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5 Great iTunes Replacements for Managing iPod in Linux

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We all love the iPod, but sadly, Apple is still not kind enough to provide an iPod manager for those of us who use Linux. However, this is not really a big issue nowadays as there are other means to manage your iPod under Linux. Thanks to these excellent free and open source media players that are certified to handle your iPod the way iTunes can.

Banshee

Banshee is built upon Mono and Gtk# and uses the GStreamer multimedia platform for encoding, and decoding various media formats, including Ogg Vorbis, MP3 and FLAC. Banshee can play, import, and burn audio CDs, and supports many portable media players, including Apple's iPod. Music stored on the iPod can be played without synchronization, and album art stored in the Banshee library is transferred to the iPod.

Banshee is highly extensible and customizable. Current stable plugins include:

* Audioscrobbler: Adds the capability of reporting played songs to a user's Last.fm playlist.
* Podcasting: Enables Banshee to subscribe to podcast feeds, which are updated on a regular basis. There is also a "Find new podcasts" feature which utilises Podcast Alley.
* DAAP music sharing: Allows sharing of music libraries with iTunes and other DAAP-compatible music software. The current version of Banshee is only partially compatible with iTunes 7, allowing iTunes to open a Banshee library, but not vice-versa.
* Metadata searcher using Musicbrainz: Automatically retrieves missing and supplementary metadata for library items, including album art.
* Music Recommendations using Last.fm: Recommends music based on the currently playing song.
* Mini-Mode plugin: Provides a small window with minimal playback controls and song information.
* Multimedia keys support in GNOME: Banshee can be controlled via multimedia keys as configured through GNOME.
* Radio: Provides support for streaming internet radio stations.

A tutorial on managing iPod using Banshee can be found HERE.

Amarok
Amarok makes use of core components from the K Desktop Environment. Aside from playing music files, it serves many functions. Here are some of Amarok's main features:

* Playing media files in various formats including but not limited to (depending on the setup) FLAC, Ogg, MP3, AAC, WAV, Windows Media Audio, Apple Lossless, WavPack, TTA and Musepack. Amarok does not play digital music files embedded with DRM.
* Tagging digital music files (currently FLAC, Ogg, WMA, AAC, MP3, and RealMedia).
* Associating cover art with a particular album, and retrieving the cover art from Amazon
* Creating and editing playlists, including smart and dynamic playlists. The dynamic playlists can use such information as the "score" given to a song by an Amarok script, and the playcount which is stored with the song.
* Synchronizing, retrieving, playing, or uploading music to the following digital music players: iPod, iriver iFP, Creative NOMAD, Creative ZEN, MTP, Rio Karma and USB devices with VFAT (generic MP3 players) support.
* Displaying artist information from Wikipedia and retrieving song lyrics.
* Last.fm support, including submitting played tracks (including those played on some digital music players) to Last.fm, retrieving similar artists, and playing Last.fm streams.
* Podcast

A tutorial on managing iPod using Amarok can be found HERE.

Rhythmbox
Rhythmbox is originally inspired by Apple's iTunes and is designed to work well under the GNOME Desktop using the GStreamer media framework. Rhythmbox offers a growing number of features which include:

* Playback from a variety of digital music sources;
* Searching and sorting of music in the library;
* Track ratings;
* Audio CD ripping and burning;
* Comprehensive audio format support through GStreamer;
* iPod support;
* Album Cover display;
* Song Lyrics display;
* Last.fm Support;
* Jamendo Support;
* Rhythmbox has been extensively integrated with a number of external programs, services, and devices;

A tutorial on managing iPod using Rhythmbox can be found HERE.

Songbird
Songbird is a media player and a web browser developed by a group known as Pioneers of the Inevitable (with members who previously developed for both Winamp and the Yahoo! Music Engine). Here are some of Songbird's primary features:

* Ability to play multiple audio formats, such as MP3, AAC, Ogg Vorbis, FLAC and WMA
* Able to play Windows Media DRM audio on Windows platform
* A skinnable interface, via feathers
* Media files stored on pages viewed in the browser show up as playable files in Songbird
* Built-in RSS subscription and MP3 file download
* The ability to subscribe to MP3 blogs as playlists
* User-created bookmarks
* Ability to build custom mixes
* Ability to scan the user's computer for all audio files and add them to a local library
* A configurable and collapsible graphical user interface similar to iTunes, and miniplayer mode
* Automatic updates
* eMusic integration using the eMusic Integration plugin
* Insound.com and HypeMachine integration
* Microsoft MTP compatible device support
* The ability to edit metadata tags and save back to file

A tutorial on managing iPod using Songbird can be found HERE.

gtkpod
Though gtkpod does not support some of the more advanced features of iTunes, it still tries to perform the role of an iTunes for Linux. Album art and videos are now supported, and preliminary support for the iPhone and iPod touch is available if jailbreaking of the device is performed.

Gtkpod will let you:

* 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.
* 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).
* and more

A tutorial on managing iPod using gtkpod can be found HERE.


Extra:
If you want to copy songs directly to your iPod by simply copying and pasting, and without the need for any of these iTunes replacements, you may want to check out Rockbox. --Installing Rockbox on iPod.

21 comments

  1. I'm really new to Linux and this is exactly what I've been looking for. Thanks a lot.

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  2. I'm surprised not to see Floola in the list cause this is the only app to add support to other features as well (like pictures, movies, ratings...)

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  3. Floola isn't Open Source.

    Exaile (http://www.exaile.org/) offers an amarok-like experience for Gtk users (and supports the iPod as well).

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  4. That's a rather old Banshee screenshot you have there... the current version is noticeably prettier.

    I believe trunk even has support for playlists and automatic syncing, and a release is nigh.

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  5. OMG I love that little penguin dude! he is just soooo cute!

    Lisa
    www.anonymize.us.tc

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  6. The one thing that I am looking for in an iTunes manager is the ability to remember playback position in a track (live sets in particular). That way, if I am listening to a set and either turn my computer off, or switch tracks, I can go back to the set I was listening to before and listen from where I left off.

    Do any of these programs have this feature. In all honesty, this is one of the things which keep me in iTunes, and hence, in Windows. Help!

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  7. Will any of these work with "jukebox" style players like the Creative Zen? I use gnomad2 for my Zen, and it is the most awful program I have ever seen - it crashes itself or the Zen every time I use it. Please do the same list for the Zen!

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  8. fresh styles - filthyrichmond.blogspot

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  9. juan_tapulanSeptember 18, 2008

    bai, kabalo na halos tanan linux users ana nga mga programs. dapat imo i-blog about is kung unsa sila ka stable or kung unsa capabilities nila para sa handling ipod videos ug labi na sa iphone.

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  10. how have I not found these yet? Thanks so much. The ipod issue I have with ubuntu is my only complaint about linux so far.
    I hope one of these is a decent replacement for iTunes.

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  11. "Will any of these work with "jukebox" style players like the Creative Zen? I use gnomad2 for my Zen, and it is the most awful program I have ever seen - it crashes itself or the Zen every time I use it. Please do the same list for the Zen!"

    Any program compiled with MTP support should work .
    I used Amarok and Rhythmbox successfully with my zen vision M .

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  12. Perhaps you should mention that since Apple changed hashing scheme for the 2.0 software, NONE of these can write to iPhones or iPod Touches.

    If you stick with an earlier version of the software, you should be ok. But you don't get the App Store, or many other niceties.

    Why did Apple change it? To lock out Linux users, who are unlikely to purchase songs through iTunes. The only reason is to cripple our use of it.

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  13. actually, NOT all of us are fans of the ipod. I'd prefer a cowon iaudio anyday

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  14. what about Exaile?

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  15. "* Metadata searcher using Musicbrainz: Automatically retrieves missing and supplementary metadata for library items, including album art."

    did banshee really have this functionality? can't find it any where.

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  16. yeah, what about Exaile?

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  17. Do these work with third-generation Nanos? I tried to sync my Nano with Banshee about two months ago ... and it corrupted all of my data. I had to wipe my entire library and reinstall the hated Apple software.

    I know I should have acquired a non-Apple product, but the iPod was a gift, and I would really rather use it than spend money to get another device.

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  18. do any of these do video syncing with the ipods? or is it all music?

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  19. AnonymousJune 14, 2009

    why is apple really being harsh in this case? it can provide iTunes for its rival windows and not to Linux....c'monn Steve Jobs, thats not fair...Linux users respect and likes Apple products..why are you taking us out of picture?

    techrajesh.wordpress.com

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  20. Apparently, Songbird has dropped support for Linux.

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  21. SongBird has dropped support for Linux

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