Managing an iPod Shuffle (2nd gen.) in Linux
I have an old second generation iPod Shuffle (model A1204). When I dug it out of storage it wouldn’t play any songs. I plugged it in to my mobile desktop running Debian and verified the file system could still be read. I transferred all of the existing songs off of the shuffle using Thunar and its handy renaming feature. In order to manage the tracks (i.e. add and remove songs) I needed a piece of Linux software with that capability. Unfortunately, the popular options, Banshee, Rhythmbox, and Amarok would all require that I update a significant amount of my system (mostly gnome and everything that depends on it). The best lite application I could find was gtkPod.
I first tried adding and removing tracks with gtkPod but kept getting errors. The process for adding songs was not straightforward and I couldn’t figure out how to fix those errors. Even when I got songs transferred to the device, it refused to play. It would only flash alternating green and orange indicating it couldn’t find any music. The database file wasn’t being written properly. So, gtkPod alone would not suffice (I may have an unsupported model, I couldn’t find it in the list of devices).
The solution relies on a python script “iPod shuffle database builder” which can be found on sourceforge. I used version 1.0-rc1. My process for adding tunes to the shuffle is now this (starting from scratch):
- Use file manager (Thunar) to permanently delete all files from the shuffle.
- Open gtkPod and use it to recreate the iPod Shuffle directories only.
- Use file manager to copy songs from desktop to Shuffle. Songs are stored in device root or under any arbitrary file hierarchy, just not in the normal /iPod_control/Music directory that iTunes uses.
- The python script mentioned above, named “rebuild_db.py” is copied to the root folder of the device.
- The python script is executed from the root folder of the device.
That’s it. Once the script rebuilds the Shuffle’s database it can be ejected and used as normal. Easy. Apple take notice.
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