Amarok/Manual/Various/FAQ

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Contents

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Amarok?

Amarok is a music player. More information can be found in a summary of its features and the screenshot gallery. To get started using Amarok, see the Quick Start Guide. The Amarok Handbook is here.

What are the differences between Amarok 2 and the previous versions?

Amarok 2 is a nearly complete code-rewrite so the codebase has little to do with Amarok 1.4. If you are missing a feature, please file a wish in Bugzilla.
Here you have a short list of some new features:
  • Maybe the biggest new feature is the Service Framework, which integrates networked music sources directly into Amarok. This includes online music stores, media servers, Web music lockers, and more. Thanks to it you'll get easy access to music provided by Magnatune, Jamendo, Last.fm, MP3Tunes Locker, Ampache and many others. Expect more big (and small) names to join during the 2.x lifecycle. See Internet Media Sources for more.
  • Another exciting feature is the Context pane, occupying the central place of the Amarok's window, replacing the old Context Browser from the 1.x series. It displays contextual information about the music you play, like the album cover, track rating, labels, lyrics, artist information, related songs and artists, guitar and bass tabs and others. Thanks to the Plasma technology it uses, the Context pane can provide very rich content, like AJAX, video and animations, all in an eye-catching fashion. More about the Context pane.
  • To accompany the Context pane, we developed a new, space efficient playlist. In order to preserve horizontal space, it groups the track name, artist, album name and cover art together, and allows further grouping by album names. Plus you can rearrange it to your heart's content! If you prefer the old 1.4 playlist, you can have that too. See Changing the Playlist layout for more.
  • Another great gem is the video support. Watching your music videos inside Amarok feels great!
  • We can't forget the Dynamic Playlists, which extend the old Dynamic Playlists. They allow you to define an automatically populated playlist, based on specific probability driven criteria called "biases". The dynamic playlist is joined by the new Automatic Playlist Generator, used to generate lists for specific purposes and of a specified length. See Dynamic Playlists and Automatic Playlist Generator for more information.
There are many more great features like advanced scripting, dynamic collections, usability improvements, improved media devices handling, a new podcast manager, support for more software platforms, and others.

Installation

Can I use Amarok without KDE?

Amarok requires parts of KDE to be installed to run, but will run fine in Gnome or other desktop environments, including Windows and OSx. For Amarok to run, kdelibs and kdebase-runtime need to be installed.
For some features to work correctly, such as the on-screen display, your window manager must be configured to support the relevant freedesktop.org standards. More about running Amarok on other platforms here.

Why does Amarok use KDElibs?

We are committed to supporting Amarok on all platforms. We use KDElibs and Qt because they provide an excellent development environment. Aside from Linux and BSD, Amarok works on Windows and MacOS, and there are installers available, but unfortunately we don't have (yet) the resources to offer full support for those operating systems. Almost all of our developers use free operating systems, and those have priority for us. We do however welcome Windows and OS X developers willing to help, and improve Amarok on those platforms.

General usage

How can I control Amarok from the keyboard?

Keyboard shortcuts are available; see our Keybinding Reference page for more information.
To control Amarok from the console, type
amarok --help-all
for a current complete list of available control commands.

Where can I get support for Amarok?

There are several options. Often times problems you have with the initial install of Amarok are best answered by experts of your particular Unix or Linux distribution. You may seek help from fellow users and developers at the Amarok forum and the Amarok IRC channel at irc.freenode.net channel #amarok.
Note that bugzilla is not a place to seek support. Please do enter a bug if you are serious about helping fix a bug in Amarok itself.

Questions about the Playlist

More about the Playlist here.

When I start Amarok, I see an empty playlist. How do I actually get tracks in there?

Use the Collection on the left side to navigate to the desired artist/album/track. Then drag the files into the Playlist part on the right. You can use Dynamic Playlists or the Automatic Playlist Generator to populate your playlist. You can also drag files in from any file manager, such as Dolphin. You may also double-click a track, artist or genre in your Collection or file-system, or right-click and Add to Playlist or Replace Playlist.

How do I remove tracks from the Playlist?

Select the track(s) you want to remove, and press the Delete key. Or right-click the selection and choose Remove From Playlist.

How can I load a playlist?

Just drag and drop the playlist file into the Playlist, like you would do with any other file. It's that simple!

How can I save the current playlist?

Use the Save Playlist As button in the Playlist toolbar. Slow-click the disc icon to chose to save to your harddisk, or to the database.

Playback Questions

How do I play audio CDs?

When you insert an audio CD, it will be shown as a local collection. Drag to the playlist or Pop-Up Dropper, or right-click the selected tracks and choose Add to Playlist or Replace Playlist.

What media types does Amarok support?

Amarok does not play music by itself, but lets Phonon do that job, specifically the VLC, GStreamer or Xine backends of Phonon. Therefore, whatever files they can play, Amarok can play. To analyse file tags, Amarok uses Taglib, which supports most file types that contain metadata.

What is Phonon? What are Phonon backends?

Phonon is the multimedia framework of KDE 4. You can find more information here.
Usually the VLC backend works better than the Xine one, although this is not always true. We also suggest you try the Gstreamer backend, although it is still in development. You can find more details on installing backends in the download page.

Amarok won't play mp3s, what can I do?

Have a look at the mp3 information page. You probably lack the codecs required by your particular phonon-backend (VLC, Gstreamer, or Xine).

I can't get any media to play in Amarok, why not?

Test the sound frameworks at the command line:
xine-check
(The xine-ui package contains xine-check)
The output from these commands should help you identify the problems you are having and how to fix them.

I have a second soundcard and I'm using ALSA. How do I make Amarok use it instead of the default?

Configure this in the Phonon system settings module. Settings -> Configure Amarok -> Playback -> Configure Phonon

Where's the equalizer?

The equalizer is only available if you are using a Phonon-backend which supports it, which the modern ones now do. You can find it in the Tools menu. You can get more information about configuring Phonon-backends in your distribution in the download page.

How do I turn on visualizations?

Visualizations are not implemented yet, but they will be very soon.

How can I add podcasts?

Go to Podcast section in the left toolbar and then select Add Podcast... Add the podcast URL where indicated. More about podcasts here.
We also have some services, such as gpodder and Podcast Directory to help you find great podcasts. Enable services in the Settings menu: Configure Amarok -> Plugins.

How can I use Amarok to stream to my own radio station?

If you want to stream directly to an icecast or shoutcast server the answer simply is: it is not supported. You could use IDJC for that.

General questions

What are scripts?

They are little pieces of software that add some functions to Amarok. There are a lot of scripts, and you can find them in kde-apps.org or you can find and install them inside Amarok using the Script Manager (until Amarok 2.4.1). More details here. After Amarok 2.4.1, you will find the Script Manager from the Settings menu, Configure Amarok -> Scripts.

Can I use Amarok 1.4 scripts in Amarok 2?

No. A new and powerful scripting API has been created, which provides huge improvements but won't let you use your old scripts. The new scripting system is based on QtScript and will significantly reduce Amarok's dependencies, a huge problem for non-technical and cross-platform users, and will greatly reduce the amount of external processes launched at runtime. Another advantage is that the new API will allow much deeper integration with Amarok than the old scripting system. Amarok Scripting API.

What are Moodbars?

Moodbars show the mood of a song in the progress bar. More about Moodbar here.

Can I play video files?

Amarok is mainly a music player so no video file management, collection support, DVD playback, subtitles, or any other sophisticated features are available. However, the video applet lets you play YouTube video clips inside Amarok.

Is it Amarok, AmaroK or amaroK?

It is Amarok! The former spelling was amaroK, but it was changed due to its strange look.

How are track scores determined?

Amarok assigns a score (a number 0-100) to a song based on how many times you've listened to it and whether you skip the song without it finishing. Every time the song finishes playing, the score is changed.
Here you have an example script that can calculate scores:
  if( playcount <= 0 ) # not supposed to be less, but what the hell.
      newscore = ( prevscore + percentage ) / 2
  else
      newscore = ( ( prevscore * playcount ) + percentage ) / ( playcount + 1 )
  end
You can easily create your own script with your own algorithm. Look at the Script-Writing-Howto for further information.

How do I manually change a track's score?

You may change the score manually in the Edit Track Details dialog, available by right-clicking on a track, and choosing the Summary tab. Before Amarok 2.4.1, this is called the Statistics tab.

But I also want that stars system like in other players!

Amarok, of course, supports an user-defined rating system, and you can rate your tracks with a single click using the Current Track applet. You can also do this in the context menu (right-click) Edit Track Details -> Summary tab (before Amarok 2.4.1, this is Edit Track Details -> Statistics). If you have the rating stars displayed in your playlist layout, you can also edit there, with the slow double-click.

Can I drag and drop Plasma applets from the main window to the Desktop?

No, but there are many Plasmoids available for your Desktop, which will let you display information provided by Amarok as well as control Amarok.

Can I use removable media inside Amarok?

Amarok has a greatly improved support for the media devices based on Solid, the KDE hardware layer, that doesn't need a lot of configuration. You should be able to just plug in your device and access it within Amarok. Also, thanks to the Dynamic Collections, your media devices could become part of your music collection, and be searchable and accessible within the Collection Browser when it's connected.
You can transfer your songs, albums and artists from your local collection by right-clicking Copy to Collection -> Your device; and you can also do it in the other way: right-click Copy to Collection -> Local Collection. More about Amarok and devices here.

How can I save a stream?

First of all, load the stream into the playlist. There are several ways to do this: downloading the file, for example from shoutcast.com, and opening it with Amarok; using the menu Playlist -> Add stream; among others.
Once the stream is loaded, you can save it by clicking on Save current playlist which is under the Playlist, and giving it a meaningful name. The Stream will then be added to the Saved playlists view for later reference.

Can I use the old Amarok's collection in Amarok 2? Will my tags, score are ratings be lost?

A database importer is available. You will be able to keep your ratings and statistics just fine. More here.

Where do I find the settings for Amarok?

`kde4-config --localprefix`/share/apps/amarok
`kde4-config --localprefix`/share/config/amarokrc

Troubleshooting

How can I obtain a backtrace?

If Amarok has crashed and you want to report it, visit the Debugging HowTo. The bug report must be sent in bugs.kde.org after verifying if it has already been reported.

Amarok just freezes! How can I help get this fixed?

You can obtain a backtrace of a frozen instance of Amarok using gdb like so:
$ gdb -p `pidof amarok`

 (gdb) thread apply full bt all
Then just post the backtrace to PasteBin, as described in the Debugging HowTo.

Amarok takes a lot of time to start

If this happens you have to check what scripts you have installed and what internet services are running, because some of them may slow down the startup. Also, if you have streams in the playlist when you open Amarok, the startup can take a little longer.
On the other hand, if you don't use KDE, but a different desktop environment, startup time can be increased very slightly because there are more libraries to be loaded.

Development questions

How do I get a GIT version of Amarok?

How to obtain and build Amarok Git. Check here for a local build: Building from Git Locally: Full Summary

Why isn't Amarok part of KDEmultimedia?

The developers don't want the man telling them when they can release. (Meaning, packages in the KDE SC proper have a release schedule that doesn't fit with Amarok's fast-paced development.)

I've found a bug / I've got a great idea for Amarok!

Please report it at bugs.kde.org. If you have a list of suggestions or wishes it may be best to send them to our mailing list: amarok@kde.org. Simply posting the idea to our IRC channels or on an obscure wiki page or blog won't help much as the information will get lost.

Do you accept patches?

Happily! Your best course of action is to let us know what you plan to do before you do any work so we can discuss it, but don't fret; we haven't turned down a patch yet! Discussion is mostly to help you patch the correct bits of Amarok. Submit your patches and code contributions to git.reviewboard.kde.org. See also How to Submit Patches to Amarok. If you have a bug fix then just go ahead; this is open source after all. :)

Why did you choose the name Amarok?

Amarok is an album by British composer Mike Oldfield. Project founder Mark Kretschmann happens to like it a lot, and he thought the name had a nice sound. Plus, of course, it contains the all important K. Face-smile.png



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