Amarok, long regarded collectively as the most advanced and useful audio player for Linux, gains news features with version 2.6. On board for this release is a “complete overhaul of the iPod and iPhone support” libraries. This is great news for owners of iOS devices, though it seems there is still work to be done for iOS5 and iPhone 4 users.
Transcoding = Big Win
The big new feature for this release is transcoding. If you are a Banshee user then you have already been taking advantage of this feature for quite some time, but Amarok users have been stuck for years using intermediary programs to accomplish. Why do you need transcoding? Simple. Take Banshee for instance. If you have a Sandisk Sansa or Clip, or perhaps a device with Rockbox installed, you can have your pick as to what codec you would like to use. Banshee with honor that decision and transfer – for example – your FLAC playlist to your device in OGG format, at whatever bitrate you prefer.
The extent of this functionality in Amarok is yet to be seen, but we hope for the best. Of-course this feature does leave us drooling for the one feature that Amarok has been lacking all along. Video podcast management and playback. In conjunction with ffmpeg, this would make Amarok a serious force to be reckoned with.
Free Music Charts
Also on board is the addition of a popular Amarok script, Free Music Charts, enabled by default. The Free Music Charts script makes the Free Music Charts participatory radio show available to Amarok users. Here is a description from their homepage;
Free Music Charts is an internet radio show, where only open (as in CC licensed) music is allowed to take part. The rules are quite simple:
* listeners can chose up to five songs to vote for
* the 15 best voted songs from the last month take part next month, too
* there are at least five newcomers
* a song is allowed to take part for a maximum of six months, after that time it is replaced by a newcomer
Sounds like a great delivery platform for independent artists and one you should try not give some time to, especially if you are appreciator of music in general.
When do we get it?
That’s a great question. Amarok 2.6 currently sits in beta, but it should almost be done in the incubator. The beta 1 announcement was made on May 29th and promised a release in 2 weeks. So, today maybe?
We will keep our ears open for you.