Why can't Apple play nice with standards?
November 18, 2008 6:47 AM   Subscribe

Using an iPod Touch with Linux. Worth it?

Mrs. the dief has a 30gb ipod video that has seen better days, and I am thinking of a replacement. I suspect it's the hard drive crapping out, so I'd like to get her a 32gb iPod Touch. However, we're a Linux household, and will be for the forseeable future (so please, no "get a Mac/Windows machine, you hippie" answers, thanks). I know that libgpod has "preliminary" support for jailbroken iPhones/Touches, but I'd like to hear from folks who have some experience with using current versions of these devices under Linux and if it's more of a pain in the ass than its worth. Can applications be installed in a Touch without iTunes? If it works now, is support likely to break at some point?

If you think it is way too much trouble than its worth, does anyone have a suggestion for a +30gb flash player that does the Sensible Thing and mounts as a USB device? Thanks much!
posted by the dief to Computers & Internet (13 answers total)
Best answer: Last time I checked you couldn't jailbreak the new iPod Touch yet. You might not be able to use it under Linux at all.
posted by dhoe at 7:12 AM on November 18, 2008

Best answer: If you're thinking about getting a second gen ipod touch, don't. There's no jailbreak for it yet and it will only work with iTunes 8, which also doesn't work under wine. I use mine with my work computer, and its pretty annoying not to be able to sync at home.
posted by hobgadling at 7:19 AM on November 18, 2008

Response by poster: Bah! Hey, Apple -- I WANT TO GIVE YOU MONEY! I WANT TO BUY YOUR HARDWARE! Why do you make it so damn difficult?
posted by the dief at 7:20 AM on November 18, 2008 [2 favorites]

I dismissed the Touch as well. I'm also wary of the App store lockdown stuff that's been happening. I've settled on the Nokia n810 as my Touch replacement. It's got wifi, gps, a keyboard, and gobs of software since it runs Debian (more or less). Storage space is only 2 GB, but you can plug in a micro SD card for media storage. n810 + 8GB card is about equal to the Touch 32 GB price point ($370).

If the missus digs linux, too, might be a nice alternative.
posted by cowbellemoo at 7:49 AM on November 18, 2008

I've got my 4th gen Nano working perfectly in Ubuntu using VirtualBox with WinXP and iTunes 8.

I don't know if that setup would work for a Touch, but it might be something worth googling. Unless you want to stay away from Windows entirely. If that's the case, just ignore me. :)
posted by natabat at 8:20 AM on November 18, 2008

Here's another vote for the Nokia. I've got the N800 (it's the 810 less the keyboard and the GPS). I got it to control a Squeezebox here at the house (and read AskMe on the front porch), but it's so handy it goes everywhere with me now.
posted by notyou at 9:04 AM on November 18, 2008

I'm in the same boat. The good news is that with replacement parts, you can keep that 30 gig iPod alive for a loooong time (you can even double storage capacity and almost double battery life for under $200).

That iPod is a total tank and could outlive us all with a little care and repair. If a feeling of "newness" is what you crave, a slick new case and/or installing Rockbox (which has a couple of faux iPhone themes available) might do the trick.
posted by quarterframer at 9:13 AM on November 18, 2008

Response by poster: quarterframer, we swapped out the battery for a new one and it's still bombing out -- we get the sad mac bootup screen each time we turn it on after it's been off a while. And yeah, I know about Rockbox -- put it on there even -- but it doesn't seem to have helped things. Maybe I should make a new Ask post about how to fix the iPod I've got, huh?
posted by the dief at 10:35 AM on November 18, 2008

Response by poster: notyou and cowbellemoo, I've got an N800 and dig it seriously, but I don't know that I think it's an adequate replacement for an iPod, at least not for the missus.
posted by the dief at 10:37 AM on November 18, 2008

Best answer: If you want to keep up on how the cracking on the new iPod Touches and iPhones is going, you should check out the Iphone Dev Blog.
posted by dunkadunc at 12:25 PM on November 18, 2008

Yeah, I get you, dief. Managing music on the Nokia is not quite as seamless as managing music on the iPod.
posted by notyou at 12:45 PM on November 18, 2008

i've never found a music app for my Nokia N8xx series that wasn't annoying. i wouldn't recommend it as a ipod replacement, though it is nice.
posted by geos at 3:06 PM on November 18, 2008

The Cowon O2 is a 32 GB flash mp3 player that claims to be compatible with Linux. In the tech specs it says Mac/Linux compatibility is "file transfer only", which I would guess means it mounts as a USB drive.
posted by pmann at 4:12 PM on November 18, 2008

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