So many iTunes iProblems and iBugs

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My wife and I have amassed a very large collection of music over the years from our CDs. I’ve painstakingly ripped all of the CDs to Ogg Vorbis format and mp3 format. There’s rougly 10,000 files on the Music slice of the FreeBSD media array I’ve built for this purpose. It’s big.

She has a 20″ iMac that I bought for her last Christmas and I have several Linux machines and one Windows machine. The Windows machine runs iTunes, while the Linux machines all run AmaroK (which blows iTunes out of the water in functionality and intuitive features).

The Windows machine has an M:\ drive mapped to the Music share on the FreeBSD server via Samba. From here, I can load iTunes and drag all of the albums into iTunes. About an hour of importing, fetching album artwork and conversion later, I have a fully populated library of music in iTunes to work with.


The first problems began when I realized that iTunes doesn’t like having the “My Documents” folder stored on a network share (My Documents → My Music → iTunes is where iTunes stores its Music Library). if iTunes tries to launch at login time, it will barf and truncate the existing music library to create a new, empty, default music library. This means I have to reimport all 10,000 music files again.

Once I realized that, I made sure the My Documents folder was opened (initiating the network mapping) before iTunes attempts to load. Now that part works… but it is still an iTunes bug.

The second problem I found, was that iTunes doesn’t like Samba locking. The music files we have are shared on a tightly locked-down Samba share. This share looks like the following:

        comment         = Music
        path            = /usr/local/array/Media/Music/
        case sensitive  = yes
        writeable       = yes
        guest ok        = no
        browseable      = yes
        locking         = yes
        public          = no
        write list      = @gnu
        hide files      = /.DS_Store/

Note the Bolded portion. If I have locking enabled on the Music share, iTunes won’t allow me to edit the id3v2 tags in the mp3 files. If I disable locking (NOT recommended for a multi-user share like this), then I can edit the mp3 tags, metadata and other pieces.


Thirdly, I tried importing ALL of our music into the iTunes copy running on Windows, and then using the iTunes Sharing option to share that entire music library on the LAN, so my wife’s Mac could see and use it.

They got that wrong too.

When you share one iTunes Library, you basically create a “streaming radio station”, nothing more. This means my wife can’t plug in her iPod and pull music from the shared library to her iPod and load it up. She can only click on music and listen to it while she sits at her Mac.

No iPod functionality with iTunes music sharing. Lovely.

AmaroK 2.0 and KDE4 is soon to be released for Windows and OS X. The sooner that is done, the sooner I can be rid of this broken piece of software called iTunes on the Windows machine and on the Mac. Once we’re all on AmaroK, things will work much better.

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