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Linux's iPod Generation Gap 533

An anonymous submittor says "Today's young generation can use Linux on the desktop provided it works with their iPod. Linux on the desktop still hasn't reached that stage and has to be compatible with multimedia applications like iTunes and iPod if it has to beat Microsoft's Windows dominance on the desktop. Open source gurus at LinuxWorld discuss solutions to make Linux more consumer-friendly."
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Linux's iPod Generation Gap

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  • by datalife ( 17290 ) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @05:53PM (#15930480)
    There is no gap between ITunes and Amarok.
  • You're delusional. (Score:1, Interesting)

    by mnemonic_ ( 164550 ) <(ude.hcimu) (ta) (cemaj)> on Thursday August 17, 2006 @06:14PM (#15930669) Homepage Journal
    iTunes lets one painlessly burn, share, listen to and buy music. Many iTunes users actually use all of its features. Wake me up when a Linux app handles all of those abilities without being a bloated, buggy piece of shit.
  • by Nastard ( 124180 ) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @06:18PM (#15930713)
    DRM-encrusted mess?

    I love music. I buy, on average, an album per week. Back in the day, it was CDs, then I gave up paying money for music and just grabbed what I wanted from Napster. Then it was a mess to find what I wanted on Gnutella or whatever, and I just stuck with what I already had.

    Then iTunes came out for Windows, and I started buying my music that way.

    My only complaint with the iTunes DRM in the couple of years I've used it is that when I sell/upgrade my computer, I forget to deauthorize it. Other than that, I haven't had a single problem with the songs I've purchased. Apple is as liberal as it can be with the DRM, and it doesn't hurt me in any way. As a consumer, I'm happy.

    As a musician, I make far more money from iTunes downloads than I do from CD sales. Apple takes a very small cut, CD Baby takes an even smaller cut, and I end up with about 60 cents per song sold.

    I understand the rights issues involved with DRM, and as general practice, I dislike it, but I fail to see how the iTunes DRM could even remotely be considered a mess.
  • Newsflash (Score:1, Interesting)

    by drix ( 4602 ) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @06:44PM (#15930885) Homepage
    Mac OS X is going to beat Windows dominance on the desktop. Linux is not. (The iPod happens to work great with OS X.)

    I've been visiting this site since 1997 and I'm continually amazed at how often the "Linux will someday beat Windows" trope comes round. Once in a while, desktop Linux seems to score some isolated victory, particularly amongst cash-strapped school districts and municipal governments. But I'm guessing the non-top-down adoption rate on the desktop remains pegged where it was in 1997: zero. There's just not really any instances of normal, everyday (read: non-geek) people walking into Best Buy and walking out with a copy of Linux. To me that remains the benchmark of desktop adoption. Constructing a user-friendly desktop is really hard. It takes research into HID. It takes artists. It takes focus groups to see how people take to new features. It takes scads of documentation. These are all things that Apple does insanely well. These are all things that MSFT does sortakinda well. These are all things that a loose-knit bunch of hackers from across the globe, well, suck at. Can you really look at KDE or Gnome be reminded of anything other than a so-so imitation of Windows XP? I am considered pretty much a Unix wizard by friends and associates, and I can't even take the Linux GUI most of the time. I'm writing this on a laptop running XP. (Which will very soon be a Macbook Pro, just as soon as Merom ships :)

    When Leopard comes out in early 2007, and Vista is still kicking around the halls of Redmond for another year, it's going to get interesting.
  • by OnoTadaki ( 914593 ) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @06:46PM (#15930896)
    Linux is aimed at a totally different audience than Windows. With that said, it seems like everyone talking about Linux lately wants it to Windows-ize itself and be easy to to figure out and learn like Windows. Sure I'd like to see Linux turn into an open source competition for Windows, but that's just not going to happen. Once it's easy to use it loses its effeciency for the gurus and most importantly it loses its appeal to the 90% of Linux users that use it because it's 'NOT Windows' and no other reason. People enjoy sitting around in an operating system they don't understand, and pretending they do, because it makes them feel superior to the 'peons' using Windows. With that aside, Linux needs - out of the box - support for mpegs, mp3s, avis, wmvs, etc... before it's even going to come close to defeating Windows. Why would I want to kill myself trying to attach my iPod to an operating system that can't even play an mpeg file without extensive research on forums and package installing that would break a noob down into tears.
  • by dindi ( 78034 ) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @06:54PM (#15930941)
    The basic idea of itunes is just flawed (from my perpective at least)..

    Most players, even my stupid Panasonic car radio can read-in an MP3 list on the fly, and then play it, so why not that super-intelligent-wonderful device?

    As on any normal MP3 player I have seen, you could just drop the files onto the device, and then it would create a playlist from it....

    That way you could use any system, not just that retarded Itunes. That way you could use m3u files as well.

    But wait: this way you would not need a windows or a mac running that bloated crap, that is nothing but a "buy more from itunes" adware pile.

    And here is what really bothers me: you cannot use iTunes store from where i live, and now they even stopped selling prepaid cards at the apple stores. Still I have to download a new version of their crap almost every 3 weeks, with bigger and bigger file sizes, while i could just drop files on an USB drive's filesystem, and then press play...

    I think I am one of the very few people who is sick of his ipod in every single sense, except it's physical strength (i use it at the gym every day and get it wet, and hit it with weights and run with it... then usually steam it for a few hours in my gym-bag's front with my wet heartrate monitor)
    Other than that: sound:ok i guess, earphones:garbage, interface awkward, functions:bloat, control:complicated (always those menus with the idiotic scrolling)......

    Oh if that little function existed, you could use it with linux just fine, as far as usb drives are enabled ... you just connect it and an scsi device(on most systems) show up, you just have to mount it ....

    mounting something too complicated? I guess do not use linux, that is my advice .....

  • by jeremyp ( 130771 ) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @07:03PM (#15931005) Homepage Journal

    If you remove the device (physically) without "eject"ing it (how logical is that?) You'll lose your itunesdb and have to recreate that, which I'm sure would really throw off a newbie...

    I dunno, exactly the same thing could potentially happen if you remove an iPod from a Macintosh without ejecting it.
  • by abscondment ( 672321 ) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @07:30PM (#15931165) Homepage

    That's funny... I installed ubuntu like this:

    • Put in CD.
    • Click "Install Icon".
    • Click on the destination disk.
    • Click "OK".
    • Wait.

    Then I was online. I clicked on "Syntaptic Package Manager" and checked the box for "Banshee". I clicked "Apply". After it downloaded, I plugged in my iPod nano, pulled my music off of it, and began to listen.

    You're right, that was really hard. Fuck. I mean, it's a good think I'm a software developer, or I wouldn't have made it through that.

    Don't even get me started on video cards. Mine burned out, so I bought a new one. I booted into Linux - didn't have to change a thing. I booted into Windows... whoops! Driver incompatibility - no GUI for you. What? You can't get to a command line without first booting into the GUI or entering some arcane key combination on boot? And who knows how to install graphics drivers from the command line in Windows, anyway? Well damn, I guess reinstallation is the only option. Or buy a card identical to the one that burned out.

  • by tacocat ( 527354 ) <tallison1&twmi,rr,com> on Thursday August 17, 2006 @08:10PM (#15931374)

    Perhaps Linux could take a tip from both Microsoft and Apple in how they support hardware.

    These companies make decisions of what hardware they are willing to support and which ones they are not going to support. Apple has an absolute stranglehold on the hardware that goes into their computers. This makes it pretty easy to make software that works. They are able to leverage their control of both hardware and software to combine a very solid solution.

    In slightly different methodologies, Microsoft has a very high degree of control over the software that runs on their boxes and the hardware that they are willing to support. If there is software/hardware that they like, they will make the drivers/API necessary for it a part of their Core. People and products they don't like go largely ignored and have a tough time making a profit.

    I recognize that Linux has far less control of dictates over their hardware/software but it would be a valuable endeavor to actually come out and state what hardware/software they are going to support into the future and just hang the rest out to dry. There is so much time and effort spent on trying to find out what hardware is supported and how well under which version of software. To buy something as simple as a firewire card is a major research project with a 50/50 chance of success.

    For example, I bought a firewire card. The first one was a brick. The second one was perfect. But I had a very difficult time finding any information about the first card and after a week of searching and sitting on mailing lists I finally figured out it was just never going to work. Maybe in 3 years, maybe never. I hope that the decision is made to never support this product because by the time they do, it'll be a P.O.S.

    As another example: NVidia video cards. Some people swear by them, others swear at them. I won't get started on this stupid conversation but I think Matrox is the only graphics card that didn't screw me over at some point.

    In some ways I do agree with the more idealistic thinkers of the EFF and such. We should not be required to try and support every variation of hardware that someone comes out just because. It would be more useful to turn the roles around and choose to support only certain products/companies and to make that well known. If they get cute with their licensing then drop them. I really don't think anyone is willing to fall completely out of the Linux community -- there's a lot of publicity at risk.

    Getting hardware to work is the hardest thing you can do on Linux.

  • by msimm ( 580077 ) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @08:37PM (#15931504) Homepage
    And disappointingly, its always still current. Linux has a seriously split personality and I don't think its ever been the right way to be. On one hand we have this excellent well documented, stable server platform. Here I love it. Couldn't ask for anything more (don't hate me BSD users!).

    Of course the flip is the 'ready to dominate the desktop' thing. I've been using Linux for about 8 years and the one thing I haven't seen is a distro thats ready to take the place of a real, dedicated user environment.

    Now I'm guessing that making it ugly and cludgy by trying to keep both the archaic (but server friendly) aspects together with the newer (and definitely still immature) GUI pieces is a big part of the problem.

    I've got a box that can do everything, but only half as well. Its silly really. Top it off with the nuts and their struggle against *any* real change and you get exactly what you should expect to get: a system thats terminally mired in a wealth of old-school ideas (filesystem layout, lack of consistent driver API, DE abstraction, application fragmentation, etc).

    For a lot of people these things are all very good, but for the 'average' user it make Linux the subtle nightmare that it really is.

    I've been practically begging, for years, for someone to break the rules. Piss RMS off. I don't care really. Just give me an operating system that works like its 2006, proprietary drives and ALL.

    I'm using XP Pro now. I'll probably end up moving to Apple at some point because I respect them for focusing on the front end and still giving their users the power on the back end (exactly where Linux distro's get it all cocked up).

    Anyway, basically, I think its fear of rocking the boat and if there is *anything* more constricting then proprietary code thats definitely it.
  • deluded = colluded (Score:2, Interesting)

    by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @08:50PM (#15931588) Journal
    DRM-locked music is inherently inferior to free music. I've got flac or ogg versions of all the music I like, and can get flac or ogg versions of all the music I want. And you know what? I'd PAY for that, if anyone had the temerity to sell such service. I just won't pay for DRM-corrupted art of any kind. I don't need it and I don't miss it. I'm not a college-kid either. My friends and associates have musical tastes that run the gamut from classical and world music to jazz, and any flavor of rock or pop you could think of. Oh, and country. Know what? None of us will use DRM-fouled products. That's just the way it is, and we're not the poorer for it. But the music industry will be poorer for not having us as customers. The world is full of music of all kinds. You can hear absolutely everything and anything without resorting to DRM-damaged products. And if the music industry collapsed and died tomorrow, musicians would still find a way to be heard - at least the good ones would. Now kiss my ass you miserable clerk for some avaricious entertainment lawyer.
  • by fak3r ( 917687 ) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @11:56PM (#15932269) Homepage
    I plugged in my iPod to my iBook running Ubuntu Dapper 6.06 to change the batter -- guess what? Rhythmbox came up, with the iPod there. I doubled clicked on a song, and it played.
  • by Technician ( 215283 ) on Friday August 18, 2006 @02:38AM (#15932720)
    Well, it's not friendly to first post trolls perhaps.

    Not friendly to anyone who can't do a Google search. My kids got a genuine I-Pod. The machine I provided them has Ubuntu Daper Drake. I gathered from Google that the Banchee Music player supports the I-Pod except for the DRM stuff. In addition to sending music to the player, it can upload from the player. It that respect it's better than I-Tunes for my kids. Installing it was a snap. On the menu bar I selected Applications. On the pull down I selected Add/Remove. This brought up a list of installed applications and a list of applications that can be installed. Under Audio I selected the Banchee Music Player and let it install after providing the administrator password.

    My kids do not have software install privilages which keeps the cruft and malware at bay.

    Instead of having to go to each vendor's website to get and install applications, it is nice to simply to have an Add/Remove item with everyting there. Nice! It is kind of like using Microsoft Updates, but for your applications instead of just security updates.
  • Consumer Friendly? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ryanisflyboy ( 202507 ) on Friday August 18, 2006 @03:28AM (#15932852) Homepage Journal
    I don't want my Linux "consumer" friendly. I want it hacker friendly. And it is. So *whack* hands off! There are some great usability things in the works that, when implemented, probably will make things more consumer friendly. Fine. Just please don't let that be the goal.

    The tipping point for Linux was when Oracle decided to support it? That was enough to stop reading, but unfortunatly I continued on.

    The more windows consumer users are attracted to Linux the more they will expect it to function like windows. I want new users. I want fresh thinkers. I don't want cube fodder bugging my OS. I don't want a dancing paper clip in the corner. I don't want a mega-media-super-duper-everything-all-in-one-amazi ng-drm-money-maker-thought-stealer running either. Such things are for consumers.

    I am a happy consumer. I consume quite a bit actually. Linux is my escape from consumerism. Yet again we see a counter-culture wanting to be mainstream.

    I am not a zealot at all, I just would like to propose the question: What do you want Linux to be? The everything OS? Best Desktop/Server/Embedded/Big Iron system?

    I don't mind using Windows for some things, but the second that Windows and Linux start working and acting the same - forget it.
  • I Work n Amarok (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Makarakalax ( 658810 ) on Friday August 18, 2006 @07:28AM (#15933487) Homepage
    I've been an Amarok developer for 3 years, and I'd like to comment.

    Amarok beats iTunes in quite a few ways; eg. wikipedia artist-lookup, lyrics lookup, suggesting music from you collection for you to play next, integration, cover downloads, playback formats supported, etc. Certainly we have every feature iTunes has except a music store. And we have patches to allow purchases from Magnatune sitting on the mailing list.

    We aren't as simple as iTunes. Out interface shines in some areas, like our drag and drop focus, simple toolbars and browser metaphor, but is hacked together and complex in other areas. In many ways this is a symptom of open source development, but we do have a focus on making our interface easy to learn and uncluttered, and I'm sure this has helped us to become popular on Linux.

    At the end of the day iTunes is targeted at different people. Can a music player that supports multiple audio backends and multiple database backends ever be as simple as one that comes with them built in and mostly unconfigurable? Yes, you can hide that stuff in an options dialog. But no you'll still have a system that is more difficult to make bug-free, and that has more potential for strange behaviour.

    If you put the time in, Amarok beats everything else out there; we've put the time in to ensure that. But it isn't there yet, in terms of catering to the iTunes demographic. And I'm not sure we really want to do that anyway.

    If anything our focus for Amarok 2 makes us even less like iTunes, and perhaps not in a general appeal kind of way. But if you like music, and have a lot of it, you'll love Amarok 2. It's not ready yet though.. ;)
  • by Anivair ( 921745 ) on Friday August 18, 2006 @07:59AM (#15933580)
    Moron. Repeat after me. here's how you install linux. Insert CD. Hit enter till it loads. For 95% of all modern instalations, that's it. Installing windows is more complicated than this, I swear. It's just that most people never install windows. Also, here's how integrating my ipod worked in ubuntu: connect iPod. ta-da.

Perfection is acheived only on the point of collapse. - C. N. Parkinson