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Syncing Linux With iPad - page 2

Can iPads and Linux Play Nice?

  • October 21, 2010
  • By Paul Ferrill

What we were able to get working was a clean install of Windows XP SP3 using Virtualbox. We proceeded to the Apple iTunes site and installed the latest version of iTunes without a hitch. At this point it's probably important to note that we installed the latest version (3.2.10) of Virtualbox downloaded from the main site. We did have to search the Virtualbox forums to get the USB connectivity working in Ubuntu 10.04. The trick was to issue the following command for user paul:

sudo usermod -aG vboxusers paul

You'll have to log out and log back in for the changes to take effect. Once that's done you should be able to select your iPad from the USB device menu and connect it to the virtual machine. We were able to get iTunes to see our iPad in all its glory. While we didn't have any firmware updates to test, it should work just fine.

<em>figure 4</em>
figure 4

Once you have iTunes working you'll be able to get to any of the applications on your iPad to sync things like ebooks and video. This will be much easier if you set up Shared Folders from the Devices menu. The easiest way is to just share your home directory, giving the virtual machine access to all your local files. Once that's done, you'll be able to easily move files between Linux and the Windows virtual machine using Windows Explorer.

Yeah, But Does it Work?

You can definitely make an iPad work with your Linux machine if you're not averse to the Virtualbox / Windows approach. If that's a problem, you'll still be able to do a lot without going that route. You won't be able to do firmware updates or transfer ebooks to iBooks.

<em>figure 5</em>
figure 5

If you have any interest in writing applications for the iPad, you'll need an Intel-based Mac of some kind. Apple's development tools only run on Mac OS X. That being said, you can find instructions on the Internet describing how to create a virtual "Hackintosh" machine, although it's definitely not a simple task nor one that would be supported by Apple. Your best bet there would be to invest in a Mac mini.

The bottom line is that you can make your iPad play nice with Linux, depending on your needs. It definitely won't be as seamless as using a Mac or PC, but it can be done.


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