Amarok Brings Labels, Lyrics, and a Little Bit of Mood
When it comes to playing music, there is no shortage of software options, both open and closed. The race to gain users is a race to add features, and if KDE is your thing, then Amarok may be running your way.
Arriving just a few weeks past its first anniversary, the latest release of Amarok 2 maintains the momentum built steadily by the seven revisions of the past year. In addition to continuing improvements in stability, performance, and usability, the 2.2.2 release adds and edits a range of features from playlists to podcasts and patches a host of bothersome bugs.
Among the notable changes is the return of a long-lost feature sorely missed by longtime users. Custom labeling, lost in the Great Overhaul of Amarok 2, is once again included, providing users an extra layer of control over their collection. Also reintroduced is the Moodbar, a colorful addition that promises to reveal when "something interesting happens" — interesting may be a good word to describe installing the feature, which looks like it may be a bit involved for some users.
Podcast features grab a good bit of attention, with added support for OPML imports, automatic logo downloads, and HTML information display. Amarok will now detect duplicate files prior to download, and can dispose of any files left behind while unsubscribing. Prime among the podcast push, however, is performance, particularly the "considerable" improvements in memory use provided by the addition of configurable update frequency and limits on concurrent downloads.
Playlist features have been tweaked as well, with actions at the bottom and editing options moved into the menu bar. Changes have also been made to the search function, character set detection, and dynamic playlists, several elements of the UI have improved, and a number of fixes were introduced for playlist-related problems experienced in 2.2.1.
Amarok is available for Linux, Mac, and Windows users, and requires KDE 4.3 and Qt 4.5. Official support is limited to Linux — downloadable packages are provided for most popular distributions. Windows and Mac users can download unofficial "test" versions, though results may vary.Image courtesy of The Amarok Team.