Amarok Insider - Twelfth issue released

The next issue of Amarok Insider has been released, along with lots of screenshots. It takes an in-depth look at Amarok's visual theme, Plasma-centric technologies, Web services, and MacOS X integration. It also discusses pending Amarok releases, talks about past and future events, and interviews some crazy Amarok fans. Enjoy!

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by AndyC (not verified)

I know Amarok is a complex program with a heap of features, but I'm not sure about the screenshots - they seem somewhat cluttered. I like the current (1.4) layout, because it focuses on what Amarok does - play music.

by Ljubomir (not verified)

What exactly is that you find cluttering the interface? Browsers and Context View can be hidden, and playlist switched to classic mode. Also, each individual service can be disabled from the configuration dialog. Lastly, don't forget that the artwork is still in constant flux, and is heading towards simplicity.


by Mark Kretschmann (not verified)

Actually I find the new fancy playlist a lot *less* cluttered than the classic column-based playlist.

Especially if you enable more than 5 columns or so in Amarok 1, it starts to resemble Excel.

by Capit. Igloo (not verified)

Perhaps you wanted to say "it starts to resemble OOCalc" ? ;)

by Fri13 (not verified)

That was problem when user wanted more than 4-5 colums on amarok window without keeping it fullscreen.

But it still was better in one important way. Showing the info of music.
1.4.x series playlist could be full of different albums, artist etc and it was short one and very simple to use. But Amarok2 playlist is made for whole albums, not for random songs. When I add 20-30 songs what are mostly, if not all, from different artist and albums, I have very long and hard to control-playlist on my screen. But if I add 5-8 CD from database, it's nice and good because I have only a 5-8 artist tab there what I can hide or show.

This is one reason why I dont like new Amarok playlist.

Other reason is that playlist is on right edge and database on left edge and I need to drag files from left to right side. On 1.4.x series I can just do small mouse movement to get them dropped easily to that place on playlist I like.

I hope that Middle place (plasmoids) can be removed so Playlist could get bigger again, or at least switch the playlist from right to middle.

by Torsten Rahn (not verified)

I think that the "curvy background" on the right pane gets overused and that gives a bit of the impression of clutter.

I'd just use it only once for the navigation on top and stick to plain colors for the other background on the right.

Except for that the new screenshots rock :-)

by Mark Kretschmann (not verified)

Good artists are a rare resource in open source. We're struggling to find good ones that actually stay with the project. Most of them are never heard of again after a few days.

by ad (not verified)


by Anon (not verified)

I think the feel of clutter is due to the high amount of (different and nested) visual borders. See the attached picture were I highlighted plenty (but not all) borders with red.

> I think the feel of clutter is due to the high amount of (different and nested)
> visual borders. See the attached picture were I highlighted plenty
> (but not all) borders with red.

From a dev's perspective, it's easier to forget about borders than to make the finishing touches and disable them. Of course, this isn't helped by the fact that widgets have borders around them by default.

by Mark Kretschmann (not verified)

I agree. We've noticed the same thing the other day.

As a first step, I've removed the bulky and redundant frame around the playlist today. SVN up and check it out :)

PS: We're open to further GUI improvement suggestions.

by The James (not verified)

Hate to be a bother, but can someone give us a screenshot?

by Mark Kretschmann (not verified)

Here's the latest version, with the playlist border already removed:

by The James (not verified)

Thank-you very much.

On the attached screenshot I've highlighted more suggestions for improving the consistency of Amarok. Specifically, eliminating the subtle yet needless and ugly color gradients between different areas, eliminating the useless separator at the top of the Plasma panel, and eliminating the horizontal scrollbar when in fact nothing is overflowing to the right.

Also, I think there should be no space between the scrollbar and the box it controls. The Mac OS X style seems to get this right by not inserting a space:

but the Oxygen style is sloppy and puts the space in.

Thanks for your suggestions. Some rare constructive criticism. :)

> Thanks for your suggestions. Some rare constructive criticism. :)

You're welcome, thanks for taking it into consideration :)

by Leo S (not verified)

Nice, I feel much calmer looking at that screenshot already.

by blueget (not verified)

Hmmm... Perhaps the different parts of the interface should not look like if they were "stamped in" (eingestanzt, you know what I mean) but merely stick out. I don't know if that's a theme-specific issue or a general design question.

by Fri13 (not verified)

Amarok2 Really looks great... even there are those few GUI design problems for those who likes 1.4.x series ;-)

Amarok2 looks more slick'n'slide than iTunes and WMP :-D

by Birdy (not verified)

> it focuses on what Amarok does - play music

Amarok does _a_lot_ more than only play music. That's why it is so popular.

by ethana2 (not verified)

I tried to switch from amarok to exaile as I figured it'd conserve memory by not loading libraries from two desktop environments.

While amarok does more, it also uses less space than exaile, KDE libs and all.

Rock on, guys. Best of everything.
ps. (but I still wish I could rediscover my music by playing it at >1x tempos, you know, *cough* fast forward.)
Great for classical.
<1x great for rap.

by mimoune djouallah (not verified)

no proxy support under windows, so no amarok for me

by Mark Kretschmann (not verified)

Can you elaborate on this? Is this a general KDE issue or an Amarok issue?

by jospoortvliet (not verified)

I believe konqi also suffers from this so I guess general...

by mimoune djouallah (not verified)

1- proxy is still broken under kde trunk, it is a known bug.

2- kcontrol (systemsettings) is in kde-base workspace, as a result it is not available to windows users. thus no way to configure amarok, kget etc to use proxy.

so we poor windows users we have double pain :-)

by Dan (not verified)

So why did you pollute this thread with it?

by mimoune djouallah (not verified)

eah, perhaps this bug need to be fixed, don't you think so ?, i already filled a bug report against systemesetting about this issue, i really don't know if i wrote something wrong that upset you ?

by Dan (not verified)

It has nothing to do with Amarok.

This article is about amarok.

Whining about a bug in a very early port of kde in the comments of an article dedicated to progress in Amarok is rude. Don't do it.

by Thomas (not verified)

please calm down.. you're a bit overreacting here. it's very much a valid point to point out some shortcomings with the (early) windows port of KDE+Amarok. And the style of writing suggests it was shurely not meant as a rude bashing...

by Ian Monroe (not verified)

It especially doesn't have much to do with Amarok, since I bet phonon-ds9 backend does have proxy support since its using DirectX. So you could play streams fine. (though web services would be b0rked).

by mimoune djouallah (not verified)

ok you are right it has nothing to do with amarok, proxy in kde is still broken, and under windows to configure proxy is as simple as kcmshell4 proxy.

ok i am just a stupid user.

by John Doe (not verified)

Can I use it to sync my iPod?

by Beat Wolf (not verified)


by Dan (not verified)


not yet.

by Pascal (not verified)

in the alpha

by Dan (not verified)

Nope, won't be ready by then.

by An (not verified)

Will it work with the Ipod Nano (3rd gen)?

Either way...

.... Great job guys!!

by Emms007 (not verified)

I am so happy to see those screen shots. The new UI looks nice, easy to use and actually light weight. I am happy to see that the original amarok look & feel is still around in this new version.

Kudos to all the team!! As usual, can't wait to try this out.

by Mark Kretschmann (not verified)

Thanks dude :) We're also very excited about Amarok 2. Most of us devs already use it daily for music playing, and going back to Amarok 1 really feels like stone-age.

I guess it's a good sign that we enjoy using our own product (eating your own dog).

by Daniel Molkentin (not verified)

"Alarming: Amarok devs to convert to canibalism. News at ten." ;-)

by Narishma (not verified)

As far as I know eating dogs doesn't make you a cannibal.

by Jonathan Thomas (not verified)

Amarok symbol == wolf. The wolf is eating dogs.

by Phil (not verified)

Microsoft's internal mantra is "eat your own dogfood", which means if you write code/a program, then you need to use it - you can't expect others to, if you don't. It's good to know the Amarok team use v2 on a daily basis, let's hope they spot the obscure bugs too and not just the obvious ones ;-)

Is it possible to skin/theme Amarok 2 to make it look like 1.4, just for the old school people?

by Hans (not verified)

Very exciting reading, and nice screenshots.

To be honest, I don't really like the current look in SVN. However, it's getting there; the sliders are quite nice-looking. :)

I think it's all the shininess my eyes don't like. As someone said, it looks cluttered. The new ui also lack "sharpness", unfortunately I can't really describe what that means. But I'm sure it'll improve over time.

If I have some free time tonight I might try to make a small mockup. Not a new theme I'm afraid, as I don't know SVG very well.

Oh, a final question: are the toolbars configurable? I never use the stop button, and just prev/play/next looks imo much better.

by Mark Kretschmann (not verified)

Nope, the toolbar is fixed. However, maybe we'll decide to remove the stop button, that's still a possibility.

As always: Proper solution for everyone > customization options. That's the Amarok way (TM).

by Hans (not verified)

"As always: Proper solution for everyone > customization options."

Although I like to play around with options, I agree with this philosophy.

About the stop button, have you ever considered moving it to the side? WMP does this; even if I don't like the software itself, I think the controls are placed very well.
This way the symmetry of the three "important" buttons is maintained.

by Hias (not verified)

how about three buttons #prev#play/pause#next# and a fading in/out #stop# depending if a song is played or not, like the buttons

by Mark Kretschmann (not verified)

That makes no sense at all :) Sorry.

by Hias (not verified)

it would, if you were me a few minutes ago, but now I guess you are right :)