New iPod on Linux

A few days ago I bought a brand new beautiful 2gb ipod nano. From what’s available on the market over here in Argentina, and what I’ve seen around the forums on Linux-compatibility, it seemed like the best choice.

And it was. It’s my first ipod, so I won’t bore you with the usual “I love the interface” or “it has such a nice finish…”.

What I do want to comment is a little glitch I ran into when getting setup to listening to me tunes.

Since I was so anxious to see it in action I grabbed the first computer I found, which happend to be a macbook. Since it already had iTunes, I did the initial setup there. Everything went smoothly, and it even updated the firmware to a newer version.

Once I got back home to my laptop, I plugged it in and Ubuntu recognized it immediately and opened up rhythmbox with the ipod loaded. Everything seemed fine. Then I tried to load some songs onto it and ran into some hoops I had to jump through.

I do want to stress the fact that I had to take some extra steps just because I did the initial setup on a mac, not because of anything else.

It seems that OSX formats the ipod in HFS, with journaling enabled. The linux kernel doesn’t seem to handle writing to ir very well with journaling, so basically you I found two options, or you go back to OSX and disable journaling with a simple terminal command:

diskutil disableJournal /Volumes/Your_Ipods_Name

Or fire up a windows box and re-format it in fat32.

I’m currently using gtkpod to load songs, so, again, if you used mac for the initial setup, your ipod might be named something like “Beuno’s Ipod”, which isn’t the default mount point gtkpod looks for. Before you panic, it’s very easy to just go and change the default location in “Edit > Edit Preferences > Set mountpoint”.

I’m sure there are many different ways around this, so take my advice with a grain of salt.

The conclusion would be that I’m a happy owner of a beautiful 2gb ipod nano which works great in linux.

6 responses to “New iPod on Linux”

  1. I’m using the iPod with FAT so it’ll still work when connected to Windows machines (how ever rarely that happens). You don’t need Windows to format FAT, it can be done using mkfs.vfat.

    I can highly recommend trying Banshee. The nice thing about Banshee is that it transcodes my .flac collection transparantly into MP3s without me having to pull open a terminal and transcode manually. This saves me a lot of effort.


  2. You don’t need to use windows to create FAT32 filesystems.

    Package: dosfstools
    Description: Utilities to create and check MS-DOS FAT filesystems
    Inside of this package there are two utilities (mkdosfs alias
    mkfs.dos, and dosfsck alias fsck.msdos) to create and to check MS-DOS
    FAT filesystems on either hard disks or floppies under Linux. This
    version uses the enhanced boot sector/superblock format of DOS 3.3
    as well as provides a default dummy boot sector code.


  3. Great, i use hipo[1] for manage my ipod nano and it works just great, and of course i use rhythmbox 😉



  4. “From what’s available on the market over here in Argentina, and what I’ve seen around the forums on Linux-compatibility, it seemed like the best choice.”

    I’m sure that in Argentina you can find SanDisk MP3/MP4 players at a better price and their compatibility with linux is the best (a plain USB memory), you dont need a program to manage them, you just drag ‘n drop your music. So linux-compatibility is not the reason to buy an iPod nano (even though is very compatible with linux but not the best), I prefer to say that its design is


  5. […] Update: Hay varios comentarios interesantes al respecto en mi otro blog […]


  6. Peter, if you would like to develop a bit more on how to do it specifically for the ipod I’d love to update the post with it.


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