Songbird Fails iPod Users, Deletes Music Files
Article by George Norman
On 20 Mar 2009
A few of days ago Songbird developers issued a warning to all iPod users regarding the fact that the iPod support Songbird add-on was not functioning properly and consequently they should uninstall or disable it. Failure to do so could lead to you losing music stored on your iPod – the glitch meant that songbird would erroneously delete files stored on the device.

“It’s been brought to our attention that the iPod Add-On has some really nasty issues which may cause it to delete content from an iPod without asking the user first. Because of this we are pulling this add-on from the list of recommended add-ons. If you have this add-on currently installed we highly suggest you disable or uninstall it for the time being,” said the Songbird team at the time.

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It was indeed a frustrating and annoying experience for the users that lost their music, and for the people behind Songbird, the open-source customizable music player – but mostly for the users who found that expressing their dissatisfaction required a less than PG rated language. It stands to reason then that the Songbird team would get right to fixing the bug – and that is exactly what they did.

“At this time, the updated iPod Add-On should already be available on the Add-On site and disabled version of the Add-On should also auto-update to the version with the fix. The problem itself stemmed from a code change that was made to the methods used to collate (i.e. order) properties that are numbers. It turns out that the collator was a little too smart for its own good. This, combined with the way the persistent IDs are generated in iTunes and stored on the iPod, led the Add-On to believe it was operating on Track A when, really, it was operating on Track B. With this confusion, it was possible for the iPod Add-On to erase certain tracks because it was essentially attempting to de-duplicate the contents of the iPod when mounting and synchronizing,” explained Songbird.

There was one other way in which the add-on made it seem like music had been deleted from the iPod. Songbird would remove the references to a track, making it unavailable in the iPod Library; consequently the user was unable to locate that track and believed it to have been erased. It was still on the device, just that it did not show up in the iPod Library.



Tags: Songbird, iPod
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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