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Article: Eric Tries iPodLinux

by on September 8, 2005

“If you will let me be, I will try them.
You will see.”

Green Eggs & Ham

While browsing the web, I noticed iPodLinux, a port of uClinux for first-, second-, and third-generation iPods. After months of knowing that the project existed, I finally decided to give it a try last Saturday.

3G iPod booted into iPodLinux

More games

Recordings can be very high-quality

Before I get into actually setting it up, you might be wondering what the point of Linux for iPods is. First, it adds extra features to these older iPods that Apple chose not to. You can record audio at higher bitrates and don’t even need any special devices (just plug a microphone or other audio source into the headphone jack). You can play even more games than what Apple provides, so you can kill time while waiting for the bus.

Installation is simple if you use the iPod-Linux Installer. Once installed, just soft reset your iPod (no settings or songs get erased) and hold down the rewind button to drop into Linux.

The main screen looks a lot like the normal iPod menu, although the signature Chicago font is missing. There are quite a few extra settings, and a lot of extra little programs.

It works great for recording high-quality audio, something the normal iPod OS doesn’t. Any recordings are stashed in the Recordings folder, so you can access them easily with OS X.

There’s plenty more that you can do, like view images, use the calculator, telnet into your iPod (I kid you not!), or even connect to another Linux-enabled iPod. It plays MP3s and AAC songs, but not Protected AAC (iTunes Music Store) songs. Doom and a Game Boy emulator are coming soon.

The only downside is that the software is still in development and could cause trouble. If anything bad happens you can just reinstall the iPod’s OS from your Mac, but there haven’t been any reports.

When you’re done, just soft reset your iPod and you’ll be back in your familiar Apple-designed home.

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