Clementine: a Port of Amarok 1.4 to QT 4

Clementine is a port of Amarok 1.4 to QT 4, giving users an application that fits in well with KDE 4 while still resembling the previous version of the library-based music player. As I've commented in the past, acceptance of KDE 4 wasn't helped by the fact that the developers took it upon themselves to redesign some of the most popular apps such as Konqueror and Amarok.

As Clementine is a fork of the 1.4 branch of Amarok that has been ported to QT 4, users can expect a layout and functionality that replicates the KDE 3.x era of the program alongside updates that ensure that it fits in well with the look of the KDE 4.x desktop environment. To jog the memory of former users, this amounts to a two pane design, with the music library on the left hand side of the window and most of the display taken up by the larger playlist window on the right. Each of the two panes has a real-time search box at the top. In addition, the program has some features for the playback of online audio streams such as internet radio stations.

Overall it's a slick, some might say optimal, approach that gives the user everything they need in a layout that makes very efficient use of space. The oft-quoted design maxim that perfection has been reached, not when there is nothing left to add, but instead, when there is nothing that can be removed, is key to the design of the classic Amarok GUI. I prefer it, and frankly, I'm not alone.

Clementine installed without problems under Kubuntu 10.4, using the .deb from the official website. There are also Windows and MacOSX installers available.

Conclusion

I'm sure that the KDE devs feel that they took Amorok 2.0 in the direction that represents the best future for the users and KDE itself. However, they took a risk when they decided to completely redesign one of the most popular and well liked KDE applications in a move that has, so far, resulted in very few end user benefits. In hindsight, they might have been better off if they had created a new media application rather than attempting to succeed Amarok directly. I've no-doubt that Amarok 2.0 will be the better platform for expansion in the future, but for now, you'll find me running Clementine.

The Clementine website.

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