SEP
28
2004

amaroK: Next Generation Audio Player Hits 1.1

Before amaroK was born, most KDE users were stuck with XMMS; others would even run console-based audio players. Now those days are over. amaroK, written for the KDE desktop environment with its slick GUI and plugable, engine-independent audio capabilities is coming to a computer near you!

amaroK is the first KDE application to use the GStreamer Multimedia Framework without any dependency on external bindings. amaroK can also integrate with xine so you have the freedom of choosing your own flavor.
With version 1.1 there are many exciting changes that make using amaroK even more fun. Here are some of the features that you will simply love :

  • Fully Integrated with KDE: Play from your Samba share with smb:/, or use the fish KIO slave to play from a remote host.
  • Simple and Elegant: Collection-based system where you can choose songs from a variety of criteria, including artist, most played, never played, etc.
  • Stream Support: Listening to online radio has never been easier. Just load the playlist file and it starts playing.
  • Engine Independence: Ability to use GStreamer or xine. (There is also aRts engine but it is not ported to the new engine architecture yet).
  • Improved Crossfade: Crossfading with customizable fade-in/fade-out durations now works for GStreamer engine too
  • Inline tag editing: Tag your music while you play it.
  • MusicBrainz support for tag editing: No voodoo needed for tagging your music, just click the MusicBrainz button and it will get the song information from the online database.
  • Album cover support: If you have album covers in your music directory amaroK will automatically load them - better yet, amaroK can automatically download album covers from the Internet!
  • Multimedia Keyboard Friendly: If you happen to have extra multimedia buttons on your keyboard, using amaroK is even more fun. Just use KHotkeys to map those special buttons to amaroK's dcop functions (like play/pause/volume up/volume down and many more)!
  • On-screen Display: amaroK can optionally announce the currently playing song using its smart and stylish on-screen display.

So give amaroK a spin today! You won't be disappointed and that is guaranteed. Fire up amaroK, start playing your favorite songs, and visit the amaroK development squad @ irc.kde.org #amarok. Tell us why you just love amaroK, or your killer new idea for it. We are waiting for you!

Comments

Yesterday I used amarok for the first time. It has some nice features like the crossfade or the album manager. On the other hand the UI is the worst I have ever seen in an KDE application (I'm sorry I have to say this).

For instance the menu items change depending on which of the sidebar menu (context, collection,...) one chooses. The stuff below the main entry looks chaotic to me, with a "menu" button at the lower right corner?! What really is brilliant is the "current track" context menu with the informations about the currently played track and related information - great!

Tag handling is much more complicated than in JuK which is the greatest application for adding meta data to mp3 IMHO. It would be great if amarok and Juk developers would work together on some parts: crossfade, album manager and musicbrainz integration could be part of a library shared by both applications.

I am not sure if I like the amaroK announcement, it sounds too much like marketing bla bla, but perhaps this is just me?!

"Before amaroK was born, most KDE users were stuck with XMMS [..] Now those days are over."

A bit modesty and at least a short link to JuK / noatun would have been more in place. Anyway, thanks for amaroK :-)


By MK at Tue, 2004/09/28 - 5:00am

I haven't tried amaroK yet, but I agree with some of the things you mentioned in your post.

"most KDE users were stuck with XMMS" is simply not true. Having that in the first paragraphs of the main page is a big turnoff. I have used JuK a lot and really like it. Maybe I'll try amaroK sometime too, maybe I'll like it better than JuK. But until then, amaroK hasn't left the best impression...

All else aside - keep up the good work and MAY THE BEST WIN.

Nathan


By NF at Tue, 2004/09/28 - 5:00am

sorry but i must tell you i love Xmms this is nice but you don't think you are monopolize a lot the desk live a little to others programmer and this stupid color white you are using, I hate it, the good you can change it. but It's good enough, the good to the KDE is that you can change almost all good and go ahead to who like is I nice stuff


By jorge at Wed, 2004/09/29 - 5:00am

First off, while I think JuK might be a little older then amaroK it, it isn't older by much. I've been using amaroK for a year, it started being usable about September of last year. So saying most KDE users were stuck with XMMS would be true, as that was certainly the case for me. Also it ignores that amaroK and XMMS both follow the 'winamp' non-jukebox style of MP3 players, whereas JuK is more of the iTunes variety.

I think the UI for amaroK is great. Better then any MP3 player out there. I do a good job of organizing my MP3 into directories myself thank you very much, so I don't like JuK which is organizes by ID3 tag (not that that's wrong or anything, just not my style). amaroK is for folks who either want a real simple MP3 player or (like myself) don't want to have to open seperate file dialogs boxs. File tree on the left, playlist on the right. Simple and less cumbersome.


By Ian Monroe at Wed, 2004/09/29 - 5:00am

I do a good job of organizing my MP3 into directories myself thank you very much, so I don't like JuK which is organizes by ID3 tag (not that that's wrong or anything, just not my style).

Actually, JuK won't touch your file organization unless you ask it to. I keep meaning to use the feature myself but I like my files the way they are too. =D


By Michael Pyne at Wed, 2004/10/06 - 5:00am

You are right saying the GUI sucks.
IMHO, something like JuK with the amamkoK features could be the best.


By Peter at Tue, 2004/09/28 - 5:00am

If you use amarok for a longer time, you'll notice that the UI of amarok is very good for what it was designed for - it is one of those few media player which actually ease often-repeated tasks like playlist handling & creation. It is far better than xmms or (almost) all other media player I've used in this regard, which is why I got hooked :-).
And AFAIK amarok is not supposed to be a juk-replacement concerning tag-handling.


By ac at Tue, 2004/09/28 - 5:00am

Tag-handling in amaroK is only meant to be something you do on the spur of the moment. Our philosophy is that you should be using a dedicated application like the excellent Kid3 or JuK, if you want to do mass-tagging or serious tag-management.

It is not true that the "menubar" changes with every side-tab. There is only one menubar! It is in the Collection Tab. And thanks to your reminder I will shortly make it into a toolbar. The menu button in the corner is a compromise that I have not yet thought of a better solution for.

I take some offense that you consider the amaroK UI to be the worst you have ever used. I have spent hours considering the UI, fighting off bloated feature requests and refining the interface to be usable, powerful and "amaroKy". I personally feel that anyone who has used amaroK for a reasonable amount of time would find it to be an excellent interface. Having said this I acknowledge that it cannot be perfect and thus I welcome any suggestions you may have, reading your post above I found none.

Collaboration with JuK actually happens more than people might think. Wheels is well aware that we nick loads of his code ;-) Not to mention we both use TagLib. JuK can use our engine system for sure if wheels/JuK-devel want to, the API is quite pleasant at the moment. They could probably take some stuff like the cover-manager, but then you have to ask where the distinction between the two applications would be?

And finally, despite my serious tone here, generally us amaroK people like to joke about. Hence the tone of the dot article! Sorry you found it somehow offensive, please take it with a pinch of salt!


By Max Howell at Wed, 2004/09/29 - 5:00am

///I take some offense that you consider the amaroK UI to be the worst you have ever used. I have spent hours considering the UI, fighting off bloated feature requests and refining the interface to be usable, powerful and "amaroKy"///

This is the problem. People used to KDE apps don't want a UI to be more "amaroKy", whatever that is. They want it to be more KDE-like. As such, it should at *a minimum* have a standard menubar and toolbar. I am what I would consider to be an "expert" KDE user and even I felt lost when I fired up amaroK. Where do I configure it? Where do I change keyboard shortcuts? Nearly every GUI feature is totally different than all other KDE applications.

This is where Juk and Noatun win and amaroK loses. Now, if *ONLY* I could configure Juk or Noatun to output *DIRECT* to OSS/Alsa and not use any arts/esd/GStreamer/,
*THEN* KDE would have a decent media player. Until then I am still stuck with XMMS / KMPlayer.


By Jason Keirstead at Wed, 2004/09/29 - 5:00am

We use KDE, we rave about KDE, we stick to all KDE style-guidelines, but our goal is to produce the best media-player. Personally I think amaroK does feel and look like a KDE application, but I suppose my point is that if we had to do something really differently because amaroK would be better as a result, then we probably would. Naturally there is a fine line, too little KDE-ness and amaroK would be worse. I wouldn't personally add a feature unless I felt KDE users would know how to use it.

"Nearly every GUI feature is totally different than all other KDE applications"

I concede the rest of your points but this is complete nonsense, we don't have a menubar, what else can you proffer? We use KMultiTabBar, KToolBar, KPopupMenu, KListView, KStatusBar, KGlobalShortcuts, KActions, etc. etc. The Player-Window isn't very KDE, but it is also very optional, and frankly is there for people who, like me, enjoy something a little colourful and fun.

Finally, GStreamer isn't a sound-server, it is a decoding framework, I suggest that if you don't like amaroK and you don't like aRts but you do like KDE stuff, that you use JuK with the GStreamer-bindings.


By Max Howell at Wed, 2004/09/29 - 5:00am

Actually don't ever listen to anyone on usability and you may keep afloat.
Follow your taste, or whoever's taste it was, and since most users that tried amarok liked it, they will continue to like it.
You just can't satisfy everybody, but usuability experts will convince you that they know what is best for all. As a matter of facts usability experts are the best at convincing people that their usability expertise is needed, then they put a perfect app or desktop to the ground.
They are the new plague of open source.


By hmmm at Wed, 2004/09/29 - 5:00am

///I concede the rest of your points but this is complete nonsense, we don't have a menubar, what else can you proffer? We use KMultiTabBar, KToolBar, KPopupMenu, KListView, KStatusBar, KGlobalShortcuts, KActions, etc. etc.///

Er.... just because you use widgets from KDElibs does not mean that your app behaves like a KDE application. As a user I would expect that at a *mimumum* this would mean that when I first start the app, it would have menu bar on the top, and a toolbar right under it. If I as a user like it at the bottom better, I can just drag it down there. Likewize, if I like a Menu button in te bottom right corner, I can customize my toolbar and put one there.

This is the whole reason you can customize these things. But it should never be the default config, since it makes new users feel totally lost. And when they already have a halfway-decent alternative, they tend to subsequenltly say "no thanks" (like I have) and not even both trying to "learn to appreciate" the UI you so painstakingly designed.

Also, note that I am by no means a UI guide stickler. In the past there have been numerous times where I questioned the guide and some points I whole-heartedly disagree on. However, there are just *some* things an app should have consistant - and a menu bar and tool bar are two of them.


By Jason keirstead at Wed, 2004/09/29 - 5:00am

Maybe it's hard for you to believe this, but amaroK has about the best GUI possible - better than almost any other KDE app. Maybe KDE should be more 'amaroKy' (whatever) as a whole! That would be better then adding bullsh*t like menubars or toolbars for every application (just to make _you_ feel at home), even if the program has only five menu items. Empty menus are disturbing, a waste of space and introduce unnecessary clutter.

BTW, there are applications that don't need to (and should not) follow standard interface guidelines, because they fulfill a special goal: music production apps, paint (that's why Gimp or Photoshop are bad), compositing (After Effects' GUI is really bad), 3D apps or - in this case - audio players...


By Willie Sippel at Wed, 2004/09/29 - 5:00am

"Maybe it's hard for you to believe this, but amaroK has about the best GUI possible - better than almost any other KDE app."

Not quite, as you can read that several people dislike amaroks UI. It might be the best UI for _you_ but this doesn't mean that it is the "best UI", especially if a couple of people stated exactly the opposite.

As I already suggested the developers should ask Aaron for his opinion and I'm sure he can give them some hints why amaroK is so confusing to use.

IMHO the general problem is that amaroK wants to be cool and exceptional and thus they try to make the UI non-standard (no menu bar, no toolbars, menu button bottom right and so on). It's o.k. for some audience, e.g. <18 years, but I am not sure this application should be a part of core KDE then. If you want to see a standard GUI, use JuK, which probably is too "boring" for the general amaroK audience.

"there are applications that don't need to (and should not) follow standard interface guidelines, because they fulfill a special goal:"

why should special applications not use a standard interface?

"[...] paint (that's why Gimp or Photoshop are bad)"

??? I really don't understand your line of reasoning here.


By MK at Wed, 2004/09/29 - 5:00am

Well, and there are also quite a few people that love amaroK's UI...

You know, if the amaroK team wants to add a menu- and toolbar, I couldn't care less - as long as it's possible to remove them, as they are simply not needed. Why would anyone in their right mind want to add UI elements just to comply to some unwritten UI standard, even if they are completely useless?!?

And that has nothing to do with the audience's age, as I'm neither <18, nor a gamer, modder or geek...

"why should special applications not use a standard interface?"

Because a standard interface is just the smallest common denominator. It can't be perfect for every app, that's why all workflow-optimized professional applications use their own non-standard, workflow-centric interfaces. Take Softimage|XSI for example: the context menu is available by pressing ALT+RMB, because RMB is deselect (and MMB is toggle select). With Maya, the menubar is star-shaped (the context menu is also star-shaped) and accessible by holding spacebar. Houdini has the menu on TAB, with type-ahead-find to select the menu item. All those apps are professional 3D suites, all have a completely different interface and controls, and they all have a very fast workflow (with a steep learning curve) that you can't achieve following standard HIG's...

"??? I really don't understand your line of reasoning here. "

Photoshop is a consumer/ prosumer/ low-end professional application, with Gimp being a clone. The interface is designed to be usable by casual users without much learning, but the workflow is nothing to write home about. There are also professional paint applications like Mirage, Liberty, Amazon, Paintbox, Cyborg Paint etc - you need a while to get the uncommon design, but once you're used to it, you are much faster than any Photoshop user.


By Willie Sippel at Wed, 2004/09/29 - 5:00am

>why should special applications not use a standard interface?

Because they don't need to use it?

Do you think kfind need to be removed because there is no toolbar/menubar?


By Bellegarde Cedric at Wed, 2004/09/29 - 5:00am

KFind is a dialog based application. It shouldn't have a menu (and if you look at the current styleguide you will see a case study exactly about some kind of find dialog). Yet a standard menu/toolbar in a not-dialog based application (like amaroK) should be present. You can remove them, move them, whatever you like. KDE allows it. But right now with amaroK you cannot move the toolbar, you cannot add a menubar. Some would like to have those and you can't say that they are wrong. There is no reason to limit the possibilities. You can be different in other ways as well.

Andras


By Andras Mantia at Thu, 2004/09/30 - 5:00am

I find amaroK's UI to be close to perfect; there isn't anything I can immediately think of that I'd change. The menu in a button in the bottom right corner is the only thing that sort of sucks, but I don't think a menubar would be a better solution. Perhaps something like what winamp has, where rightclicking on any of the "empty space" in the UI (ie, where a rightclick has no other useful function) brings up the menu?


By Gábor Lehel at Wed, 2004/09/29 - 5:00am

"It is not true that the "menubar" changes with every side-tab. There is only one menubar! It is in the Collection Tab."

A menubar is either there all the time or not at all (smaller games). I don't know any KDE application where the menu bar behaves that strangely. I spend several minutes(!) to find the cover manager--I knew was there because I used it already but I was not able to find it again. What is the reason to not allow the user to access the cover manager all the time via a menu bar?

"I take some offense that you consider the amaroK UI to be the worst you have ever used. I have spent hours considering the UI, fighting off bloated feature requests and refining the interface to be usable, powerful and "amaroKy"."

I'm sorry, but I hoped you liked constructive feedback. Also I didn't wrote that it is the worst UI ever, but the worst KDE UI I have experienced so far--meaning it is not THAT worse, because KDE UIs in general are good ;-)

Another smaller usability issue: the track slider is in the status bar. This is confusing since I am not aware of any KDE application that has an active UI element in the status bar. Also the stuff below the main window looks like a toolbar, but is none.

Other examples: I would not expect the "recode ID3v1 tags" in the "font" section. A "what's this?" help is not available. Using check boxes for the "tag filter" is confusing since they behave like radio buttons. I could surely find many more examples and I am not a usability expert.

" I personally feel that anyone who has used amaroK for a reasonable amount of time would find it to be an excellent interface. "

This is what the xfig fans (one of the UI nightmares) keep telling me too, but this is not the idea of a good UI. If you can don't fear some serious critics and want to make the UI better, then ask some of the UI experts like Aaron Seigo. He surely can help you explaining far better than I can why the UI is so hard to use for thos who have not already used a "reasonable amount of time". Good luck with the project -- Marco


By MK at Wed, 2004/09/29 - 5:00am

"Another smaller usability issue: the track slider is in the status bar. This is confusing since I am not aware of any KDE application that has an active UI element in the status bar."

Fire up Konqui and look at the status bar: there's a checkbox at the right side - so I guess there's at least _one_ other KDE app with an active UI element in the status bar... :-)


By Willie Sippel at Wed, 2004/09/29 - 5:00am

The track-slider is there because it is status information. We deliberated putting it in the toolbar, but decided not to because the statusbar is where you put status related widgets. The rest of KDE not doing it is an issue with KDE in my opinion.


By Max Howell at Wed, 2004/09/29 - 5:00am

I used amarok today for the first time. I really loved the features, and I am off of xmms for good. So thank you very much for the nice app.

That said, I wanted to report on my experience with the UI. I literally spent 5 minutes searching for where to set my multimedia keys to work with amarok. The main reason for that was because I did not see the "Menu" button. I did not expect to find it there.

It also took a while to figure out how to add a directory that contains all my music. I did not know where to go.

I felt a little lost with the interface at the beginning. Once you get used to it, it is ok, but it seems to be a little difficult for newbies.


By Paul at Wed, 2004/09/29 - 5:00am

The UI is a departure from any other media player I've used, but after several weeks of using it I'd have to say it's the best UI of any of them.

Perhaps it doesn't look cool enough for some people, but obviously the authors felt the same way I did about XMMS, Freeamp, Winamp, Windows Media Player, etc and cam eup with something fresh.

Good work guys, Amarok really did free me from XMMS!

Arawak


By Arawak at Wed, 2004/09/29 - 5:00am

Yes I don't like the announcement, either. But amaroK. I like the UI a lot - easy to use and much better than e.g. JuK (I prefer the original "Apple" design more than this copy). The xmms style window is really nice if you want a control on top of everything else. While it is still KDE like, the colors put in a higher contrast which makes it perfekt for this.

I also don't see tag handling as complicated (especially if you compare it to Winamp) but I will try JuK on this...

Anyway I like amaroK.


By Norbert at Wed, 2004/09/29 - 5:00am

> I prefer the original "Apple" design more than this copy

Actually Apple didn't design that UI at all. There were jukebox programs for many years before iTunes that had similar interfaces.

The ideas came more from Real Jukebox than anywhere else, but even then there was a several year gap between me using it and designing the JuK interface. I hadn't ever used iTunes when I came up with the interface for JuK and even now I've probably used it for less than an hour total.


By Scott Wheeler at Tue, 2004/10/05 - 5:00am

While I appreciate amarok's functionality and its integration to KDE, I too take exception to the UI. There are no fatal flaw in amarok, though, and most of my nits are easily fixed details. What is disturbing, and is yet one more example why FLOSS hasn't made any serious inroads with the "unwashed masses", is the rumours I've read that the amarok developers don't want to listen to anyone who comments on the application's UI and are essentially saying "use something else, don't bother us, we like it as it is and we won't change it".

Sigh. Some days, I wish someone would just simply port XMMS to Qt/KDE so that we could have a simple, fast and nimble audio player for KDE that doesn't stick out like a sore thumb...

Makes me wish I was still an active coder.


By J.D. Smith III at Wed, 2004/09/29 - 5:00am

Thats cause amarok is great and I think media players UI are kinda like pizza toppings, you can't please everyone, though as indicated on the dot they are open to suggestions regardless. You want to port XMMS to KDE? When did XMMS have great UI. I mean, I used XMMS for years, but amaroK is clearly better IMHO. Having seperate file open dialog boxs is such a pain.


By Ian Monroe at Wed, 2004/09/29 - 5:00am

"the rumours I've read that the amarok developers don't want to listen to anyone who comments on the application's UI"
That's not true at all. They may not agree with what you are saying but they're absolutely willing to at least listen to what you have to say. In the end it is up to them to cater to not just a few, loud, non-representative-of-the-majority type users, but to the most people they can.

From hanging out in the IRC channel (#amarok on freenode) I get the feeling that most users _love_ the UI, and yes, I am one of those users.


By illogic-al at Thu, 2004/09/30 - 5:00am

I second that. I tried it but was put off by the UI.

Crap. It's too bad. Kaffeine rocks for playing movies, but I want something more adapted to playing music while still getting the KDE goodness.


By Jonas at Thu, 2004/09/30 - 5:00am

The UI is the best I've ever seen on KDE.
On the one hand people say amaroK does not look like a KDE app.
So does XMMS ?
The main reason why I use amaroK is that it includes new ideas concerning UI.
I like it very much because it does not look like every other stupid boring KDE app.
There seem to be many people who a addicted to there boring KDE UI scheme (Toolbar, Window, ugly buttons) that's it.
Some people are too shortminded or maybe even too stupid to accept new ideas.
Seems to be a problem in the whole linux community.
I hope nothing will change in amaroK's UI because hate to always use the same shit standart KDE UI's.
(Gray and White and everythink looking the same somehow)
Maybe amaroK does not need to change but some people have to change their mind and become more flexible.
Always the same people who molest the comunity with there opinion about how a UI should look and that everything has to look the same !!!!
And other shit.
If you want a boring KDE UI use noatun !!!!!!!


By Stephan at Thu, 2004/09/30 - 5:00am

Ok, you don't like the "Menu" button in the bottom-right corner, but what else? There's not really a need for a "menu bar" since everything is doable wih drag-and-dropping or single clicks. *This* is usability, not designing a UI where you have to put thousands of menu items to do everything.

Said this, there's really the need to find a solution for the menu button :)


By Davide Ferrari at Fri, 2004/10/01 - 5:00am

I disagree that this marketing "bla-bla" is bad.
I think we (the Open Source world) has way too less
of it. Just compare Firefox and previous Mozilla Suite
and how marketing is important to really make impact.
Sometimes I'm under the impression that many geeks don't
really want a larger user base. Fortunately this isn't
the goal for KDE. On Windows you have big-scale annoucements
and bad apps. We should have great apps and shy annoucements
with no self-esteem? No way - we can have great apps and
great annoucement. Not a contradiction.

What I'm still missing in Amarok is the ability to somehow dock
the main window and the playlist into one single window with
a common look.

JuK is cool for organizing music. Amarok for playing. They are both
good partners and I think sharing some code (for Album, etc.) is
certainly a good-idea. Besides (slightly off-topic):
What's totally confusing me is that the current JuK that came
with KDE 3.3 (SuSE 9.1) has no sign _whatsoever_ that there
ever was an option to fetch meta data from the internet (TRM/MusicBrainz).
But I could swear there used to be an option some time ago...
Weird!


By Martin at Tue, 2004/09/28 - 5:00am

"Sometimes I'm under the impression that many geeks don't really want a larger user base."

Where did you get the impression most geeks DO want a larger user base? I usually see two factions on forums and mailing lists. One would be those who constantly bitch about how Linux will never get Joe Sixpack to use it if they don't CONFORM! The other is a guy with a personal anecdote about how linux was easy for him. Neither of these imply a desire by the community as a whole. I woul dbe interested in the results of an accurate poll of a sufficient sample size on wether or not the majority actually DO want widespread adoption of the same users who carelessly allow their machines to be infected with any worm that wants in. Allow me to cast my vote now. Screw the average user. Linux was made by geeks for geeks and I wanna keep it that way. The only widespread adoption I wanna see is in business and hardware vendors.


By MrGrim at Wed, 2004/09/29 - 5:00am

Why, exactly, do you expect hardware vendors to support an unpopular system that's only for geeks?

Oh, wait, you want it to be popular *in business* as well. This may come as a surprise to you, but some businesses employ non-geeks for some of their computer operations! Guess what, if you want business adoption, you have to acommodate the "average user". And once they use it at work, they'll want it at home.

Popularity is our friend. I think there's a point, maybe around 10% marketshare, where ignoring Linux will be harmful to both software and hadware vendors. Also, more users = more money to distros = better testing, more stuff working out of the box, more developers sponsored to work on apps, plus things like reduced FUD credibility, reduced chance of unhelpful laws, reduced clueless "this website only works in IE on Windows" websites, ...

So, where does this leave j03 51xp@X, average geek? Well, here's where the Free = Freedom comes in. Nobody forces you to use FooDistro EasyConfig, the text files are there for you to edit. Nobody forces you to use BarWM (optimised for the end users!), you can use some WM optimised for "power users".

What you're really advocating is "I think people should only write software that I want to use, I don't care about anyone else". If somebody wants to write software that's easier to use, what right do you have to complain? Making suggestions and giving ideas is one thing, but that is not your tone.

Let's face it - Microsoft has no clue about end users. They come out with "innovations" like the collapsing menus - I have seen users look in the right menu for a function, see it collapsed, and assume the function does not exist. And they've been trained by that £@$% paperclip to avoid Help like the plague.

In some areas, Windows is already being beaten. The typical Windows start menu is a jumble of disorganised programs. Sometimes, they are helpfully grouped by publisher (like most people would expect to find Print Artist next to Halflife). My KDE menu lists games together, utilities together, etc. I know the "Start menu metaphor" is hated. I've read several articles making the point Linux desktops should do "something else". They never say *what* though. I've heard WindowMaker praised for being different, but it looks to me they put "Start" as a right-click instead of a button. Should somebody come up with something, you'll have the option to use it, whether it's for an OS written for 100, 100,000 or a billion.

Usability and users are not the enemy. The enemy is closed formats that lock your data in. The enemy is being told the bugfix is in the new version you have to pay for. The enemy is valuing shinyness over security. Everyone deserves freedom from software companies who muck around their customers, not a select few.


By a mysterious an... at Wed, 2004/09/29 - 5:00am

you can disable the xmms-like playerwindow, and amarok will appear as a single-window application with "a common look".

regards,
muesli


By Christian Muehlhaeuser at Wed, 2004/09/29 - 5:00am

And then you can add a PlayPause button to the play list window and your good to go. I think this is what the parent was wanting.


By Ian Monroe at Wed, 2004/09/29 - 5:00am

it is already there :)

Rinse


By rinse at Thu, 2004/09/30 - 5:00am

> What's totally confusing me is that the current JuK that came
> with KDE 3.3 (SuSE 9.1) has no sign _whatsoever_ that there
> ever was an option to fetch meta data from the internet

That probably means that SuSE didn't have the appropriate dependencies when creating the package. Support for internet-based tag-guessing was actually improved for KDE 3.3.


By Scott Wheeler at Tue, 2004/10/05 - 5:00am

Finally a player that doesn't make it all complicated to play my music. With xmms I really like that I can just play a directory of music without having to build a database of my music and sort on the artist, etc (assuming all the tags were correct). Amarok is great in that I can just browse my collection right on the drive and drag the folder to the current playlist. Nice and simple.

Thanks!


By Eric Weidner at Tue, 2004/09/28 - 5:00am

try juk... If juk had *some* of amarok's features, or if amarok had the great interface juk has, that whould be the perfect audio player. now I use juk because I prefer a good interface and ease of use (also for newbies, everyone nows how to use it immediately, try that with xmms or *cough* amarok) above features like albumpictures and OSD's.


By superstoned at Tue, 2004/09/28 - 5:00am

I have tried juk and rhythmbox (I like rhytmbox a little more than juk, btw) and both didn't give me the dead-simple browse to my music and drag it into the playlist functionality that Amarok has. Both of these want me to catalog all my music in order to get to it and that's not how I work.

I don't care about album pictures and OSD. The Amarok interface works pretty well for me. The only issue I have is I keep forgetting where the properties option is located, but I really don't need it often anyway.

Dead simple browse and play is what I like about Amarok.


By Eric Weidner at Tue, 2004/09/28 - 5:00am

I use Juk over Amarok as well for the same reasons, but it would be great if Juk would figure out how to reload Folders when they change.


By Joe Schmoe at Tue, 2004/09/28 - 5:00am

well, it does, over here... maybe it takes some time? or the config isn't right?

my mayor annoyance is it is difficult to remove files from a playlist (without deleting them from disk!) - actually I never succeeded...


By superstoned at Wed, 2004/09/29 - 5:00am

Just "cut" the files from the playlist without pasting them anywhere.

It works for me, although I'd like the ability to be able to put an "Empty Playlist" button on the toolbar.


By driptray at Wed, 2004/09/29 - 5:00am

I would have agreed with using juk until last month when my collection grew from a couple thousand to 23 thousand files. It might have something to do with being on a FAT32 formatted drive, but it takes over an hour for juk to index.

I've been using amarok for a couple weeks now and I think it's pretty good. It looks like it's getting some more of the meta-data editing features that are the only thing that make juk really desirable for me since I have lots of fixing to do on those new files.


By scragz at Wed, 2004/09/29 - 5:00am

The amarok engine with its support for gstreamer and xine is really fantastic. (And it works beautifully, amarok's the first music player which can do correct crossfading between tracks). On the other hand the UI is not - well - liked by everybody (especially not by me) because it feels so non-KDE-ish.

What I'd like to see: put the amarok engine in kdemultimedia and let juk and the other applications also use it. Juk is such a great application but its output support covers only gstreamer-0.6 (not really good working) and arts (obsolete).
However the amarok engine supports (or will support) all major media frameworks.


By Bausi at Tue, 2004/09/28 - 5:00am

It would be nice if all KDE multimedia apps would share the same metadata. This way reading metadata, downloading covers etc. would only be necessary once, users could use rate songs across applications (image starting juk for the first time and be able to play your favorite songs from amarok). Only playlists would be seperate.

A global multimedia meta data store would also allow new and interestings stuff using metadata. Imagine you work on a document and want to know: Which song did I listen to the last time I opened this document. Now, this sounds lame, but I am sure there could be 1000's of useful applications for system wide metadata.

(OT: One thing that comes to my mind as a use for metadata: Give me the document I was working on while talking to X on kopete/skype... I am confident the OSS community would find tons of nice applications for a good set of metadata.)


By Anonymous at Tue, 2004/09/28 - 5:00am

Use Noatun with Hayes if you want standard meta data functionality. It relies solely on KMetaFileInfo. Proper implementation of scoring, playlists, grouping etcetera through metadate is not possible with most file systems though.

I have a strong wish for Hayes to, instead of making different playlists, categorize songs or albums individually and then making a selection based on that meta info. That would be the proper way to get this unified.


By Rob Kaper at Wed, 2004/09/29 - 5:00am

The article states that the aRts-engine is not yet ported to the new engine architecture. This information is not up to date, as I forgot to update the text.

In fact aRts is fully usable in 1.1 (although we don't recommend using it).


By Mark Kretschmann at Tue, 2004/09/28 - 5:00am

Does that mean bug 81436 is no longer an issue?

http://bugs.kde.org/show_bug.cgi?id=81436

This is the only problem I have with amarok. I frequently kill artsd to use mplayer - (mplayer + artsd gives significant audio sync problems on my SuSE 9.1 install). Then, to use amarok, I have to quit a running copy - restart artsd and start amarok again.

But I love amarok so much that I am putting up with all this!!

To all who say amarok's UI is not good and doesn't confirm to KDE's style - try using it for a few days and see for urself why this UI makes so much sense. Why try using the same UI across applications when all applications don't do the same task!


By antrix angler at Wed, 2004/09/29 - 5:00am

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