I recently bought a rocbox ( for a good price, thinking I would be able to use it as a portable drive as well as an mp3 player. (I got it for about half the price of a 20 gig ipod), so I won't complain about the price. One brother and my sister both have ipods so I've been able to briefly play around with them, and must admit they are very nice. The usability on the ipod is superb.

So I'll report first off that the Rocbox does not compare with the ipod with respect to ease of use. The jog dial on the side is a nice idea, but it feels a little flimsy and seems to me that you have to push it too far when you want to use it as a buttton. Also the fonts and graphics on the screen are just not very nice to look at, I'm not sure if it is the screen resolution or what, but the columnar arrangement doesn't work well with me (I like how the ipod arranges its content in rows).

Anyway enough of a usability review... how do I use the thing with linux?

I plugged it in and typed dmesg, but I couldn't see that the device was detected. I knew that I had read somewhere that it could be used as a mass storage device, so I was wondering what was going wrong. After a few minutes I figured out I need to turn the rocbox on for it to be detected. Lo and behold it was detected as a mass storage device (after turning it on)! I added the following line to my /etc/udev/rules.d/10-local.rules (I'm running gentoo with a 2.6 udev kernel)

BUS="usb", SYSFS{product}="ROC-Digital rocbox", KERNEL="sd?1", NAME="%k", SYMLINK="rocbox"

With that I could mount the device to a mount point I added in /etc/fstab

/dev/rocbox /mnt/rocbox auto noauto,user 0 0

There was an existing directory structure on the device, I immediately deleted the hiphop files and transferred over some obscure Silvio Rodriguez music I had lying around. After disconnecting, the device still claimed to have the pre-loaded hip hop music and none of Silvio.... What happened??? I'll write that up later.