Geek Support: Can an iPod Classic be made to work on Ubuntu 7.10?

By Mark O’Neill and Mackenzie Morgan

Geek Support has its first question from one of our readers!

It comes from Flor in Mexico City :

My best friend just made the switch to Linux. After much brainwashing from my part, she decided to switch to Ubuntu 7.10. We had tons of problems on her laptop, an Inspiron 1520. Between my boyfriend and me, we have pretty much solved most of them. However, there’s still one problem we can’t solve and we don’t know why. We can’t synchronize her iPod Classic with her laptop. I thought it would be as easy as plug and play, just like my iPod. I own an iPod Photo 40gb and use it perfectly. Her iPod Classic 80gb just doesn’t work. Whenever we plug it and I transfer any songs from my computer, her iPod just doesn’t work. After we disconnect it and all, we browse on the iPod and realize that all the data it had was erased. None of the music we transfered is present and even more, all the data that was there before connecting it is no longer present. We then connect it again but in Windows Vista and the iPod is not detected, just in disk mode. What we usually end up doing is resetting the iPod from iTunes.

We’ve tried everything, gtkpod, using libgpod script…nothing. We have the same problem over and over again. My question is: is there a REAL way to make an iPod Classic work on Ubuntu 7.10? It’s so frustrating, all the how-tos i’ve found they say it works perfectly but we just can’t make it work.

Mark says : Hmmmph…..typical….first question and I can’t answer it! I haven’t installed Ubuntu on my PC so I can’t claim to know anything about it. I’m too attached to my Windows XP. I know, pathetic….

My first instinctive response in this situation is to run a virtual Windows session on the Linux system. So she can run her iPod on iTunes inside a virtual Windows and then use Linux for everything else. To me this would be the easiest solution of the lot. There are plenty of programs out there that can help Flor achieve this. I suggested VirtualBox. Flor said she would give it a try.

Mackenzie says : Try using Rhythmbox instead of trying to just drag n’ drop. If Flor doesn’t like Rhythmbox as her main music player, check out Banshee, Exaile, and Amarok.

Also, maybe try the libgpod upgrade since resetting it may have made it start to behave like a brand new iPod. Also, be sure to eject the iPod properly. Linux (or OSX) does not sync changes to the disk immediately. They are kept in a buffer, so no data is written until you eject.

The outcome : all the options have been passed onto Flor and she’s been asked to let us know if any of them work. We’ll keep you updated.

Meanwhile, if any of you have any alternative ideas on how to solve Flor’s problem, let us know in the comments! Do any of you have any geeky hacks that Flor can take advantage of?


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13 Responses to Geek Support: Can an iPod Classic be made to work on Ubuntu 7.10?

  1. Apple changed the hashing around on the new (6G) ipod itunesdb files. Pretty much means that if it's not connected to iTunes…you're not uploading any songs. That's the short answer. But as always … here's the long one that gets you what you want. ;) Ubuntu Forum

  2. Apple changed the hashing around on the new (6G) ipod itunesdb files. Pretty much means that if it's not connected to iTunes…you're not uploading any songs. That's the short answer. But as always … here's the long one that gets you what you want. ;) Ubuntu Forum

  3. Oh, another option I forgot to mention is installing Rockbox on it. It’s replacement firmware for iPods, totally open source, plays ogg vorbis, and very customizable.

  4. Oh, another option I forgot to mention is installing Rockbox on it. It's replacement firmware for iPods, totally open source, plays ogg vorbis, and very customizable.

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