iTunes on Ubuntu and all its official variants

Israel israeldahl at
Fri Dec 20 15:40:53 UTC 2013

On 12/20/2013 09:11 AM, John Hupp wrote:
> On 12/20/2013 2:00 AM, Eric Bradshaw wrote:
>> Ali, I feel for you. I managed to switch my whole family to *buntu
>> from Apple Macs, but my wife was by far the hardest to convince. I
>> ended up setting up Ubuntu for her like a Mac - with launcher(s),
>> menu placement, etc. that mimicked the Mac OS "look and feel" - which
>> is what it's all about. She's hooked on the Mac experience and that
>> experience comes through with many of Apple's core Apps (I don't know
>> if the names have changed now, but) like iPhoto, iWork, iLife, etc.
>> My wife doesn't give a hoot about the underlying technology and
>> doesn't really understand what an MP3 is (much less an AAC file).
>> I've tried Banshee, VLC and several other media players on her own
>> computer, but she won't use them. She still takes photos, but has me
>> make copies, or changes, or prints because no matter what I put on
>> her computer, it doesn't work (look and feel) like iPhoto did. I can
>> make CDs of MP3s for her to play in any computer or DVD player in the
>> house, the car, etc. But, she'll still use her iPhone to listen to
>> music because it runs in iTunes.
>> I used nothing but Mac in my home for many years, so I understand the
>> appeal. I also understand the frustration of trying to use *buntu
>> software with an iPod, iPad, iPhone, iTunes in general to appease my
>> wife. I've convinced myself (though have no proof) Apple purposely
>> releases another update to their iOS that breaks any significant
>> "breakthrough" Linux programmers make at "cracking" some of their
>> code. After all, they have share holders, artists and record
>> companies to answer to.
>> I gave up the iTunes battle of *buntu long ago. I keep an old G4
>> PowerPC Mac around to back up my wife's iPhone. You can probably get
>> a G4, or G5 really cheap online or maybe at a garage sale. It's saved
>> me a lot of frustration.
>> Eric
>> PS - Search for the Mac application called Audion sometime - what
>> most Mac users back then (2000?) knew iTunes was based on when it
>> came out. It had hundreds of skins too, only they called them
>> "Faces." Lots of other neat features too. I miss it.
> I'm not an iTunes or iThings user (OK, I currently have an older Mac
> laptop, but I'm not attached to it and just read eBooks and watch TV
> over the Internet on it -- easily done on *buntu. I plan to install
> Lubuntu on it eventually).
> But I am very interested in Lubuntu as a Windows XP replacement, so I
> have been reading this thread with interest.
> Enlighten me further about the nature of the objection that there is
> no iTunes support or replacement on Linux. The iTunes web site
> describes it thus: "iTunes is the easiest way to organize and enjoy
> the music, movies, TV shows, apps, and books you’ve already got — and
> shop for the ones you want to get."
> Granted (perhaps?) that nothing on Linux has the scope, vertical
> integration (and polish?) of iTunes. Still, can't all the same
> functions be handled via a couple good players/readers + a web browser?
> In other words, is this just a question of familiarity, and maybe
> adding a dash of single-interface convenience?
> [I read earlier that the best work-around seemed to be iTunes in a
> Windows virtual machine or dual-booting with Windows, but both of
> these add a big chunk of security degradation, especially if the
> Windows choice is XP.]
The problem is Apple.  iDevices only work with Apple services.  My
android phone is extremely easy to put music on in *buntu, I simply plug
it in and put music in the folder I want.  I am sure you can also do it
through a variety of media players.  Some people like the iTunes
interface, though I have never liked iTunes or its interface.  The
program loads slowly and has to load all the music into its own
directory or mess up all the filenames/folders.  It is extremely
difficult to sync music to a new iPhone, if it has never been connected
to iTunes (I have never heard of it being done with recent version).  I
assume Apple does intentionally break any workarounds, as those are a
'security' risk.  Apple runs a fully integrated platform.  They control
the hardware and the software of all their devices, and optimise the OS
for those devices.  GNU/Linux cannot do that since it runs everything
from small embeded systems, car infotainment systems, phones, huge
server rooms, my laptops, and a myriad of other things (basically
anything anyone wants to use an OS for).  iTunes only runs on Apple
devices and Windows.  They could choose to support Ubuntu if enough
people cared and threw a big enough fit about it.  There are plenty of
music apps for GNU/Linux.  Xnoise is a particularly pretty and fast
media player.  Gnome is making another music player for their new
version, though I dislike the direction Gnome has taken (removing
functionality and hiding features).  I use Banshee/Rhythmbox as they can
import CDs to ogg format (yes, I still use CDs).
And as far as features are concerned Banshee is very close to iTunes. 
You can watch video and listen to music.  You can buy music from within
the app.  You can stream video into it.

The bottom line is people want to buy music on iTunes (some artists only
release to iTunes, and release special things only for iTunes).  People
want to sync their iDevices.  Apple wants complete control over every
aspect of their product, and GNU/Linux users want that control (well
most of us, some don't really care), and these philosophies are
incompatible.... so to the true nature of Ubuntu/GNU-Linux we make
workarounds, some work, some do not.


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