18.2. Playing Music Files

In Linux, find a variety of programs for playing music files, such as Ogg Vorbis, or WAV files. Ogg Vorbis is a free audio compression format that is now supported by the majority of audio players and even portable MP3 players. The file types supported by the applications depend on the engine used.

[Note]Playing MP3 Files

openSUSE® also comes with MP3 support. If your music collection consists of both MP3 and Ogg Vorbis files, you do not need to convert any files to a different format. Just open amaroK (KDE) or Banshee (GNOME) and start listening.

18.2.1. amaroK Media Player

The amaroK music player allows you to play various audio formats, create playlists, import music from removable media such as portable MP3 players or external hard disks (or upload files to removable media), and listen to streaming audio broadcasts of radio stations on the Internet. The file types supported depend on the engine used.

On first start, amaroK launches a First-Run Wizard, which helps set up amaroK. In the first step, configure your preferred look and feel for amaroK. Choose to display player and playlist in separate windows (see Abbildung 18.1, „The amaroK Media Player“) or combine their functionality in one single window (default). In the second step, determine where amaroK should look for your music collection. amaroK scans these folders for playable media. By default, amaroK is configured to scan the selected folders recursively (to include all their subdirectories in the scan), monitor changes to the content of the selected directories, and import any playlists located there. All the settings made with the wizard can be modified later in the configuration dialog by selecting Settings+Configure AmaroK.

Abbildung 18.1. The amaroK Media Player

The amaroK Media Player Quick Start

On start-up, amaroK scans the folders that are part of your collection for music files. Although you can use amaroK without building a collection, it is recommended to do so, because most of the powerful, advanced features are only available with an existing collection.

The amaroK main window is divided into two parts. The sidebar on the left providing different views: your music collection, a context browser, your playlists, a file browser, etc. Change the browser by clicking a tab on the far left. The right part contains the playlist window and, below it, the player (if you have not configured it to be shown in a separate window).

To play music, just drag and drop items from any of the sidebar browsers to the playlist area. Use Umschalttaste or Strg to select multiple items. Double-click an item in the playlist to play it. You can add or delete items from the list during playback with the context menu. Use the icons located above the playlist area to Clear the playlist, to Save playlist as, to Undo and Redo changes or to Search for a certain track.

To manipulate play modes, either click the Repeat or Random icons in the amaroK status bar several times to switch mode or select the desired Mode from the main amaroK menu. The Sidebar Browsers


With this tab, view information and statistics related to the track currently being played. Switch to different views within the Context browser by clicking the tabs on top of the sidebar. For example, click Artist to make amaroK search for the appropriate Wikipedia article, which is then displayed in the context browser. To view a track's lyrics, click the Lyrics tab to start a search and display the results. The Music tab shows the album cover, if available, (see Abschnitt, „The Cover Manager“) and the listening statistics related to the current track.


Use this view to manage and display your personal collection of titles. The toolbar on top of the browser allows you to configure the way your collection is displayed and to reorganize the collection. Define the order your titles are displayed in the browser with Group By. You can choose between predefined criteria or create your own sort criteria using Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary. The next four icons let you toggle between tree view, flat view and iPod* view or Show dividers for better overview in large music collections. Use the wrench icon to add or delete folders amaroK should scan for music to add to your collection.

To search or filter your collection for a certain track or album, enter the title (or part of it) in the search field at the top. Each character you enter narrows down the search and the selection in the browser is adjusted as you type. To search for certain metadata such as Genre or Bitrate or to combine several search options, click the button to the right of the search field to open the Edit Filter dialog.


You can access different playlists with the playlist browser. Playlists holds your personal playlists found in your collection folders. Every time you create and save a new playlist from the playlist window, it appears here. Right-click the Playlist folder to create or import a new playlist or to add a subfolder. To add new items from the playlist window to an existing playlist, just drag and drop them on the playlist in the browser window.

[Important]Sharing Playlists with Other Players

Save playlists in m3u format, so you can share them with any other players using this format.

Smart Playlists offer various views of your collection, such as tracks never played, newest tracks, or tracks by genre. For example, to create a random playlist from your collection, select 50 random Tracks and drag the entry to the playlist area. Right-click the Smart Playlists folder to add subfolders or to create your own smart playlists.

Radio Streams lets you listen to live radio streams from the Internet. An extensive list is already shipped with amaroK. Right-click to add more or create subfolders.

Podcasts imports podcasts to amaroK. Right-clicking opens a menu where you can add podcasts and subfolders, refresh all podcasts, or set the scan interval.


This tab opens a file browser which corresponds to the standard KDE file manager dialog. Use the icons at the top to navigate the file system, change the view or to create bookmarks. Enter a URL or a path directly into the text input field. From the contents displayed, drag elements to the playlist to include them.


On this tab, you can establish a connection to the Magnatune store where you can purchase music online. Click Update to view the available albums and titles at magnatune.com. Sort the album list by Genre and listen to some tracks with amaroK. To buy music, click Purchase Album and enter your payment details.


If you own portable MP3 players or external hard disks, use this browser to configure your portable device and to access it from amaroK. The Cover Manager

With amaroK, you can assign a cover to each album of your collection. With the Cover Manager, easily add, delete, and retrieve album covers.

Start the cover manager with Tools+Cover Manager. A tree view in the left part of the window lists all artists in your collection. The main part of the window lists the covers of all albums. To filter the covers displayed, click an individual artist in the tree view or enter a term in the input field at the top of the window. Use View to toggle between displaying all albums, albums with covers, or albums without covers.

There are three different methods for assigning covers to the albums:

Automatically Assign Covers

amaroK can automatically fetch all missing covers displayed in the main windows from Amazon. Use Amazon Locale to determine from which Amazon Web server the covers should be fetched then click Fetch Missing Covers.

[Important]Proper Tagging Needed

amaroK fetches the covers from Amazon using the query string Artist - Album. This information is extracted from the tags of your music files. The better they are tagged, the better the hit rate is when automatically fetching covers.

Manually Choose a Cover Fetched from Amazon

If you want more control over what image to use and what query string to use to retrieve a cover, right-click an album in the main window and choose Fetch From amazon.com. Next Cover lets you cycle through all images available. Save selects the actual cover and assigns it to the album selected. If you are not satisfied with the covers displayed, use New Search to refine the search. Use Amazon Locale from the toolbar of the main window to determine from which Amazon Web server the covers should be fetched.

Manually Assign Covers

If you already have your own cover images, you can assign them by right-clicking an album and choosing Set Custom Cover. Visualizations

If visualizations for amaroK are installed, you can select various graphical effects for the music played with Tools+Visualizations. Native amaroK visualizations are displayed in the player window. Cycle through the various available display modes by clicking the animation. The amaroK Tray Icon

Like other KDE applications, amaroK adds an icon to the KDE system tray. You can use this icon to control a large number of amaroK's features. Hovering the mouse pointer over the icon displays information about the track currently played, by scrolling the mouse wheel simultaneously you can reduce or increase the playback volume. A single left-click closes the application window without affecting playback. Click again to reopen the window. Clicking with the middle mouse button pauses playback—middle-click again to resume playback. Right-clicking opens a context menu where you have access to the player controls and can exit amaroK.

Using the Umschalttaste and Strg keys together with the mouse gives you access to more advanced features. Holding Umschalttaste while scrolling the mouse wheel seeks through the current track. Holding Strg while scrolling the mouse wheel skips through tracks in the playlist.

You may also drag items and drop them on the tray icon to add them to the current playlist. A pop-up menu opens, asking whether to append the track to the playlist, append and play it, or queue it after the current track.

18.2.2. JuK Jukebox

JuK (kdemultimedia3-jukebox package) is a jukebox application that lets you manage your music file collection and playlists. JuK maintains a list of all files it knows about. This is called the collection list. The list is specific to JuK and is not shared with other applications. Independent of the collection list are playlists. You can have as many playlists as you want and you can share your JuK playlists with other media players. You can also edit the tags of your music files.

Start JuK with the main menu or press Alt-F2 and enter juk. Find more information about JuK in the online help.