Category Archives: amarok

Amarok2 and redefinition of awesomeness

Disclaimer: Fully aware of the fact that this post will bring no change to Amarok or KDE, I am setting out to write this nonetheless. I know I should have been more constructive, but this is all I got to spare right now.

With the disclaimer out of the way, I used to be a KDE user and devoted Amarok user. Even when fancy took me to run Gnome, I used to run Amarok faithfully. Nothing unique, many Gnome users do the same.

Amarok2 has been criticised and critics attacked fittingly. Starting with huge “fuck you” in the clouds (addition is mine and text theirs) and much politer version ( http://amarok.kde.org/en/node/604 ).

However I am not entirely convinced that Amarok1.4 was a sinking boat of feature creep and junkyard of code. At least it wan’t trying to be a dysfunctional video player like Banshee, right? 😉

Anyways I care about very few features and only complain from me in feature department is, they have hidden some quick actions inside deep menus in Amarok2, such as “repeat single track”. Apart from this snag, me and Amarok2 go quite well together when it comes to features.

Now coming to main point.

  • UI : We programmers sometimes get so blinded by our creation that we see nothing past it. The plasma widget in center is exact case of that. In a media player, meta info about music is not more important than the music itself. Meta information is a nice to have feature and shouldn’t protrude like it does in Amarok2. I do like lyrics, album info and other semantic information but main thing that I do with my media player is drag songs from collection and drop it in the playlist. Most of the time its just minized to system tray. I do not run music player to impress chicks. Besides that widget poses significant challenges to entire layout. In beta and RC releases, damn thing rarely used to scale with rest of the window. In final version its better but yet above screenshot is living proof of its fragility.
  • Scattered playlist control : Okay even Amarok1.4 wasn’t a god in this, but it was better. Most of the playlist controls were somewhat closer. Contrast this with Amarok2 where playlist search is in one corner, <play/pause/stop> in another, <clear playlist/add to playlist> somewhere else. More so some of the controls are not at all on the screen or in context menu but are only accessible from main application menu.

  • Amarok Bug tracker : You come as a well meaning user and want to submit a bug report for Amarok, I would be quite surprised if you can find a link to bug tracker on ( http://amarok.kde.org/ ). But then bug tracking has been traditionally a no-joy operative word in Open Source because of monstrosity called Bugzilla. In this post Aaron Seigo ( http://aseigo.blogspot.com/2009/01/building-community-around-your-foss.html ) talks about lowering the barrier to entry. I have worked with bugzilla in past and user/submitter side of pain is nothing compared to pain the developer goes through. Contrast this with bliss Rails developers are having (http://rails.lighthouseapp.com/dashboard ). Why can’t this be improved?