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Old 12-24-2008, 09:35 AM   #1
Registered: Jul 2007
Location: WI, USA
Distribution: Debian, Lenny
Posts: 111

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iPod/HFS+ in Linux

Okay, so I've done several hours of googling and searching forums, but I can't seem to get this working. I've never owned an iPod before, and never planned to, so this is all new to me.

I recently got an iPod Touch. I am strongly against the use of proprietary software, such as Windows or iTunes. For this reason I would have never purchased an iPod. I won this one through my place of employment, and since it's such a cool device, I figure I'll keep it, rather than selling it, but I'm having some trouble getting it recognized in Linux.

I've already found out that the iPod comes formatted with HFS+, and that Linux either needs to be compiled w/HFS support or needs the module loaded. I THINK I've managed to get the module loaded ok, but I don't know what to do now. When I plug it in it doesn't show up under /dev. dmesg shows that it has been attached:
[87720.212055] usb 4-3: new high speed USB device using ehci_hcd and address 11
[87720.347132] usb 4-3: configuration #1 chosen from 3 choices
[87720.352685] usb 4-3: New USB device found, idVendor=05ac, idProduct=1293
[87720.352705] usb 4-3: New USB device strings: Mfr=1, Product=2, SerialNumber=3
[87720.352712] usb 4-3: Product: iPod
[87720.352717] usb 4-3: Manufacturer: Apple Inc.
[87720.352722] usb 4-3: SerialNumber: a7fa2d...
I've done modprobe hfsplus/hfs. I'm not very experienced with using modules, so maybe I'm still not doing something right (obviously, since it still doesn't work).

I have one other question:

What exactly does iTunes do to your iPod when you "Configure" it (using Windows)? I've read that all it really does is reformat it as FAT32 so that windows can read it, but if that were so, why does my iPod do NOTHING except tell me that it needs to be connected to iTunes? I can't even browse through the different menus, use the apps, etc. It DOES have the firmware already installed, right? Or does iTunes load that on there after it reformats it? What all needs to be done before my iPod will work right?

Any help GREATLY appreciated. I know I could just plug it into iTunes on my XP box, and have it working in a matter of minutes, but I'm just stubborn that way and do not want to give in and use their software. I'm positive that this can be done another way. Plus, it's a good learning experience.
Old 12-24-2008, 11:54 AM   #2
Registered: Feb 2004
Location: New Jersey, USA
Distribution: Ubuntu 14.04
Posts: 55

Rep: Reputation: 15
Unfortunately I have no personal experience syncing my regular iPod with Linux (since I also own a MBP I take the path of least resistance).

But *maybe* some of these links may help you or at least point you in a direction you hadn't considered (???)
Old 12-25-2008, 08:11 AM   #3
Registered: Jul 2007
Location: WI, USA
Distribution: Debian, Lenny
Posts: 111

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 19
Thanks for the reply, legacyprog. From those links I've gathered that you cannot sync your ipod with USB because of an encrypted protocol (although I'm still not sure why you cant just treat it as a mass storage device...). What I NOW need to know is how to actually get it started. Everywhere I look only talks about how to do stuff with your ipod after it's already working or jailbroken. It's still stuck at the screen prompting you to connect it to iTunes. iTunes can't seriously be the only way to get it working, right?

EDIT: Upon yet FURTHER investigation, I believe the problem is that the ipod won't start until it's been registered with iTunes. Is there a way to get around this?

Last edited by Jinouchi; 12-25-2008 at 08:42 AM.
Old 12-25-2008, 01:15 PM   #4
LQ Newbie
Registered: Jun 2007
Posts: 6

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I can confirm that you need to connect it to itunes just so that it is registered. I don't know if there is a way around that or not though. It seems that everything online dealing with resets of the device require itunes to finish the job.

You might just have to give in and use a copy to unlock it then never go back.
Old 01-15-2010, 04:02 AM   #5
LQ Newbie
Registered: Apr 2008
Location: switzerland
Distribution: OpenSuse 11.2
Posts: 6

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Iphone / Ipod syncing

Hi, I'm looking for a linux synching solution too.
I am only interested in synching my music...
I have stumbled accross the following that I intend to explore over the weekend:

Hopefully I can post a sort-of success story soon..
Old 01-16-2010, 12:56 AM   #6
Senior Member
Registered: Mar 2009
Location: USA
Distribution: Arch
Posts: 1,022
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Rep: Reputation: 146Reputation: 146
Hi, and congratulations on your prize! (I never win anything lol) I don't know about Debian; but in Ubuntu (found thru Synaptic), there are several packages that can help sync your iTouch with your PC. In fact, the actual protocols it uses are readily available. perhaps you should try searching for thos instead of going the long way around with HFS+.
Old 01-16-2010, 01:16 PM   #7
Registered: Apr 2006
Location: Montreal,Quebec
Distribution: Gentoo
Posts: 825

Rep: Reputation: 128Reputation: 128
iPod touch are not like classical iPod, you can't mount them as hard drive, HFS+ loaded or not. It is formatted as HFS+ even if you use it on windows, it does not matter anymore, the transfer is handled by a client/server process.

You can't sync an iPod touch on Linux because the client/server is encrypted and the key/algo change too much between versions so nobody managed to crack it until now. You have to jailbreak it from windows or OSX then use SSH to mount it (sshfs). Under the hood, an iPod touch is mostly open source, you have bash and a complete command line selection, including nano and vim. Once jailbroken and settuped, you will be able to activate the sync with Amarok, GTKPOD or RhythmBox.


hfs, hfs+, hfsplus, ipod, linux, touch

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