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I hope someone maintains Amarok 1.4

Amarok 2 was released on December 10th. I have KDE 4 on my experimentation laptop, so I tried it. I don't like it. Aside from technical glitches and missing features which will hopefully be added again someday, the whole idea of it is wrong.

Amarok 1.4 is good because it gives you extremely dense, detailed information about your songs. I've got 13 columns of information in the playlist pane and I look at them all. Score, Rating, Play Count, Year, Disc number, Track number... I like to see these things. I like to sort by these things. I like being able to see the bitrate of my MP3s at a glance. I'm a nerd, that's why I'm using Linux in the first place.

Amarok 2 on the other hand has a tiny little column down the right hand side to display song information. It groups things together so you don't need as many columns, but it's nowhere near what Amarok 1.4 gives you. Bad bad bad.

On the very rare occasion I want to see lyrics or something, in Amarok 1.4 they're hidden away in tabs I can ignore most of the time. This is good. The majority of my window should be devoted to DISPLAY SONGS.

Instead, in Amarok 2, half of the GUI is devoted to this center pane to display "context" information. This is bad. I don't care about browsing web sites to buy music, or browsing Wikipedia from inside my music player, or "discovering" new music. And if I did care, I would use a WEB BROWSER. A music player is not a web browser. If I want to discover music, I'll go use last.fm or some website that's devoted to it, using Firefox. If I want to see a Wikipedia article, I'll look at Wikipedia in Firefox.

Music players should play music, and web browsers should browse websites. When you have one enormous program that tries to do both, it just ends up doing both poorly. This is nearly universally true and it's certainly true in what I've seen so far in Amarok 2.

KDE 4 isn't even usable (as of KDE 4.2 beta1) and Amarok 2 fits right in, unfortunately. I hope they give us back some of the things that made Amarok 1.4 great. Or else that Amarok 1.4 keeps working for a long time.

December 14, 2008 @ 8:40 AM PST
Cateogory: Linux
Tags: KDE, Amarok, Rant

4 Comments

Stuart
Quoth Stuart on December 14, 2008 @ 6:01 PM PST

I haven't tracked Amarok2's development in a while but I was really hoping that the screenshots they posted were just examples of way to customize the GUI and not THE final way, because it looked seriously fugly. I love the way a vanilla amarok looks in 1.4, it's the most functional music program I've ever used. Shame they decided to change it up so much.

Jason
Quoth Jason on December 14, 2008 @ 10:44 PM PST

There are at least 2 different ideas about music players.

Some prefer a ... "socialness" to their music, hence why Last.fm exists. Then there's people who want their player to get out of their way and play music.

The former will use things like Winamp 5 or Sonique or web audio streams (Pandora, Last.fm, etc.), or even Songbird and deck out the player with addons about the song they're listening too that ultimately they likely may not care about but like to look at anyways.

The latter will use something like Foobar 2000 that is so no-frills-yet-totally-verbose. Not to mention that FB2K looks like... nothing, when you start it up, but some of the customization I've seen people come up with is absolutely beautiful, but it's still all very technical with few other frills (Usually cover art, optional lyrics, etc.).

I saw a screenshot of Amarok 2, I didn't realize it was a release screenshot though. I liked Amarok and used it for a period of time, but my setup gravitated towards something like XMMS2 (or mpd, but I only ever used XMMS2) for real flexibility.

Amarok is trying to be a social media player, other projects are not. Use projects that align with your interest.

I should probably post about this and expand into more details but; This post and the change(s) the Amarok team has made reminds me of the crap CounterPath is doing to X-Lite.

X-Lite, if you've never used it, is a free SIP client. CounterPath "acquired" it from XTEN apparently became CounterPath in order to go professional (for-profit, paid for, support, service, etc.). They're taking their free SIP client, X-Lite, and turning it into a "social phone". Check out http://xlite.counterpath.net/blog/ , as I happen to think it's pretty ridiculous.

I called them out on it ( http://xlite.counterpath.net/blog/2008/09/x-lite-whats-coming/#comments ), and they said the same thing. "We have a diverse user base, and people asked for it."

I think they're just trying to collect money on links/referals, but whatever.

Nikolaj Hald Nielsen
Quoth Nikolaj Hald Nielsen on December 19, 2008 @ 5:52 PM PST

If anyone ants to take over the maintainership of Amarok 1.4.x, they are more than welcome. So far there as been quite a few mentions that someone should do this, but no one has actually steeped up to the plate. Actually, we have not even received any patches for the 1.4.x branch for quite a long time.

"Amarok is trying to be a social media player" I don't think that is entirely true. I am trying very hard to make Amarok 2 an Internet aware music player, because I find that very interesting, but the only "social" features that we really have so far are those provided by the last.fm service. Many other devs are focusing on entirely different aspects of Amarok 2.

  • Nikolaj
gjkfdsgj
Quoth gjkfdsgj on May 28, 2009 @ 4:48 PM PDT

I agree, Amarok 1.4 is far superior to what Amarok 2 seems to be shaping up to be. I wish they'd just forked and made a separate player, while development on 1.4 continued.