.

Yes, this is a known issue. We're working on it.

Will this service ever be re-integrated so that we can use audio fingerprinting to fill in the ID3v2 tags?

Thank you!

Yes, we do plan to bring a fingerprinting service back, although maybe not from MusicBrainz (there are other options).

I didn't know that there are alternatives. Maybe we could have the option to choose these providers or even search for a fingerprint in more than one provider, because MusicBrainz doesn't always find the track I'm listening to.

Yeah, this is one feature I'm really hanging out for, It's excellent

Look at amarok2.2_1.png screenshot (http://amarok.kde.org/files/amarok2.2_1.png). The music title "What Else Is There" use a black font and the color of selection (dark blue) shows a bad constrast: dark color over dark color. It's a few polish or a example for that details is not a concern for the Amarok developers. The great applications is beatiful too, and it's important imho.

That is actually a very good point, and I know that the text used to respect selections and invert the color. That is a regression that have crept in an some point

I'll add it on my 2.2.1 TODO list.

Great! With audio-cd support Amarok 2 is finally almost good as 1.4 ;)

Yay, one of my favorite songs on Tubular Bells II ... this build just *has* to be good :-)

I applaud you for knowing where the name came from. It's a beautiful album indeed :)

First of all, many thanks to Amarok devs, for their unbelievable amount of work put in this program. But still, there is no way for me to play CUE files as of version 2.2. If it is ever going to be implemented, what will it look like? I'd like to see CUE parsing into single virtual tracks on playlist, behaving just like normal tracks. Regardless of what Amarok developers decision will state, please make it and tell us, so that I, and other CUE users, know if it's worth waiting for the next releases.

Currently it should be possible to load cue files using the file browser.

The different tracks will show up as "bookmarks" in one long track. Codewise there is support for splitting that up into separate tracks, but it has not been used for creating full cue support just yet. Also, the local collection does not support cue files just yet. What is needed is someone who is really motivated for adding this feature, as none of the regular devs use cue files much.

That's great to hear. Could you please point out some files in the Amarok repo that may contain such code for me, because I'm not much involved in the development. I'm quite sure I could help :-)

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