To cut to the chase, to use the Samsung K3 on Linux you need to use the MTP protocol, supplied by libmtp, and supported by mtp-tools, Rhythmbox (>=0.11), gnomad2 and amarok. (Credits for this tip go to Linux-Club.de). All of these, except the newest Rhythmbox are available in Debian unstable today (2006-08-26). I compiled Rhythmbox from SVN using these instructions.
You could probably quite easily patch these into the existing debian package, or recompile the Ubuntu bleeding edge packages against the Debian libraries.
The verdict, the play is quite nice, cheaper than the iPod, and works fine in Linux.
It doesn’t work so well after all. I put about 40 songs on ok, but after that I could no longer use any of the libmtp apps to update the device. They all segfaulted. This was bad. According to the libmtp compatibility page this device is unknown as to its support level.
The solution I ran with was to upgrade to the Korean firmware. On top of those instructions I had to work around a “no space for DB. delete at least 18mb error” as their suggested solution (reformatting) didn’t work. The Samsung program said the device was already in use. What I did was (c)fdisk the devices in linux, creating a FAT32 partition and formatting it. Then I did the second firmware upgrade to 4.06 and the device was properly reinitialised.
All works better now, except occasionally the device does crash the USB on linux and I can no longer update it in that session. And, the new firmware supports OGG files :)
I started getting the same kinds of USB errors under the new firmware as I did under the original. It turns out that the USB in my ThinkPad T41 is somewhat buggy. If I drop down to USB 1 there is no problems any more.
sudo modprobe -r ehci_hcd I have not tried going back to the old firmware, so I don’t know if it is exactly the same error. Perhaps some other day I’ll follow this up.