Amarok Installation

Just like everyone else, I like to listen to music. I have an iPod for when I’m on the train or walking and I have my music files stored in iTunes. Unfortunately, Apple have so locked down their proprietary format that you just can’t listen to your music in the native format on non Windows or Apple computers.

By converting your music to MP3 format you can extend the number of media players it will play on. As a KDE user, I like to use Amarok. I won’t go into the method I used to convert the files here, I’m unsure of the legality and I’m sure you can all use search engines by now. What I will do is to explain, with pictures and words, how I go about installing Amarok to give as full functionality as I need. Your methods may vary, but this works for me. I did something similar in the post Words and Pictures in Linux and that still works as a handy reference for me.

Firstly, I am using Slackware 12.0 with KDE 3.5.7. I will be installing practically everything from source. All of the programs I install will probably have prepackaged versions for your own distro (.rpm, .deb or whatever) and there are also likely to be Slackbuilds available. I still like to install from source so that’s what I’ll be doing.

To begin, go to the Amarok website and click the Download link. You will also need to read the Getting Started page – there you have the Requirements and Installation instructions. One comment I will make is that it’s not obvious how to get to all of these links. At least it wasn’t to me, maybe it’s the way I navigated to the pages. As I am doing this from source, I click the link to the stable sources on the Download page. The stable version as at this time of writing is 1.4.7 – please ensure that you use these instructions in conjunction with the instructions on the Amarok Wiki, the Wiki will always be the most up to date.

There are 4 mandatory dependencies: KDElibs 3.3, Ruby 1.8, TagLib 1.4 and Qt-x11 3.3.8. As I have a version of KDE that is higher than 3.3, the first is covered on my system. By opening a console I can find out whether I have the rest:

$ ruby -v
ruby 1.8.6 (2007-03-13 patchlevel 0) [i486-linux]

$ slocate taglib
< snip>

Remember I said that I’m a KDE user? You have to have Qt installed to install KDE, and my Qt version is 3.3.8. So those requirements are met. You also need to have a mutimedia backend installed, whether Helix (included with RealPlayer) or xine-lib 1.1.2 – I have xine-lib 1.1.7 installed. You also need a database backend, SQLite is shipped as a part of Amarok and is perfectly fine for my needs. If you need a bigger database, MySQL and PostreSQL will both work with Amarok.

The requirements above will get you Amarok with most of the functionality enabled. One thing you absolutely must remember: when you install, all dependencies will have dependencies of their own. I have no problems with tracking down dependencies on my own, use your package manager or a search engine to find the things you need.

Optional Dependencies:

  • KDEbase 3.3 to enable the sidebar
  • K3B 0.11 will enable you to burn CDs from Amarok
  • Libtunepimp 0.4 or 0.5 will provide MusicBrainz support to look up meta data from song tags
  • KDEmultimedia 3.3 allows the ripping function to, erm, function
  • Libvisual 0.4, Libvisual plugins and SDL 1.2 give you the sexy visuals
  • OpenGL accelerated X-Server allows for the 3D analyzers

It should go without saying that all of the versions are minimum versions, you can go higher if you wish. However, those versions are the ones tested by the Amarok devs and are known to work.

Because I am utterly awesome, I have all of the required dependencies and even the optional ones. All I need now is libgpod to make my iPod at least talk with Amarok.

So, if you’re playing along at home, you’ll now have all the dependencies satisfied with the exception of libgpod. We’ll now start by installing this final dependency.

Download the source file to your PC and then look at the installation instructions. We can see from these instructions that this dependency has it’s own set of dependencies:

  • Gtk 2.x
  • Gettext 0.11 (or higher)
  • LibID3tag

Optional Dependencies:

  • Mpeg4ip (to play Apple’s format)
  • Mp3gain (to normalise volumes) – the GUI version is Windows only the CLI version can be used on Linux
  • A software music player of some description
  • Multisync (to sync your contacts and other non music iPod features)
  • FAAD2
  • FAAC

So, as can be seen, reading the instructions can be very valuable when you are installing. While not installing every dependency isn’t fatal it can leave you scratching your head when something doesn’t work.

All I need to install are mpeg4ip – everything else is already installed to my system or I don’t/can’t use it. Odds are that you’ll be in the same situation, but check first. So I now install mpeg4ip, then faad, then faac (both of these are dependencies for mpeg4ip).

Final reminder to you all: when you run ./configure, make sure you check the output for errors or unmet dependencies.

We’re now ready to do what we came here for: install Amarok. I would run through the steps, but everything I would say has been said better on the Installation page for Amarok. So make sure you follow the instructions!

The output of ./configure --with-libgpod --with-mp4v2 --prefix=`kde-config --prefix` on my system looks like this:

=== Amarok - PLUGINS ========================================================
= The following extra functionality will NOT be included:
= - NMM-engine
= - Helix-engine
= - yauap-engine
= - MySql Support
= - Postgresql Support
= - iRiver iFP Support
= The following extra functionality will be included:
= + xine-engine
= + libvisual Support
= + Konqueror Sidebar
= + MusicBrainz Support
= + MP4/AAC Tag Write Support
= + iPod Support
= + Creative Nomad Jukebox Support
= + MTP Device Support
= + Rio Karma Support
= + DAAP Music Sharing Support

Good - your configure finished. Start make now

So I know I was successful. And since I was successful, I can now run make and su -c "make install". I then check the Multimedia entries in my KDE menu and can see that Amarok is installed.

Using source code may take a little longer but it does make you think about what you’re doing and you don’t end up with unknown dependencies. Obviously, using a package manager or pre-built binaries is quicker, but you are somewhat reliant on the assumption that the packages were built on a clean environment and that the packager hasn’t added anything to the program without telling you.


First Run Wizard(1)

First Run Wizard(2)

First Run Wizard(3)

Once Amarok has run through your music files, it compiles your collection.

Collection List

Amarok also has a context browser which shows your recently played songs and albums.

Context Browser

Amarok allows you to import and create your own playlists

Playlist Browser

Magnatunes works in a similar way to the iTunes Store, except there’s no DRM here and all of these artists get to share in the profits.


When you plug in your media device, the autodetect window comes up and you can tell Amarok what you have.

Media Device

And then Amarok detects and shows you your music.

Music on the iPod

Amarok also allows you to submit your tracks to so as to update your likes and dislikes. In all, this is a very fully featured music player. It minimises to your task bar and has the very nice wolf logo. It works best with mp3 players and costs you only the time to download and install it.


Posted on 3 November, 2007, in Computer Stuff, How To, Idiot's Journey, Open Source and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 18 Comments.

  1. I’m currently using Gnome on Debian. Perhaps I’ll do a similar post for Rhythmbox.

  2. That would be useful. Amarok is pretty well described in the wiki, but beyond Rythmbox being preinstalled in Ubuntu I’ve never really used it or had to install it.

    The more of these types of article there are, the better it will be for anyone else trying to install them.

  3. I know more about Amarok as well, but I’ve really been trying to use what’s default with Debian Etch (except for the “must need” newer stuff from the backports and what I’ve compiled). Rhythmbox came with the install, so I’m trying it out. I’m still learning it, too. I do like how podcasts seem to be handled, so far.

  4. I don’t use Amarok. I use mplayer almost exclusively.

    Also there is a command line mp3gain for Linux. It’s a crossplatform tool not limited to Windows.

  5. Also for converting to Mp3s I use the “lame” command line encoder. And to upload Mp3s to my iPod I use gtkpod so I feel no need for using Amarok even though, like you, I’m a KDE user.

  6. Corey – Having mellowed over the years, I have much less of a dislike for Gnome than previously. It still feels like wearing handcuffs, but it is much simpler. Rythmbox and Banshee are both good music players.

    Hari – I hadn’t noticed the CLI client. I saw all the .exe files in the download area and moved on πŸ™‚ Lame is a great tool but won’t work on .aac files. Good ol’ Apple. There is another client I have installed to do that for me….

  7. Hari – I made a slight edit to clarify the mp3gain CLI/GUI differences

  8. To be honest, I just wanted to get a GUI install working under Debian, so I took their default, which was Gnome. Some of the tools that Ubuntu has developed have filtered in to the Debian repositories, so the pain isn’t so great with Gnome any more. Since I am staying with the stable branch this time, I don’t feel scared that I’ll have no GUI on the next package upgrade, as it used to be when I was running Sid.

    I’ve become a bit more partial to Gnome lately than before (I’ve been die hard KDE for a long time) as the menu is structured with less clutter and requires much less work to get what you want, which is handy for the kids. Of course, any menu structure can be altered (but not always for the better, ahem Suse, ahem, Granular).

  9. Ubuntu is great for getting up and running in next to no time. I just feel handcuffed by Gnome simplay because it’s so easy and friendly. Maybe I have a masochistic streak but I enjoy wrestling my OS to the ground πŸ˜†

  10. I used to run UDE. I wonder if its still around…

  11. There are some great apps in Gnome and there are some great apps in KDE. Depending on which apps you use in a majority, that should decide your desktop environment of choice. Everything else takes a secondary place in my book since there’s not that big a difference in GUIs and you just need to get used to it (which takes a few hours at most).

  12. MrCorey,

    Don’t let Ray fool you in disliking Gnome, he actually loves Gnome. I have proof:


  13. Damn your eyes man! Why did I have to pose so alluringly?

  14. Haha. I knew that picture would come in handy one day.

  15. That is just too much! I can see the arguments for and against either desktop. To be honest, I likely wouldn’t have chosen Gnome if Ubuntu hadn’t invested so much into making it useful and then sharing back with Debian. I’m pretty much sticking with Debian for now until I can replace the Radeon 9550 with a card that doesn’t have a severely broken driver in the new (Etch still uses 6.9 or 7.0 and doesn’t lock hard).

  16. I still can not believe after you buy the mp3 downloads that we have to go to all this trouble to use them on other players. We own the tracks after we pay for the music so they should be able to be played on all devices with out all of this.

  17. I quite agree. It’s the equivalent of petrol companies telling you which cars you can use their petrol in.

  18. As far as i know mp3gain is platafform independent, so it could be used on linux as well.

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