While Apple’s new lineup of iPods sure does look impressive, Linux users and those who prefer not to use iTunes probably want to think twice before buying one. According to BoingBoing, the new iPods are blocked from synching with any third party app like Winamp. Seeing as there’s no version of iTunes for Linux, that means there’s no point for Linux users to purchase a new iPod. It also appears as though this was no fluke – Apple intended to do this.
So what does this mean? Well, for starters, I think Steve Jobs just gained a bunch of new enemies in the Open Source community. At the very least, he could have released a version of iTunes for Linux if he was so set on only allowing users to use Apple products to synch their music, but he didn’t. And I highly doubt any Linux users love their iPod enough to make the switch to Windows or Mac just so they can use iTunes. Linux users are accustomed to using tools like Amarok, gtkpod, and gPodder to manage their iPods, as Pieter has previously written about, so even if iTunes was released for Linux, most people wouldn’t switch anyways.
It will only be a matter of time before someone comes up with a solution for this problem, and I imagine it will be sooner rather than later as we saw with the iPhone getting unlocked. There are too many people who refuse to use anything other than Linux, and those who won’t use iTunes (even if they could) and prefer something like Winamp.
This was clearly done deliberately by Apple to force everybody into using their product. Not cool! Hopefully we’ll see a fix soon.
Update: iPodMinusiTunes said a few people have managed to get everything working again for Linux users. You can get more info here.