Amarok Refreshed: Better, Stronger, Faster!
Even though it's a point release, the latest Amarok comes with some major new features and all the benefits of the 2.2.0 release. Dubbed "Weightless," the 2.2.1 release is full of bug fixes and polishing from 2.2.0 release as well as improvements to music management, podcasts, and the ability to update Amarok scripts.
Amarok is already speedy when processing large media collections, but this release includes a tweak to take it up a notch. In the past, Amarok would scan an entire directory -- including sub-folders -- when the main directory had changed. Now Amarok can just breeze through the main directory if the subdirectories haven't been modified, making it even faster. And it's plenty fast already: I've passed a 57GB collection through Amarok in just a few minutes.
If you use some of the "first party" scripts in Amarok, there's an important new feature in the Weightless release. If the scripts are updated between releases, Amarok can check and update those scripts on its own.
For Podcast fans, Amarok 2.2.1 brings the ability for podcasts to update themselves when you're connected to the network. This release also allows you to mark podcasts as new (or old) manually, so you can override playback information.
It's the simple features that really make a media player pleasant to use, though. For instance, this release adds the ability to just middle-click on a song, album, podcast or whatever and add it to the playlist. You can build up a playlist in no time by just breezing through your collection and middle-clicking on items rather than right-clicking and then selecting the "add to playlist" item.
Overall, Amarok 2.2.1 is a fairly substantial update for a point release and definitely worth checking out. The download page links to distros that ship Amarok and also to the sources.
Joe 'Zonker' Brockmeier is a longtime FOSS advocate, and currently works for Novell as the community manager for openSUSE. Prior to joining Novell, Brockmeier worked as a technology journalist covering the open source beat for a number of publications, including Linux Magazine, Linux Weekly News, Linux.com, UnixReview.com, IBM developerWorks, and many others.