Monday, 23 February 2009

Use Your Ipod in Ubuntu

I recently bought an ipod shuffle, mainly because the price was good and because it would be ideal for use while jogging. However, I nearly returned it the same day because I couldn't put music on it from Ubuntu. Whether it would be compatible didn't even enter my mind as I bought it, I just assumed It would work like a mass storage device and I could drag and drop music on to it. But I immediately realised it did not play any of the mp3 files I dragged on to it. Luckily, a quick search on Google led me to an application called gtkpod. The program provides a very simple graphical interface for you to add and manage your music.

Some of the things gtkpod can do includes:

  • Read your existing iTunesDB (i.e. import the existing contents of your iPod including playcounts, ratings and on-the-go playlists).
  • Add MP3, WAV, M4A (non-protected AAC), M4B (audio book), podcasts, and various video files (single files, directories or existing playlists) to the iPod. You need a third party product to download podcasts, like 'bashpodder' or 'gpodder'
  • View, add and modify Cover Art
  • Browse the contents of your local harddisk by album/artist/genre by adding all your songs to the 'local' database. From there the tracks can be dragged over to the iPod/Shuffle easily.
  • Create and modify playlists, including smart playlists.
  • You can choose the charset the ID3 tags are encoded in from within gtkpod. The default is the charset currently used by your locale setting.
  • Extract tag information (artist, album, title...) from the filename if you supply a template.
  • Detect duplicates when adding songs (optional).
  • Remove and export tracks from your iPod.
  • Modify ID3 tags -- changes are also updated in the original file (optional).
  • Refresh ID3 tags from file (if you have changed the tags in the original file).
  • Sync directories.
  • Normalize the volume of your tracks (uses mp3gain or the replay-gain tag)
  • Write the updated iTunesDB and added songs to your iPod.
  • Work offline and synchronize your new playlists / songs with the iPod at a later time.
  • Export your korganizer/kaddressbook/thunderbird/evocalendar/evolution/webcalendar... data to the iPod (scripts for other programs can be added).
To install gtkpod, simply search for it using Synaptics. Once installed the application is located under the 'Sound and Video' menu.

When you run gtkpod you'll be presented with the following window. Make sure your ipod is plugged in and then click on the 'Load iPod(s)' button.

You may be asked if you want to create a directory structure, if so just click yes. You'll now be asked to enter the location of your ipod and select its model number.

Typically, the ipod is mounted at '/media/IPOD', but if for whatever reason it's not then you can just browse to the location. My ipod is the second generation shuffle, I'm not sure if I've entered the right model number but it seems to work. If you cant find the model number then go to Apples website. Once you've entered the details just click ok. You may get a warning message but you can safely ignore that and also click ok. Now you are ready to start adding your music files. Simply drag them to the main window and remember to click on the save button when your done.

To get gtkpod to start every time you plug in your ipod follow these steps:

When you plug in your ipod you should get the following window presented:

Click on the combo box and select to add a new application.

Using the 'custom command' option at the bottom type in /usr/bin/gtkpod. Click 'Add' and then select to open using gtkpod from the next window that appears.

Make sure you check the 'Always perform this action' box. Click ok and gtkpod will open. You will get an error pop up but you can again ignore that and click ok. To start managing your music you'll need to click on the 'New iPod' on the left panel of gtkpod.

And that's it. Hopefully everything worked ok and so now you can enjoy using your ipod from Ubuntu.



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