What were some of your primary reasons in getting the Amarok project started?
Back then I was a user of XMMS. I was pretty happy with it, but it annoyed me that you had to press so many little buttons to do the most basic tasks. Like, loading a few files into the playlist required clicking 5 buttons. When I was using the file manager Midnight Commander, the idea came to me of combining the two interfaces: A media player with a simple two-pane interface. On the left side are your files, on the right side there's the playlist. And you would simply drag your files from the left to the right. That's it. And then and I programmed a simple implementation of this interface, and it became the first version of Amarok. Although there were a lot of changes over the years, the basic concept stayed the same to this day.
It's amazing to think back upon the pre 1.0 days of Amarok and how much it has improved in a relatively short period of time. When did you know that Amarok had made it to the level of being a great music player?
Well, with software it's a bit of a special situation. It's never really finished. You release a version 1.0, and you think it's good. Then you release version 1.1, and then it's: "Ok, this release has so many improvements, it's so much better than the last release. How could anyone use a lame piece of software like 1.0?" This goes on and on :) But basically when we've reached 1.0, I was satisfied with our work. All of our original goals had been met.
In terms of maturity and also popularity there was a big jump with the advent of the 1.4 series, though. I think this was maybe the version that turned many people over from old school players like XMMS.
Great job on version 1.4.5 of Amarok! In the past, my only complaint with Amarok would be that, at times the program felt sluggish or slow. I haven't noticed such sluggishness with version 1.4.5, has anything specifically been implemented to make it feel more responsive?
Thanks. Yes we have indeed tried to optimize certain parts of the application, like database access and playlist handling. Also, Amarok these days makes extensive use of multithreading, which greatly helps keeping the interface responsive. Multithreading isn't always easy to implement, but especially with the advent of multi-core processors, it's the only way to get excellent performance for a complex application. So we invested quite a bit of time in this.
What is your favorite new feature found on Amarok 1.4.5?
My favorite is probably the Shoutcast stream browser. I listen to radio streams most of the time, so this is very useful to me.
Whats your engine of choice...Xine, Gstreamer, Helix and why?
xine - because this engine is very mature and implements all features. However, I sometimes use Helix for radio streams, which it handles better than xine.
Could you explain why for Amarok 2.0 the music engines will be shifted to external processes and how that relates to licensing issues?
NOTE TO EDITOR: This topic is purely speculative; no decision has been made. Please strike this question.
I have read that Amarok for version 2.0 will be ported to Windows and OS X. I kind of think of it as a double edged sword. Nice for me when I am using those platforms to have one more familiar Linux app available, but I also think that it could be one more reason not to try an alternative operating system like Linux for other people. What would be your view on that?
Could you give us some thoughts on what to expect for Amarok 2.0?
I think there were discussions in the past about having Amarok play videos. Curious to what your thoughts are on that ability?
I think that Amarok2 might be able to do basic video playback, e.g. for playing music videos. We will not however turn Amarok into a full blown video/audio player, with DVD playback and whatnot. This would water down our GUI. Our focus stays at providing a good music player.
What would be some of your favorite Amarok scripts?
Personally I don't use many scripts. Some scripts are amazingly advanced though, e.g. the ReplayGain script, which provides audio normalization for Amarok. I think that's a pretty cool script.
This is a personal wish of mine, but what's the chances Amarok could work as a plugin within MythTV & the fullscreen Amarok plugin?
Sure, there's nothing standing in the way of such an extension. In fact a few days ago a third party extension was released for using Amarok in full screen mode, and it looks pretty cool as far as I can tell.
As a user of KDE, what do you hope to see implemented in KDE 4.0?
As a user I'm pretty happy with KDE already. My needs are humble. My most used feature is probably the mini-cli (for starting applications), and the terminal emulator Konsole, which is hosting many Vim sessions for programming.
On the technical side, I'm looking forward to the new technologies like Phonon, and the improved libraries. These features make our lives as programmers easier.
Lately there has been a lot of European countries coming against the iTunes music store and their Fairplay DRM. What is your opinion on this issue?
I think it's a good move. Ideally though the costumers would wake up and boycott DRM encumbered services. There are great alternatives like Magnatune, who provide music without any DRM, in a format of your choice. And they are very fair with their artists; the artist gets 50% of the music price, which is considerably more than most traditional labels are willing to pay. It's good for the artist, it's good for the consumer. Why not check it out?
Last question..what exactly is RokyMotion?
RokyMotion is the Amarok promotion team. They handle things like writing news articles, organizing events and general public relations work for Amarok. Sometimes they even coordinate releases. So it's really a broad selection of important tasks they're doing for the project. If you are interested in contribution to the project, this is a great way to start.