Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Amarok and Clementine - a comparison


I'm a long term user of Amarok the KDE media player - for probably 10+ years. There's always a blip when a move to a new version of the KDE software framework happens and at the moment we're in one of those transitions. When I moved to Ubuntu 21.04 I couldn't get the pre-release version to work and so for the last few months I've been trialling Clementine another media player that forked from Amarok a few(?) years back when another transition was happening. I've now got Amarok to run successfully but in view of one of the shortcomings of current Amarok, I'm likely to be running them alternately for a time yet and thought I'd put down my comparison of pros and cons of both. Below, for each, I'm giving the pros (at least for me!). I looked at various other media players, Elisa and Quod Libet but they didn't give me the environment I wanted.


Using ppa version from Pedro Gomes version KF5 2.9.71
  • Can order by date in collection view with more recent at top - Clementine date ordering only appears to be from oldest /undated with the newest right down at the bottom and those are probably the ones you want to highlight.
  • Filters on collection - history of filters available via pulldown and editable using a user friendly form.
  • Add ons - e.g. viewing the rest of the album contents automatically while listening to one track.
  • Track info in wikipedia - and selectable via various options, artist, composer etc; links are clickable in case you want to browse. Clementine disables links.
  • Scripts are available!
  • Dynamic lists remain tied to the selection - if you change it the selection changes. In Clementine it appears to be a snapshot of the time you invoked it, and having turned of dynamic section in a tracklist, there's no clear way of turning it back on.
  • Tracks are named as such rather than the genre specific term of (wince) "songs" - yes I know that's what certain big music suppliers use!
  • Albums can be played in order as part of a dynamic playlist, I think it's possible in Clementine but only very hackily.
  • The view of the collection is a lot more structured, click on an album and there's a secondary level showing the artist, in my mainly "classical" collection that's very useful.
  • A con - sometimes when starting up Amarok, the volume is set to zero - clearly not just me - see this report


Version 1.4 rc2
  • Multiple playlists can be visible and edited while another is being played.
  • Huge playlists are handled well.
  • Retrieval of album covers is far better.
  • Playing ogg format works (well it 'works' for amarok but the track isn't marked as played and there's an abrupt transition to the next track just before it finishes).
  • Playing CDs works without having to rip them.
  • While building a dynamic list you get a preview of what is going to be chosen with your current options, with Amarok you do it in the dark and only when using it do you find you've done something wrong (and what is wrong??!!).
  • Showing lyrics seems to work a lot better than Amarok.
  • "Right" click on a track and there are a lot more options than in Amarok (eg search for artist) - and there's edit tag directly!
  • Auto completion of tags when editing from existing data - good in Clementine, this used to work with Amarok but currently doesn't - I guess this will eventually be rectified.
  • The wonderful "complete tags automically" - it usually works even with some of my more obscure listening!
  • And a couple of cons- if you have a playlist filter, you can't see the "smart playlist" option!
  • Spotify appears to be available - but the plug in is not installable and causes an instant crash!
  • You can't create a smart playlist using "file format", this works in Amarok, and for Clementine using file name contains doesn't appear to work at all.
Downsides of both: Importing of stats unavailable or doesn't work. In both cases I lost all the "last played" and "playcount" data from before my upgrade to Ubuntu 20.10 - which is when I had to migrate to the new Amarok.

Mutterings - Sept 15

This week's free word associations from Unconscious mutterings are:
  1. NPR :: Wot?! (googles...)
  2. Lampshade :: Lady Lazarus (and very dark!)
  3. Beep :: -o-matic (google suggests this is via Fireman Sam but I think it was Nick Park)
  4. Fingernail :: Blackboard
  5. Simple :: Minds
  6. Tight :: Fisted
  7. Swoosh :: Missing (the point)
  8. Booger :: Eugh!
  9. Fox :: Michael (friend and was vicar and BBC producer around here)
  10. Kindness :: Stop (giving time)

Teaser Tuesday - Sept 15

Let's do another of these (and maybe make it a regular event!) I think it's now hosted here.
  1. Grab your current read
  2. Open to a random page
  3. Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!) • Share the title \& author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers! Everyone loves Teaser Tuesday.
"You know that this is the time when people lose control," I say. "It's not worth having a big fight over the stuff. Please be careful." Kim is five-foot-two; her husband is a big, burly Irish guy who likes to drink.
Yes I know that's 3 sentences! From Martina Reaves' "I'm still here" about her fight with cancer, hugely inspiring, moving stuff, the above quote is rather away from the thread of the memoir. Here's the Goodread's page Also reflections on many facets of her life, as one reviewer (Mary McNeill) puts it
Her insights on romance, marriage, discrimination, activism, the law, parenting, family, friendship, and more, are imbued with emotional literacy, which made the process of hearing her story a very uplifting gift.