Saturday, May 24, 2008

Sync your iPod in Ubuntu with Virtual Box

I did it finally. I've been able to sync my iPod under Ubuntu. Now, I cheat a little bit and I use Windoze XP running in a virtual machine, but it works! This is the last hurdle for me to cross - managing my music under Ubuntu.

Using Virtual Box, I am able to run Windows XP on Linux, and inside that, I am able to run iTunes. I keep all my music on a removable USB drive, so I am able to access it by mapping the removable drive to my virtual Windows.

Virtual Box supports USB connections to the guest machine, but only with the non-open source version of the software. It is still free, though.

In order for the guest machine to recognize the device, you have to setup a USB filter. I'm not sure what you are filtering, but it makes it work.
Once you have it connected to your virtual windows, the sync takes a while to start, but it really works.

Now, all isn't well. There is a known bug that some applications have problems writing to mapped drives from the guest machine. ITunes is one of these (Microsoft One Note is another); trying this causes a blue screen of doom. But I was able to get around this.

I started iTunes on my guest with a new library, all on the virtual machine. I was able to purchase a song from the ITMS and save it in the virtual machine. I then closed and re-opened iTunes, with my real, mapped drive music library and added the newly purchased song to my library.

It is a little inefficient and takes up some more disk space, but it is much better than making a 40 GB virtual machine in order to store my music library inside. Now, with a little cheating, I can using iTunes Music Store and sync my iPod, all under Linux.


Chris said...

What kind of iPod do you use? I've been trying to get my Touch to be recognized, but iTunes says there is an unknown error. Did you get around this somehow?

Beau said...

Chris - I've got an iPod classic.

Once I got Virtual Box to recognize the USB device (with the filters), I had no problems, iTunes or otherwise.

I've since seen that if you plug in the iPod with Virtual Box running, Ubuntu doesn't mount (and isn't able to) the iPod as a USB removable drive.

Some quick google searches, unfortunately, show you are not alone with this problem.

Thanks for reading and sorry I couldn't help!

Anonymous said...

why one i appear my ipod in virtual machine xp it closed?

Beau said...

Anonymous - I don't understand your question.