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getting an iPod to work with Linux

Posted by notKlaatu , 04 March 2008 · 96 views

This has probably been covered a million times before, and actually it's far from my preferred method of using an iPod. I'd rather wipe the firmware off the thing and just put RockBox on it. And that's what I do. Even so, before I knew about RockBox I had to search far and wide for a straight, simple answer regarding how to get my iPod to work on my Linux laptops. Hopefully this will spare someone from having to look around: (but try RockBox)The iPod works contrary to common sense; what is obviously a two-way device is for no apparent reason limited to being a one-way street. Music goes on and cannot come off unless it is deleted off. Furthermore, looking into the iPod via its desktop icon shows...nothing. No music is there...although one knows there is music on it. Looking into it via the Terminal reveals a great mess of hidden Database files with a bizarre file structure (folders named with numbers, and random names given to all the songs in those folders; no apparent order whatsoever). iTunes has always been broken; from version 1, in my mind, it was a huge step backwards for media players. Sound Jam and Audion were great media players far better than iTunes, but because of the iPod's link to iTunes, and because it shipped with Mac OS, iTunes took over. And whether you like it or not, your music gets added to your Music Library — even if it is just a 2 second sounds sample from some sound effect site. And should you ever move an album, iTunes won't be able to find it again unless you reconnect it one song by one song. Does this mean you can just move the albums from within iTunes and it will keep track of them? No, iTunes doesn't provide that functionality, even though it has reached version 7. So, in short, the iPod and iTunes pair never was such a great combination, and so using your iPod in Linux is not just a matter of convenience, but a marked improvement over using it in Mac OS. Adding an iPod interface to your Linux OS takes no more than installing an app called gtkPod. This can be done on Ubuntu thusly: $ apt-get install gtkpod and on Fedora: $ yum install gtkpod gtkPod is not an iTunes clone, although because it is dealing with the iPod's backwards database, it has similarities. Plug in the iPod and it will load all the songs, fairly slowly the first time, but after that it's fairly quick. gtkPod is pretty self explanitory to use and has many different ways to view the contents of your iPod. The coolest thing? You can drag songs right off the iPod onto your computer! the way it SHOULD work. It gets tricky when you want to take songs off, or put songs on the iPod. The iPod is Journaled by default under Mac OS, and for gtkPod to be able to write to the iPod journaling must be disabled. This can only be done via Mac OS X. On an OS X box, plug in the iPod. Open the Terminal. First you'll need to figure out where the iPod is mounted. To do this, type: $ diskutil list This will give you a lot of feedback about what is mounted into the filesystem. You'll see your iPod in the list, but it will be divided into parts; it may be, for instance, mounted as disk1, but then have partitions listed within that. Look for the largest partition; for my 20gb iPod, its 18gb partition was mounted as disk1s3, for instance. Now we'll disable journaling with this: $ diskutil disableJournal /dev/disk1s3 You'll see confirmation that journaling has been disabled. Now you can eject your iPod, and go back to Linux. gtkPod will now be able to both read and write to and from the iPod.




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