Thursday, March 13, 2008

libmtp7 for Ubuntu Gutsy (Creative Zen & Ubuntu Gutsy)

As already mentioned in my last post, Ubuntu Gutsy does not come with a current version of libmtp which is required if you want to get your Creative Zen running with Linux. Luckily, it's very easy to build new packages: just download the latest source from here and follow my HOWTO on building new packages for gpsbabel - it works just the same. You'll end up with four packages (libraries, development, documentation and tools). You'll have to install at least "libmtp6_0.2.6.1-1_<arch>.deb". Once your new package(s) is/are installed, you need to do one more thing though: when building the new package, we were updating from Ubuntus libmtp6, so the package is named "libmtp6...", but what we actually have inside the package is libmtp7. Amarok expects "/usr/lib/libmtp.so.6", but we now have "/usr/lib/libmtp.so.7" (which is a symlink to libmtp.so.7.1.0). We do overcome this small issue very easily:
cd /usr/lib
sudo ln -s libmtp.so.7.1.0 libmtp.so.6

You may now run Amarok and start syncing your media files! (See some details here.)

If you don't want to build the packages yourself, feel free to download them from here (build on Ubuntu Gutsy i386):

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Creative Zen & Debian

Since I recently became the proud owner of Creative's Zen (8GB) mp3 player I wanted to make it work with Linux. So I prepared myself for some hours of google-ing and configuring and trying... But, I was sooo wrong! It's (almost) as easy as plug and play! ;-)
(-> Thanks to energiequant.de!)

OK, now for the details. I got Zen working with Amarok 1.4.8 running on a current sidux. And I guess that's the point: you might need rather current versions of programs and libraries. sidux being based on Debian sid does provide all this. If you're running Ubuntu Gutsy you might need to compile some of those, but I can't tell for sure. Just try.
You need of course Amarok and libmtp7. I additionally installed mtpfs and mtp-tools, but I think you don't need those. I guess Amarok is part of nearly any Linux distribution, so you may need to add libmtp7. In case of sidux/Debian/Ubuntu (as root):
apt-get install libmtp7

Ubuntu Gutsy comes with libmtp6 and I cannot tell if this works with this version of libmtp. (EDIT: libmtp6 does not work!) You might need to install the current version from this website or wait for Hardy... I might try this on my notebook running Gutsy - if so, be sure I'll let you know! Once libmtp7 is installed, connect your Zen to a free USB port an start Amarok.


Go to Settings -> Configure Amarok -> Media Devices and select Add device. Choose MTP Media Device as module and give the new device a name. You don't need a mount point. Now select the Media Device tab, click Connect (see picture) and you should see your media library.
To upload tracks, go to your local media library, right click tracks or albums and send them to your media device. Those tracks will be queued and are transmitted by clicking the button next to the Connect button. And as bonus: if you let Amarok manage your album covers, those will be visible on your Zen!! (A feature I missed with Zen's Windows software.)
Before disconnecting your player, be sure to click the Disconnect button!

That was easy, wasn't it?!?

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Creative Zen (& Explorer problems...)

My Creative Zen Xtra (30GB) is a little big so I was up for a new and smaller MP3 player. I decided to buy Creative's Zen (8GB). It's a quite handy device and so far it works good. First thing you should do though is updating the firmware. Download it from Creative's Support website and execute the downloaded file (Windows only...).


Zen is MTP compatible only which means it's not recognized as mass storage device. Except it's optional SD card, which pops up as a new hard drive in Windows (has to be activated in the player's setup). Speaking of, all media stored on SD card has to be imported manually to Zen's media database. I don't care but some people do not like this fact. Once you get used to navigating through Zen's menus it's quite comfortable. Zen's battery is charged by connecting the player to the computer's USB port, which is bad if there's no computer around. I'd recommend spending some extra bucks on "ZEN USB Power Adapter" (see picture) so you can charge the battery wherever you find a power supply. Another thing I'd add is "ZEN Clear Case" which protects the screen from scratches. I can't say anything about Zen's qualities as video player as I haven't used this feature - and probably won't at all - but as MP3 player it's great!