Use an iPod with Linux

You don’t need a Windows PC or Mac to use an iPod. If you are a Linux user, you too can join the iPod revolution.

This hack shows how to use an iPod with Linux. It’s aimed at Linux purists—that is, people who don’t want to have to use a Mac or Windows– based PC, nor Wine nor Windows software—to get going. (I fall into this category, not because of any religious convictions, but merely because Linux is all I have. For updates, visit (


This hack assumes that you have reasonable level of Linux competence. You should be comfortable with downloading, compiling, and installing software, as well as general system administration tasks.

Here’s what you’ll need if you want to use an iPod with your Linux box:

A Mac or Windows iPod (obviously)

The iPod is basically just a FireWire hard disk, with its own operating software stored in one partition. The two variants of the iPod are formatted with different filesystems: HFS+ in the case of the Mac, and FAT32 in the case of Windows. Indeed, this is the only difference.

Ideally, you want to start with a Windows iPod. Linux has extremely limited support for the Apple HFS+ filesystem, and thus it is necessary to convert HFS+ iPods to FAT32, erasing the disk in the process. The iPod firmware is identical, though, so you must save this before you begin.

To do the conversion, don’t ...

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