iTunes on the Xandros Eee PC 900, Not Quite a Windows Experience

I am a big fan of Xandros on the Eee PC, but I’ve always said it has its limitations, especially when it doesn’t give me access to my favorite Windows programs. But when my editor told me earlier this week about Wine HQ, I nearly freaked. Wine HQ enables a compatibility layer that allows Windows programs to run on a Linux OS. Wine isn’t the easiest to configure, but I figured it out with the help of the ever-informed Eee PC forum members. Check out my step-by-step instructions here. I decided to give iTunes a whirl since I just can’t live without it during the work day. Installing the program was easy once Wine was up and running. I simply double-clicked the iTunes.exe on my desktop and Wine launched automatically to install iTunes. Pretty cool. Well, that is until I realized iTunes doesn’t run on Linux like it does on a PC or Mac. When I launched the installed program, parts of the screen turned black. When the iTunes window opened, I was able to drag it over the black parts to uncover the rest of the screen. Fun? Not so much. Using Wine Review’s tips I was able to troubleshoot the black-screen problem by downloading the gdiplus.dll file from here and then dragging it into the ~/.wine/drive_c/windows/system32 folder on the system. Then I was able to run QuickTime and go into the player preferences under Advanced > Video and set the player to use (GDI only). I also launched WineCfg through the Terminal and on the graphics tab unchecked the Allow the Window Manager to Control the Windows. Both of these tips helped clear up the black-screen issue. So how do the iTunes features work?

  • Music transfer and playback: Transferring Tom Petty’s Greatest Hits album from an external hard drive into iTunes was smooth. Playback sounded good most of the time. But when I tried to launch Firefox, “Free Falling” skipped for about 10 seconds and then went back to playing as usual. There was no need to configure audio drivers.
  • Music downloads: I was able to download a DRM-protected file: Kardinal Offishall’s “Dangerous” (yes, it was the free single of the week) in less than 50 seconds. Playback was also smooth, but when we tried doing other things on the system, the music again began skipping.
  • Video Playing: This is where iTunes on Linux just can’t hold up. When I tried to watch a preview of Family Guy, iTunes crashed. I can’t find any way around this. Has anybody figured out a way to watch downloaded video content in iTunes on the Xandros Eee PC?

In the end, I was happy to have iTunes running on the Eee PC 900, but is it worth it? Not really, unless you have DRM-protected music that plays only in iTunes. DRM aside, I would much prefer listening to my tunes in the preloaded music manager that hogs less RAM and doesn’t skip a beat while I’m surfing the Web. As for watching downloaded videos, I am still searching for a solution.

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  1. kd Says:

    “DRM-protected file: Kardinal Offishall’s “Dangerous” (yes, it was the free single of the week) in less than 50 seconds”

    DRM on a linux box, oh the irony.

    also, “music manager” looks and feels a whole heck of a lot like Amarok. i suspect this is no coincidence.

    for what it is worth, i’ve never been very successful at running itunes on ubuntu or pclinuxos, you got much farther than i did before I gave up on apple’s proprietary garbage. my ipod still hates me for it but i’m committed to open source.

  2. kd Says:

    somebody tried to take wine to another level a few years ago, maybe this might be worth your time:

    http://www.codeweavers.com/

    it is based on wine.

    you probably got farther than they did, and they’re charging…

  3. Ian Says:

    This is a completely wasted effort. Don’t bother with iTunes on Linux. Go with something like the stock music player on the eee, or Songbird. http://getsongbird.com/

  4. jason Says:

    i tried this method and it doesn’t work thanks anyway
    by the way my 2g does not go into full desktop either this computer is so frustrating i wish i never bought it.

  5. Anonymous Says:

    RhythmBox all the way, baby. iTunes sucks, it’s that simple.

  6. Anonymous Says:

    well that sucks

  7. Derrick Says:

    The best video player out there is VLC. It’ll play _anything_ (without DRM). It’s included in the repositories for Ubuntu, I haven’t done much with Xandros, but I assume its an easy install, Googleing brought up this tutorial: http://www.myasuseee.com/installing-vlc-media-player-on-the-eee/. It also works in Windows and Mac OS X. http://www.videolan.org/vlc/.

  8. anna Says:

    hey people.. i don’t know if i’m on topic or wat.. but hopefully some1 can help me if no1 can’t its ok i’ll keep doing research…. i purchased a ASUS Eee PC and bought an external hard drive. i’m trying to download itunes but looking impossible or i don’t know what i’m doing.. if there’s some1 out there that can help me u can email me at queenmunchie@hotmail.com…… i know i shouldn’t put my email up lol but im in need of help.. thanks alot….

  9. Brian Says:

    Just yesterday I received an eee PC 901 with Linux as a gift, and have been giving it a whirl. It won’t be my primary system but it’s smooth and surprisingly fun and capable. BUT: I noticed scratchy audio playback of mp3 files using the default Music manager. Yuck! So I changed all my mp3 defaults to run SMplayer and now they play clearly and smoothly. SMPlayer even plays FLV (Flash) files but I don’t seem to be able to automatically associate them with SMPlayer. The file manager, a decently organized MP3 collection, and SMPlayer makes a great music playback, even if it’s not quite up to a full music manager.

    I am waiting for the formal release of Ubuntu 9.04 and will see if that will get me to the next level of capabilities. But otherwise, this little machine works surprisingly well, and runs very smoothly.

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