After four months of development, the amaroK team has finished the new stable release of the popular KDE based audio player. amaroK 'Airborne' introduces the highly anticipated Wikipedia lookup feature. The cooperation between KDE and the Wikipedia project has already been the topic of an earlier article.
amaroK is one of the first applications to integrate live information from the free encyclopedia, providing useful facts about the music you are currently listening to. Discography of an artist, biography and even photos are just a mouseclick away with the new Wikipedia tab.
Another major new feature is the integrated Podcast support. Podcasts are Internet radio shows; amaroK can play them live from the Internet, or download to your harddisk to enjoy them later.
The new Dynamic Mode automatically updates your playlist on the fly, adding music based on criteria you choose. You can start with a small playlist, and let amaroK generate a fresh stream of music infinitely. New tracks will be added randomly, from selected playlists, or based on suggestions from last.fm. This allows you to rediscover your music-collection in a completely new way.
Everyone loves eye candy, so we made these pretty screenshots, showing amaroK 1.3 in action.
New key features in amaroK 1.3:
- Wikipedia artist lookup, a revolutionary feature providing information from the free online encyclopedia.
- Redesigned sidebar, with improved look-and-feel.
- Automatic download of scripts and themes with KNewStuff.
- Helix engine. Using code from the GPL Helix Player, it allows amaroK to play using the codecs of Real Player or Helix Player.
- New Playlist Browser, powerful and easy to use.
- Cue file sheet support.
- Dynamic playlist mode.
- PostgreSQL database support.
- Much extended DCOP scripting interface.
- Multiple analyzer visualizations for the playlist window.
- Editable Smart Playlists.
- Podcast support, including live streaming and download capability.
- Crossfading for the xine audio backend.
Tarball and binary packages for most distributions can be downloaded at amarok.kde.org
Release Schedule and Future Plans
As during the 1.2.x release cycle, you should expect new 1.3.x releases at the beginning of the week every two weeks. amaroK has a history of being punctual in its releases. There will probably be a few minor releases. These releases will have cleanups and bug fixes thanks to Users Like You writing useful bug reports, as well as minor (meaning, non-refactoring) feature enhancements.
After 1.3.x development is over, we will begin working on amaroK 1.4. From here plans become more tentative. One idea is to have amaroK 2.0's release be simultaneous as KDE 4.0, as we are looking forward to taking advantage of the new technology made available by Qt 4.0 and the potential of KDE 4.0 as soon as possible.
Stay tuned for the upcoming amaroK 1.3 Live-CD, soon to be released on amaroklive.com.