Amarok Weekly Newsletter - Issue 7

Rok is not enough (04.03.2007)

Issue 7:

Audio Media Player Application of the Year

As Jeremy Garcia, founder of officially informed the Amarok Team, Amarok has won the Audio Media Player Application of the Year award in the yearly poll:

Congratulations! I'm happy to inform you that Amarok has won the
Audio Media Player Application of the Year award in the 2006 Members Choice Awards. For more information, visit:

This is the second time Amarok wins this award. Last year it received 41.86% of all votes, but now it got 57.07%. Quite a success.

Wil Wheaton's Amarok review

Wil Wheaton, best known for his portrayals of Wesley Crusher on the television series Star Trek: The Next Generation, made a nice review of various Linux audio players. In his comparison with Rhythmbox and XMMS (amongst others), Amarok definitely stands out:

"Amarok is much more than just another music player or iTunes clone; in fact, it blows iTunes away. It is Kryptonite to iTunes Superman. It's the Death Star to iTunes' Alderaan."

Read the whole review, it's worth it.

Amarok 2 plans and progress

As most of you probably know, development of the next generation of Amarok is running at full speed. Developers express their contentment about the rate of development, and possibilities which Qt4 and KDE4 provide. Many early preliminary screenshots arise on blogs. Lets see what cool features are waiting to be revealed:

  • Amarok supports Phonon multimedia API via a newly created Phonon engine, but will also keep its other engines available for a while.
  • Beginnings of UI redesign are taking place. Take a look at this exclusive preview:


Note that this is Work In Progress (TM), and is subject to lots of changes. If you have any real usability experience, and are willing to help, please drop by.

  • Magnatune browser is being enhanced and might get transformed into generic music store "plugin".

  • As agreed by the developers, Amarok will provide basic video support, just enough to let you watch music videos added to playlist. No advanced video stuff, like DVDs or subtitles, for reasons discussed too many times.
  • Colored rating stars are making their come back, in both development 2.0 branch and 1.4.x stable
  • Thanks to Qt/KDE4 Amarok will be able to run natively in Windows and Mac OS X environments. Here's a screenshot of a Mac version:

Eye-candy lovers will be glad to see Amarok 2 preliminary splash screen:

Building Amarok 2

As development of Amarok 2 takes place, many people would like to try it themselves. SVN version is a bit more tricky than before since it needs basic KDE4 setup, but with a help of appropriate guide it'll all transform into occasionally 'svn up'. There are 2 main places for getting detailed help: Amarok wiki, and KDE Techbase. Here's the short version:

-create a new user and set appropriate environment variables
-install fresh cmake, dbus and qtcopy
-install kdelibs
-install Amarok

The process is pretty straightforward, and anyone who compiled some apps will easily find its way. Many will be happy to hear that thanks to the new CMake buildsystem, Amarok takes ~40% less time to build.

Cool tips: Amarok applet for kicker

After tons of Superkaramba themes here comes the real refreshment: kicker applet for controlling Amarok, called Kirocker Music Display. It runs nicely in kicker and adopts to available free space. It shows track cover, rating, various tags and progress bar. It also enables one-click pausing, skipping, seeking and rating. As a bonus, you can run it in fullscreen. Very useful and good looking kicker applet.