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Installing Linux on MP3 Players





Arno v. Lumig
Hello,

I would like to know if MP3 players still can play music if you install Linux on it. I know an OS is just a bunch of files, which most likely will be ignored by the mp3 player, but I'm afraid that the boot record will somehow remove the "os" of the mp3 player (or is it hardwired?)

I'd like to know before I ruin my MP3 player Smile


Thanks in advance,
Arno

PS: Did this belong in software, or maybe OS, or really just hardware support?
Animal
Arno v. Lumig wrote:
Hello,

I would like to know if MP3 players still can play music if you install Linux on it. I know an OS is just a bunch of files, which most likely will be ignored by the mp3 player, but I'm afraid that the boot record will somehow remove the "os" of the mp3 player (or is it hardwired?)

I'd like to know before I ruin my MP3 player Smile

It depends on the mp3 player. There's a project called iPod Linux that allows you to run a very cut-down version of Linux on your iPod (I'm not sure if there are ported versions available for other players).

There is a replacement firmware for several mp3 players including iPods, iRiver players etc. called Rockbox - this is based on Linux, but is not an actual linux OS that you can use.
Arno v. Lumig
Sorry, but I think you misunderstood. I mean installing a distro like DSL on an MP3 player and being able to boot it on a PC, not on the MP3 player itself.

Greetz,
Arno
Animal
Arno v. Lumig wrote:
Sorry, but I think you misunderstood. I mean installing a distro like DSL on an MP3 player and being able to boot it on a PC, not on the MP3 player itself.

Ah, you're right. I did misunderstand.

There should be no problem whatsoever in placing OS files on an mp3 player. As far as I know, the player's firmware (it's operating system) is kept separately to the files on the storage memory, so pretty much no matter what the file is, it won't interfere with normal operation of the audio player.
TheGeek
If you mean just putting the files on your IPOD, then you should have absolutely no problem just putting like the ISO image on there.

However, if you mean actually loading something like DSL on there then no it will most certainly not work as an OS for your mp3 player.


MP3 player's processor architecture is COMPLETELY different from a computer's architecture. If you were to load an A64 version of Ubuntu on a 386 machine, it would not work. Just like if you load a 386 version on an IPOD it will not work. In order to get a version of linux to run as the OS of your MP3 player, you need to find a version of linux specifically tailored to your MP3 player and the only one I know of that exists is the IPOD linux project.
Jaan
www.damnsmalllinux.com might be what you want.
I'm not sure if you would still be able to play music on it. You might. I know you can still use it as a memory stick.
Cheers.
surdy
interesting discussion going on ...
thanks Arno v. Lumig and Jaan for the links ...they look quite useful to me
Arno v. Lumig
surdy wrote:
interesting discussion going on ...
thanks Arno v. Lumig and Jaan for the links ...they look quite useful to me


Whoa... Where did I give a link? Razz

TheGeek, I don't mean I want to change the firmware, I just want to be able to plug my MP3 player into a PC and be able to boot DSL from it. I know it's possible to do from an USB memory stick, but I was afraid that it would somehow harm my MP3 players firmware.


Thanks for your help, I really appreciate it.

Greetz,
Arno
Arno v. Lumig
Well, I have one more question about this. To be able to put DSL on an USB stick/MP3 player you need to format it as an FAT16. I'm not sure what an MP3 player uses as file system, and I'm afraid it will be unable to read from a FAT16 partition.

Any clues on that?


Greetz,
Arno
Arnie
Sure, just check what the current FS is so you can reformat when things go wrong. Most MP3 players have an internal format utility, btw. But you can also do it from a computer.
TheGeek
Linux needs to be installed on a EXT3 or Hans Reiser FS formatted media. DSL might be different but I dont think it is. Though I think it might be able to install on FAT file systems, I have always used EXT3 though so I wouldn't know.
Arnie
Refer to http://www.linuxquestions.org/questions/showthread.php?t=375553 for Linux on FAT32
slchap5
i have heard of rockbox, but i am not sure if it works on all models. i have always wondered if the OS of my MP3 players could be changed so that i could do what ever i wanted with it.
redice
It seems too diffcault. Old mp3 player is fully hardware controlled, thus no software can install. In fact, there is no CPU or micro-controller on it.

Newly MP3/MP4 player become to use a micro-controller (ARM7/9, SH or m68K for example) may use for running linux on it. But it is still diffcault to port linux to run on this device.
Arnie
I assume there has to be some kind of CPU in every MP3 player, if only for the MP3 decompression and listing the songs / running the file system.
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