Amarok is a free software music player for Linux and other varieties of Unix. It makes use of core components from the K Desktop Environment, but is released independently of the central KDE release cycle.
Despite the fact that Amarok uses wolf-based artwork, and that the name "amarok" or "amaroq" literally refers to the Inuktitut word for "wolf", it was originally named after the album Amarok by Mike Oldfield. If you play the tune in this player, a window with information about the name will be shown. The 1.2 release originally had a wolf icon, but this was later withdrawn due to similarity with the logo of WaRP Graphics Inc. Amarok's wolf logo has now been modified sufficiently so as not to infringe on WaRP's trademark logo, and re-instated.
Originally named amaroK, it was renamed to Amarok in June 2006.
The project was originally started by Mark Kretschmann as a means of bettering XMMS due to several usability problems, which interfered with the addition of new files to the playlist due to several user interface elements existing for one task. The original amaroK was created based upon the idea of a two-pane interface seen in Midnight Commander, and the first version of the software released solely by Kretschmann, was based upon the ideal of allowing users to drag-and-drop music into an interface in which the playlist was displayed on the right and information on the left.
After the initial release of amaroK, several developers joined the project to form the "Three M's" the first of whom was Max Howell, who acted as an interface designer and programmer for the project, alongside Muesli (Christian Muehlhaeuser), who also provided user interface insight and programming till the late 1.4 versions.
Amarok's tagline is "Rediscover Your Music", and its development is based around this ideology. Amarok's core features such as the unique "context browser", integrated Wikipedia lookup and lyrics download help users to find new music, and to learn more about the music they have. Amarok also features integration with last.fm, giving users suggestions about what to listen to next and which artists may fit their mood, as well as with Magnatune integration, allowing no-cost full listening of all the music in their catalog, and DRM-free purchasing.
Basic Uses and Functions
Amarok serves many functions rather than just playing music files. For example, Amarok can be used to organize a library of music into folders according to genre, artist, and album, can edit tags attached to most music formats, associate album art, attach lyrics, and automatically "score" music as you play it. Thus, the first run of Amarok can be daunting for some users. Users that find the interface difficult to navigate due to the many features may hide some features (such as by closing tabs) but may simply prefer a simpler audio player.Template:Fact The abundance of features has also attracted some criticism that Amarok is resource-intensive or "bloated."
Although a more technical list of features is listed below, here are the primary functions or uses for Amarok:
- Playing media files in various formats including but not limited to (depending on the setup) FLAC, Ogg, MP3, AAC, WAV, WMA, ALAC, WavPack, TTA and Musepack. Amarok does not play digital music files embedded with DRM.
- Tagging digital music files (currently Ogg, WMA, AAC, MP3, and RealMedia).
- Associating cover art with a particular album, and retrieving the cover art from Amazon
- Creating and editing playlists, including smart and dynamic playlists. The dynamic playlists can use such information as the "score" given to a song by an Amarok script, and the playcount which is stored with the song.
- Synchronizing, retrieving, playing, or uploading music to digital music players, such as iPods or Creative Zens.
- Displaying artist information from Wikipedia and retrieving song lyrics.
- Last.fm support, including submitting played tracks (including those played on some digital music players) to Last.fm, retrieving similar artists, and playing Last.fm streams.
Some of these features depend on other programs or libraries that must be installed on a computer to operate, with some of the features such as support for newer iPods and AAC tag editing only accessible if Amarok is compiled from source as some distributions exclude them.
The newest stable release of Amarok, with the sixth release of the 'Fast Forward' series (1.4.5), includes an integrated Shoutcast stream directory, custom labels, some improvements in the Magnatune music store, an improved sound quality with the equalizer of xine, the full list of new features, fixes and improvements of Amarok are available at the Amarok site
While Amarok can be used with all Linux desktop environments, Linux users running environments such as GNOME instead than KDE may notice visual inconsistencies. Other projects, such as Exaile have been initiated to attempt to bring Amarok's functionality to a gtk-based program.
More Technical Features
- Two main windows: playlist browser and player window (latter is optional).
- Systray (panel notification area) icon support.
- Moodbar functionality provides a graphical overview of a song.
- Song collection, which includes specific folders on the filesystem.
- Can be stored in an internal SQLite database, or external MySQL or PostgreSQL database.
- Songs can be rated both dynamically (based on how much the song is played) and by hand (giving rating of 1-5 stars to the song).
- Amarok File Tracking (since 1.4.3): Stores file checksum in the collection. This allows the file be moved around in the filesystem without Amarok losing track of the song statistics. (In betas, this feature was called Advanced Tag Features, and instead stored unique identifier in the song tags.)
- Collection filter (newest songs, highest rated, most played, etc.).
- Playback options:
- Support for synching, reading, and writing to the following digital music players: iPod, iriver iFP, Creative NOMAD, Creative Zen, MTP, Rio Karma and USB devices with VFAT (generic MP3 players) support.
- Support for several audio engines. The audio engine also dictates which media types Amarok can play.
- aRts (unmaintained since 1.3, and unlikely to return)
- GStreamer (disabled in 1.4 due to a lack of maintainer)
- Helix project
- Media Application Server (MAS)
- Network-Integrated Multimedia Middleware (NMM)
- Uses TagLib for tags.
- MusicBrainz support.
- Amarok can be controlled via DCOP.
- Amarok Scripts, for example, when writing lyrics fetching plugins, can be written in most languages that can speak a simple standard input/standard output protocol and invoke the external "dcop" command. Such languages include Perl, Python, and Ruby.
- Support for Digital Audio Access Protocol and ZeroConf.
- Integration with K3b for burning audio CDs.
- Support for kioslaves-based audio CD access. This allows CDs to be ripped to MP3 or Ogg Vorbis using Amarok's file browser or Konqueror.
- Support for the libvisual audio visualization system.
The next release of Amarok, version 2.0 is currently in development. The next version will make use of KDE 4 technology like Phonon for audio and Solid for device interaction, along with extensive use of SVG and Plasma for the interface. Amarok will also have better integration with online services, Magnatune, Jamendo, Ampache and Mp3locker are already supported. A robust services framework will make adding support for other services much easier <ref>http://ljubomir.simin.googlepages.com/awnissue10</ref>. This release will also add support for Windows and OS X, along with many other KDE 4 applications<ref>http://amarok.kde.org/blog/archives/545-More-good-news-for-Windows-Amarok-users-to-be.html</ref>.
|Version||Codename||Release date||Important changes|
|first public release||July 20, 2003|
|0.6.0||September 20, 2003|
|0.7.0||November 16, 2003||support for cross fading, customizable columns|
|1.0||June 17, 2004||collection with search, file browser, download covers from Amazon, statistics|
|1.1||I am a rock||September 27, 2004||ratings, support for Xine, MAS and K3B|
|1.2||February 14, 2005||support for iPod, Audiscrobbler, MySQL, themeable Contextbrowser|
|1.3||Airborne||August 14, 2005||new playlist browser, work on interface, dynamic playlists, support for podcasts, relative paths in playlists, playlist queue, Wikipedia integration, cuesheets|
|1.3.9||Airborne||March 26, 2006||Helix and GStreamer engine, nicer interface, work on podcast support|
|1.4||Fast Forward||May 17, 2006||improved support for mobile devices, work on memory usage and interface design, integration of Last.FM into the context browser, gapless playback using Xine, lyrics now fetched with scripts, advanced Wikipedia integration, CD ripping via drag n drop, improved handling of podcasts|
|1.4.1||Fast Forward||July 2, 2006||improved performance and usability, name changed from amaroK to Amarok, Last.FM streams, rating via scripts|
|1.4.2||Fast Forward||August 22, 2006||DAAP client, MTP media device support, dynamic collection, custom Last.FM stations|
|1.4.3||Fast Forward||September 5, 2006||AFT (Amarok File Tracking)|
|1.4.4||Fast Forward||October 30, 2006||Magnatune integration, 3 different ways of crossfading with Xine and helix engine|
|1.4.5||Fast Forward||February 4, 2007||SHOUTcast streams, labels|
|1.4.6||Fast Forward||June 21, 2007||new icon set, Rockbox support|
|1.4.7||Fast Forward||August 13, 2007||updated icon and Cool Streams|
|2.0.0||T.B.A||T.B.A.||complete redesign of interface, increased graphical features, full list here. This version will add support for Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X.|
Amarok is the music player for Linux and Unix with an intuitive interface. Amarok makes playing the music you love easier than ever before - and looks good doing it.