There used to be a time when people died of Amarok deficiency. No, really! At least the audiophiles who also happened to be Linux users. Music on KDE meant “Amarok.” GNOME users would install half the KDE just to get their hands on Amarok. At its peak, Amarok had a huge fanbase that impatiently waited for new releases of their beloved music player. Times changed, Qt 4 came out and Amarok made the transition from Qt 3 to Qt 4 for its user interface. Leaving behind its immensely successful 1.4.x series, Amarok received a lot of flak for its revamped UI in 2.x. Fans were angry with the completely revised UI, and the Amarok dev team was unwilling to support the older design. This gave rise to Clementine and Exaile, both of which resembled Amarok of yesteryear, especially Clementine which was forked directly from Amarok’s 1.4.x branch.
Five years hence, Amarok doesn’t have as much fanfare as it had back in its day, and its development has slowed down a bit. But the team is still hard at work in putting out quality new releases. Amarok 2.8 comes exactly three months after v2.7.1 “Harbinger” with a good handful of new features and a bucketful of bugfixes. It now depends on Qt 4.8.3. So get the dependencies in place before installing Amarok 2.8.
- Tracks from Recently Played List widget can now directly be added to the playlist.
- The MusicBrainz tagger significantly improved.
- The Jamendo service now uses a higher quality MP3 format instead of Ogg Vorbis.
- Amarok is now power-management aware with a pair of new options in the configuration.
- The Audio analyzer visualisation is back: the widget is configurable by right click on it and it sits prominently under the Current Track widget.
- The GUI layout can now be reset to default, so no more shuffling elements around if you want to go back to the original view.
- Local Collection and Collection Browser were fixed to update correctly when tracks are changed or removed.
- The Nepomuk Collection was improved to query the Nepomuk database dynamically.
- Opus codec support (with transcoding, needs recent TagLib), more keyboard shortcuts, ASX playlist support, improved file browser, better feedback for unplayable tracks, Last.fm integration improvements and much more.
- Ctrl+C copies the currently playing artist & title to the clipboard.
- Volume fade-out is now also available for pause.
- The Files browser now has a Refresh button.
- The active playlist item is animated with a soft glow effect.
- Added an audio analyzer visualization applet.
- On-Screen-Display fades in/out smoothly.
For a full changelog, check here.