Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Take my money but leave my Podcasts!

For the last couple of weeks I have been struggling with getting Podcasts to work properly on my Ubuntu desktop. I evaluated a lot of different software packages (a lot of them with varying support of iTunes features) but still resolved to running iTunes on Windows XP as a VMware guest operating system... painful.

This process was very error prone to say the least. VMware would not my detect my iPod if the guest was already running, forcing me to reboot the Guest OS whenever I wanted to sync iTunes with the iPod. Ubuntu/dbus/usb kept on grabbing the iPod and mounting it whenever a sync was finished in iTunes (it automatically unmounts the iPod - music on the run). I had to resort to blacklisting "automount" for the iPod in fstab.

Being a FLOSS developer I resolved to investigate how to improve iPod support in Banshee. I quite enjoy Banshee and it supports basic iPod syncing pretty well - fine if you're just listening to music. The features I wanted to add:

  1. Support for the Podcast menu on the iPod (I hate having to browse through music/albums/artists to find my podcasts)
  2. Proper ordering of the podcast (sorted according to date, newest at the top)
  3. Read/Unread status (show me which ones I have not listened to please :-) )
Enter gPodder...

After searching a little bit for some sort of format specification I stumbled across a Free Software Magazine article in which the author mentions: gPodder

gPodder is a PyGTK application which supports all the critical features I mentioned above and does a great job of syncing the latest and greatest Podcasts to my iPod. A real life saver. gPodder even behaves well with Banshee - you can sync music from Banshee and add your Podcasts using gPodder.

Of course I also have the advantage of working for Impi Linux which meant that Francis (one of our distribution guys) could give me the luxury of just typing:

sudo apt-get install gpodder

Now I'm just waiting for my favorite shows to update so that I can enjoy my ride home listening to my favorite podcast programs. Joy!!