Out of sheer curiosity, I installed iPod Linux on my iPod this morning. It’s an interesting concept, and I hope this doesn’t over-geek some of you, in that the software opens up a lot of options that the iPod hardware is capable of, yet the built in Mac software does not utilize.
For example, I can now play Pong and PacMan on my iPod.
There are more useful and, ahem, legitimate applications as well. Things like calendars and mail reading and note-taking, etc. etc.
However, the main thing that I find interesting is not that the software has been developed and distributed by fans, for free, nor that it was done in an effort to get more than just the factory standard out of a purchased mechanism. It is that it seems to be a way to save an old device from just gatherig dust in the closet.
I have a 3G iPod. The current generation of hardware is…6, I think. So, here I have a perfectly good iPod that still plays music and that has decent battery life. But, the device is actually obsolete. It has a black and white screen, doesn’t play video or host pictures, and is kind of bulky in comparison to new models. But it still plays music. It still works.
I would like to buy a new iPod. I would like to get the shiny, new gadget and play the new Mac licensed games on it and watch videos and everything else, but I can’t justify spending the money when I have a perfectly good iPod at home.
Now, my point is not to bitch and moan, my point is to illustrate a growing problem. If one wants to keep up with technology and features, one is going to have a closet full of still functional but obsolete hardware sitting around somewhere. This is where things like iPod Linux and DS Linux come in.
I love the fact that these homegrown software sets allow you to modify and adapt your old hardware to other purposes, thereby extending the life of your, usually expensive, purchase.
I hope this continues. I hope that the creative and altruistically minded coders out there will keep making software that lets us re-purpose our old devices so we don’t feel so guilty when we rush off to buy the latest and greatest new shiny thing.