I currently have a Creative Zen MP3 player, which I'm finding increasingly painful to use. I have to use the (shoddy) Windows based software to transfer files, I cannot mount it under Linux as a USB disk, and I've tried mtp-fuse but sometimes the files wont index properly. I think the Zen software does some sort of processing as it transfers files.

So, any body got recommendations of an MP3 player that works well with their Linux machine?

My ideal candidate would have the following attributes:

  • Mount as a USB disk for file transfer (probably use rsync and maintain a mirror).

  • Doesn't lose it's place in the current sound file if turned off for a long while.

    I listen to a lot of podcasts in the car, and I have to remember to bookmark because it will lose its place in the time between getting to work and leaving for home. Turning off for a short time seems okay, picks up where it left off, but for a long time it goes back to the start of the current file.

  • Available and reasonably inexpensive to purchase in Australia.

  • Not an iPod.

  • Uses memory and not a mini-hard disk (I had an iRiver H10 that got dropped one too many times.)

  • Nice if it played ogg files as well.

  • Playing (appropriately resized) video would be a nice to have, but not a deal breaker.

I'm already aware of Rockbox, however most of the models it supports seem to be either hard to find in Aus, cannot buy new any more, or contain a hard disk.

  • 1
    Why not an ipod? I have used / synch'd several types of ipod (not on the cutting edge mind you) on Fedora / KDE Amarok and Ubuntu / Gnome / RhythmBox setups with no problems ever. I have wanted to get an iRiver, but never got around to it. – DaveParillo Oct 21 '09 at 2:47
  • 3
    Because iPods suck and subjective to vendor lock-ins? – LiraNuna Oct 21 '09 at 5:13
  • Odd that this shopping question hasn't been closed when so many other more answerable ones have. It should at least be made a community wiki. – Lèse majesté Apr 9 '12 at 14:33

I've been very happy with my little Sansa c250. There's a USB connector which Linux is pretty good about recognizing as a filesystem, and there's a microSD slot for adding more memory. I didn't like the original firmware which has no bookmarks, so I installed Rockbox and was much happier as it can save my place in up to 10 different playlists. I think the only point in your list that it doesn't cover is the video.

It is small, simple, inexpensive, and easy to connect to your computer. They've been around for a while so you should be able to find one used if you can't find a new one.


Any device that uses USB mass storage (MSC) would be fine.

  • Maybe iAudio? (it plays Ogg files as well...)

There is an open source project for syncing a Creative Zen with Linux. I've used it since I got mine, so I don't know how it compares to the official software, but the only issue I've had with it is that it will let me sync Flacs, even though the Zen will not play them.


  • Not being able to play FLAC and Ogg is pretty bad (none of the major vendors support these open formats). However, the Zen X-Fi2 PMP seems to support them. – Lèse majesté Apr 9 '12 at 14:32

I don't want to advertise, but check out DealExtreme. They offer free shipping from Hong Kong (even to Australia) and have some very competitive prices. It is a legitimate site, I purchased quite a few things from there (including a cell phone). The number of portable media players they have on that site is truly astonishing. Many of them will satisfy a majority of your prerequisites. Heh, I have bought a cellphone from DX that satisfies most of them.

  • DealExtreme rules. +1. – LiraNuna Oct 21 '09 at 5:14

I currently use an RIM BlackBerry (phone) for my MP3 needs. I even wrote an article about it for Linux Journal.

If you don't want to use a phone, I've had good luck with both Cowon and two different iRiver players. For the iRivers, you may (depending on which one you buy) need to install special software to make it accessible under Linux. The Cowon device just mounted (as does the BlackBerry).


Oddly enough, most portable media players (PMPs) that use mass storage would do what you want. My ex-adopted-sister (long story), used to have a Samsung that pretty much did what you wanted- though I don't remember the model.

I had a Creative ZEN Neeon that was decent as well, other than the very strange video format it used, and lack of Ogg support - it even survived a washing machine.

  • This is another case of the generic brands/imitations being superior to the market leaders. Other such markets include DVD players (at least 4-5 years ago), where lesser known brands (or budget models from name brands) tend to be region reprogrammable/unlockable and support a variety of video file formats, whereas the "high-end" players are region-locked and only play DVD video. Memory Sticks are another example. Sony's own MS cards have traditionally been slow and overpriced, whereas Lexar's were cheaper and much faster. – Lèse majesté Apr 9 '12 at 14:25

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