Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Linux and PlaysForSure Mp3 Players

Well, I have found myself busy to the core with class, work, church and various other commitments. Just the other day, however, I noticed how much Linux distributions - Ubuntu, my favorite - are welcoming more and more devices that used to require Windows XP.

Namely, PlaysForSure.

If you do not own an iPod, but rather have some other portable music player, odds are it is a PlaysForSure player (regardless of brand).

I happen to own one of those players. I own a Creative Zen Xtra mp3 player that was updated to the PlaysForSure protocol. When I first crossed to Ubuntu, I found myself stuck on the issue regarding music and my mp3 player. I had seen my switch to Ubuntu as a sacrifice that balanced out, even without mp3 player support. This was about a year ago.

One of the many great applications written for Linux - Gnomad - was written as a way to transfer music to and from a Creative Nomad series jukebox (before PlaysForSure). But, as times change, so did the protocol to access the devices. Once again, Linux is very good at welcoming new people with new devices. The application has since been updated to support PlaysForSure (MTP protocol) devices.

Amarok - what I regard to be the greatest music management program in existence - also has support for MTP devices (in addition to the already present iPod and iRiver devices). All you have to do now is plug in your mp3 player, and boom. It works. You don't need Windows XP SP2, Windows Media Player 11, or even iTunes to synchronize your devices. They all work in the same music player.

Although both of these programs support a PlaysForSure device, there is still room for growth. There is no "synchronize" button to send all of your music in your music library/folder to your device, but there is also a new program in development now, called MTPSync.

Written solely for PlaysForSure devices, MTPSync can take various folders that are specified in the program's settings, and analyze what is already on the portable music player, and only add the ones not present on the player.

This (much easier) support has grown only recently from the past year or so. Looking forward, this once shows how fast the open-source community is working to accommodate new users and technology, to catch up to the "standard" and then innovate new standards for all.

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