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Linux support for Samsung YP-T9

Samsung YP-T9

I am not really into MP3 gadgets; my requirements are quite low, but a few basics must be met by a MP3 player to make it interesting for me. I fancy for example an integrated FM-radio, support for Ogg Vorbis and an easy way to transfer the music files from my Linux workstation to the player. These requirements restrict the choice of MP3 Players in question quite a lot. In the past I have had good experiences with a Samsung YP-F1, so I have decided to buy a YP-T9, hoping that Samsung would release a firmware update which would please Linux users.

It did... kind of.

Firmware update

Getting the right firmware is not so easy. Samsung apparently likes to hide it very well and to put different versions on different servers. I have come across of at least two variants of the same firmware version: one with MTP access protocol, one with USB Mass Storage (USB MSC aka UMS) protocol. The latter is the 'good' one, because it makes it possible to mount the device as a hard disk. Some of the MTP firmware variants don't support Ogg Vorbis at all.

It might be necessary to search the Web for the UMS enabled firmware, if the following links are broken. I got the latest version (v1.68) from Samsung Singapore. Another place where to find a usable firmware is Samsungplay.

Update 19 January 2008: new firmware version 1.80: The latest firmware version 1.80 can be downloaded from yepp.co.kr. This version can play Ogg Vorbis files and supports UMS.

Update 25 February 2011: new firmware version 1.80: The latest firmware version 1.80 can be downloaded from samsungmobile.com. Note: I have not tested this version! Thanks to Malcolm Meyer for the link.

The zip archive of the firmware contains the two files SYSDATA.bin and MUON.ROM which must be copied to the root directory of the MP3 player. If you have the original version of the firmware, you probably need to copy the files over the MTP protocol, using the libmtp (at least v0.1.5):

thomas@brezel:~$ mtp-sendfile SYSDATA.bin /
thomas@brezel:~$ mtp-sendfile MUON.ROM /

The firmware is installed after the next power up. This will take a few seconds and the version number can be verified from the settings menu. If the firmware upgrade destroys your data or the player itself because you forgot to backup your files or to charge the device battery prior to the upgrade, please write me a mail! I will enjoy myself tremendously.

Benefits of the update

The new features are besides some minor gimmicks such as new themes and games the long anticipated support for Ogg Vorbis and the possibility to mount the player as an USB mass storage device. The player is not able to use the Vorbis comment fields (ID3) fields, and the audio library (which must be updated manually from the settings menu) sorts all files alphabetically. The best way to use Ogg Vorbis files is to play directories from the file browser.

Dear Mr. Samsung, if you happen to read this humble page, would you mind considering the following suggestions:

What to do when the YP-T9 freezes

Sometimes it happens that the Samsung YP-T9 freezes, produces some noises and cannot be switched off. A simple trick helps to recover the player: press the Rec (A/B) and Menu buttons for 5-10 seconds. Then switch the player on again and it should work.

Further Reading

Two good pages for Linux and YP-T9 are Leon Bukhman's blog and Liquidat's log. Check out the YP-T9 section on Xiph.org as well.

The self-appointed "Unofficial Samsung YP-T9 Homepage" here has been an invaluable help when I first wrote this article. Now this page seems to degrade more with every month; the content is hidden under tons of advertisements and the (outdated) firmware is corrupted. Be warned.