Amarok/Community/Insider 16

Amarok Insider - Issue 16

What's New in Amarok By Pedro Raimundo

Amarok 2.4 will be released January 2011! While there have been significant performance and stability improvements, what most users really want to know is what's really new and fun in this new release. Here is the scoop!

One of the notable new additions to Amarok is the ability to use it with the iPod Touch 3G and even newer devices. Now you can easily share your tracks between your brand new iPod and your PC; just plug-in and play.

Now, everyone likes to keep their media library organized, right? The problem is that not everyone has the time or the willingness to actually spend lots of time tagging, and sorting. For those who want to keep their Library organized with almost no effort, there is the new Amarok integration with the MusicBrainz community database. Just select the songs you want tagged from your media library, right-click them, select Edit Track Details then click the Get Tags from MusicBrainz button. A small window will show up and start searching; the only thing left for you to do is to confirm the changes!

Along with this new fast and efficient way to tag your tracks comes the ability to write tags and album covers directly to the sound file, so your accurate information can be shared across devices, your brand new iPod included! Enable this in Settings > Configure Amarok > Collection: Write statistics to file. It is unchecked by default.

Speaking of files, we all know that music from different sources can come in various formats. While Amarok can probably play most of them with the correct plugins most of us have a favorite format when it comes to storing our music. With that in mind the 2.4 release of Amarok ships with a Transcoding feature. When copying tracks from the File Browser to your Local Collection you can choose whether to copy it “as-is” or transcode it to another format, based on a default preset or a custom that you can fine-tune. Soon this will be enabled for "on-the-fly" transfer of tracks to your devices also.

With this release Amarok also supports UPnP collections to play media from a local media server (such as MediaTomb server) in your network, which means you can play your music on any computers or other UPnP-enabled devices in a local network. Now you can have your music with you even you don't have it on you.

Another awesome feature shipping with 2.4 is bound to get in the tastes of the musicians among us, a Tabs applet is now available for the Context Pane. This new applet automatically fetches tabs for the current track and displays them comfortably inside Amarok. Also, the wikipedia and Now Playing applets have been upgraded. You'll see a nice new appearance to Now Playing, and Wikipedia, along with searching within Wikipedia now enabled.

There are possibly the most useful features added in the last release of Amarok. While these are already enough to make this release great, you can always view the full changelog for more, the day of release.

<a name="#googamarok"></a> Google and Amarok

Amarok recently got a wonderful influx of youthful energy from students who volunteered to take on Google Code-in tasks for us. Code-in is a program for 13 to 18 year old students to get involved in a number of Free Software projects, among them KDE, and Amarok. Some of us volunteered as mentors, crafted tasks for the students, then helped them as they completed their work. We had a variety of tasks open, such as sorting through bugs and wishes, cleaning up the wiki, writing some articles for The Insider, which you can read in this issue!, many pages in the Handbook, and designing a conference poster for Amarok. Myriam Schweingruber, James Duncan, Lydia Pintscher, Nikhil Marathe and I acted as mentors. This is a fantastic program. If you are a student, please think about participating next year, and spread the word to mentors with whom you would like to work. And project leaders, keep your eyes out for tasks that pre-college students can do next winter. It seems like a practical, yet inspiring way to get kids involved in open source, and enrich your own projects.

Code-In joins the Google Summer of Code, in which KDE and Amarok have participated for six years. Our ________ and _______ were written by students, and we now are enjoying the new transcoding function as a result of college students work. Rather than flipping burgers for the summer, students are doing real work, which not only helps free software projects, it gets them intimately involved in working with their mentors and others in the community. Again, if you know a student who would be a good candidate, get them thinking about possible projects, and discussing their thoughts with possible mentors. See the Dot articles at http://dot.kde.org/2010/12/14/kdegoogle-summer-code-2010-part-1-2 and http://dot.kde.org/2010/12/19/kdegoogle-summer-code-2010-part-2-2 for more detail.


<a name="#rocktober"></a> Rocktober Success

<a name="#intervewdevel"></a> Interview with a Developer By Sasu Karttunen

I met a Amarok developer Bart Cerneels(Stecchino on IRC) at IRC and he kindly gave us a interview.

S: When did you get interested in contribution and why?

B: I started using Linux on and off in 1999. Later, I discovered and in 2006 I made my first contribution to Amarok. It was a big patch to improve the podcasting support on Amarok.

S: So how did you exactly get involved in Amarok development?

B: Various improvements, many small things regarding to RSS feed parsing, etc. It's too long ago to specifically remember. Unfortunately, Seb Ruiz, the maintainer of that piece of code back then had already rewritten it and that patch was rejected. Since we started with Amarok 2, I decided to completely redo the podcasting support.

S: Had you developed any else open source project before Amarok or is Amarok your first big thing?

B: No, Amarok was my first and is my only big project. I've done various small hack projects and many small prototype style ideas that never got to be actual projects. Amarok is my only big project in my free time. Also, I’m paid to work on Open Source by Collabora, but that is for customer or internal projects such as MeeGo, Telepathy & GStreamer.

S: Very interesting. Why Amarok is the big project for you rather than any other project?

B: Because of having to work for money, there is not much time for free-time projects. I tend to stick to Amarok for fun and friendship. I still have a long and challenging todo-list for Amarok so I will probably stay focused on that for a while.

S: Sounds great. What parts of Amarok are you working on?

B: My area of Amarok is Podcasting support, Saved Playlists and everything that comes with that. This includes the playlist-browser (the part of the Media Sources panel that shows them), Playlist Synchronization and media device playlists. For that reason I'm collaborating with others to rewrite the media device plugins to support playlist synchronization. I'm also rewriting the USB mass storage plugin since I own only those type of devices.

S: That’s sounds like quite a lot to do. Amarok 2.4 Beta 1 is out; what is going to be changed or improved from that for final release?

B: There will be a lot of bugfixing, including all regressions and crashes, hopefully. So everyone should keep testing to find all of them. I'm also working on an under-the-hood change that should dramatically improve startup times and the performance of the Podcast and Saved Playlist views. Post the final release, we'll merge the media device rewrite branches, an incremental social podcast directory and hopefully a gpodder.net internet service and a podcast provider.

S: That sounds very good! Users always want more performance. I cam imagine that when software is near to final release, it causes more work for developers. So, does beta stage of Amarok cause more work for you?

B: After any Amarok release we get a surge of bug reports. Specifically during a beta cycle there are a lot of easy-to-fix bugs, but by the end the hard and mysterious bugs are all that's left. By then we get tired of bug-fixing and want to do more features. Luckily with git we can work in a feature-branch and merge it after the release is tagged and master opens for features again.

S: Indeed, there would be no new features at all if you developers would spend your time just fixing bugs. Anyway, lately KDE announced that they are planning meeting called 'K16' which asks where KDE will be in five years. What do you think where Amarok will be in five years?

B: Amarok *will* be on mobile and tablets. That is the next big target for this project. We are riding the Qt Quick & MeeGo wave. There is little that can stop that.

S: You read my mind; I was just asking will Amarok be released on mobile platforms. Else?

B: The plan is to improve the core of Amarok regarding to speed and stability, but we also plan to make it very flexible so it's easy to, for instance, create an SQL-free build of Amarok. On top of that we'll let user interface designers invent a QML base look-and-feel.

S: That’s true. What do you think that is the biggest part on Amarok that should be improved?

B: We depend to much on SQL at the moment, specifically the embedded MySQL. In addition to the our main collection, a lot of Internet services depend on it. For new platforms these kind of dependencies are troublesome, sometimes even making it impossible to run on a specific platform. A good move would be to refactor those plugins and introduce new ones that don't need SQL. Then we can, for instance create a QtSparql based collection that will use tracker (the metadata database) on the MeeGo phones for instance.

S: And for last question, do you have any features or ideas you would like to see on Amarok someday?

B: The biggest thing on my TODO is using internet radio stations as playlists. Every tracks change on the station will create a new entry in the playlist so at any time you'll be able to see the "history" of the stream.

S: And scrobble the song to last.fm with AudioScrobbler perhaps?

B: Yes, and separate rating for each song as well and you'll be able to look up similar artists, etc.


<a name="#podcast"></a> Podcasts in Amarok

<a name="#apghowto"></a> Automated Playlist Generator: How to Use it By Pedro Raimundo

What do you want to hear, and how much?

The Automatic Playlist Generator (APG) is a feature that allows Amarok to generate a playlist based on certain user-defined rules, which is not as intimidating and complicated as it sounds. You can tell Amarok: I want this playlist to play for 45 minutes or the list should run for more than 30 minutes, but no more than 35 and have a blend of rock, jazz and metal songs or even I want to listen to some songs that I haven't heard in a while, but not that Ozzy guy; I'm better off without him. Pretty cool, right?

However, Amarok will only do what you want if you put it in a simple and plain manner, using nested statements and conditions that it can understand and evaluate. And this article is going to teach you how to do that.

Basic Concepts

If you have tried using the APG and are now reading this article, chances are that it was a frustrating experience and now you're eager to play around with this feature that everyone has been talking about. Before you start it is helpful to understand a few basic concepts about audio files and logic; read on.

Every mp3/ogg/aac/wma file has (or should have) “tags” associated with it, which is how your media library can magically sort itself no matter how the actual file structure is organized. Thanks to these tags, every sound file has embedded in it information like Artist, Genre, Album, Year and Track Number, and by reading these tags the applications can easily sort your songs and retrieve the information it needs. Similarly, every linux file has some information on it like last access, creation date and modification date.

This is what we want Amarok to do! We still don't have the knowledge to do the complicated tests like have a blend of rock, jazz and metal songs, though.

The next concept we have to understand is the one of “Constraint Groups,” which are sets of rules and are divided into Match All groups and Match Any groups. Match All groups work like the logic operator AND, meaning that all of its criteria must be met by the song while Match Any groups work like the logic operator OR meaning only one of its criteria must be met by the song being evaluated. Now that we're properly educated, let's get to work!

Getting to the APG Presets panel:

[missing images]

The APG Presets panel.

Your first Constraint tree (Preset): Playing more than x minutes of audio but no more than y minutes

We begin in the APG Presets panel shown in the screenshot above. Click the Add new preset button (green plus). A New playlist preset entry will appear for editing. Select it and press the Edit (pencil-and-paper) button, the APG Preset Editor window will pop up and you will see the main Match Any group that will include all your constraints (rules). Click the Add new menu and select Playlist duration since that's what we want to set. Notice that once you add a constraint you can modify it using the options to the left. Let's set this one to Longer than and 0:30:00 minutes.

[missing images]

Be aware of the fuzzy-exact slider; it determines how close to the rule the playlist should be. Now add a Playlist shorter than 0:35:00 constraint and you should be good! Go ahead and use this playlist generator next time you have a coffee break.

Going a bit further: Constraint groups and Tags

Now that you know everything about playlist constraints we're going to go a bit further and delve into constraint groups and Match Tag constraints. Imagine that you're going to throw a little party and your music-loving friends are coming over. You want to impress them with an amazing selection of rock, metal and some jazz to liven things up.

Since we know everything about mp3 tags we know that it's really simple to do this. We want this playlist to last between an hour and and ninety minutes, and have rock, metal and jazz songs, so that's what we tell Amarok to do. We'll add some Match Tag constraints with Field set to Genre and fill in what we want, like this:

Note: Here I used contains rather than equals to include the many kinds of metal and rock (and jazz!) that exist.

We click okay and run APG with our party preset, but something goes wrong:

[missing images]

If we select the party preset and click the edit, we can find out what was wrong: We had all the constraints under the main Match All constraint group this led APG to try to find a song that had all 'rock', 'metal' and 'jazz' in their genre; no wonder it didn't go well!

To fix this we create a Match Any (song can be rock, or metal or jazz) constraint group inside the main group and that's where we should put our Match Tag constraints. Be sure to have the new group selected when adding them so that they will be inside the new constraint group.

Now our constraint tree looks like this:

[missing images]

And does what we want it to, good job!

The “Special” constraints: Checkpoints, Prevent duplicates, and Inverted tags

After this last topic we can do almost anything we want with Amarok and APG but there's still a bit more to learn, and we're going all the way! So, “special” constraints: Checkpoint, Prevent Duplicates and Inverted tags.

A Checkpoint constraint sets a starting point for APG to begin looking for songs to fill its list with, simple as that.

A Prevent Duplicates constraint will prevent songs with the same Name, Album or Artist from being selected.

Finally, Inverted tags work just like Match Tag constraints, except that they're the opposite. An example: I want to listen to some songs that I haven't heard in a while, but not that Ozzy guy; I'm better off without him.

With our knowledge we can easily find a song that has been recently played with a Match Tag constraint set to check the Last Played field and an Ozzy song with a tag set to the Artist field, that's exactly what we want to not do, so add those constraints and Invert them by checking the little Invert box on the lower part of the APG Preset Editor window. That's how inverted constraints work, images below:

[missing images]

Last Words

If you've made it this far, and tried the examples, I sincerely hope that you are now able to use Amarok's APG and take advantage of its functionality. Keep in mind that this feature is still new and more power is being implemented, like the ability to choose the number of songs to be selected, which is automatically limited to 30 as of version 2.3.2 (Tip: You will be able to set number of songs constraints in 2.4).

Keep fiddling around and experimenting with different constraints and slider settings as those can help you fine tune the APG to your personal needs. Thanks for reading.

<a name="#dynamicpl"></a> Dynamic Playlists in Amarok

<a name="#queuemgr"></a> Queue Manager in Amarok

The new queue manager provides a convenient dialog to sort the queue and remove tracks from it. In former versions the queue could only be edited with the context menu in the playlist-pane. As of version 2.4, click on the "Edit Queue" symbol on the bottom of the playlist-pane to open the dialog.

<img src="Queuemanager_button.png">

After clicking this button, a dialog listing all tracks which you queued is opened.

<img src="Queuemanager_dialog.png">

The first two buttons change the position of the currently selected track in the queue, while the third one removes it. To clear the complete queue, just click the last button.

Daniel Marth

<a name="#script"></a> Installing and using a script in Amarok

Amarok can be extended using script files. These files are managed by the "Script Manager". The main dialog window is opened by clicking on "Tools -> Script Manager".

<img src="Scriptmanager_menu.png">

Now the dialog with all currently installed scripts is visible.

<img src="Scriptmanager_main.png">

With the "Install Script"-button, local script archives can be installed. All installed scripts can be removed by selecting them in the list and clicking the "Uninstall"-button.

The "Get More Scripts"-button enables you to search through a range of scripts inside Amarok.

<img src="Scriptmanager_getscripts.png">

The list of scripts can be sorted several by following properties:

Newest scripts first. Scripts with the highest rating first. Scripts with most downloads first. List only currently installed scripts. There is also a search box to search in the list.

As an example we will install the game "Music Quiz" and try it out. This script asks you questions about your music collection. Click on the "Get More Scripts"-button and search for it either by scrolling through the list or typing "music quiz" in the search box.

<img src="Scriptmanager_example1.png">

Click the "Install"-button to download and install the script. After the installation a dialogbox appears.

<img src="Scriptmanager_example2.png">

Restart Amarok and there will be a new entry "Tools -> Music Quiz" in the menu bar.

<img src="Scriptmanager_example3.png">

Click on this menu entry to start the script.

<img src="Scriptmanager_example4.png">

Click "Start" to get to the main menu of the game. "Collection" will start a game that asks you questions about all tracks in your collection. "Playlist" will do the same thing but only for your current playlist. "Artist" will only ask questions about the artist specified in the combobox below.

<img src="Scriptmanager_example5.png">

The "Personalize"-button shows a dialog to configure the questions that you will be asked.

<img src="Scriptmanager_example6.png">

Modify the settings to your wishes and return to the main menu and start a game.

<img src="Scriptmanager_example7.png">

That's it, have fun :)

Daniel Marth

<a name="#amarokwin"></a> Amarok on Windows? Definitely!! By: Timothy Lanzi

Amarok works on Windows. No, really, you didn't misread that last sentence!! Yes, I am an iTunes user, but Amarok is way better. To the right is your playlist, to the left is your music, and right in the middle is what's playing. There are all sorts of tools like: tabs, supplied by Ultimate-Guitar.com, so you can play along on guitar, bass, or drums. Also, lyrics, so you can learn and sing along to you favorite music. They included Wikipedia, so you can read about the band to which you're listening. All of that is done while listening to a song. Amarok can fetch and download all that without any help. Amarok knows what song you're listening to, and fetches the tabs or lyrics for that song by that artist, auto-magically!

<img src="AmWinScreenShot.png">

I am using a Dell Inspiron-mini with the netbook version of Windows XP. This isn't the most powerful computer on which to run a heavy duty application, but I wanted to know how Amarok was going to work, and I wanted the Amarok Insider readers to know how Amarok runs on a lightweight computer.

But first, a word from our sponsor....

This Windows build of Amarok is brought to you by.... Nitrostemp.

Anyone wanting to install Amarok on windows will need to go to this site: <a href="http://amarok.kde.org/wiki/Download:Windows">http://amarok.kde.org/wiki/Download:Windows</a>. Here you will find Nitrotemp's Windows installer for Amarok. You will also find a set of instructions for installing Amarok on Windows KDE. The Windows installer is the one that actually worked for me. I suffered a day of pain trying to install Amarok using the KDE for Windows instructions and would not recommend it. Now, the good people at the #amarok IRC channel steered me away from KDE for Windows. So, after a 500 MB download (choke) and a ten minute install process I was ready to try out my shiny new toy.

When I tried to start it up, at first, I got the Amarok splash screen that went over everything I brought up and it wouldn't go away. It turns out it was hiding a nag window for Amarok bug reporting, but you couldn't really tell it was hiding that window. Just an annoyance. Once I got past that, the program started right up, and I was able to check out all the different features. The first time Amarok ran, I saw just the playlist bar and the music bar, but all my music was there. I played a song, and there were lyrics within fifteen seconds … People, that's pretty cool. The thing that really blew me away was when I saw the tabs option. I used the Jamendo option and searched an artist. It lets you navigate the music as if it's in your collection. I was also able to play the song right from the Jamendo site, but when I tried to download the song it crashed (I promise I'll fill out a bug report). I was able to bring up the Podcast Directory pretty easily, though I was unable to find my dad's favorite podcast – The Linux Action Show. I was able to enter the RSS feed, and it downloaded just fine. I tried the various internet services for listening to streaming music. As an iTunes user, I had no idea that stuff was out there!

Amarok is the best music player I've ever used, and I highly recommend it. Though, there were a few problems with the Windows version. When I tried using the equalizer it said my current Phonon version doesn't support the equalizer so I was disappointed with that. Also, when I tried connecting to my iPod Amarok couldn't find it, so I was sad about that. Occasionally, the audio playback would stutter and repeat, but this may have been due to my computer. I plan to keep using Amarok, and hopefully I can help it get better.


<a name="#moodbar"></a> Moodbar by Ivan Nakov

<img src="Moodbar_Amarok.png">

Moodbar is a visualization used for navigating within a piece of music. A bar divided into vertical lines is displayed, each line a color showing the "mood" within a short part of the track. With Moodbar one can easily find exciting regions or something different happening in the song. The Moodbar is possible thanks of Gavin Wood and Simon O'Keefe, who have invented the algorithm for it. I find moodbars very interesting and useful.

There is a new script which will create Moodbar files for tracks in an Amarok playlist. In Amarok's Playlist you can add Moodbar as a field, from the Playlist layout menu.

<img src="Playlist_Moodbar.png">

As you can see,it's very easy to judge which songs have more vocals and which ones have more instruments.

Another way to use Amarok's Moodbar is the Moodbar package, which contains a program that analyzes a music files and generates the .mood files needed for Amarok to display the moodbars. The Moodbar package depends on the GStreamer libraries. There are also old scripts used outside of Amarok, to generate the .mood files. To call the script, you copy this code into a file moodbar.sh in your music directory. For more information about Moodbar and the old script, see <a href="http://userbase.kde.org/Amarok/Manual/AdvancedFeatures/Moodbar">http://userbase.kde.org/Amarok/Manual/AdvancedFeatures/Moodbar</a>

To install and use the new script is much easier. Download it here: <a href="http://kde-apps.org/content/show.php/Moodbar+Generator?content=135625">http://kde-apps.org/content/show.php/Moodbar+Generator?content=135625</a> The installation of the new script is very fast. Open Amarok's Tools -> Script Manager -> Install Script and navigate to the directory with the downloaded file. This script automatically generates .mood files while you are listening your music. No work needed outsid; Amarok will do all the work.

<a name="#transcode"></a> Transcode your media files

Amarok 2.4 now features transcoding when copying tracks, which allows you to encode your media files to different formats. Created by Teo Mrnjavac as part of Google Summer of Code 2010, transcoding makes it easy to convert your music to the format preferred by your portable music player, or reduce the file size of your music collection.

<img src="Transcode_local_collection_good.png">

To transcode your collection or just a specific track, go to the file browser and select the files you'd like to transcode. Right-click the file and select 'Copy to Collection' and then the new location you'd like to copy it to. Now a pop-up window will appear giving you options for how you'd like to continue.

<img src="Transcode_1.png">

Of course, you can still just copy the file in its original format, but you also have the option to transcode it. The default transcoding will convert it to medium compression, high quality, Ogg Vorbis (lossy). Or you can customize the transcoding process yourself with the third option.

<a name="#amaroklivecd"></a> Amarok Live CD by Samuel Brack

Amarok user Sentynel has created a LiveCD which means you can boot it into an already-installed copy of Amarok. You can use this CD to test Amarok, play music on a computer with your favourite music player or simply show your friends what Amarok looks like. The CD comes with pre-installed OpenSuse and Amarok. Because of legal issues, there is no music included, but you can play either online streams or music that's located on the computer's hard disk or an external flash drive, just like in any other installation of Amarok. The CD can be downloaded on Sentynel's <a href="http://www.sentynel.com/amarok.html">homepage</a>. You can choose between a LiveUSB image which boots from an external USB stick and a LiveCD iso file that can be burnt on a CD (e.g. with k3b). The LiveUSB image can be brought to your USB stick with the software ImageWriter. If you choose USB instead of a CD you can even copy some music onto the stick after using ImageWriter (put it into the directory /home/amarok/Music), so that you can carry your whole music collection with an appropriate player on only one stick. Further instruction can be found on the website, too. The current version comes with the latest stable Amarok 2.3.2 and is great to play music on a PC without futzing around in the computer's actual operating system. To boot this installation, just insert the CD into the tray or plug in the USB stick, and restart. You may need to set the boot priority in your BIOS (press escape during bootup).

<a name="#UPnP and Transcoding in Amarok 2.4 beta"></a> Amarok's UPnP and Transcoding by Kristian Ivanov

During the FOSDEM (Free and open source software developers' european meeting) and thanks to the meeting with the leading developer of Coherence (coherence is a DLNA/UPnP framework) Frank Scholz, it was decided that that Coherence should be used a base supporting UPnp services in KDE and the first implementation will be a KIO slave for browsing media on remote devices. The first version of the UPnP MediaServer KIO slave, that allows KDE applications to seamlessly browse and access files on UPnP devices on the network, was released in the middle of October 2010. It was limited to application developers, because in KDE 4.5 it wasn't integrated yest. The UPnP MediaServer KIO slave was born thanks to the Google Summer of Code task "Amarok and KDE UPnP Integration" and Nikhil Marathe.He explains: "KDE will now have transparent (kioslave) support for browsing UPnP data. Amarok will treat detected UPnP devices as another music collection so that users can have a seamless experience." About his GSoC experience he adds: "Working on GSoC was a great experience for me, another challenging task after last year's Season of KDE working on window tiling for KWin. The fact that I got to attend Akademy made this the most interesting and humbling summer." UPnP (Universal Plug and Play)is a network technology using a combination of SSDP, XML and SOAP, with some GENA thrown in for eventing. A group of UPnP services called the UPnP A/V Architecture has been picked up by an industry organization called the Digital Living Network Alliance. DLNA specifies device classes which have to implement specific services and support a minimal set of filetypes and codecs. In Amarok have been planning to integrate UPnP for a long while. But except for a failed Google Summer of Code project last year not a lot of effort has been spend. Thanks to Coherence this will quickly change: in relative short term we will introduce a UPnP Collection that will list and enable playback of music stored on a DLNA Digital Media Server. We could even consider publishing the content in the local Collection, basically making Amarok a DMS (Digital Media Server). Amarok can then track plays on remote devices and use it in the scoring algorithm. Even more advanced functionality would be to control one or more Digital Media Renderes, such as the Philips Streamium, from Amarok. There are interested developers for discovery of network services in general. This discovery would be a task of separate frameworks - Coherence for example. For simplifying technologies such as UPnP, zeroconf, Samba, etc. Bart Cerneels thinks that it would probably be to integrate this in to Solid.With this functionality in Solid it should be trivial to show a kind of "Network Map" to the user with all the services per device.

In the 2.4 beta release the UPnP was not the only new feature. In the 2.4 beta also came the Transocding. With it you can encode media files to different formats when you are copying them to your collection. Transcoding can be used by right-clicking upon a media file, selecting Copy to Collection, then Local Collection. From here you have 3 different option for the Transcoding which are : -Copy - this will simply copy the media file as it is and will not change it -Transcode - this will cause the media to be coded with the default encoding preset. -Transcode With Custom Parameters - this requires knowledge about encoding, because it will encode the file based on the parameters you give to Amarok. Do note that you are working with the actual files on your hard-drive. It is always a good idea to have a backup.

<a name="#nonkde"></a>

Running Amarok on non-KDE desktops

Amarok is a popular and powerful media player that is built on top of KDE libraries. This doesn't mean users of other desktop environments are left out though - this article will show you how Amarok works in in some of the desktop environments.(Gnome, Xfce, Enlightenment, LXDE, Fluxbox)

<a href="http://www.gnome.org/">GNOME:</a>

Gnome has been one of the most popular Desktop environments used by Linux users since its inception.Amarok bieng one of the most popular music players out there is extensively used by GNOME users. Installation of Amarok on GNOME means that it installs a number of KDE libraries along with it but in the end it's worth it.

<img src= "http://amarok.kde.org/wiki/File:Amarok_gnome.png" width=700 length =500 alt="Amarok on Gnome" align="middle" />

<a href="www.xfce.org">Xfce:</a>

Xfce is a lightweight Desktop environment as the creator of Xfce, Olivier Fordan says - "loads and executes applications fast, while conserving system resources". Amarok can also be used within the XFCE desktop environment if the dependencies such as the KDE4 libraries and Qt4 are installed. The repository tools of the specific distro takes care of the dependencies so that the user can enjoy multimedia without the headaches of the installation.

<a href="www.enlightenment.org">Enlightenment:</a>

Enlightenment is a desktop enviroment which is dedicated in creating beautiful desktop to users. Amarok runs smoothly under the Enlightenment environment. E17 and Amarok works like a charm.


<a href="fluxbox.org">Fluxbox:</a>

Fluxbox is yet another lightwieght desktop environment, which is extremely fast, very little resource hungry, based on ,Blackbox 0.61.1 code. Amarok runs well on Fluxbox though essentially it wasnt meant to be a lightwieght application, But it does very well to live upto expectations of Flux users.

<a href="lxde.org">LXDE:</a>

LXDE is a extremely fast performing and energy saving desktop environment. Like any other community project it is maintained by a international community of developers. Amarok runs fine on LXDE as long as the KDE services are installed and up running. A quick addition of kdeinit to startlxde does the trick!


A night of adventure with Amarok on OS X

Been thinking about installing Amarok on OS X for sometime now, finally decided on giving it a try. Been hearing that the the installation is quite a challenge, so thought that it would be a tough job getting it up and running on my Leopard.

To my utter surprise I found out that installation on OS X was quite well <a href=http://amarok.kde.org/wiki/Amarok2_On_OS_X> documented</a>, and i got a framework of how to proceed with my intentions.

KDE on mac is a very young idea and I wasnt much aware of it. I started installing XCode, MacPorts. The installation was very easy as there was step by step instruction in the documentation. Now I was ready for installing amarok through MacPorts, fired up the terminal and typed in-

sudo port install amarok

Installing the mysql-devel and embedded server package did give my a little hard time, like its describe in the wiki, though deactivating mysql solved the quirk. Installed all other KDE dependencies and I was good to go for the "Main Event".

Now came the time to install 'Xine'. With proper editing(frankly, i made some mistakes on my first try!) of the xine-lib file, I was good to go for the compilation.Went well and I was gearing up for the KDE-lib dependencies. A quick port installation of them did the trick. But the installation of stuff not in the MacPorts was quite a challenge, but lucky me, came out unscathed and victorius!

Time for compilation. Started compiling and took about 15-20 mins to get everything compiled. Had to face a bit of problem, here and there but I managed to install it anyways. So with a little editing of the `/.profile, I was now counting seconds before I could see it running on my Leopard. And lucky me! WORKED!!

<img alt="Finally victorious" src="Osx.png" width=700 hieght=400 >

As i noticed, it plays 16/44.1 FLACs and 24/88.2 AIFFs, as well as WAVs and WMAs fine on my mac. That was pretty encouraging as I was earlier unable to find anything that ran FLACs on my mac. After running it for sometime now, I am impressed by the versitility of the player. The only perk that one has to face is the installation. Once a person has overcome that, you are ready to take on the best media player in the world!


This page was last edited on 20 December 2012, at 13:01. Content is available under Creative Commons License SA 4.0 unless otherwise noted.