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I'm not sure what do people refers to when saying that AMarok is slow. It takes its time to load, yes, but once loaded is as fast as any other application. And I use GNOME as my primary desktop, so it takes quite a while to load (compared to load time in KDE) and once loaded it is just as fast as any other GNOME, generic GTK or QT app.
Amarok is good, and it is definately in second. XMMS and MPD i use too, but i cannot use them often since i have a very large library and i need id3v2 and UTF-8 tags, which only Rhythmbox and Amarok really support well.
I _highly_ disagree. There are many things i like about rhythmbox that are not in amarok. Amarok will always be number 2 for me. The interface is just so cluttered and ugly on amarok, and amarok handles id3v2 UTF-8 tags far worse than rhythmbox does.(Unicode tags i edit in amarok look fine in amarok, but look like crap in every single other application, whereas unicode tags i edit in EasyTAG or Rhythmbox look fine in every app i use)