DEC
25
2005

amaroK 1.3 Reviews

It seems to be review time for amaroK. The amaroK team is thrilled to see amaroK way ahead of the pack in a recent Grumpy Editor review on LWN.net, in which the author describes the best and worst features of four popular Free Software audio players. The review points out some of the weaker features of amaroK and the developers have written about how they are addressing some of the issues mentioned. amaroK has also had an audio review on the GNU/Linux User Show No. 27. The author describes most of amaroK's features and shows once again that the slogan "rediscover your music" fits perfectly. You download the review at their website, or by adding the podcast to amaroK.

Comments

i read it. well, it seemed obvious to me the author did the best he could not to like (the kde app) amarok, but the competition sucked so hard he had no choice ;-)


By superstoned at Sun, 2005/12/25 - 6:00am

Years ago everyone hyped the hell out of Rhythmbox to be the best show that GNOME had to offer and then internal disagreement made the development came to an halt. Rhythmbox was nowhere usable, it was and still is just a simple window infront of a playing engine where you can click 'play' and 'stop'. No real feedback to the user was given, what's playing, duration and so on. Not to mention that Rhythmbox was by far to immature to be anything worth while.

Then from one day to another everyone came up with his own Rhythmbox like player in GNOME (as it is a common thing that as soon someone starts something, everyone else starts to clone the thing or do the same). Now there is Banshee, Muine, Rhythmbox, Net-Rhythmbox and even that thing from Immendio and all the other players that exists.

GNOME ends up in having half a dozen half finished media players.

Then one day the amaroK people have shown up, totally focusing and concentrating on creating a good media player for KDE (imo the best one existing so far) and it has passed all the crap that GNOME initially wrote.

And still people do mention RB and Banshee (MONO) to compare with things like amaroK. Imo even XMMS is far ahead of RB in many areas.


By aa at Sun, 2005/12/25 - 6:00am

not to forget there is another KDE player for those that prefer a very clean interface: Juk. a shame it wasn't tested, as gnome users often like it more than amarok.


By superstoned at Sun, 2005/12/25 - 6:00am

Hey, it's not just Gnome users that favor Juk, I love Juk because it does one thing very well, play music. You start Juk up and within seconds you understand the interface, there was almost zero learning curve for me. I never feel comfortable using Amarok. Regardless, congrats to the Amarok team.


By bozy at Sun, 2005/12/25 - 6:00am

And amaroK devs like JuK since sometimes we get wish requests that basically translate to "make amaroK like JuK", to which we get to respond "well, use JuK". :)

Yea, it is odd that JuK wasn't reviewed.


By Ian Monroe at Sun, 2005/12/25 - 6:00am

Yes, and look like asses when you do it.

A few SIMPLE options would work wonders in making it POSSIBLE to look/work more like Juk, but Amarok devs love to be adorable and have their little competition...


By Joe at Wed, 2005/12/28 - 6:00am

can you be a bit more specific? (i'm no amarok dev, just wondering)


By superstoned at Wed, 2005/12/28 - 6:00am

One possible option that comes to mind is a "Embed JuK KPart" checkbox in amaroK.


By ac at Wed, 2005/12/28 - 6:00am

At what's the advantage of embedding the JuK KPart in amaroK over just using JuK from the beginning???


By ac at Thu, 2005/12/29 - 6:00am

Other way around for me ;) Never got the hang of how Juk works, so I tried amaroK and never looked back :) And that is despite the relatively common crashes I experience... :(


By Jo Øiongen at Sun, 2005/12/25 - 6:00am

There's code of mine in JuK (or at least, used to be), and I prefer Amarok!


By GldnBlls at Mon, 2005/12/26 - 6:00am

don' forget noatun??

What annoys me the most is that I play song a in player a and then start a song b which is then opened in player b just because it is a different format and player b is the default player, but player a does not stop to play song a but. So I have to listen to a song a and b mix.


By manes at Mon, 2005/12/26 - 6:00am

That should be easily fixed by changing the affiliation of the media formats to your favorite player :)

OTOH, it is confusing with all the different media engines (gstreamer, arts, xine, etc.). I hope one of them will end up becomming truly great, stable and standard in KDE and elsewhere.


By Joergen Ramskov at Mon, 2005/12/26 - 6:00am

Unless I've done something seriously wrong to retard its functionality (and I haven't altered it at all) NoAtun might be better forgotten. Every time it opened (it was the default player for most video formats in my distro) there were issues that caused me to kill it immediately:

1)The video was jumping like a kid who's just realized the powdered sugar on his doughnut is cocaine.

2)The audio wasn't even vaguely synced with the video.

3)Somewhere in the combination of bad video and bad audio it lagged my system so that closing the windows (at least 4 of them, there's another thing!) took much longer than it should have.

(Once its' libraries are updated from their crippled SuSE defaults) I'll take Xine any day.


By Chester at Thu, 2006/01/05 - 6:00am

Quod Libet(http://www.sacredchao.net/quodlibet) kicks Banshee, Muine and Rhythmbox, but Amarok IS f**king perfect. :)


By Heraze at Sun, 2005/12/25 - 6:00am

While AmaroK might be almost flawless to some folks, I find that those that decide to include GStreamer as the default engine with its limitations, do AmaroK nothing good. You might ask; why? Because GStreamer does not play streaming media on all systems I have tried, and it's also slow. (A bug report was filed long ago).

When one attempts to play any streaming media with GStreamer as the backend, AmaroK buffers up to 100% and then re-buffers on and on and on. It never stops! To get around this, I have always downloaded and installed Xine from source, then compiled and installed Amarok from source too. This way, Amarok recognizes the xine engine and enables me to play streaming media like radio stations.

Why won't they include xine too? I always ask myself.


By cb at Sun, 2005/12/25 - 6:00am

yeah, i also can't explain why the amarok devs fell in love with gstreamer, it gave me nothing but problems. hell, on systems where xine isn't installed i use the arts backend!! at least it works...


By ac at Sun, 2005/12/25 - 6:00am

The default backend since 1.3 (I think) has been Xine, ever since it gained a stable crossfading capability. (Incidentally, afterwards the GStreamer engine was rewritten without the crossfading capability, as it was causing too many stability issues.)
Many distros (Kubuntu e.g., don't know about the rest) set GStreamer as the default, however.

(I don't think there's that big of a difference between the two, myself -- Xine has crossfading, very slightly lower CPU usage, and skips a bit less under high load, but otherwise they both work pretty solidly these days, in my experience.)


By Gábor Lehel at Sun, 2005/12/25 - 6:00am

Not only streaming media, when I installed amaroK (don't know if it was 1.2.x or already 1.3.x) it was obviously defaulting to gstreamer. I realized that soon when I played certain mp3 files (nothing special about them) and it sounded as if gstreamer was eating them, while munching and burping. Occured on several different mp3s. I didn't want to test them all through, so I just changed to Xine which I knew was working previously and it had no problems with these files. So I'm glad there's stuff out there which is actually reliable.


By Phase II at Sun, 2005/12/25 - 6:00am

GStreamer is constantly crashing here. It's instable, not reliable, broken.


By x at Mon, 2005/12/26 - 6:00am

Read Illusius message above : your (and my) distro is broken. They patch amarok to use gstreamer by default.


By yoho at Mon, 2005/12/26 - 6:00am

no, it's not my distro that is broken. it's gstreamer that is broken. it always has been and always stay so.


By xx at Mon, 2005/12/26 - 6:00am

Isn't that a bit harsh? A new release of gstreamer has just arrived and according to what I've read, it should be a pretty massive improvement over the previous version.

No matter what, saying that it will always be broken is quite lame IMHO.


By Joergen Ramskov at Mon, 2005/12/26 - 6:00am

i think that after more than 6 years of development, one could lose its faith, don't you think?


By ac at Mon, 2005/12/26 - 6:00am

Not really, specially since you never tried 0.10 and you probably never worked on free software for 6 years.


By Reply at Tue, 2005/12/27 - 6:00am

Gstreamer is buggy, unstable, and a solution looking for a problem.

KDE has always done well by choosing the best tools for the job. In this case, Xine comprehensively beats Gstreamer in terms of robustness, speed and effectiveness. That is why Xine should be the default media backend for KDE4.

If the GNOME'rs have the same sense, they too will default to Xine... hell, it seems like most of their users are, if not the developers :)


By anon at Tue, 2005/12/27 - 6:00am

blabla "should be the default media backend for KDE4."

There won't be a thing such as a "default" media backend for KDE 4 regardless of how long people keep rambling about this stuff (there was a lesson to be learned about the current aRTs fiasco after all).


By ac at Wed, 2005/12/28 - 6:00am

Obviously you have no clue what "default" means.

So, your solution is to have...no default? A blank screen? A user saying "WTF?"


By Joe at Wed, 2005/12/28 - 6:00am

Exactly, KDE 4 will be compilable without any media backend as well (something which with KDE 3.x isn't possible due to the hard dependency on aRTs in kdelibs even if you don't intend to actually use it at all).

Get your clue digging somewhere else, please.


By ac at Wed, 2005/12/28 - 6:00am

Eh, what are you ranting on about?

Since when does "default media backend" conflict with "compilable without any media backend as well"?

--disable-media-engine

--enable-media-engine (defaults to Xine)

Ideally, the engine would be abstracted out, so that users can switch at runtime easily, like AmaroK. Thus if Xine was suddenly surpassed by something else, KDE4 would not be hampered at all.

But at the moment, Xine is by far the best and should be preferred over Gstreamer, NMM or anything else.


By anon at Wed, 2005/12/28 - 6:00am

amarok in kde 4 will not just default to, but most probably ONLY support KDEMM. And kdeMM in turn will support every backend you want. but the choice will be out of amarok's hands, and most probably global for KDE.


By superstoned at Wed, 2005/12/28 - 6:00am

You can configure each module of KDE3 with --without-arts and you do not get the depedency anymore.

Have a nice day!


By Nicolas Goutte at Wed, 2005/12/28 - 6:00am

If your distro patches amaroK to use by default a (suposedly, I haven't used it yet) broken sound engine, then your distro is broken too. Bug them to use xine engine by default, so it doesn't give amaroK a bad name.


By Henrique at Mon, 2005/12/26 - 6:00am

Bad experience with gstreamer on FreeBSD as well - and they don't patch it to be the default. Lack of crossfading is one thing, but it is also unstable. Xine is OK, but I experience occasional crashes (hardly reproducible, for they occur randomly). So far, the most stable backend for me was arts, and it supports crossfading (and that's all I need).


By Csaba Molnar at Wed, 2005/12/28 - 6:00am

I like Kaffeine personally. Easy to use and works as an all around media player. AmaroK doesn't work half the time.


By Brad at Sat, 2006/01/07 - 6:00am

That is hardly surprising considering it is "the grumpy editors guide" ;)

Lwn.net is IMHO one of the best Linux/open source magazine that exists. Week after week Corbet produces new articles of very high quality and I highly recommend becomming a subscriber if you want to follow what's going in the kernel land, his coverage is quite impressive.

Happy new year :)


By Joergen Ramskov at Mon, 2005/12/26 - 6:00am

> the competition sucked so hard he had no choice ;-)

Wrong. The reason he had no choice is that amaroK just kicks ass.

It's as simple as that. :-)))

I'm already looking forward to amaroK 1.4. :-)

Greetings,

Gunter


By Gunter Ohrner at Thu, 2005/12/29 - 6:00am

There are only few areas where iTunes or Kaffeine are better.

Like:
* Adding new files to the lib via drag and drop
* burn your playlist like in iTunes
* podcast abo
* format conversion to .ogg
* usability of freedb edit window
* mpeg 4 audio is always opened with Kaffeine
* visualisation
* mp3 player which is mounted as a memory stick is not recognized.

Amarok is wonderful, it just needs to catch up.


By Bert at Sun, 2005/12/25 - 6:00am

> * Adding new files to the lib via drag and drop
amaroK adds them automatically if the file is in the search path, and I personally don't see a reason why one would have a file in the database which can't be in a search path as well :|

> * burn your playlist like in iTunes
I don't use iTunes, but it probably doesn't export the playlist for burning to the awesome K3b burning interface with integrated ultra-fantastic media support ;-)

> * podcast abo
hm, can you describe where iTunes got and advantage there? Could be right, since podcast are meant for iPods->apple->iTunes at their nascency

> * format conversion to .ogg
for that we got scripts

> * usability of freedb edit window
wtf is a "freedb edit window"? since when does amaroK use freedb at all? maybe mixed something up?

> * mpeg 4 audio is always opened with Kaffeine
as long as the file is spec compatible it gets opened with amaroK

> * visualisation
I totally agree with you

> * mp3 player which is mounted as a memory stick is not recognized.
we're working on

But well, as we see one needs 2 apps to get enough advantages for a post ;-) (don't take this too serious)


By Harald Sitter at Sun, 2005/12/25 - 6:00am

Just for the record, iTunes co-opted podcasting, they didn't come up with it. :)


By Ian Monroe at Sun, 2005/12/25 - 6:00am

oh, sry

I wasn't interested until amaroK got a feature for :-P


By Harald Sitter at Sun, 2005/12/25 - 6:00am

Wth is podcast 'abo'?


By Ian Monroe at Sun, 2005/12/25 - 6:00am

RSS feed of Mp3, ogg or even pdf/video files.

Sounds simple but is soooo great.

There are plenty really good podcasting services. For instance the chaosradio pod of CCC. Or language courses.


By Malte at Mon, 2005/12/26 - 6:00am

> Or language courses.

Sounds interesting. Could you please provide URLs if you know of any good ones?


By cm at Tue, 2005/12/27 - 6:00am

Amarok does of course support podcast RSS feeds (that's kinda the whole point of podcast support). You can subscribe to feeds and let Amarok automatically check for updates.

Best podcast show ever (Amarok team approved):

http://audiocrush.us/


By Mark Kretschmann at Tue, 2005/12/27 - 6:00am

CD import and burning in iTunes is perfect from a usability level. What I miss the most in Amarok is easy CD import.

Amarok shall better be included as the default player into KDE and also integrate video functions.

iTunes is top of the class but Amarok comes close. both have some little usability glitches as any player.


By Karsten at Mon, 2005/12/26 - 6:00am

Hi Karsten,

you might want to check out kaudiocreator which does importing of CDs pretty nicely. In KDE we have different tools for different tasks so those tools can specialize more. Maybe Amarok should provide an entry in the menus for ripping the cd if kaudiocreator is available, though...

Cheers


By Thomas Zander at Wed, 2005/12/28 - 6:00am

What I don't understand is why kaudiocreator even exists, when you can just browser your audio cd and "copy" the ogg or mp3 (or even flac) directory from it via drag and drop.

Ironically, I learned of this feature from an OS X user's review of kde (3.3.x I think). This should be in kandalf's tips, or another very prominent place, for you can hardly think of any approach to ripping that would be more user-friendly. Non-technical users have no concepts of various formats (audio, wav, pcm, ogg, whatever), they just want to "copy" the mp3 off their audio cd, and that is exactly what konqi supports :)


By Csaba Molnar at Wed, 2005/12/28 - 6:00am

Totally agree ... although if some media player would be able to catalogize and file OGG files into appropriate directories as well, it would be totally awesome (I could do the last one with JuK, but if doesn't rip CD and I use amaroK anyway).


By Matej at Wed, 2005/12/28 - 6:00am

>What I don't understand is why kaudiocreator even exists,

Simple actually, if you try to rip 3-4 CDs in a row you'll understand. You get a much better workflow, plus it's easier to edit the cddb data if needed.


By Morty at Wed, 2005/12/28 - 6:00am

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