Native iPhone/iPod Touch support arrives on the Linux Desktop
Last Sunday, after being in development since August 2007, Matt Colyer released version 1.0.0 of the libimobiledevice library (formerly known as libiphone).
libimobiledevice is a free open source software library that talks the protocols to support iPhone ® and iPod Touch ® devices natively on Linux.
Unlike other projects, it does not depend on using any existing proprietary libraries and does not require jailbreaking.
It was successfully tested with the iPhone and iPod Touch 1G, 2G, 3G and 3GS models running up to firmware 3.1.3.
So what does it mean for me as a desktop user?
It means you can sync your music/video, access the filesystem from your Linux Desktop, manage your SpringBoard, managed installed apps, create backups and a lot more; all without violating your warranty. Finally more freedom to use the bling bling device on Linux after one was forced to use iTunes on Windows or Mac OS X.
What does this mean for developers?
Developers are able to write applications for Linux which use the native capabilities provides by those devices. As we have successfully tested the library on Mac OS X and Windows aswell during development, other projects might take advantage of this in the future, aswell.
Wow, whom to thank for this?
Big thanks to Matt Colyer who started all this back in August 2007 and provided the first code to “talk” to the devices.
Further credits to all the nice developers of libimobiledevice who continuously worked hard to push code into various libraries (GVFS, libgpod/gtkpod, libusb 1.0) and are mostly responsible that plugging in an iPhone or iPod Touch and syncing your music is fun now. Thanks to the packagers of the various distributions who helped to upstream patches and helped to find bugs.
Contrary to a range of blog posts around the net, Ubuntu and Canonical Ltd. have nothing to do with the work. They just happen to have included the library in the recent Ubuntu Lucid release causing “OMG, suddenly my iPhone works!” reactions. Also this work has not been authorized, sponsored, or otherwise approved by Apple Inc.
So what happens now?
With this release I will be taking over maintainership for the library from Matt Colyer. We are going to continue to implement more of the left spots, especially the contacts/calendars/notes/bookmarks synchronization capabilities in order to be able to use the device as a fully fledged smartphone and media player with Linux. We won’t touch any DRM infested areas (thus don’t expect to sync any content bought from the iTunes Store) but continue to apply legal methods when implementing the remaining functionality.
Most distributions will feature the library in their next release: Ubuntu Lucid, Fedora 13, openSUSE 11.3 and Mandriva 2010.1 are among those who are more or less confirmed. There are also some backports available from the official site mentioned above for older distributions.
I will be doing a mini-feature here to present each of the various features the library offers in detail soon, so stay subscribed!
Where do I get more information and the library/tools?
Get the full information overload from the official website: http://www.libimobiledevice.org/
The icon is courtesy of Jonathan Zuniga under CC2.5.