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Thread: Ipod Nano 5G with linux?

  1. #11
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Re: Ipod Nano 5G with linux?

    Alternatively you could try to help out with development as I am sure none of the developers yet have a new ipod. You will most likely need a windows pc or a virtualbox in order to show the differences.

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2009

    Re: Ipod Nano 5G with linux?

    Heh, so I used a pretty goofy work around for this. It isn't terribly practical, but perhaps the fact that it worked will offer clues to some clever person as to what the underlying issue is.

    I have a dual boot machine, Ubuntu 9.04 on one hard drive, Vista on the other. All of my music is on the Ubuntu drive, and thus unavailable to Vista (or at least I haven't taken the time to install whatever it is that allows Vista to see ext3).

    With my iPod fresh out of the box, I plugged it in while booted into Ubuntu, and initialized it with Rhythmbox. Loaded on some music, ejected, iPod shows 0 songs. Installed Banshee, took a look at the iPod, Banshee showed the music loaded on, still 0 songs when looking at the iPod unplugged from the computer.

    Here's where it gets goofy. Booted into Vista, plugged the iPod in, iTunes pops up and offers to initialize the iPod. I do so, and iTunes also sees the songs on it. Eject and unplug, and lo and behold, the iPod can now see and play the songs itself. Huzzah!

    Back to Ubuntu, Banshee claims that the song database (or something to that effect, I'll have to confirm terminology) is corrupt, and offers to rebuild it. I let it, and load on more music. Unplug iPod and...0 songs.

    So, here is my current solution, without dealing with the hassle of loading 80GBs of music on to my Vista partition (I've only done this once, and just filled the iPod up, I won't bother changing the music loaded on it until this is resolved): I restored the iPod to factory settings using iTunes in Vista, but unplugged it before iTunes could initialize it. Normally when you do a restore, iTunes wipes the iPod, then automatically initializes it. If you let it, this won't work. I then booted back into Ubuntu, and loaded the iPod up with all the music I wanted. Back to Vista, and then let iTunes initialize. All the music is still on the iPod, and playable.

    It seems to me that somehow, the Ubuntu programs are incorrectly setting up the file database for the new iPods, and thus it can't find the music you put on it. iTunes does it properly, and fortunately incorporates all the song files it finds on the iPod that were there already.

    Amusing note: when I view all of the music loaded on the iPod in iTunes, it labels every song as [EXPLICIT]. Not sure why.

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2009

    Re: Ipod Nano 5G with linux?

    I HAVE been able to get it to work.

    I have writen-up a How To and posted it over at the Linux Mint forums. (Mint is a variation on Ubuntu so there should be no difference, infact the solution I have used should be workable where ever NVware runs.

    Check it out and please paste your comments/issues/questions over there (as I am there more often than I am here.


  4. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2008

    Re: Ipod Nano 5G with linux?

    Quote Originally Posted by HHHhhh View Post
    I HAVE been able to get it to work.

    I have writen-up a How To and posted it over at the Linux Mint forums. (Mint is a variation on Ubuntu so there should be no difference, infact the solution I have used should be workable where ever NVware runs.

    You've gotten it to work with Windows. BFD. If I wanted to run Windows, I would just run Windows.


  5. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2009

    Re: Ipod Nano 5G with linux?

    Actually, life may get easier. AFAICT, Apple has changed some of the databases
    from the esoteric mh* format to an SQLite3 database. On my 8GB Nano 5G under
    /media/iPod/iPod_Control/iTunes/iTunes Library.itlp I see a couple of SQLite3 databases,
    where Library.itdb contains some tables:

    iPod_Control/iTunes/iTunes Library.itlp$ sqlite3 Library.itdb
    SQLite version 3.4.2
    Enter ".help" for instructions
    sqlite> .tables
    album db_info store_link
    artist genre_map track_artist
    avformat_info item version_info
    category_map item_to_container video_characteristics
    composer location_kind_map video_info
    container podcast_info
    container_seed store_info

    sqlite> .mode line
    sqlite> select * from item where artist="Frank Goosen";
    pid = -1343237819282203479
    revision_level =
    media_kind = 8
    is_song = 0
    is_audio_book = 1
    is_music_video = 0
    is_movie = 0
    is_tv_show = 0
    is_ringtone = 0
    is_voice_memo = 0
    is_rental = 0
    is_itunes_u = 0
    is_podcast = 0
    date_modified = 278090912
    date_backed_up = 0
    year = 0
    content_rating = 0
    content_rating_level = 0
    is_compilation = 0
    is_user_disabled = 0
    remember_bookmark = 1
    exclude_from_shuffle = 1
    part_of_gapless_album = 0
    artwork_status = 1
    artwork_cache_id = 116
    start_time_ms = 0.0
    stop_time_ms = 0.0
    total_time_ms = 11321309.0
    total_burn_time_ms =
    track_number = 0
    track_count = 0
    disc_number = 0
    disc_count = 0
    bpm = 0
    relative_volume = 0
    eq_preset =
    radio_stream_status =
    genius_id = 0
    genre_id = 25
    category_id = 0
    album_pid = -744237848531058920
    artist_pid = 1764508774798483360
    composer_pid = 41
    title = So_Viel_Zeit
    artist = Frank Goosen
    album = So viel Zeit
    album_artist =
    composer =
    sort_title = So_Viel_Zeit
    sort_artist = Frank Goosen
    sort_album = So viel Zeit
    sort_album_artist =
    sort_composer =
    title_order = 7500
    artist_order = 1900
    album_order = 4800
    genre_order = 2500
    composer_order = 4100
    album_artist_order = 4500
    album_by_artist_order =
    series_name_order = 100
    comment =
    grouping =
    description =
    description_long =
    track_artist_pid = 19
    physical_order = 106
    has_lyrics = 0
    date_released = 0

    So far so good. Oddly enough, changing e.g. the name of an artist does not really help, it just creates a new one. But then again, I am not an expert in SQL and it could be it
    was just things in a wrong order.

  6. #16
    Join Date
    Oct 2009

    Re: Ipod Nano 5G with linux?

    It's odd because on the offical gtkpod website it says it supports up to the 5ht generation. But apparently that does not apply to the nana 5g video 8gb.
    If anyone found a solution to do it without a virtual windows. Post it please!

  7. #17
    Join Date
    Sep 2009

    Re: Ipod Nano 5G with linux?

    AFAIK there's no support for 5g yet ;(

  8. #18
    Join Date
    Nov 2009

    Re: Ipod Nano 5G with linux?

    I have found a workaround to copy some MP3 and MP4 files from Linux to the Ipod 5G nano. However, this is not very easy if you want to copy a whole album, but if like me you just want to add some songs, some podcast or some films, this is OK.

    As said, the Ipod 5G nano uses some SQLite3 databases, but modifying the data base is not enough. There are some obscure files, such as Locations.itdb.cbk to validate the database. So changing the database is not supported yet under Linux. See this gtkpod email archive on Sourceforge for more info :

    However you can replace existing MP3 and MP4 files without updating the database. A new file must have a play time lower than the original file to be able to play it till the end.

    So the workaround is :
    - create some dummy (but valid) MP3 and MP4 files, with different filenames and play times (using audacity and avidemux for example)
    - use Windows only once to run iTunes and copy these files to the Ipod. his create the databases and the required files. All dummy MP3 and MP4 files are copied to iPod_Control/Music/f??/????.mp3 or .mp4
    - boot Linux and replace all mp3 and mp4 files in these directories with empty files of the same name; this will save a lot of space
    - all MP3 and MP4 files are now available on the iPod (sorted by file name). If you try to play these empty files, the Ipod returns immediately to the list.

    Now if you want to add a real file, just replace an empty file with it.
    However, to know which file to replace for a given filename displayed by the Ipod, some sqlite3 commands must be run on the databases. I have written a little bash script to make it easy. If somebody is interested, tell me.

    To convert some video/films for the Ipod, I use avidemux 2.4.4 :
    - open the video file to convert
    - select AUTO / iPOD (MPEG-4ASP) / 640x480; this sets :
    - video : MPEG-4 ASP (XviD 4), 400kb/s, 640x480
    - audio : AAC (FAAC), 128kbs
    - format : MP4
    - as the avidemux version I have does not let me select a higher resolution and the Ipod screen seems to be 800x500, I manually change video filters to have only one filter : "MPlayer resize" set to 800x500. This gives a full Ipod screen vidéo.
    - then select File/Save start conversion

    Note : ITunes refuses to copy a 800x500 video directly to the Ipod, saying that it can not be read ... but it can be (at least at 25frames/s, i have not tested 30fps). However 640x480 is accepted by iTunes (other modes not tested).

  9. #19
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala

    Re: Ipod Nano 5G with linux?

    Thanks trailman for the tip converting video for the ipod. Please continue to post any information you have about the nano 5g and linux.

  10. #20
    Join Date
    Nov 2009

    Re: Ipod Nano 5G with linux?

    OK, here are some extra infos and the script I use to copy some files to the ipod.

    I have copied the following dummy files to the Ipod using iTunes (done only once) :
    - a10mn_00.mp3 ... a10mn_49.mp3 : 50 audio files of 10mn (the bitrate does not matter; I used 96kb/s) to receive my real music tracks of less than 10mn (any bitrate; 192kb/s for example)
    - a60mn_00.mp3 ... a60mn_19.mp3 : 20 ausio files of 60mn to receive some real podcasts
    - v180mn_00.mp4 ... v180mn_07.mp4 : 8 video files of 3 hours (640x480 to make iTunes happy) to receive some real films (800x500 to have full screen video)
    These files are used later as target locations (their name is the one displayed by the ipod) to store the real audio and video files.

    Now every thing is done under Linux :
    - connect the ipod; to mount the ipod filesystem (for me on /media/IPOD_GBL)
    - list all entries available : ipod list
    all should be set as "used"
    - to reset all entries to empty files : ipod remove
    this saves a lot of space on the ipod filesystem
    - list all entries again : ipod list
    now they must all be set to "free" (available to copy new files)
    - then copy a file to the ipod; for example : ipod copy a10m_00 myfirsttrack.mp3
    - do the same for other files; for example : ipod copy v180m_03 myvideo.mp4
    note : the third parameter is a pattern to select the target using its name (name displayed by the ipod) or the real target file name (file in F?? directories named ????.mp?)
    - unmount the ipod filesystem and enjoy

    Please find my "" sheel script as attachment.(rename it to "ipod" to run it)
    Attached Files Attached Files

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