OCT
4
2005

amaroK Live 1.3 Released with Open Music

The amaroK team would like to announce the immediate release of version 1.3 of the innovative amaroK Live CD. This complete operating system is a unique collaboration between Free Software and Open Music that runs entirely from a single CD. The live CD comes with a fully functional copy of the amaroK music player bundled with tracks from Magnatune, the German artists Paniq & Snooze and the Norwegian performer Ugress.

amaroK Live 1.3

Based upon the KDE-centric PCLinuxOS, amaroK Live is not a complete Live CD distribution as much as it is a demonstration of an extremely cool audio player. This combination reinforces the concept that amaroK Live 1.3 is the perfect collaboration between Free Software and Free Music (free as in freedom). Music selections on the CD span many genres, from Electronica to Rock, Jazz and Classical.

The tracks contributed by Magnatune are graciously licensed to us under the attribution/non-commercial/share-alike (by-nc-sa) version of the Creative Commons license, so these specific music tracks are both free in the sense of freedom and free in the sense of no cost. Magnatune is a revolutionary concept founded in 2003 as an independent, online record label that hand selects its own artists, sells its catalogue of music through online downloads and print-on-demand CDs and licenses music for commercial and non-commercial use.

The other tracks found on the CD can also be legally shared for non-commercial purposes.

Screenshots of amaroK Live 1.3 can be found on the amaroK Live website.

About Magnatune:
Founded in 2003, Magnatune is an independent, online record label that hand selects its own artists, sells its catalogue of music through online downloads and print-on-demand CDs and also licenses music for commercial and non-commercial use.

Based on the principle that "We are not evil," the company offers fair-trade music to consumers by equally sharing all revenue from the sale of albums with artists and allowing artists to retain full rights to their music. All music can be previewed free of charge with a "try before you buy" philosophy. Customers can also choose how much they want to pay for the music with pricing ranging from $5-18 for a downloadable album or print-on-demand CD.

About amaroK:
amaroK is a music player for KDE with an intuitive interface. amaroK makes playing the music you love easier than ever before - and looks good doing it. It is Free Software, licensed under the GNU General Public License and is available for most GNU/Linux distributions.

Since amaroK can use many different engines to decode and output, it can be used in just about any desktop environment. Xine is the default engine, but Arts, GStreamer and Real/HelixPlayer are all options, including the Network Multimedia framework (NMM).

CD Download:
HTTP: http://sluglug.ucsc.edu/pub/amarok/amarok_live-1.3
BitTorrent: http://aurora.gkmweb.com:6969

Comments

It's a great concept, but unfortunately it comes with MP3 software (which is patent-encumbered in some countries) and appears to come with the proprietary Macromedia Flash player as well. Perhaps there are other non-free programs on the CD I have not seen. As a result, this is merely gratis software, not free software.

Has anyone made a derivative of this CD that is strictly free software? I'd be interested in evaluating that. The remastering directions from the Amarok live CD site say that the scripts build "a new iso image that doesn't boot".


By J.B. Nicholson-Owens at Tue, 2005/10/04 - 5:00am

It also says we're working furiously on a fix. Which we are, so stay tuned.


By leo at Tue, 2005/10/04 - 5:00am

and we now know what the problem is. See the amaroK Live forum at http://amarok.kde.org or the amaroK Live site at http://amaroklive.com for an explanation and how to fix it.


By oggb4mp3 at Mon, 2005/10/10 - 5:00am

Re-mastering isn't for adding and removing software regardless, AFAIK.


By Ian Monroe at Tue, 2005/10/04 - 5:00am

The re-mastering script I mean to say.


By Ian Monroe at Tue, 2005/10/04 - 5:00am

Well, the only non-free software is the flashplayer, and we debated heartily about including it. Since it was distributable, and many websites use flash nowadays, and since the user is very likely to surf while listening, we elected to include it for a better user experience.

As for the mp3 stuff, all the software that can decode mp3's is released under the GPL, so the software itself is free, and there is only 1 mp3 on the disk, which is the introduction by Bill Goldsmith from Radio Paradise. Everything else is vorbis. This file was provided to me as mp3, and in hindsight maybe I should have transcoded it to ogg.

Anyway, it seems to be the general understanding that decoders are legal, it's the encoders that have a patent problem, and since we're not encoding, but decoding, I think no one will get arrested ;)


By Greg Meyer at Tue, 2005/10/04 - 5:00am

> it seems to be the general understanding that decoders are legal

The same patent naturally covers both. It's more that the patent holders basically aren't enforcing it for decoders. That said, it was no accident (though I don't like it either) that both Redhat and SUSE have removed mp3 decoders from their distributions for legal reasons.


By Scott Wheeler at Tue, 2005/10/04 - 5:00am

It seems to be the general understanding that Thomson and the Frauenhofer Institut don't want money from free software distributors.

Only redhat has removed mp3 support, Suse provides mp3 support as a download option. Nearly all other distributions ship with mp3 software - so it seems to be no problem to include mp3 support in the amarok live CD.


By Hans Chen at Tue, 2005/10/04 - 5:00am

Ubuntu doesn't ship with mp3 software either.


By anonymous ;) at Mon, 2005/10/24 - 5:00am

It's a great concept, but unfortunately it comes with MP3 software (which is patent-encumbered in some countries)

RTFGPL. The software simply can't be distributed in such countries, if that would make it non-free there. There's no way to bring free software to a non-free country.

and appears to come with the proprietary Macromedia Flash player as well. Perhaps there are other non-free programs on the CD I have not seen. As a result, this is merely gratis software, not free software.

The songs are not allowed to be commercially distributed, so there's no way you can have the cd be free without losing the whole point.


By mikeyd at Tue, 2005/10/04 - 5:00am

So OGG is not supported???


By ehemm at Tue, 2005/10/04 - 5:00am

Yes it supports ogg. Everything on the CD is ogg.

Ogg is the container, vorbis is the format.


By Greg Meyer at Tue, 2005/10/04 - 5:00am

"Ogg is the container, vorbis is the format."

You probably mean: "Ogg is the container, vorbis is the codec."


By dina at Tue, 2005/10/04 - 5:00am

Now that I am listening to magnatune tunes with amarok
I would like to be able to rate the music in amarok so that I know which song I liked and how much.
Would that be an interesting feature ? is that doable ? I know that amarok stores already statistics about songs but, to my knowledge, without user inputs. Now amarok may also take user inputs a bit like google mail and its star system.

The rationale behind it is that as you listen to new (unknown) music, say from magnatune, you may not recall which one you liked best. Being able to quickly rate the song will allow a quick sort on the preferred song and then allow to buy them from magnatune or other record label.


By Christophe at Tue, 2005/10/04 - 5:00am

Amarok tracks ratings automatically based on how often you start a song, how often you listen to it all the way through, and how often you skip it, which usually gives an indication of how well you like it. You can manually edit Amarok's score values by right-clicking the playlist headers, enabling "Score," then right-clicking the score value for any track and editing.


By kundor at Tue, 2005/10/04 - 5:00am

Regarding the automatic statistics I agree that they provide some kind of information how much you like a song.
I don't think editing the score by hand from 0 to 100 is the best that can be done, at least visually looking at a numeric value is not that appealling.
The score(0-100) could be viewed as its value (now) or as 0 to 5 stars as an approximation and give the users an immediate feed back about the song.
The star system could then give a quick estimation of the song score from the user point of view.

Score 0 - 0 star
Score 1-20 1 star
Score 21-40 2 stars
Score 41-60 3 stars
Score 61-80 4 stars
Score 81-100 5 stars

This way you can mark songs say from magnatune and perhaps then buy the preferred ones.

Now it is just an idea. I am already very happy with amarok :)


By Christophe at Tue, 2005/10/04 - 5:00am

The scores are listed as stars in the home tab in the context sidebar. (At least in 1.3 CVS from 2-3 days ago).


By freqmod at Tue, 2005/10/04 - 5:00am

There has always been the five star thing in the context browser. That is since that theme was created. The five star is just hiding the regular bar graph with some CSS.


By madpenguin8 at Tue, 2005/10/04 - 5:00am

That's something that kind of bugs me - the fact that deciding you want to listen to something else right now is treated the same as skipping a song because you don't want to hear it.

There doesn't seem to be any way of stopping one track and starting another without it affecting its rating, and manually editing it misses the point.
Maybe there needs to be a "skip because I don't like it" button, rather than just assuming that not listening to something all the way through means you don't like it.


By mabinogi at Wed, 2005/10/05 - 5:00am

"Maybe there needs to be a "skip because I don't like it" button, rather than just assuming that not listening to something all the way through means you don't like it."

so amarok shouldn't assume that you don't like a song, if you actually don't like it? ;-)

cheers,
muesli


By Christian Muehlhaeuser at Fri, 2005/10/07 - 5:00am

This gets said often, but frankly, if you don't want to listen to something right now, then you are saying "I don't like this as much as this other song right now" and it adjusts the score accordingly. The adjustment is a statistic so if this is only a temporary dislike for that track, with time, the score _will_ be accurate.

The automatic system will not reflect how much you like everything instantly, but with time, it does work.


By Max Howell at Fri, 2005/10/07 - 5:00am

Great point Max. Again, let's not confuse a user rating system, which amaroK does not have, with a statistical scoring tool that tells the listener what their preferences are.


By oggb4mp3 at Mon, 2005/10/10 - 5:00am

in Amarok (1.4.1):

For 5 start system: then click in Components section.

Or unclick for original ratings system and just add to view by right-clicking column headers in main window.


By Claypole at Thu, 2006/07/27 - 5:00am

until the bandwidth is gone

http://mirror.fizzelpark.com/amarok

location: cologne, germany


By bangert at Tue, 2005/10/04 - 5:00am

From my point of view ITunes is the better player. It's usability is great. I hate apple fanatics but this program is as simple as it should be. Way to go for Amarok.


By ehemm at Tue, 2005/10/04 - 5:00am

I tried ITunes a while back - After being an Amarok user for a long time.
I honestly can't see what all the fuss is about. I have heard everybody raving about iTunes and how good it is. Am I missing something....

What does iTunes specifically do better than amarok


By Danni Coy at Tue, 2005/10/04 - 5:00am

"It's usability is great."

IMHO its 'usability' only appears great because of lack of features and configurability.

"Way to go for Amarok."

Weren't you just saying iTunes was better? You confused me by this.


By Corbin at Tue, 2005/10/04 - 5:00am

If you want something simple, try JuK instead and don't look at amaroK. amaroK is a feature packed audio player, that's always been the intention. No way the developers are going to remove all the features.


By Bram Schoenmakers at Tue, 2005/10/04 - 5:00am

I installed iTunes once on Windows a while ago. I removed it immediately when I found out that the gui button in the upper right *actually opened my cd tray*. That was indication enough to me that these people didn't have a clue about music on computers.


By Zack Glennie at Fri, 2007/04/13 - 5:00am

i would love to be able to turn off all inet activity of amarok
using simple option.


By alekibango at Wed, 2005/10/05 - 5:00am

just don't download any covers, disable last.fm support... and that should be it. in which way we infrige your privacy is still puzzling me, though.

cheers,
muesli


By Christian Muehlhaeuser at Fri, 2005/10/07 - 5:00am

Personaly i dont care about them. I own all my mp3s and they took me 5years to compile into mp3s. (records etc) Personaly I am discusted at how many people actualy care anymore. Oh we have a monoply now we want to kill you all. One day patents will choke everything including cars food software hardware. Laser pens for entertainment and betting Yes I patent infringed but I dont care any more. What about the game patent etc. They thought piracy is a problem. Can i patent a virus that steals money from patents being approved or has someone already done that.

Microsoft are laughing at us all cant you tell.


By storm at Sat, 2005/10/08 - 5:00am

amaroK is a fantastic feature-rich player that I personally love

now I can promote this anywhere, great work!


By w7 at Sun, 2005/10/09 - 5:00am

Thanks, thats the whole point of amaroK Live. :)


By Ian Monroe at Sun, 2005/10/09 - 5:00am