Ataksak - Beta 3 of Amarok 2.0 released!

The Amarok team announces the third beta release of Amarok 2.0, codename Ataksak. It includes a database importer for users of Amarok 1.4, who want to keep their statistics and ratings, as well as a lot of bugfixes and improvements. The playlist, statusbar and integration got a major overhaul and are a lot more stable and polished now. First scripts are showing up and make Amarok 2 really rock. For more information please read the release announcement. Packages are available for Debian, Kubuntu and Windaes.


(insert favorite insult here) and you can't spell. It's reasonable request. KDE should provide for that kind of option - being all mighty customizable. You should hang out on Gnome's website if you want to tell users how to use software. Many applications let you choose what you want to do when a filename is passed to it either by double-clicking or otherwise. "Add to end of playlist", "Add to playlist as next song", "play now" are popular options. I would like to see that too.

By winter at Thu, 2008/11/06 - 6:00am

I disagree. You are not necessarily forced to use a different player by definition. The problem with amarok is, that you are forced to use a (temporary) playlist. It doesn't allow you to play anything which is not in the playlist. For me this is not only a problem with random files outside the colletion. But also with stuff I have in the collection. Often I want to play just this album or that song, and I'm always forced to add it to the playlist, even though it's pointless in this case and there is no gain. On the contrary, it's cluttering my playlist where I might have put something in on purpose and I have to remove it afterwards. ... Leave alone things like radio streams, where adding to the playlist make absolutly no sense... Amarok should be centered about the music sources (playlists being just one of them), not about a (temporary) playlist. Then it would also naturally allow playing random things outside the collection.

Well, just a thought on a general design issue, I have with amarok (which is otherwise an awesome piece of software, of course ;)

By Michael at Wed, 2008/11/05 - 6:00am

"But also with stuff I have in the collection. Often I want to play just this album or that song"

That's a internal Amarok thing, and could be solved with a play once option when you add to current playlist.

By Morty at Wed, 2008/11/05 - 6:00am

Unless I missunderstood you: You'd probably have to add yet another context menu option or some specialized play button. And why does it have to be added to the playlist at all? There no benefit. If I say I want to play just *this* album, it probably has no relation to the current playlist, there might be something completely different in it (while when I assemble a temporary playlist, things in it have a relation to the playlist). Really, this sounds more like a workaround, not like a solution.
This also doesn't solve the problem with radio streams, where there is even less a point to add them to the playlist. Or with saved playlists, which you have to load and thus loose the temporary one. (Heck, some time ago I even had to add files to the playlist in order to copy them onto my iPod! Which also has been worked around by adding a context menu entry, but IMO not actually solved.) Wouldn't it be way more foolproof and straight forward to let the user simply select the album, radio stream, saved playlist or whatever and press play? (Instead of additionally adding it to the playlist and selecting it in the playlist, which are are actions which actually have nothing to do with the goal you want to achive - just play it) The user should not be forced to use the playlist, even if it's actually unncessary.

By Michael at Thu, 2008/11/06 - 6:00am

Thats right, a context menu in the collection manger of Amarok.

A play *this* option are what you would get, but handled trough the playlist. Since Amarok are very playlist centered, it's a simple way to achieve what you want. Whatever your playlist contain will not get affected as it's only temporary, it should automatic get removed after it's played. And you get the added benefit that the current playlist will continue as normal afterwards.

It would also solve the radio stream issue, also caused by Amarok being strongly focused on playlist. Since adding a radio stream as a temporary track as described, this would ensure it's removal from the playlist when pressing next or stop.

By Morty at Thu, 2008/11/06 - 6:00am

I really want to like Amarok, but I just can't get over the UI. The attached screenshot looks incredibly complicated, confusing and busy. The are vertical buttons on the side, three columns, with some columns split in to several sections... I'm just utterly confused.

iTunes might not be perfect, but at least they got the UI right. It's clean, simple and easy to use. Amarok just seems to be getting more and more complicated and overblown. I haven't really tried Banshee, but it too looks clean and uncluttered.

Are there any simple and clean music-jukeboxes available for KDE? Juk?

By Janne at Wed, 2008/11/05 - 6:00am

I agree totally

By jorge at Wed, 2008/11/05 - 6:00am

I fully agree with you! After using amarok2 almost daily for about two months now, for instance I must say that I'm still not really convinced of this multipane plasma stuff in the center column... For many things, I wonder: why should I configure this and manually switch? Can't amarok just display it when needed e.g. current track, service info, video? Also switching is CPU intensive and sloooow. Further these vertical columns don't seem to be the ideal solution to me. Looking at the amarok window in front of me, none of the three columns (collection, current track, playlist) is able to display moderately long titles without "..." (or scrollbar)! Only when I use full screen width. Currently the window is a bit more than 1100 pixels wide, which is actually not too narrow... Hopefully they'll do some more polishing before final, so that it doen't look so busy anymore. Also keep in mind that this is the first release of amarok2. (And it's way more usable already than KDE 4.0 final was ;) Though the fundamental UI issues will remain, I guess. Still it has a lot of cool ideas in it and for KDE it's by far the best music player, IMO.

By Michael at Wed, 2008/11/05 - 6:00am

I agree too...

Maybe it is more important for Amarok 2.0 completing the features more than improving the UI.

despite that, while I'm sure I will get used to the interface, it seems Amarok 2.0 is not granma-proof at all.

Exposing all the Amarok powerful features in a simple and pleasing way could be a challenging technical task for next versions. I suggest to copy as much as you can from iTunes, Rhytmbox, banshee, etc. ;)

Amarok 2.1: "Rediscover your music player" ^^''

By Antonio at Wed, 2008/11/05 - 6:00am

I find the new interface too complicated and overbloated... Plasma is like a cancer that permeates into everything!

By Dexter at Wed, 2008/11/05 - 6:00am

Plasma is not the problem. It can be used to create beautiful and functional UI's, and it can be used to create confusing UI's. It's all due the developer and the goals of the app in question.

Personally, I think that Plasma is just about the best thing to hit KDE in a while

By Janne at Wed, 2008/11/05 - 6:00am

Well, the question is, if it is the wisest idea to use it in a music player ...

By Michael at Wed, 2008/11/05 - 6:00am

Well, it allows people to easily write a plasmoid to include as opposed to using the old scripting interface. That may be an improvement.

I think the issue is design oriented, as why the system is laid out the way it is. However, I think the advantage of Plasma is that someone can easily rewrite a new plasmoid for the center interface.

By T. J. Brumfield at Wed, 2008/11/05 - 6:00am

Why wouldn't it be? Do you think that Amarok has a busy UI because they use Plasma? No, the UI is the way it is because that's what the developers wanted, not because of the underlying technology they used.

By Janne at Thu, 2008/11/06 - 6:00am

No, not busy because of plasma. But perhaps unnecessarily complicated and a resource problem. I have to care about things I don't want to care about i.e. assembling all the pieces I want on the canvas. If I don't add it, I won't see certain things. And then I have to manually switch to the appropriate pane. Now where had I placed the wiki view? It might give the user more freedom, than is good. Zooming is a pain, it's slow. ... And I think it makes for a certain inflexibility in the window layout. Yes :) In the sense, that amarok has to provide a generic space, the centre column, for the applets to live on. They will never perfectly fit. Instead of carefully crafting the window layout, as appropriate in certain situations.
Of course, probably one thing or the other can and will be fixed and optimized in the future. So maybe it will eventually be a joy to use. Just until now I'm not convinced that it's more than technically possible. And yes, I'm actually using amarok2 ;)

By Michael at Thu, 2008/11/06 - 6:00am

The Amarok 2 UI isn't any more complicated than the Amarok 1.4 UI. The main difference is that the context tab has been moved to its own area. Yes, a blank context area would be confusing, but this could easily be fixed with a good set of default applets. The advantage is the difference between "default" and "hard-coded". With Amarok 1.4 you had a hard-coded set of 3 different context view panes. They were a good layout, but they could not be changed. In Amarok 2 you can largely reproduce these same three panes if you want, and I imagine the default set of applets on each page would be similar, but you can rework it however you want. For instance I would prefer to have song info and lyrics grouped in one view, something that was impossible in Amarok 1.4 and was extremely annoyed with having to switch between two context view to see both, but it is easy to group them into a single view Amarok 2. The problem with not knowing what is where is a legitimate concern but could be easily fixed by allowing people to rename the 4 pages, have the list of names at the bottom of context view where people can click them (with the current one highlighted), and once again having some sensible defaults.

Besides the context view, the UI has largely the same content and icons, they are simply in different places. Instead of "Magnatune" you have "Internet", and the "Dynamic Playlist" settings have been moved into the dynamic playlist area instead of being in a configuration windows, but largely the same things are there. However, buttons have been moved closer to the things they modify, configuration windows have been integrated into the UI, unnecessary buttons have been removed, unrelated actions have been moved so they stand out as being separate, all in all I think the UI has been made significantly simpler and more intuitive. It is different than the 1.4 UI, but I have a hard time seeing how it is more complicated assuming the program is shipped with some sensible default applets in the context view

By TheBlackCat at Thu, 2008/11/06 - 6:00am

Thanks, man! Finally, a sane posting in this thread.

By Mark Kretschmann at Fri, 2008/11/07 - 6:00am

I appreciate the work that has been done, most of the things I found annoying about 1.x have been fixed or will be by 2.1, and the things I liked that aren't there now should be back by 2.1. Plus there are plenty of cool features that never even occurred to me.

Is there a plan to allow renaming of the four context view pages at some point? Maybe not 2.0, but 2.1 maybe?

By TheBlackCat at Fri, 2008/11/07 - 6:00am

If that is what you want, then just use JuK.

By a thing at Fri, 2008/11/07 - 6:00am

amarok2 is/will-be included in the upcoming Fedora 10 release, and unofficial builds are available for Fedora 9 from unstable repositories.

By Rex Dieter at Wed, 2008/11/05 - 6:00am

Amarok2 is already part of Mandriva 2009 with KDE4 running quite well :D

By Diego Bello at Wed, 2008/11/05 - 6:00am

I've been reading about Amarok 2 for years... can I say years? It seems like it's been that long. KDE4 seemed to make it to the users faster - that might actually have been a bad thing considering it's state. :p

By winter at Thu, 2008/11/06 - 6:00am

Example output:

Take Cover/01 - Welcome to the Machine (Pink Floyd).mp3';"
ASSERT failure in QList::operator[]: "index out of range", file /usr/include/qt4/QtCore/qlist.h, line 395
Unable to start Dr. Konqi

Instead of failing gracefully with an alter panel it crashes fast, hard and consistently.

System: Debian KDE 4.1.3.

By Marc Driftmeyer at Thu, 2008/11/06 - 6:00am

Guys, you keep changing the layout for no obvious reason.
Overlapping toolbuttons? Why? They don't look funky, they're not easier to understand or click.
Mega-gradiented bevel item separators? they hurt my eyes...
Widget styles keep coming and coming, so far we had a bombastic gloss one, a nice flat frameless one, a bunch of designs with curves randomly sprinkled in, red/blue/black/grey plasma themes for the context view, etc, etc. This one is probably the worst of the lot, with everything drowned in ash grey and faux 3d, misalignments everywhere, pixeley albino sliders and blurry side tabs.

Really, guys, i hate to be negative! i quite liked some of the earlier variants -- alpha version imperfections aside. I left a bunch of feedback but seeing this screenie i feel like I'm just not listened to.

Remember mxcl's mockup of *2006*?
wtf was wrong with it?

At this point it would be great if you just made the thing use the system widgetstyle, with generic-looking svgs for the playlist, and did a stable release. You can add fancier svgs later, if you must.

Devs, i'd appreciate a response. Do you plan on settling down? What form must my feedback take to help you get done with the big 2.0? Do you only listen to svgs and patches? =)

happy 1.4 user

By Stefan at Sat, 2008/11/08 - 6:00am