Thoughts on the iPod and Music Management

As I said I just got an iPod, so now I have to deal with managing the music for it in my particular situation. I have the following going on at home right now:


  • A fileserver with approximately 140G of mp3s all nicely tagged via MusicBrainz‘s tools and organized nicely into directories (ie: music player independant). All music is stored there.
  • Laptop from work. “Daily” music is stored here, podcasts are downloaded for playing at work, and when I download my radio show during the day at work, I load it onto my mp3 player from here.
  • Windows workstation with headphones. Minimal music management is done here, this is a gaming and accounting box.
  • Linux workstation, hooked up to speakers. Music playing is done here, music management (basically rating songs and creating playlists) is done in Rhythmbox. No podcasts here.

I’ve never had a decent mp3 player before, the one I have now has 256mb of space, so not a lot of daily changes are made.

Anyway, music management on the iPod is supposed to be done through iTunes which is a nice application, however it has a few downfalls.

You can only sync your iPod on one computer.

Bah. Unless there’s a trick around it, when you sync an iPod to a computer, and then take it to another one and try to sync it, it tells you the device is new and anything on it will be nuked off. Say if I were to sync music for the gym on it at home, then try to put the radio show or something new on it at work. No fun at all.

Except that the new iPods don’t work under Linux thanks to Apple encrypting stuff. It’s already been broken, but hasn’t made it’s way into any released products.

What I was hoping to do was to sync things like my radio show and podcasts via the laptop, and load up the music under Linux. Looks like that won’t work, at least for now šŸ™

My solution in the meantime….

I’m copying 141G of music onto my work laptop, in the theory that it moves from work to home and back. Inconvenient however as I don’t want to have to pull out the laptop each time I add some new music. Of course, the laptop doesn’t have that big a hard drive, so I’m mounting it on the laptop and adding all the music in it to the iTunes library. So in theory it’ll just show up as “can’t find file” when I’m not at home.

This will let me get everything I need, for now. I’m hoping that I can, in theory, manage songs via Linux when I get there.

Anyone have better ideas? It comes down to:


  • Can’t sync an iPod on more than one computer with iTunes.
  • iTunes doesn’t run (well) on Linux (last time I checked) and isn’t what I want to use under Linux anyway.
  • Can’t manage an iPod from Linux

Anyone have anything similar? Any better ideas?

Scroll to Top