Sunday, November 18, 2007

gtkpod: How to use an Ipod with Ubuntu linux

I have an Apple Ipod Nano. I regularly use it to play podcasts I have downloaded using the linux application podracer on my Feisty Fawn Kubuntu Linux box. I do not have to use Itunes in order to maintain a playable list of MP3's on the Ipod. Here are some tips on how I go about it, assuming that I've already used podracer to create a directory of MP3's that I want to put on the IPod. Of course with anything you find on the internet, use this advice at your own risk.

First, make sure that your ipod is mounted as a device on your system. With Kubuntu, it autodetects my device when I plug it in. On this dialog box I'd click OK to mount the ipod.

In Kubuntu, clicking OK automatically brings up this Konqueror session, which provides reassurance that the device is mounted and tells you the name that linux is calling your ipod. Here it's "gregjohn"

Next I run gtkpod. Notice that when it first runs, it has the name of my ipod "gregjohn" on the list of devices. Notice the symbol in front of the ipod, however. This means it's not connected or recognized by gtkpod YET. The name is there because I used it with this box once before and it remembers its name for that reason.

Click on "Load Ipods". Now, there is a more reassuring- looking icon in front of my "gregjohn" device.

Each time I use gtkpod, I clean out the old files on it. (You don't necessarily have to.) I do it with the "Remove files" utility.

Next, I click on the Add Directories button (+ Dirs) and it brings me to a dialog where I choose the directory whose contents I want to add to the device:

If you have "rm" based podcasts, they won't play on (at least my) Ipod. You may also get error messages associated with some of your MP3 files. I tend to ignore the errors on my MP3. I believe I've had playable files even though gtkpod warned me they had "zero play length".

Review your list, make any changes (I deleted one particularly annoying podcast I had forgotten to remove from my podracer subscription list). Hit Save Changes, and wait ...

... and wait ...

... and wait ...

.. and wait some more! This is an important point. If you have a lot of files to write, gtkpod may say "Writing Database ..." for a very long time. A few times when I saw it sitting there for over a minute, I assumed that the system had locked up, so I rebooted. DON'T DO THAT. You may then end up messing up your ipod to the point of needing to find a Windows box to reinstall its operating system.

Now, when that "Writing Database ..." message goes away, you are free to unmount your ipod.

I believe that gtkpod may give one a menu option to eject the ipod. I like the reassurance I get from using Konqueror to "Safely Remove" the ipod. It sounds to much nicer.

Happy podding!

1 comment:

Real Live Preacher said...


That's why I didn't go Ubuntu when I dumped Microsoft forever. I went with Leopard and the Mac folks.

Because - I get how much fun that is for you. But it's something you do easily and naturally. Too much for me to figure out.