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How to find a Linux-compatible MP3 player

When my Creative Zen Nano Plus MP3 player recently gave up the ghost, I needed to find another small MP3 player. It couldn't be just any MP3 player, however; since I use Ubuntu Linux I wanted one that didn't rely on closed, proprietary, or Windows-only software to sync. I searched online for a while before coming across AnythingButiPod.com.

The site has reviews and forums that help, but my favorite feature was their compare tool. Compare allows you to filter players by several criteria like screen size, supported audio and video playback, and recording ability.

To work most easily in Linux, a player must act as an MSC (mass storage class) device. This lets you drag and drop files to the player without relying on a closed protocol like Microsoft's MTP (MediaTransfer Protocol). I know there are packages available that provide MTP support to Linux, and honestly almost any multimedia player can be made to work with Linux, but I prefer to keep things open and uncomplicated.

Another criterion I used was battery type. Most media players now use Lithium Ion batteries, which are rechargeable and have longer battery life than regular alkaline batteries. My Creative Zen required a AAA battery, and I used an eneloop rechargeable. I was tempted to buy a player with a Lithium Ion battery, but I've heard that the batteries in iPods and other players tend to suffer from shortening battery life and eventual uselessness after only a couple years. I'd rather not have the useful life of my MP3 player tied to the useful life of its battery.

I used AnythingButiPod to show me only players that use disposable (alkaline) batteries, use MSC for data transfer, and support Linux. After shopping around online I ended up ordering an inexpensive player similar to my old Zen from the Creative Certified Refurbished page. I hope the MuVo V100 lasts me at least a few years like the Zen Nano did.

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Would you miss this blog if I discontinued it? Please leave a comment.