Thursday, 16 May 2013

Amarok 2.7.1 Released!

Hi there, while we've been working very hard on the next Amarok feature release, the 2.8, we also haven't forgot the majority of our users using the stable versions.

Welcome Amarok 2.7.1, a very close relative of 2.7.0 with just a couple of very important bug fixes. The 2.7.1 is also an opportunity for Arch Linux to package it correctly. :-)

Don't fear that we've made just 8 commits since 2.7.0. In fact, we've made over 300 by 25 different people! Look forward for better transcoding, ASX playlist and Opus audio format support, improved MusicBrainz tag guessing and improvements of existing features all over the place for Amarok 2.8.0.


  1. Tom E Gundersen16 May 2013 at 02:34

    Would you care to elaborate about the Arch packaging? Is there a problem with how we package Amarok?

  2. And please report bugs. We cannot fix it if no one says us what to fix.

  3. Yes there is, the problem was you switching from MySQL to MariaDB perhaps without updating the Amarok package accordingly.

    It was reported to Amarok on March 26:
    To Arch Linux on March 30:

    The Arch bug was marked as closed, but we still have unlucky users coming to #amarok complaining about unusable Amarok. I don't know what more we could've done for you.

  4. Well, if you agree with me that one of the requirements of a package manager (with help of well-crafted packages) is to remove the hassle of manually installing dependencies of your programs, it is obvious that this requirement wasn't fulfilled in this case.

    A SQL implementation is an internal dependency of Amarok, I think people shouldn't care what are the internal dependencies of their packages, they just want them to work. It is your job to ensure that Amarok package pulls any of the SQL implementations you provide, at any given time. Other distributions work this way and we've never needed to tell their users to install $this_specific_set_of_packages to get Amaork working. I don't understand why Arch Linux cannot work this way too.

  5. Great work. Amarok is my favourite player but the long time between the releases always bothered me. Its good to see a minor release again :)

  6. Tom E Gundersen16 May 2013 at 14:24

    Thanks for pointing me to the relevant bug.

    In general you are right, it should be the packager/package maintainer's job to make sure dependencies are resolved correctly. However, as is explained in the news item that Andera pointed to, this is a special case where users have to upgrade from mysql to mariadb manually.

    We do this sort of thing extremely rarely (only other case I know is when users had to manually upgrade from sysvinit to systemd), and the reason is clear: to avoid (automatic) data loss.

    Arch users are expected to read news items, and to deal with whatever comes up there, so I don't think there is anything we can or should do differently on our end in this case.

  7. Fine with me, we'll just point the unlucky Arch users not reading the news to this explanation.

    I hope that you are actually aware that Amarok (in its default configuration) actually links against mysql *server* library (libmysqld), and your binary package links to mariadb, so you're not actually giving your users "freedom of choice" or "time to migrate", you just break Amarok for everyone who haven't performed steps in

  8. I guess they are more afraid to destroy data in someone's sql server than briefly halt the same users music. It's impossible to know what people do and how people set up their system. A restrictive approach with updating a database software probably create fewer angry user.

  9. Myriam Schweingruber16 May 2013 at 21:01

    This is not about "halting users music" as you put it, but about the users not being able to access their music database anymore or even create one as Amarok has to on first start, making Amarok unusable.
    I am really astonished that other distributions like Fedora who switched to MariaDB managed to do this flawlessly while a distribution like Arch who boasts to be especially user-friendly actually ruins the user experience in this particular case.

  10. Arch does not boast to be user-friendly, but to be friendly to users who are willing to read the news. I do just that, and had less problems with Arch than with Fedora or openSuse (not to mention Ubuntu). That MariaDB was not a drop-in replacement was a judgement, one that Fedora made different from the Arch rolling release, but the update was just smooth for me (just like systemd, for instance).

  11. Oh, but more on topic: Loads of thanks for keeping on developing the best music player I know, and more thanks for your bugfixing work. In the past year, Amarok has gone from 370 to 160 open bugs, closing over a 1000 bugs in the process. That's just awesome, and it shows in the results.

  12. Archlinux boasting to be user-friendly ? Archlinux is anything but "user-friendly", it's a power-user oriented distribution. The bottom line is that if you know what's happening in your system, then you'll be able to detect and solve any problem before they show up.

    I don't see how this does any harm to Archlinux users. There's a tacit contract that says the users are supposed to read the news and act accordingly. Anyone harm caused by not reading the news is the user's responsibility and his alone.
    I have been following the news for years now and I have never had a single package-related issue that wasn't previously indicated in the news. I've been around linux distributions long enough to tell you that there is not a single distribution with such a perfect awareness of the issues that might happen in their package system and how to solve them.

    So yeah, you kind of have to behave like a super-user, but it's the price one has to pay to end up with a system that actually works, is up to date, and can keep up like this for an undefined amount of time.

  13. Oh, thanks for the very warm words, it's true that we've been trying to work very hard on polishing existing behaviour and improving stability, I'm very delighted that it starts to be noticed.

    You're welcome, indeed, and thanks for packaging Amarok! :)