Amarok (software)

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This article is about the music player software. For other uses, see Amarok.
Amarok
Amarok.svg
Amarok 2.6
Amarok 2.6 ("In Dulci Jubilo")
Original author(s) Mark Kretschmann
Developer(s) KDE
Initial release 23 June 2003[1]
Stable release 2.8 (August 16, 2013; 11 months ago (2013-08-16)) [±]
Written in C++ (Qt)
Operating system Unix-like, Windows
Available in Multilanguage
Type Audio player
License GNU General Public License Version 2
Website amarok.kde.org/en

Amarok /ˈæmərɒk/[2] is a cross-platform free and open source music player. Although Amarok is part of the KDE project, it is released independently of the central KDE Software Compilation release cycle. Amarok is released under the terms of the GNU General Public License version 2.

History[edit]

The project was originally started by Mark Kretschmann as a means of improving XMMS due to several usability problems, which interfered with the addition of new files to the playlist due to several user interface elements existing for one task. The original amaroK was created based upon the idea of a two-pane interface seen in Midnight Commander, and the first version of the software released solely by Kretschmann, was based upon the ideal of allowing users to drag-and-drop music into an interface in which the playlist was displayed on the right and information on the left.

After the initial release of AmaroK, several developers joined the project to form the “Three M’s” the first of whom was Max Howell, who acted as an interface designer and programmer for the project, alongside Muesli (Christian Muehlhaeuser), who also provided user interface insight and programming till the late 1.4 versions. Originally named amaroK, it was renamed to Amarok in June 2006.

Amarok 1.4 established a reputation for innovation after its release, but maintaining development with the old framework became more difficult as Amarok grew. With the release of KDE 4, the developers decided to give Amarok a complete overhaul aesthetically as well as functionally.

A new major version of Amarok, version 2.0, was released on December 12, 2008. On June 3, 2009, version 2.1 was released which reintroduced a few of the 1.4 features which had been missing from the initial 2.0 release, and introduced some features such as native ReplayGain support for the first time.[3]

[edit]

Amarok was originally named after the album Amarok by Mike Oldfield. "Amaroq" is the Inuktitut word for "wolf", hence the choice of the wolf for the logo. The 1.2 release used a slightly different logo, which was withdrawn due to similarity with the logo of WaRP Graphics Inc.. Amarok’s wolf logo has now been modified sufficiently so as not to infringe on WaRP’s trademarked logo, and reinstated.

Development goals[edit]

Amarok’s tagline is “Rediscover Your Music”, and its development is based around this ideology. Amarok’s core features such as the unique "context browser", integrated Wikipedia lookup and lyrics download help users to find new music, and to learn more about the music they have. Amarok also features integration with last.fm, giving users suggestions about what to listen to next and which artists may fit their mood, as well as with Magnatune integration, allowing no-cost full listening of all the music in their catalog, and DRM-free purchasing.

Features[edit]

Basic uses and functions[edit]

Amarok serves many functions in addition to the basic function of playing music files. For example, Amarok can be used to organize a library of music into folders according to genre, artist, and album, can edit tags attached to most music formats, associate album art, attach lyrics, and automatically "score" music by keeping play count statistics.

Although a more technical list of features is listed below, here are the primary functions or uses for Amarok:

  • Playing media files in various formats including but not limited to (depending on the setup) FLAC, Ogg, Opus, MP3, AAC, WAV, Windows Media Audio, Apple Lossless, WavPack, TTA and Musepack. Amarok does not play digital music files embedded with DRM.
  • Tagging digital music files (currently FLAC, Ogg Vorbis, WMA, AAC, MP3, and RealMedia).
  • Associating cover art with a particular album, and retrieving the cover art from Amazon.
  • Creating and editing playlists, including smart and dynamic playlists. The dynamic playlists can use such information as the "score" given to a song by an Amarok script, and the playcount which is stored in the database.
  • Synchronizing, retrieving, playing, or uploading music to the following digital music players: iPod, iriver iFP, Creative NOMAD, Creative ZEN, MTP, Rio Karma and USB devices with VFAT (generic MP3 players) support.
  • Displaying artist information from Wikipedia and retrieving song lyrics.
  • Last.fm support, including submitting played tracks (including those played on some digital music players) to Last.fm, retrieving similar artists and playing Last.fm streams.
  • Podcast.

From version 1.4.4, Amarok introduced the integration of Magnatune, a non-DRM digital music store, enabling users to purchase music in Ogg, FLAC, WAV, and MP3 formats.

Some of these features depend on other programs or libraries that must be installed on the computer to operate.

Technical features[edit]

  • Three main window panes: playlist browser, collection and player window.
  • Systray (panel notification area) icon support.
  • Song collection, which includes specific folders on the filesystem.
    • Searching Files/Artists/Album/Genre in Collection can be performed using Simple and Advanced options
  • Intelligent Playlists support (Dynamic Playlists)
  • Integration with online services such as Magnatune, Jamendo, MP3tunes, Last.fm and Shoutcast.[4]
  • Songs can be rated both dynamically (based on how much the song is played) and by hand (giving rating of 1-5 stars to the song).
  • Amarok File Tracking (since 1.4.3): Stores file checksum in the collection. This allows the file be moved around in the filesystem without Amarok losing track of the song statistics.
  • Collection filter (newest songs, highest rated, most played, etc.).
  • Support for Phonon engine. The backend of Phonon dictates which media types Amarok can play and how they play. When using Xine, Amarok supports crossfading, but not seeking in seekpointless FLAC files. When using Gstreamer, Amarok supports seeking and gapless playback, but not crossfading.
  • Support for moodbars.
  • Uses TagLib for tags.
  • Amarok can be controlled via D-Bus.
  • Amarok Scripts, for example, when writing lyrics fetching plugins, can be written in QtScript.[5]

Amarok 2.0[edit]

Amarok 2 was released on 10 December 2008 bringing along new features[citation needed], but still less than Amarok 1.4, spawning considerable discussion, and a completely redesigned interface. New features include:

The user interface had been redesigned to make context information like lyrics and albums from the same artist more accessible and allow the user to decide which information is available by adding applets to the Context View in the middle. The new Biased Playlists offer a way to let Amarok take care of the playlist in an intelligent way similar to Dynamic Playlists in previous versions. New services can easily be added via GetHotNewStuff in Amarok or from kde-apps.org. The migration to the KDE Platform 4 allows Amarok 2 to make use of technologies like Plasma, Phonon, and Solid which make Amarok easier to use and maintain.

Changes since 1.4[edit]

  • Service Framework: This integrates networked music sources directly into Amarok. This includes online music stores, media servers, Web music lockers, and more. Due to this the users will be able to get easy access to music provided by Magnatune, Jamendo, Last.fm, MP3Tunes Locker and Ampache.
  • Biased Playlists: Biased Playlists extend the old Dynamic Playlists. They allow users to define an automatically populated playlist, based on specific probability-driven criteria called "biases".
  • Context View: This view occupies the central place of the Amarok’s window, replacing the old Context Browser from the 1.x series. It displays contextual information about the music one plays, like the album cover, track rating, labels, lyrics, artist information, related songs and artists and track mood.
  • Other Features: Additional changes in Amarok 2.0 include new SVG-based scalable theme, advanced scripting, dynamic collections, usability changes, updated media device handling, new podcast manager and support for more software platforms.

Forks and variations[edit]

Clementine: A fork of Amarok 1.4.

The transition from version 1.4 to version 2 was criticized by many users. As a consequence some new projects have been established, based on Amarok version 1.4.x.

Release history[edit]

Colour Meaning
Red Release no longer supported
Green Release still supported
Blue Future release
Major Version Codename Minor Version Release date Notes
0.5 Wocka 0.5.0 2003-06-23 Initial release
0.6  ?? 0.6.0 2003-09-20  ??
0.7 The Last Zombie 0.7.0 2003-11-16 Added support for cross fading and customizable columns.
1.0  ?? 1.0.0 2004-06-17 Added searchable 'collection', file browser, cover art from Amazon and statistics.
1.1 I am a rock 1.1.0 2004-09-27 Added song ratings and support for Xine, MAS and K3b.
1.2  ?? 1.2.0 2005-02-14 Support for iPods, Audioscrobbler, MySQL and a themeable browser.
1.3 Airborne 1.3.0 2005-08-14 New playlist browser, work on interface, dynamic playlists, support for podcasts, relative paths in playlists, playlist queue, Wikipedia integration and cuesheets.
1.3.9 2006-03-26 Helix and GStreamer engine, improved interface, work on podcast support.
1.4 Fast Forward 1.4.0 2006-05-17 Improved support for mobile devices, work on memory usage and interface design, integration of Last.FM into the context browser, gapless playback using Xine, lyrics now fetched with scripts, advanced Wikipedia integration, CD ripping via drag n drop, improved handling of podcasts.
1.4.1 2006-07-02 Improved performance and usability, name changed from amaroK to Amarok, Last.FM streams, rating via scripts.
1.4.2 2006-08-22 DAAP client, MTP media device support, dynamic collection, custom Last.FM stations.
1.4.3 2006-09-05 AFT (Amarok File Tracking).
1.4.4 2006-10-30 Magnatune integration, 3 different ways of crossfading with Xine and helix engine.
1.4.5 2007-02-04 SHOUTcast streams, labels.
1.4.6 2007-06-21 New icon set, Rockbox support.
1.4.7 2007-08-13 Updated icons and Cool Streams.
1.4.8 2007-12-20 Added/improved support for latest iPods (using libgpod3): 6th-Generation iPod Classic, 3rd-Generation iPod Nano, iPod Touch
1.4.9 2008-04-09 Only released in Kubuntu. It was missing one important bug-fix, so it was immediately superseded by 1.4.9.1
1.4.9.1 2008-04-12 Updated translations, and bug-fixes
1.4.10 2008-08-13 Very important security update
2.0 In the beginning 2.0.0 2008-12-10 Complete redesign of interface, increased graphical features, KDE 4 support, first (unstable) release for Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X.[7]
Magellan 2.0.1.1 2009-01-11 Searching and filtering in the playlist, reintroduction of queueing and stopping after track.

(Immediately superseded 2.0.1 after a security bug was found in the initial release).[8]

Only Time Will Tell 2.0.2 2009-03-05 Bug and stability fixes.[9]
2.1 Let There be Light 2.1.0 2009-06-03 Native ReplayGain support, a refactoring of context view, a playlist layout editor, and Amarok URLs and bookmarks.[10]
Oceania 2.1.1 2009-06-17 Mostly bug and stability fixes.[11]
2.2 Sunjammer 2.2.0 2009-10-01 Layout editing, photo and video plasmoids, breadcrumb navigation in the collection browser, and much improved sorting and editing in the playlist.[12]
Weightless 2.2.1 2009-11-16 Faster collection scanner, podcast grouping, autofetching podcasts, SMB (samba) support in playlist.[13]
Maya Gold 2.2.2 2010-01-11 Moodbar support, custom labels for music, podcast refinements, and many bugfixes.[14]
2.3 Clear Light 2.3.0 2010-03-15 Better podcast support and saved playlists, many small improvements.[15]
The Bell 2.3.1 2010-05-31 Automated Playlist Generator, two new applets for the Context View, cover fetching improvements, and many bugfixes and small improvements.[16]
Moonshine 2.3.2 2010-09-21 Dynamic Collection fixes as an attempt to work better with hard drives and USB mass storage devices, compatible with KDE’s 4.5 release, other bugfixes.[17]
2.4 Slipstream 2.4.0 2011-01-15 Conversion of tracks from one file format to another when copying from the file browser to the local collection, other bugfixes.[18]
Resolution 2.4.1 2011-05-08 Lyrics and iPod handling both improved along with remote collections, you can now better preview your changes in the Organize Collection feature, other bugfixes.[19]
Nightshade 2.4.2 2011-07-07 Enable drag and drop on collections to copy/move within Local Music and directly from the playlist, other bugfixes.[20]
Berlin 2.4.3 2011-08-01 Compiles with the LLVM frontend Clang, Enable drag and drop on collections to copy/move within Local Music and directly from the playlist, other bugfixes.[21]
2.5 Earth Moving 2.5 2011-12-20 Re-written USB Mass Storage support, integrated Amazon MP3 store, other bugfixes. Windows version of Amarok officially stable.[22]
2.6 In Dulci Jubilo 2.6 2012-08-13 A complete overhaul of the iPod and iPhone support, transcoding for iPod-like and USB Mass Storage devices.[23]
2.7 A Minor Tune 2.7 2013-01-18 Preliminary version of the Nepomuk Collection plug-in. Statistics Synchronization between collections and with Last.fm. The File Browser's behavior and appearance was greatly improved. Audio CD playback was resurrected.[24]
Harbinger 2.7.1 2013-05-15 Fix inability to reverse "Use Music Location" decision and inability to clear database once all collection directories have been unset. Fix inability to create database when home directory contains non-ASCII characters.[25]
2.8 Return To The Origin 2.8 2013-08-16 A fancy audio analyzer visualization applet. Smooth fade-out when pausing music. Many UI improvements and visual tweaks including better support for alternate color themes. Significantly enhanced MusicBrainz tagger. Power management awareness with a pair of new configuration options. Performance optimizations and responsiveness tuning all over Amarok.[26]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]