“Thriving on the success of the popular Amarok 1.4, Clementine tries to provide a reminiscent user experience and on par acoustics to the Amarok 1.4.x user base”.
The Kde 4.x and QT 4 desktop changed the way people used the PC. Touted to revolutionist the PC experience, KDE 4 desktop brought some drastic changes. To cope up with the KDE development Amarok team tried to follow the same bandwagon and audited the ever loved Amarok 1.4 to a newly refurbished Amarok 2. Some hated it, while some loved it. However the mixed bag review was much to the downside of Amarok.
After lot of unpleasant experience with the newly created Amarok 2, some developers forked the very old Amarok 1.4 under a new name and new environment (Qt 4) and the result was out as clementine. Not many player steal the limelight but it was the old wolf shadow that helped Clementine gained the very attention all over the OSS world.
So does this new piper deserves the attention that it gobbled? Lets put this jukebox to some of the test and check out the features and music capabilities of the newly forked Amarok. The following methodologies were used to test the media players.
|Media players and media devices now offer more than just listening. On the basis of the belief that a complete media player should offer more than just the basics, I rated the media players in this article according to the following criteria:|
• Basic Media Capabilities – Apart from extra bells and whistles, how did the player perform with the basic functions?The test included a comparison of media codec support, playlists, user interfaces,
and media device support.
•Extended Media Capabilities – A complete media player should offer good media streaming capability, along with a handful of other goodies. I looked at support for a complete tag editor, album art fetcher, online streaming and buying options, inter portability with other players, and expandability.
•Ripping and Burning – Many users like to burn their favorite tracks to disc; in fact, this feature has become a de facto standard, and all media players should support easy burning through a native burning client.
To test Clementine I used Fedora 14 Laughlin KDE.
First look and you just cannot tell the difference between Amarok 1.4 and Clementine. Clementine is the spitting image of Amarok 1.4. Developers have done a commendable job when it comes to porting things, things work exactly the way it worked previously, working with clementine made me nostalgic and reminded me of the good old days. Anyway on further testing it appears that Clementine is quite stable and no crashes whatsoever. Even loading thousands of sound recursively doesn't effected in the performance. Clementine has it all, a lyrics fetcher, an album art manager, visualization, an equalizer with preset 19 bands.
The Interface is segregated into the ubiquitous left menu and navigation panel with Playlist section on the right. The usual control buttons are located at the bottom section of the player and lower to it is the seek. There is a handy Song Info and Lyrics options that fetch the info and display in a very smooth and clean manner, provides all the requisite info.
Clementine sits on top of the system tray with a orange icon. The beauty is that the icon colour fades away as the songs progress. Pretty nifty and looks good. The notification system has been worked well, Clementine allows you select multiple notification manager. Whether to use the default system notification or to use the inbuilt libnotify status notifier. Its all merged there well for your liking.
Overall Clementine does the fork well, and brings the dead Amarok 1.4 to life, not only by mocking the interface but by providing a stable and intuitive interfaces for decent work flow.
The Acoustics : Clementine unlike other QT media players thrives on gstreamer instead of Xine/Phonon backend. With Gstreamer as its backed you can expect the player to deal with any format that you trow at it. I tested the player with wma, mp3 (varying bit rate) and it took them for a relentless ride. No glitches at all, the player handles them quite well. Given you have all the gstreamer plugin installed. Since i was working with KDE and Xine system, it refused to play AAC format.
Clementine comes with a proper Last.fm integration with added open source offerings such as Jamendo, SomaFM , Magnatune and many more. Clementine offers play list creation on the fly, and even allows you to export them into various formats such as m3u, xspf, pls, asx, ini. So you have the choice to export it in varied format and you can even make it compatible with media players and devices alike.
Apart for the media playing capabilities Clementine sports a decent album/songs navigator. Nothing has a changed a bit if you have use Amarok 1.4. Its the same old ubiquitous navigation system with no frills. Does the job decently but is it decent enough ? With media player bringing eye candy to navigation the old test based style just doesn't entice as of now. Navigation has came of age be it the itunes Cover Flow or the similar eye candy effect.
To add more dough to the media player capabilities, Clementine comes with a trans coder inbuilt capable of encoding handful of media. Comes very handy while transferring media files to some devices. Overall Clementine is a pleasant media player to work wit, and if you are satisfied with the age old UI then its worth giving a try.
After marks : Clementine does the work well, and developer's need a pad on the back for bringing the old Amarok interfaces to life. However using the old thing just didn't felt as good as it should be. However Clementine plays everything that i used to but still the instinct didn't rose to that level as it should be. After using the clumsy interface of Amarok 2 I am quite used to it and it felt good. The amount of plasma integration it brings in is fantastic, no matter how hard it is but still the good eye candy feel does holds its ground and both amarok and clementine are on par when it comes to features.
The downside of Clementine is that it still has the missing bits and features that were there is Amarok. Still no provision for complete meta data editor, on has to depend on the Easytag utility for the job. Add to that there is no support disc burning atleast for now. Nor the album art manager has matured and stays unchanged just from the likes of Amarok 1.4. Though these are not the major hiccups that stand in Clementine way, the only reason that I think is the not so changed UI.
Well if you are missing the old Amarok then Clementine is the right player for you. If you from the old side of the world looking for a breath of freash air then give Clementine a pass. There's a lot of offerings in the Linux Music World, Amarok, Banshee and the newbie Mini tunes does have better eye candy.