Amarok 2.0 audio player for Linux released
After a two year development period, the Amarok audio player, already gathering laurels even before its release, has now been released and is available to download for the major Linux distributions. It has a completely rewritten user interface, which is closely integrated with online services such as Magnatune, Jamendo, MP3tunes, Last.fm and Shoutcast. Other online services can be added to Amarok via KDE's GetHotNewStuff feature or from kde-apps.org.
Amarok 2.0 offers a revised scripting interface and plugin support. The audio player, developed as part of the KDE project, uses the KDE4 framework, which is in turn based on the cross-platform Qt4 C++ framework from Nokia subsidiary Qt Software.
The aim of the Amarok 2.0 developers was to push onward with the Amarok slogan "Rediscover Music". Whether or they have succeeded in this is for users to judge. The user interface, which can be adapted to personal requirements via applets, should allow users better access to additional information such as lyrics and albums. The new 'biased playlists' should take care of playlists in an "intelligent way", similar to dynamic playlists in the previous version.
The developers stress that Amarok 2.0 represents a new beginning. Because the switch to KDE 4 involves considerable changes, not all functions from Amarok 1.4x have made it into version 2.0. Queueing and filtering of playlists will be added in forthcoming updates. According to the project website, Amarok is reliant on the KDE infrastructure for visualisations and support for mobile players, with the result that the Amarok programming team have little control over the pace of development. Insurmountable programming problems and design decisions mean that the application now no longer supports databases other than MySQL.
In contrast to the Linux version, the versions available for Windows and Mac OS X are still marked as experimental beta versions. The main reason for this is probably that Amarok requires KDE 4 on these operating systems. Windows and Mac OS X ports of KDE 4 are anything but stable.