The Open Source iPod

Imagine recording studio-quality audio using your iPod and a regular-old microphone. Or sitting on the commuter train, playing Othello, Pong, Tetris or Asteroids. All this and more is possible when you install Linux on your 3rd generation or earlier iPod. Best of all, one soft-reset and you?re back in Apple?s iPod operating system, listening to your tunes.

There are probably a lot of older iPods out there and with prices falling for new models, here’s a great use for them. Linux on the iPod!

he installation process is very straightforward. Plug your iPod in and make sure it?s mounted on your desktop. If you can?t see yours, open iTunes and select iTunes: Preferences: iPod. Select the Enable Disk Use option and click OK. Now you can run the installer. Once the installation is complete, unmount your iPod by ejecting it through iTunes or by dragging its icon to the Trash. Disconnect it and reboot your iPod by holding down the Menu and Play buttons. Once you see the Apple logo, press and hold the Back button. The smiling face of Tux (the emblematic penguin and Linux mascot) should greet you, followed by a rapid series of scrolling text. In a few seconds, the new interface should appear. Known as podzilla, this looks very much like the iPod?s familiar interface, but includes new options.

Podzilla. Nice.

What can you do with an iPod running Linix?

Record Audio: On the move podcasts anyone? Conference reports? Library user interviews?

View Images: Wowza..not snazzy full color like iPod Photo but useful.

Play Games: More, better games…

You can switch between Linux and the Apple iPOd OS easily as well. The iPod Linux project is open source, which means new features are always in the pipe and anyone with sufficient programming background can help. For details, go to The developers also maintain a blog ( with news and updates.