Amarok WTF

Warning: the following rant could be caused by my idiocy, more than by Amarok’s fault. See comments.

I have been using [[Amarok (software)|Amarok]] as music player even since I had first contact with it. I was really delighted with its capabilities, and everything was intuitive and useful in its [[User Interface|UI]]. That was until version 1.4.x.

Version 2.0 was an almost complete rewrite of the code, and as such many things changed. The UI suffered a large redesign, in my opinion for worse… but that’s just an opinion. There are, however, other issues that are facts, not opinion. Amarok 2.0 lacked many of the features of Amarok 1.x, as the developers themselves admitted (not much room to deny). Fine, I have no problem with that. It is understandable: until version 2.x things will not settle down. The only problem is that Linux distros (at least Ubuntu) adopted Amarok 2.0 almost immediately, leaving us users with a broken toy. Not nice.

My latest gripe with Amarok? I run Ubuntu 9.10 at work (Amarok 2.2.0), and latest Arch at home. In the latter, I just updated Amarok 2.2.1 to 2.2.2 in the weekend (Arch is much more up to date than Ubuntu, since it’s based in almost bleeding-edge rolling releases). Well, unlike Amarok 2.2.1 before (or Amarok 2.2.0 at work), the new Amarok 2.2.2 does not have an option for random play. Yes, you read correctly. There is no way I know of to avoid playing all the songs in the playlist in the exact order (in principle, alphabetical) they are laid on. In older versions, you could play songs or albums randomly. With 2.2.2, they lost this capability. Amazing feature regression, if you ask me.


  1. Mamarok said,

    January 18, 2010 @ 20:46 pm

    Sorry, but that is not true, if you click at the icon at bottom right of the playlist, you can choose to play tracks or albums randomly.

    Since this is a playlist action, it was moved from the Menu bar to the playlist. And it was announced in the release notes here:

  2. isilanes said,

    January 19, 2010 @ 9:48 am

    Oh, how could I have missed it!!</ironic>

    Seriously, though, you are right, Mamarok. I found the button placement by myself yesterday. Option and menu placement is something the users of a program come to expect and love (or hate). Fooling around with them only causes confusion and tears. And blog posts :^) I never understood why some options are placed where they are in Amarok (“playlist” options on the bottom left, below the playlist itself). I prefer applications with a menu at the top (which includes every option available), below it a bar with shortcut buttons (“toolbar”), and below it the whole “body” of the app, mostly with visual stuff, showing things, more than offering interaction to the user. It could have been nice to discover that randomness options could be controlled from somewhere else (the new location), as well as from the menu bar. But discovering that suddenly the menu bar does not have that option anymore is not funny.

  3. Inigo said,

    January 22, 2010 @ 14:25 pm

    You can just go back to amarok 1.4 as I did, together with konqueror, konsole and others which are still not yet there in their kde4 incarnations. You can use “old” kde3 application together with kde4, just add the repositories!

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