I have an iPod (5G, the first revision of iPod Video) and it's worked well on my box under both Windows and Linux. However, recently, Apple has introduced a new line of iPod including iPod Classic with a massive storage (160 GB for a portable media player, are you crazy?), new looks and a new slick UI. I have to admit that I don't like the new aluminium appearance, even though the new UI looks great. Yet, I would like to own one of new iPod Classic, attracted by its huge storage, up until half an hour ago, though.
The reason is that Apple tries to keep things monopolised. They've encrypted the firmwares since the 2G nano and now all new iPods' firmwares are encrypted. This makes installation of alternative firmwares, such as Rockbox and iPodLinux, impossible since they need to modify the 'encrypted' firmware in order to install the bootloader. While Apple's firmwares may be good ones, but they may not provide all solutions. For example, they do not support such free file format as ogg which offers smaller file size and better quality, so these alternative (and opensource) firmwares are the answers. Additionally, hacking iPod to make it display Thai character is also affected (and Apple is not interested in making iPod to display Thai). OK, it is fair enough to keep such thing like firmware as a proprietary stuff. But, at least, if somebody want to use your hardware but are sick of your feature-less firmware, please let others do the job.
Furthermore, the new iPod firmwares come with encrypted iTunesDB. This means no applications can read iPod's library but iTunes (but not for long). OK, I somewhat like iTunes, even though it's sometimes cranky and not so smart. However Amarok is my app of choice to manage iPod. Apple slams the door to us, Linux users who are their current and may be future customers. This is an outrage! Fortunately, someone has cracked the hash and already implemented it to libgpod (svn version). If you are using Ubuntu family, you may find the unofficial Ubuntu .deb from this blog. Thanks to the opensource world. Windows users who hate iTunes but own iPods may need to wait, anyway.
Apple's attitude to this is quite extreme and will keep some of their customers away, including geek and many Thai people. I've made up my mind. If my iPod comes to its last day, my new media player will be Creative, iRiver, SanDisk, etc... but, sorry, Apple, not iPod anymore!