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GNU/Linux Desktop Survival Guide
by Graham Williams


The Apple iPod is a popular and stylistic MP3 player. Information on the iPod is available from http://www.apple.com.au/ipod/. Using USB seems to be a lot easier than using Firewire under GNU/Linux with the iPod.

Make a directory where the iPod will be mounted:

  $ sudo mkdir /media/ipod

A recent iPod Nano purchase came with a MS/Windows VFAT file system as the default rather than the Apple HFS+. If you use the Apple HFS+ file system you may need to install hfsplus hfsutils hfsutils-tcltk and libhfsp0.

You can edit your /etc/fstab file to have an entry like this for the hfsplus file system:

/dev/sda3 /media/ipod hfsplus users,noauto,sync,uid=1002,gid=1002 0 0

More simply is to use the VFAT filesystem.

Your iPod may come up as sdb, sdc, etc. Use use udev (Section 61.4) with the rule listed in Section 61.4.3 to have the ipod mounted appropriately when connected.

Then connect your iPod to a USB 2.0 port on your computer and:

  $ mount /media/ipod

Now it should be working.

Use the gtkpod to manage your iPod. For a new iPod there is no iTunes database defined, and gtkpod does not seem to cope! The gnupod-tools package provides the gnupod_INIT command to initialise your iPod:

  $ gnupod_INIT -m /media/ipod/

The gtkpod was then able to export a playlist to the iPod.

Remember to umount /media/ipod before disconnecting to avoid corrupting the file system (the iPod will still say ``Do Not Disconnect'', but as long as you've unmounted it, you should be right to disconnect it). An eject command will tell the iPod that it has been unmounted, and removes the ``Do Not Disconnect'' message.

Note that gtkpod is able to be configured to mount and unmount the iPod, which makes things simpler. However, as a normal user, the eject command fails:

  $ eject ipod
  eject: unable to eject, last error: Invalid argument

The iPod volume boost application for Windows/Macintosh (http://espen.se/) can be utilised on GNU/Linux using the gnupod-tools:

  $ wajig install gnupod-tools
  $ mount /media/ipod
  $ cp /media/ipod/iTunes/iPod_Control/iTunes/iTunes* /tmp/
  $ tunes2pod -m /media/ipod/ --force
  $ mktunes -m /media/ipod --volume 40

This method works quite well though 40 may even be a bit too loud. 25 seems good. There was a problem with tunes2pod and you may needed to change the script /usr/share/perl5/GNUpod/FooBar.pm to point to gnupod_otgsync instead of gnupod_otgsync.pl - this will probably be fixed in a future release.


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