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Media (Apple) Media Software Linux

Apple Cuts Off Linux iPod Users 854

Posted by Zonk
from the can't-stand-the-heat dept.
Will Fisher writes "New iPods will no longer be able to work with Linux. iTunes now writes some kind of hash (SHA1, md5?) to the iPod database which new iPods check against. If this check fails then the iPod reports that it contains 0 songs. This appears to be protection against 3rd party applications writing out their own databases. We haven't found out how to generate our own valid hashes (but we do know the hash includes the database itself, and possibly the iPod serial number), and are looking for help."
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Apple Cuts Off Linux iPod Users

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  • by Traegorn (856071) on Friday September 14, 2007 @02:51PM (#20607591) Homepage Journal
    Because I expect the Linux community to have one on my desk by Monday. Companies drive me crazy when they do this, I mean punishing someone whose a potential consumer of your product makes so much sense... yeesh. It's not like they're trying to hack the iTunes DRM - they just want to use a legitimate product they've purchased...
  • Re:So I guess... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Thrip (994947) on Friday September 14, 2007 @02:51PM (#20607605)
    You got it exactly backwards. Apple just gave a lot of people much more incentive to install a new OS on their iPod. (Including Windows users who don't like iTunes -- not just Linux users.)
  • Re:But but but... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by cmowire (254489) on Friday September 14, 2007 @02:52PM (#20607617) Homepage
    In order to not get in trouble with shareholders, the CEO is usually obligated to sell his own mother to slavery if it will make sufficient impact to the bottom line.
  • One month (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Subm (79417) on Friday September 14, 2007 @02:52PM (#20607635)
    I give the community one month from release to working hack or workaround. Actually, I think that may be too long.

    Let's take up a pool for how long Apple's "protection" lasts. Anyone else predict something different?
  • *sniff* (Score:5, Insightful)

    by target562 (623649) on Friday September 14, 2007 @02:53PM (#20607645) Homepage
    Application is using a non-public interface to access functionality... Vendor changes said non-public interface... Community is SHOCKED! WTF?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 14, 2007 @02:54PM (#20607661)
    so .. tell me again why I should buy an ipod? because its the hippest device on earth?
  • I hate iTunes (Score:3, Insightful)

    by wonkavader (605434) on Friday September 14, 2007 @02:55PM (#20607675)
    I just hate iTunes. I know other people like it, but it seems to me that non-tech people find iTunes easy, and tech folks don't. As a tech guy, iTunes drives me insane. It doesn't do what I want, doesn't do things my way, does things I don't expect, etc.
  • by bryankwalton (872344) on Friday September 14, 2007 @02:55PM (#20607683)
    There are plenty of good mp3 players that will work beautifully with linux and sources for mp3s other than Apple's Itunes.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 14, 2007 @02:58PM (#20607741)
    Wow. Looks like Apple doesn't want repeat customers. Guess I won't be buying any more iPods in the future.
  • by realdodgeman (1113225) on Friday September 14, 2007 @02:58PM (#20607751) Homepage
    Linux can't use it? Install Linux on it. Since their protection is embedded in the iPod OS, it should be easily fixed by installing Linux on the iPod itself. Suddenly your iPod can do more, and is not bound to Windows/Mac anymore. And did I mention that it is free?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 14, 2007 @02:59PM (#20607769)
    a) Because sometimes it doesn't make much sense to put in the extra resources to support an at best barely significant portion of the market?

    b) Because Apple happens to be a software company, who happens to deal in operating systems?

    c) Because they hate Linux and are out to destroy it.

    Two of the above are plausible reasons, neither of them are c). Pick.

  • Re:But but but... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sayfawa (1099071) on Friday September 14, 2007 @03:00PM (#20607787)
    And despite this, you'll still get told how good Apple is for open source in a few days in the next OSX vs Linux flame war.

    Anyway, this just makes it easier to say no to them IMO. I was already pissed off enough that my 2nd gen Nano couldn't load Rockbox, but now this.

    In TFA they make it clear they are going to try to get around this, and they probably will, but part of me just wants to say why bother? Fuck Apple. They don't want my money, good, they won't get it.
  • by Logger (9214) on Friday September 14, 2007 @03:00PM (#20607811) Homepage
    Agreed. Isn't the allure of an iPod the entire integrated experience, iPod/iTunes/iTMS? iTunes is the very heart of that, so if you don't want to use iTunes, why would you use an iPod?
  • by NiceGeek (126629) on Friday September 14, 2007 @03:00PM (#20607813)
    Except that Apple doesn't have a monopoly on portable music players. You might be able to argue about the iTunes Store but there are plenty of companies churning out players.
  • by Pausanias (681077) <pausaniasx&gmail,com> on Friday September 14, 2007 @03:01PM (#20607821)
    Apple is hostile to Linux, because it is beginning to compete with OS X in a much more serious way than Windows.

    It all started last year when with the release of iTunes 7, Apple purposely broke DAAP [wikipedia.org], ending the compatibility of their iTunes software with various [gnome.org] media players [gnome.org]. Now rhythmbox/amaroK/banshee users can't listen to iTunes shares, and no one has yet been able to break the hash that would allow it.

    So it comes as no surprise that the iPod is being further locked down. The closer our desktops get in usability to OS X (and they are not close yet, but making progress), the more of this we'll see.

    Disclaimer: I use an OS X desktop and a Linux laptop.
  • Re:*sniff* (Score:1, Insightful)

    by T-Bone-T (1048702) on Friday September 14, 2007 @03:01PM (#20607825)
    I agree. That's exactly what I was thinking.
  • Re:But but but... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by davetd02 (212006) on Friday September 14, 2007 @03:02PM (#20607831)
    Is Apple trying to freeze-out Linux, or is Apple trying to fix a potential security hole, which hits Linux as a side-effect. The former is stupid, the latter suggests that there is hope of the condition being fixed in the future.

    It sounds to me like there is a security problem in allowing any program to write to the iTunes database and have that code executed by the iPod or iPhone. If Microsoft Windows were to let just any program write into the system folder... oh, wait, they do that --- but we laugh at their utter lack of security as a result.

    I highly suspect that Apple, a company that used *nix as the basis for its entire operating system, isn't trying to screw Linux users. Sounds like a security patch caused a problem and I hope that this outcry will fix it.
  • by ahbi (796025) on Friday September 14, 2007 @03:05PM (#20607887) Journal
    What is going on with Apple?
    Let us count how bad this product launch is:
    1) 33% price cut for the iPhone, which threw early adopters in a fit, and then the $100 "rebate".
    2) iPod touch is crippled. The Bluetooth is physically there (supposedly) but not enabled. No editing calender appointments. No Notes app or the other apps from iPhone. Screen issues with the contrast & blackness versus the iPhone.
    3) iPod Classic, slower less responsive UI. Old Video accessories don't work with the iClassic.
    4) iPod Nano, the FatPod. Same slower UI as the Classic. No memory increase.

    Seriously, in 10 days Apple seems to have found a way to piss everyone off. Now they go after the Linux community. How badly have they bungled this product launch?

    1) As a non-iPhone owner or wanter, the brew-ha-ha over the $200 price cut irritates me not because of the price cut but the reaction is such that you better believe Apple won't ever make similar price cuts in the future.
    Plus you know a 16GB iPhone will come out as soon as the iPhone is released in Europe.

    2) Once again, the iTouch will be jailbreaked and the iPhone apps ported to the iTouch, but this type of needless product differentiation crippling cause bad will. And, this hacking may break whenever Apple releases a firmware update. For example, the Linux lock-out of this story.
    Apple could have just given people the product they want in the first place. As the screams of people have shown, there is a market for a phoneless iPhone.
    The screen issues are unfixable but possibly explained by manufacturing variables.

    3) The iClassic is the least changed and therefore least disliked of the new products. The software (DRM) incompatibility with video accessories is unnecessary.

    4) Now the FatPod is merely ugly. It is a shame about the less responsive UI. And really it was time to bump up the storage to 16gb. One wonders if the storage was capped at 8Gb in an attempt to differentiate this versus the iTouch. After all if they are needlessly crippling the iTouch why not nerf the FatPod?

    Is it just hurbis that has gotten Apple's head so far up its ass, or is this just a cyclical Apple implosion? If the latter, we are in for a few more years of Apple stupidity before they re-emerge with some new wonder product.
  • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Friday September 14, 2007 @03:06PM (#20607901)

    Companies drive me crazy when they do this, I mean punishing someone whose a potential consumer of your product makes so much sense... yeesh.

    The thing you're missing is that Apple executives did not sit down and decide to make things hard for Linux users. Probably they sat down and looked for a way to stop MS from making WMP work with the iPod, since, MS uses similar lock in strategies against them in other markets every day. They were probably considering Sony and maybe Real. They may or may not have considered Linux at all and if they did they probably decided there were so few Linux users that the impact would not be as bad as letting MS leverage their monopolies to push Apple out of markets while not taking every effort to leverage their own near monopoly.

    Normally I'd object pretty strongly to any sort of enforced tie ins like this, but when competing against MS and while it is clear the Justice department will do nothing to stop their abuses, Apple and all other companies competing with them are in a very bad spot. Two wrongs don't make a right, but anything that stops MS from becoming the sole gatekeeper for DRM and all media within the next decade sounds like something we really, really need. And make no mistake, if not for Apple's iPod and Apple leveraging it, WMP would be the format for almost all legal music on the internet and MS would be taking a cut of it and preparing to stop said music from playing on Linux and other OS's altogether

    Also, I don't own an iPod and am pretty sure there will be a work around in short order.

  • Re:But but but... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bkr1_2k (237627) on Friday September 14, 2007 @03:08PM (#20607943)
    I'm a reasonable fan of Apple, but I wouldn't bet this was a fix for security purposes. They have long been proprietary with whatever it suits them to be proprietary with, while trying to woo the open source community on the other hand.

    It's a fine line to walk for them, as a business beholden to stock holders, and they do a reasonable job of it in some aspects and a horrible job in others. This is just one of the ways they've done a horrible job. They've never tried to include any sort of support of the open source community with iTunes, and I wouldn't expect them to in the future.
  • Re:I hate iTunes (Score:5, Insightful)

    by caerwyn (38056) on Friday September 14, 2007 @03:09PM (#20607961)
    I dunno about that. I'm a tech guy and I like iTunes- but then, the three computers on my desk here are a mac and two windows/linux dual boot machines.

    The trick is to let the software do its job without micromanaging it. Focus on what you want to get done rather than the detailed steps of how to get there, and you'll find that it does actually end up being easier and faster.

    (Actually, that's generally the problem with open source UIs, I've found. Sure, they provide every possible way to customize every detailed step of the process... but all I want to do is accomplish X! If I want to break things down into algorithmic steps and tweak the parameters of those steps, well, that's what programming is and I do that enough in my job and my side projects. Applications should just work, they shouldn't need to be programmed.)
  • Re:Oh boy (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ceswiedler (165311) * <chris@swiedler.org> on Friday September 14, 2007 @03:11PM (#20608017)
    I think rockbox will overcome this, because the check for the hash is done in the default firmware, which rockbox replaces.
  • by MBCook (132727) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Friday September 14, 2007 @03:14PM (#20608075) Homepage
    It's not like they sold you an iPod saying it would work with Linux and then removed it. You could sue over that. People have (the famous Intellivision keyboard for example). You bought a product for a non-supported use and are complaining that it's not working in a non-supported configuration. They didn't take Linux support away because they never gave it to you in the first place. You were using a hack, and you will in a few weeks when someone figures this out.
  • Re:*sniff* (Score:2, Insightful)

    by BlowHole666 (1152399) on Friday September 14, 2007 @03:22PM (#20608235)
    But are the linux users a big chunk of the market? When windows is a large chunk, and apple wants people to buy a mac. So why let people use their ipod for "free".
  • Re:But but but... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by arth1 (260657) on Friday September 14, 2007 @03:22PM (#20608239) Homepage Journal
    I never understood why the iPod became so immensely popular compared to other personal players in the first place. It locks you down to using iTunes, makes it difficult to use multiple machines or move music around, doesn't have particularly high sound quality, and doesn't support a lot of music formats. I see a crowd mentality at work here -- people buy and then vigorously defend having bought an iPod, not because it's better than the competition, but because it's what your friends have. Individuality is fine, as long as it's the exact same individuality as all your friends!

    Granted, I see some advantages to the bigger iPods -- lots of storage is a good thing, and halfway decent battery life likewise. But the smaller ones? Just because it's branded "Apple"?

  • by Dusty00 (1106595) on Friday September 14, 2007 @03:22PM (#20608243)
    I doubt that the DMCA will be an issue. Though it's been preverted, the technology retarded politicians they convinced to pass the DMCA are under the impression the circumvention clause was really about preventing piracy. Attempts to use the DMCA as to control a market have been shot down before in court (Lexmark Int'l v. Static Control Components, Chamberlain v. Skylink).
  • Missed the point (Score:4, Insightful)

    by laird (2705) <lairdp AT gmail DOT com> on Friday September 14, 2007 @03:32PM (#20608449) Journal
    This move isn't about blocking Linux iPod users - it's broader than that - it blocks all third-party applications from putting music onto the iPod. The fact that some of those applications run on Linux is probably irrelevant to Apple, because Linux users who don't also have a PC or Mac are probably a very small percentage of Apple's potential sales.

    So, why would Apple want to block third-party apps from writing to iPods? Let's speculate:

    - Apple might be getting customer support calls from people who corrupt their iPod databases. So by blocking third-party apps, Apple is reducing support costs.
    - Apple is about to make major changes to iTunes, and to the iPod database format, and needs to keep third-party apps from corrupting the new databases.
    - Apple wants to be the only way that music gets on iPods for some business reason.
  • Re:Rockbox (Score:3, Insightful)

    by pithen (912739) on Friday September 14, 2007 @03:42PM (#20608655)
    Uhh, RockBox doesn't need iTunes since it doesn't use the database. Rather it reads the files directly from the FAT filesystem.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 14, 2007 @03:42PM (#20608659)
    Apple just can't help but shoot themselves in the foot. They hit a sweet spot with the iPod, but their recent misstep with the latest generation has left little doubt that they iPod will soon go the way of the Macintosh computer and go from a market leader to a niche item.

    In a sense, it all started with the iPhone. By tying the service to AT&T, they limited their potential customers to a fraction of the nation's cellular subscribers. After failing to meet sales expectations, Apple was forced to drop the price dramatically and issue a costly rebate to pacify their early-adopter fanbase.

    To be sure, there is much that is innovative about the device. The user interface, especially the web browser, is miles ahead of comparable products. It is a sad state of affairs that such ingenuity has been sabotaged by Apple's obsession with controlling the users of their platforms.

    In taking out the phone and releasing the iPod touch, though, Apple made another huge blunder. Instead of adding a real hard drive, Apple used the same flash memory they do in the iPhone, limiting the device to 16GB. For many longtime iPod users, this is nowhere near enough storage.

    Apple's solution has been to simultaneously release the iPod Classic, which has more than ample storage, but is lacking in all the exciting new features that Apple has been devoting their R&D to. These users will feel left out, and be more suceptable to switching to a competitors player that offers more features when it comes time for another purchase.

    Then, of coarse, there is the new iPod Nano Video, with its tiny screen. This isn't Tokyo, impractically small electronics have never taken off in America, and the new Nano will be no exception.

    This new development is just another nail in the coffin on the new iPod line. If I still had Apple stock, I would sell it now. As many other posters and TFA point out, it's not just Linux users, admittedly a small minority, that are being shut out; it's also Windows users who want to manage their iPod from the player of their choice.

    Apple's insistence on dictating behavior on their users has crossed the line from insult to injury. Congratulations, Steve, you just lost a customer.
  • Single post blog (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 14, 2007 @03:45PM (#20608725)
    We have a blog that has only one post to its name making sweeping conclusions about a supposed change to the itunes database structure.

    I know this is /. but can we throw in a little gravity to the conclusion jumping.
  • by outZider (165286) on Friday September 14, 2007 @03:46PM (#20608761) Homepage
    So what did you encode with? Ogg or WMA?
  • Re:I hate iTunes (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mr. Underbridge (666784) on Friday September 14, 2007 @03:47PM (#20608765)

    I just hate iTunes. I know other people like it, but it seems to me that non-tech people find iTunes easy, and tech folks don't. As a tech guy, iTunes drives me insane. It doesn't do what I want, doesn't do things my way, does things I don't expect, etc.

    I think much of it is a control issue. Techies tend to be control freaks. We also grew up with Winamp (or similar), and are used to devising our own directory structure for our music collection, expecting to have iTunes use our file management schemas. When I first started using it, I got confused. Where the hell are my music files? Why is it recopying what I just put over there? Why won't it let me play these files?

    After a day of this, I just said 'screw it' and let iTunes put shit where it wants to, and I decided it does a good job. That's the difference in perception - iTunes is a good system to get music from various sources and never have to worry about the notion that music is contained in 'files.' If you try to buck the system, you and iTunes will hate each other.

  • Re:Linux Schminux (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hypnagogue (700024) on Friday September 14, 2007 @03:52PM (#20608863)

    Even Microsoft doesn't have the balls to be so obviously hostile.
    So the Vista-lockout is less obviously hostile? I disagree. Microsoft is the real trailblazer when it comes to obvious hostility toward their customers. Followed closely behind by the RIAA, MPAA and Sony. This little iPod interop issue is pretty minor by comparison.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 14, 2007 @03:53PM (#20608873)
    Maybe you are just stupid, and ripped the collection in WMA, but if you used MP3 it will play just fine on the iPod with no conversion.
  • Re:But but but... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by xrayspx (13127) on Friday September 14, 2007 @03:55PM (#20608903) Homepage
    Well, until very recently (this article), they DIDN'T lock you down to using iTunes. Amarok worked very, very well with my iPod, in fact, I loathe iTunes in comparison. Apple won't let you copy music from your ipod with itunes, Amarok allows this, case closed.

    I hate this decision, and see no benefit to Apple from it except to "drive eyeballs" to iTunes, which is horrible, and thus ITMS. So between that and making the recording industry feel more comfortable, since they just broke all the third party apps to let people copy THEIR OWN MUSIC off of their iPod, I'd say it's "Lose/Lose" to the users.

    Still happy I bought my Mac, still like my iPod, probably will skip a new one if this doesn't get fixed. What other players allow music to be Scrobbled when you plug them into your machine, and what apps support these properly? Amarok? I hope?
  • Re:But but but... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Hatta (162192) on Friday September 14, 2007 @03:55PM (#20608907) Journal
    I never understood why the iPod became so immensely popular compared to other personal players in the first place. ....

    I see a crowd mentality at work here

    Sounds like you understand it perfectly.
  • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Friday September 14, 2007 @03:55PM (#20608909)
    MP3 players were out long before the iPod ever came around, but nobody really cared. To the extent that people did listen to music, they'd just keep doing it on a walk/discman or the like. An MP3 player was just a new gadget that only some cared about. Well, Apple changed that, they sold the style, they made it cool. It became a fashion accessory. Sorority girls started to carry them not even because they cared about listening to music, but because it was fashionable to do so.

    Apple convinced everyone that a music player was something you needed to have, and their's was the stylish one to get. As such, they managed to grab the majority of the market.

    Well, once you've got something like that going, inertia will carry you a long way. People don't like change, once they get something that works for them they don't change it without reason. As such you get people sold on iPods and when they need a new player, they just go and get another one, they don't really look at alternates. It works for them, why change?

    Finally you should know that individuality isn't something most hold in a high regard. Even most of the "non-conformist" types simply work real hard to conform with their given non-conformist group. It's rare to find people who simply don't give a shit and do their own thing regardless of society.
  • They could just be for integrity checking. Maybe Apple doesn't want people using 3rd party utilities that screw up the iPods then having to get the calls from those users furious that the thing no longer works. That's one explanation. Maybe with all the executable stuff they offer now (games, which will probably increase) the iPod is so popular it is becoming a bigger target and they don't want "How your iPod can kill your computer... story at 11PM" plastered all over the TV. By not telling others how to do it (they have NEVER supported 3rd party programs in doing stuff with the iPod), they keep virus writers from circumventing the protection.

    As for bad PR, bull. This will never be picked up by the mainstream media. 95% or more of iPod users will never hear this story or understand ore care about it even if they did.

    I'd like to point out that they are not obliged not to break 3rd party stuff. If you are doing things that are not company sanctioned, you should just assume that any updates may break your stuff.

  • Re:But but but... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Hatta (162192) on Friday September 14, 2007 @04:01PM (#20609009) Journal
    You're not locked to the iTunes store, but you ARE locked to the iTunes software which is not available on all platforms.
  • by davetd02 (212006) on Friday September 14, 2007 @04:06PM (#20609113)
    Say it with me: data base. data base. database. database.

    IT'S NOT AN EXECUTABLE.


    I'm well aware of the difference between a database and an executable. But, as we have seen all too many times, errors in programs all too often allow content which appears to be data to be executed as code. Look at any buffer overflow exploit.
  • Re:But but but... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by notthe9 (800486) on Friday September 14, 2007 @04:11PM (#20609203)
    I really don't see how this improves the bottom line. Does it hurt Apple for people to be using something other than their media player (which is free to obtain) to put songs on their iPod?

    I know it is suggested that this is to thwart syncing with third-party apps, but it seems like that's a pointless effort. I have been known not to understand stuff, though.
  • Re:But but but... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mrchaotica (681592) * on Friday September 14, 2007 @04:13PM (#20609223)

    It locks you down to using iTunes

    That's not necessarily a bad thing. I got an iPod because I use iTunes (and I use iTunes because I used a Mac as my primary computer at the time). For me, the organizational abilities of iTunes are compelling, particularly Smart Playlists. Having that supported by the portable player, which also automatically syncs with it, is doubly so.

    Does Amarok (which is the only player I've heard of being comparable to iTunes) support something like Smart Playlists? Does Rockbox support something like Smart Playlists? Can Amarok and Rockbox synchronize the Smart Playlists? Automatically? If the answer to any of these questions is "no," then iTunes/iPod is still the best choice.

  • Re:But but but... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ajs (35943) <ajsNO@SPAMajs.com> on Friday September 14, 2007 @04:16PM (#20609273) Homepage Journal

    Apple's trying to freeze out not only Linux, but any other player which tries to write to the iPod.
    Exactly. What they want to avoid is having to compete on the iPod-manager software front. They don't give a rat's whiskers about the Linux tools, but if Microsoft puts out their own tool that syncs the iPod up to the Zune Website and ships it with their OS... there goes Apple's user lock-in.

    On the one hand, I empathize with wanting control of the platform. On the other, I just can't work up any sympathy for them. They're certainly going to fail in the long-term, unless the invoke the DMCA... a move which would alienate them with the rip/burn crowd they've courted over the last many years, but might make them friends with the networks that they've lost.
  • by Blakey Rat (99501) on Friday September 14, 2007 @04:26PM (#20609423)
    Two points:

    1) You're assuming that this change is intended purely to alienate Linux users. This change was probably made for some other reason, and alienating Linux users was a (possibly unintended) side-effect of it.

    2) The iPod never claimed to carry any sort of support for Linux whatsoever. It seems to me that if you wanted to support Linux, you'd buy a product that actually supports Linux instead of one that doesn't-- and then complaining when the hack you're using to get it to work no longer works!
  • Re:So I guess... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by omeomi (675045) on Friday September 14, 2007 @04:30PM (#20609475) Homepage
    Eh, this is just one more reason why I went with a non-Apple mp3 player...it plays all of the music and podcasts I want it to, and I'm not locked into using iTunes. I can't listen to the DRM'd iTMS tracks, but who cares, it's not like I can't buy and rip CDs...

    modded down by the iPod fanboys in 3...2...1...
  • Re:*sniff* (Score:2, Insightful)

    by target562 (623649) on Friday September 14, 2007 @04:53PM (#20609775) Homepage

    One can't assume intent from the action. And its their interface, they can do whatever they want with it -- be it maliciously, humorously, or for some other reason only known to Steve Job's pet chinchilla.

    Now, if you really want to do something -- lobby Apple for a *supported* interface to the device. If they say no, that's what you complain about. ;)
  • No, No, No... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by gbutler69 (910166) on Friday September 14, 2007 @05:12PM (#20610019) Homepage
    The iPod became popular through clever marketing. Period. That is what Apple does well. Market.
  • Re:But but but... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 14, 2007 @05:15PM (#20610055)

    Yes, casual users don't care for the technical details, so they want something usable and stylish.
    That's what they tell themselves. Casual users would rather be treated like barely literate sub-droolers than be presented with evidence that they are barely literate sub-droolers. It's like the VCR clock flashing "12:00" constantly reminding you that you are dummy. Much better to get a VCR that doesn't mock your stupidity even if it can't record your television shows at a preset time.
  • Re:I hate iTunes (Score:3, Insightful)

    by EdBear69 (823550) on Friday September 14, 2007 @05:18PM (#20610091)
    I agree completely with your point about not messing with file management.

    I started using iTunes on Windows as jukebox software while working at Microsoft. Previous to that, I'd been using Winamp while at work to listen to the 80Gigs or so of music that I had on my work computer.

    Here's why I switched:

    First, my listening preference at the time was what I like to call 'Gong Show Radio', where Winamp would run in random mode on a playlist of all my music. If a song came up that I didn't like or wasn't in the mood for, I'd click next. The hassle with using Winamp was that I had to remake my 'everything' list whenever I added music to my collection. I had to use a ripping program to rip my cds, then put them logically in my file system, then add them to my Winamp playlist. ITunes does all that itself. In fact, when adding several discs at once to my collection, there's a setting that allows me to have a cd ripped on insertion, then eject when done. That meant I could rip my music on my computer without even thinking about it, just swap cds when I noticed the drive tray open.

    Next, making playlists in iTunes is drag-and-drop. Making playlists in winamp was a PITA.

    I don't burn cds of my music very often, but when I have, I've appreciated the simplicity of iTunes. It's even easier than Nero to put together a disc the way you want. You want mp3 disc? data disc? AIFF disc? Time gap between tracks? no problem.

    Some people here have complained that iTunes wants to organize their files in a different way than they would do it themselves. I have never found this to be a problem, because regardless of how the songs are stored on the HD, the interface for accessing them in iTunes is the same. And unlike Winamp*, I'm able to view and sort my music based on album, artist, genre, song title, or whatever other data column I care to.

    The only bitch I have about iTunes is that it wouldn't help me put music onto my 20GB Zen mp3 player. The device came with its own proprietary software that was kludgy to use, and after a month or so, I stopped updating my mp3 player, and a year later got an iPod. Updating songs on it from iTunes is insanely easy, my only bitch is that it takes so long to sync. Since then, my zen has just been collecting dust. (please note that I did not purchase either mp3 player, both were gifts.)

    Again, these are the reasons I switched to iTunes as a digital jukebox. There are other perquisites that have been released in iTunes updates since then, like automatically downloading podcasts, video support, and netradio. I don't know of any other product that is as easy to use that has as much functionality. Please advise if you know of any.

    *Please note that my switch occurred around 4 years ago, and Winamp may have changed since then. The features and faults I describe may be out-of-date, but I don't really care as I have software that works great and I haven't looked back. I still have an open mind, but I haven't heard anyone screaming about how $foo software makes a much better jukebox than iTunes, and at this point the software would have to be significantly better to make me switch.

  • by Darth (29071) on Friday September 14, 2007 @05:37PM (#20610279) Homepage
    Apple is proof positive that MS is not a 100% monopoly. They have a small share of the market, to be sure, but they've had it for decades.

    100% market share isn't required to be a monopoly. Apple has held their market share for decades because they are primarily a hardware distributor and provide the platform for their software. They also control their entire distribution channel (no oem deals needed). The loyal fanbase doesn't hurt either.

    The anticompetitive tactics Microsoft has been convicted of in the past really don't affect that core market share. It probably did affect their ability to grow marketshare though.

    So it would appear that you don't have to have a 100% market share to get slapped for laws relating to monopoly status.

    Well, you have to be able to prove that they have enough control over the market that they can exert monopoly control of it. Having 72% of the market and having lots of competitors , and having new competitors enter the market fairly easily is not a monopoly.

    In the absence of a monopoly, their actions with respect to iTunes store integration with the iPod and locking out 3rd parties isn't illegal.

  • Re:I hate iTunes (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 14, 2007 @05:57PM (#20610473)
    Nope. You're absolutely not wrong. The ID3 tags get written directly into the files. Croco is just making shit up to make himself feel like he has an argument.
  • by E IS mC(Square) (721736) on Friday September 14, 2007 @06:16PM (#20610645) Journal
    *time to lose some karma* >>I'm surprised there isn't as much of an uproar about this on Slashdot.

    I am not. When it comes to Apple, the fanatics will gang up on anybody complaining even a slight bit about Apple. They don't see the irony that Apple has become Microsoft of the DAP market. Force is very strong on them.
  • by Frank T. Lofaro Jr. (142215) on Friday September 14, 2007 @06:32PM (#20610815) Homepage
    Back in the day we wouldn't get 5 years in prison for writing software to workaround intentional bugs added by the vendor to prop up their outdated and failing business model.

    Now we do.
  • by argent (18001) <peter@nospAM.slashdot.2006.taronga.com> on Friday September 14, 2007 @06:42PM (#20610907) Homepage Journal
    I thought the iPod worked like any other USB drive - I don't need iTunes to put music on my thumb drive, I just mount it on the file system and transfer the files.

    No, the iPod doesn't work this way. It keeps the files in a special part of the file system and even if you put the files there it needs special tools to make it work.

    I don't understand why anyone using Linux would bother with an iPod. I found it a horribly frustrating MP3 player because of the annoying user interface and daft click wheel... AND it costs more! Why bother with it?
  • Re:So I guess... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by PachmanP (881352) on Friday September 14, 2007 @07:40PM (#20611511)
    Why not "Apple just gave a lot of people much more incentive to buy something besides an ipod!?
    Maybe one that just shows up as a removable drive or is media player independent or doesn't demand you use window or OSX.
  • Re:I hate iTunes (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Phroggy (441) <slashdot3NO@SPAMphroggy.com> on Friday September 14, 2007 @08:31PM (#20611931) Homepage
    I've never heard of this happening.

    There is some information that's stored only in the iTunes Library, and not in ID3 tags - for example play counts, song ratings (those little star things), and the options for when to begin and end playing a particular track. This information will be lost if something happens to your iTunes Library database. However, anything that is stored in the file (title, artist, album, genre, etc. - even album cover art) should not be lost if you uninstall iTunes.

    It would actually take a fair amount of effort (and time) to go through and remove all of this information from every MP3 or AAC file you have. iTunes does not do this when uninstalling.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 14, 2007 @09:01PM (#20612167)
    So, you in fact are one of the people who use Linux because they hate Microsoft?
  • by PorkNutz (730601) on Friday September 14, 2007 @09:49PM (#20612457) Homepage
    Feminized seed has a much much higher rate of turning hermaphrodite. Why waste your money on femenized seed when you can sex and clone?
  • Re:But but but... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by macshit (157376) <miles.gnu@org> on Friday September 14, 2007 @10:13PM (#20612597) Homepage
    I call BS on the usability arguement, sorry. My Creative Zen Nano is just as easy to use as my daughter's iPod if not easier. The only reason iPods sell as well as they do is name and hype.

    Maybe (hopefully) things are different these days, but the last time I looked at mp3 players (a year or two ago), it was pretty obvious why the ipod was so popular: all the models from other companies were (1) really ugly, (2) kind of flimsy feeling (apple used aluminum, others used painted plastic, usually with tacky chrome-looking plastic accents), (3) had awful UIs (hard to press and badly placed buttons etc), and (this is the part that amazes me), (4) more expensive than the ipod for the same amount of storage.

    It was really kind of surreal, like the other manufacturers were living in some sort of dreamland where they had no competition and people would buy any old junk they released as long as it had the string "mp3" in its name...
  • by ManifestAmbiguity (1150133) on Friday September 14, 2007 @10:27PM (#20612661)

    Apple is not "the Microsoft of the DAP market". Apple is the Apple of th arket.
    You on other hand must have excelled in fanboy 101,105 and 110. Perhaps you are credentialed? You seemed to not only miss the points in these preceeding comments,but then proceed confirm them. Brown is your biggest factual complaint? WTF? what makes smudgy and scratchy black and white ipods so much better?
  • Re:So I guess... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 15, 2007 @12:04AM (#20613193)
    To All:

    http://www.apple.com/feedback/ipod.html [apple.com]

    You know what to do. Complaining to the source is sometimes better than complaining to other people with the same opinions.
  • Re:But but but... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by kripkenstein (913150) on Saturday September 15, 2007 @01:08AM (#20613611) Homepage

    I really don't see how this improves the bottom line. Does it hurt Apple for people to be using something other than their media player (which is free to obtain) to put songs on their iPod?
    This might seem surprising, but really it isn't if you think about it a bit. The issue is Apple's market share and the recent sale of DRM-free tracks.
    • If you are a small player in the market, it is in your best interest to get as many people as possible to buy your hardware. Letting them use whatever software they want is a plus. But,
    • If you already have most of the market, and expect to easily keep it, then you might consider ways to exploit that position. Microsoft has been doing this with Windows, for example; apparently Apple are trying to do the same. The issue is that DRM-free song sales have become a reality, which opens the possibility for Microsoft, Real, MTV etc. to sell you tracks and place them on your iPod. When the music labels only sold DRMed tracks, and the iPod only played Apple DRM, Apple wasn't worried. But now they are.
    So, this is an expected business tactic. Consumer-friendly, though it is not. Consequently, I know I (a Linux user) won't be buying any iPods.
  • by bbyakk (815167) on Saturday September 15, 2007 @03:16AM (#20614235)
    Dozens of others play music just as well (or better). Why this insane fixation of Apple? Why do you all have to have iPods, and hack them, and curse with them, and endlessly whine about their lousiness and proprietariness? It's just crazy. If it gives you problems, just throw it away and buy something decent instead.
  • Easily fixed. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by berkus (1157141) on Saturday September 15, 2007 @04:18AM (#20614481)
    Worry not, friend! Apple will fix this bug in the next iPhone revision.
  • by Shihar (153932) on Saturday September 15, 2007 @10:15AM (#20616217)
    I have a better idea. How about you just stop buying Apple products? These days, I would take MS over Apple any day of the week. Even better, I can pick neither one of them and rest easy at night. Going to the Apple world is like entering someone's personal fiefdom. Sure, Apple might not control the entire market, but once you step into the Apple world they control just about every single aspect of that world. If you want a single company in control of all of your electronics, go with Apple and get your iBook, iPhone, iTunes, and iPod. Your products will certainly play nice with each other, even if they don't play nice with anyone else. If nothing else, you will easily fall into the shiny white plastic aesthetic of Apple and find that Apple marketers will work tirelessly to make you feel cool for doing it. That said, I feel that I can survive without a team of marketers making sure that my gadgets make me feel cool.

    I'll take the chaos and diversity of the city over Apple's quiet little aesthetically pleasing, shiny white, gated suburban community.
  • Re:So I guess... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 15, 2007 @03:18PM (#20618475)
    Because now that we have so much music, we don't want to manually manage our directory structure any more.

    Letting iTunes manage our music libraries is a godsend. Seriously.

    You need to start letting computers do the work for you, instead of forcing them to let you do the work.
  • by drifterusa (987504) on Saturday September 15, 2007 @04:42PM (#20619147)
    You make no sense. iPods are a huge success in part because they work well with Windows. Ditto for iTunes, and presumably iPhones. Hell, even MacBooks (nee iBooks) work with Windows! The "gated suburban community" analogy is an easy one for Apple-haters to glom onto, but it's feeble. Less chaos among my personal electronics means more time to enjoy the real diversity of the city.

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