[nSLUG] Proprietary Software for Linux

Gabriel Rigg gabriel at 3rd-element.net
Sun Aug 15 12:12:28 ADT 2010

On Sun, 2010-08-15 at 11:29 -0300, Sheldon Tower wrote:
>        A few weeks ago, a developer on an IRC support channel asked me
> if it was possible to sync and update his iPod Touch in Linux. I was
> working on the same issue, so I told him the few options I was tying: 
>     1. Try syncing using Rythmbox or Amarok. 
>     2. Try running iTunes for Windows under Wine. 
>     3. Run Windows Vista or XP using a virtual machine. 
>     Most forums we consulted said it was possible to sync an iPod
> using Rythmbox or Amarok, but you couldn't update the firmware.
> Regardless, we were unable to even connect for syncing using either
> program. We were able to install and run older versions of iTunes
> under Wine, but we required the latest version, which gave us errors.
> Windows it's self installed nicely using a virtual machine under
> VirtualBox, but again, the latest version of iTunes gave us trouble. I
> know that jailbreaking is an option, but I've read that it drastically
> shows down the performance of the iPod Touch. Finally, I decided to
> contact Apple support. 

There are many other applications for linux which claim to support iPod
products.  I don't have an iPod myself, but I know that Banshee works
really well with my Creative Zen.  There are also some programs made
just for working with the ipod, like Hipo and GTKPod.  However, like the
forums above said, I doubt they can update firmware, install new apps,
or any of that stuff; just manage the media.

>     I asked Apple if there were any plans to develop a version of
> iTunes for Linux. After all, MacOS X is Unix based, so I think it
> should be pretty easy to port iTunes to Linux. Of course, the Apple
> support representative didn't know if there were any plans to develop
> iTunes for Linux, but encouraged me to send an email to Apple
> feedback. This made me think about Linux and proprietary software in
> general. Maybe that's just what the Linux community needs: more
> proprietary developers developing Linux versions of the most popular
> proprietary software. A lot of Linux users take advantage of the
> proprietary drivers for NVIDIA and ATI graphics cards. I know that a
> lot of free software users discourage the use of any proprietary
> software, but if a iTunes for Linux, or Adobe Illustrator for Linux is
> what it takes to convert average users from Windows or MacOS X to
> Linux, wouldn't it be worth it? If DirectX for Linux would encourage
> developers to create and sell native games for Linux, wouldn't it be
> worth it? 

While I don't have a big problem with proprietary software, many Linux
users attempt to convert others not only because they can claim Linux is
more stable than Windows (even if its not the case... not looking to
drudge up that debate), but because free software is something worth
supporting.  If this is the case, then moving them from a proprietary OS
to a free OS that requires proprietary drivers/applications seems

>     I think it's up to us to create a demand for these programs, not
> for free software users, but for the average user. Whether we like it
> or not, proprietary software is here to stay, and the average user
> will continue to rely on it. I think it would make sense to attract
> the average user closer to some free, open source software using some
> proprietary software, rather than loose most average users all
> together. 

I dunno if proprietary software is here to stay... but I do know that
the success of an Operating System is how well it works FOR its users,
not how many users it CAN work for.  And I think it would be worth it to
keep fighting for a completely free OS.


> Sheldon 
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