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Amarok vs iTunes

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I get asked a lot why I hate iTunes and what's so much better about Amarok. This is about Amarok 1.4.7, since there is no good way to run Amarok 2 yet. When I can get any copy of Amarok 2 to load a track and play it, either via the KDE4 Live CDs or from RangerRick's KDE on OSX native project, I'll give it a spin.

Here's a quick list of beefs with iTunes:

  • Collection list on one side (full height), playlist on the other.
    --Currently I have a Party Shuffle running in iTunes in one window, and then a collection window next to it, that's not really ideal
  • Lyrics search
  • Built-in Wikipedia search
  • I like the iPod management a lot better, and the ability to copy to AND from my iPod
    -- Like many things, there are tools for this (Floola I guess)
  • Last.fm integration - Amarok has similar artists and other info in the context menu from last.fm, this extends beyond "Submits my tracks".
  • Auto updates your collection, quickly
    -- iTunes doesn't really like it when you just take a bunch of folders with MP3s in them and drop it in the folder your collection's in. Well, it doesn't "not like it", it just doesn't notice them. There are tools you can run, which take ages to rescan your entire collection, but the situation is lame. Amarok does that better.
  • Amazon has a lot more album covers than iTunes Music Store, and Amarok has a way better cover-art management tool. I hate Coverflow. As a mechanism to search for a CD, it is pretty bad, and with so many albums not being in iTMS, it means I have to use Amarok, get the covers from Amazon, then go tell iTunes where they are for each CD. Nah.
  • Amarok uses open DB formats, which enables you to write your own tools a lot easier than you can with iTunes DBs.

    I would put up a similar list of things I think iTunes does better, but I'm not sure what those things are. I don't use ratings, the checkbox thing never seems to work, at least against my iPod, and I don't like the layout of the collection list (finder-like or a huge list of tracks), I prefer a nested list of Artist -> Album -> Track. That makes it way easy to browse, and doesn't make my targets move like the finder interface does.

    So you'll notice, there /are/ solutions for many of the features I like in Amarok, but most of them involve "find another app to run to let you do this", whether that's a browser so I can hunt for lyrics or Wikis, or Floola or iScrobbler to deal with other features that iTunes should have by default. I have huge doubts about the Amarok UI redesign in Amarok 2.0 until I actually see it in action, but being native should help its stability on OSX. For now I either just use iTunes, or run Amarok in a VM.



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