Sandisk Sansa View MTP Mode in Kubuntu 7.04 Linux

Update: I've since bought an iPhone 3G. Thanks for nothing Sandisk.

If you're trying to get your Sandisk Sansa View MP3 player to work in MTP mode in Linux, follow the instructions on this Ubuntu Forums thread:
http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?p=4028386

Here's my addendum to those instructions and how well they worked for me.

My Setup

* Kubuntu 7.04 (Feisty Fawn)
* Amarok 1.4.7 Music player (latest release)
* Sansa View 16 GB (firmware according to 'mtp-detect': 01.02.09A)

The first thing I did when I got it a few days ago was update to the latest firware, 1.02.09 on 2/23/08. I was using it in MSC mode in Amarok 1.4.5 and it successfully transfered songs. However, there were plenty of minor problems when playing the mp3's when transferring in MSC mode. What was frustrating was that this was inconsistent even between songs on the same album. One song would display correctly under a given album, but another song from the same album wouldn't display. It would show up under the "Unknown Album". Some careful double checking confirmed this. This and other problems listed below affected some mp3s, but not others. As for the album art, all the art was embedded within the mp3 files, not as JPGs within folders. I prefer to keep the art embedded within the files for better maintainability.

Problems with MSC under Kubuntu 7.04 Linux

* Artist name was unknown
* Album title was unknown
* Album art missing

My best guess after eliminating common possibilities is that the player can only read certain versions of ID3v2. There are multiple versions of ID3v2 and because these mp3's come from so many different sources it's likely that there's great variance in versions even within a single album. THIS CAN BE FIXED using EasyTAG to harmonize all your mp3s into a single version. Rather than try that, however, I attempted to try connecting via MTP mode. It does in fact work. You need to follow the poster's instructions carefully. And unlike the aforementioned problems, MTP synchronization syncs all the information without any problems. It did cause Amarok to freeze up a few times when syncing more than a few songs, but after terminating the app, the songs it turns out did make it to the player.

The one problem I had with MTP after getting everything installed was with Amarok not finding the player. First off, I want to say that even though MTP synchronization works for my Sansa View, the device does not show up on my system as any kind of attached device. Running
Code:

ls /dev/sd*

doesn't yield anything other than my existing hard drives. Same for
Code:

ls /dev/hd*

In order to get Amarok to recognize the device, I had to run
Code:

mtp-detect

from the command line first. For this to be acceptable on a daily basis, Amarok does allow you to specify pre-connect commands on a per-device basis. That's great.

Here's how you add your MTP device to Amarok. Open Amarok and go to

1. Settings -> Media Devices -> Add Device ...
2. In the drop down, select "MTP Media Device"
3. In the text box labeled "Enter a name for this device" give it a name like "Sansa View"
4. Leave the bottom field blank. You will not provide a mount point.
5. Click OK

The device should now be listed under Media Devices. The the right of the combo box for the Sansa media device is a button with an icon of 3 gears. Click on this to configure your media device.

In the first text box labeled "Pre-Connect command" enter "mtp-detect".
Click OK

Amarok will now run the command each time you try to connect to the device. For me, this is necessary in order for Amarok to see it. Otherwise it gives me an error stating that there is no MTP device connected to my computer.

Here's the problem for me (anyone else getting this?): Amarok doesn't remember the pre-connect command. A couple of times, right after I enter it and click OK, I can go right back in and the text box is blank. Other times command disappeared only after closing Amarok. Perhaps this is an unknown bug or just specific to my system. In any case, every morning when I plug in my View to download the latest podcasts, I'll have to re-enter the pre-connect command. Lucky for me, I rarely reboot my computer so Amarok is always open and in my system tray. If this isn't resolved, then if the aforementioned MSC related problems are resolved, I'll switch back to MSC mode.