I (did) appreciate the fact that Samsung is one the few widely distributed brand of consumer products that shows some concern for Linux, probably because of its Korean base.

For instance, I bought (sometimes ago) a ML-1710, which is an entry-level laser printer, because the package proudly boasted a Linux friendly sticker (there were also included drivers which I promptly discarded because there is an entry for the printer in linuxprinting.org which makes those drivers essentially useless).

Samsung also is about the only brand which is well distributed in France and that sells so-called MP3-players that can play Ogg Vorbis files. I have had an YP-T7, an YP-U2 (excellent: same format as a standard USB key but can play music and FM radio), and, lately an YP-T9. In addition to playing Ogg Vorbis files, I like(d) those devices because they use(d) the basic USB Mass Storage which ensures that the device can be used from about any platform (including as a mere storage unit if you need it).

Unfortunately, Samsung has apparently struck a deal with distributors that sell DRM-protected music files and all its player, starting from the YP-T9 are sold with a firmware that uses the M$$ MTP transfer protocol and which has either no or limited support for playing Ogg Vorbis files.

To make a decent use of your YP-T9 you need to be a bit adventurous and

  • download the latest Korean firmware (1.80 at the time of writing, probably the last one since the product is now archived) from anythingbutipod Samsung YP-T9 forum, the file is a zip archive which contains two file MUON.ROM and SYSDATA.bin;

  • do exactly what is written here using version 0.2.2 of libmtp (which you have to download and install from the source as it may not be yet packaged for your favorite distribution). After this, the YP-T9 is viewed as a USB 2.0 Mass Storage device and it play Ogg Vorbis files. There is some more relevant information on how to use the device, the directory structure, etc. on the anythingbutipod Samsung YP-T9 forum.

A few things that I have confirmed myself:

  • The access as a USB mass storage device works perfectly but there's a second small (5kb) partition which apparently contains system files, in addition to those in the system directory on the main partition.

  • The most annoying thing is that the player does not interpret Ogg Vorbis info tags, which means that the Music menu will be almost useless for Ogg Vorbis files (they all appear under Artist Unknown) and you will have to play them form the File browser menu, which means that you should have a coherent directory structure under the Music directory with a consistent file naming convention if you want to be able to play the files by album (for instance).

  • For the other types of recognized files, the Settings > System > Update library menu will make them known to the player.

  • The screen size is 176x220 pixels so that when copying 4/3 (standard) photos (in the Photo directory) on it, you should process them trough mogrify -size 220x165

  • The photo viewing mode is not that bad; text is usable, if not very comfortable; the proprietary USB connector is a bit of a hassle but given the fact that the device is extremely thin, its hard to imagine how they could have fit a standard USB connector (even a mini one); finally, the device is a bit slow compared to other (the YP-U2 for instance) with a boot time of about 20s (and about 10s before the device is ready to be mounted as a mass storage device).