After much waiting, Amarok 2 was finally released. For those who can’t wait to try it out, here is how you can install it on your Kubuntu/Ubuntu.
If you have previously installed Amarok 1.4, remove it.
sudo apt-get autoremove amarok
Open your sources.list
gksu gedit /etc/apt/soources.list
Add the following line to the end of the file.
deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/kubuntu-members-kde4/ubuntu intrepid main
Update the repository and install Amarok 2
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install amarok-kde4
Amarok 2.0 brings a lot of fresh changes. The most noticeable difference is the user interface. The UI has been completely redesigned and have a totally different look from Amarok1.4. The play control buttons are bigger and are position at the top instead of the usual bottom. The main screen is now split into 3 columns instead of the usual 2. The centre column is now make up of an information pane where you can add widgets to it .There is also different workspaces where you can organize your widgets nicely.
There are several useful and interesting widgets that you can use. Albums, Current Track Info, Lyrics, Wikipedia are a few examples.
Things that have improved in Amarok 2 include the addition and a tighter integration with the various online music services. You can now access Ampache, Last.fm, MP3Tunes, Jamendo, Librivox, Magnatune, OPML directory and shoutcast.
The new improved dynamic playlist in Amarok 2.0 added a biased factor to the songs that you played. You can easily configure it to match the title, artists, album etc or loosely match with the song’s meta data. I really love this feature. It’s just like the Genius feature in iTunes, but with more controllability and predictability.
Another feature that I found useful in Amarok 2.0 is the Advanced search that allows you to filter and mirco search your music collection. There are times when I have craving to listen to a particular song. With over 1000 songs in my database, it is a really difficult task to locate the song I want. This advanced search feature has enabled me to find that song quickly and easily.
The script manager in Amarok 2.0 is of a completely different architecture from Amarok 1.4. This means that all the version 1.4 scripts cannot be used in Amarok 2. Currently, the script database only have a limited few scripts that are of little use. Hopefully, as Amarok 2 becomes more mature, there will be a lot more scripts available.
Other than Linux, Amarok 2 is also compatible with Mac and Windows. However, the current Mac and Windows versions are still in testing stage and they do not work as well as the Linux version. If you are the adventurous type, you still can download and install it in your system. Note that you will experience frequent crashes and some unknow side effects, so do it at your own risk.
Overall, majority of the changes in Amarok 2 are refreshing. The interface has become more elegant, much simpler and more user-friendly without losing any of its functionality. Some of the newly addons feature such as search filtering and widgets are interesting and useful. I would hope to see better integration and connectivity with my iPhone so that I can stream/transfer music easily.
What do you hope to see in the new release of Amarok 2.0?