Every MP3 player comes with an operating system. The operating system enables you to download and access media content on a portable device. Portable media player operating systems provide the structure for the player and its menu. If you don't like the operating system provided by the manufacturer, you can install another compatible operating system. A few different operating systems are available, including Rockbox, which is compatible with a wide variety of players, Slax and the iPod-Linux Installer operating system.
Switch the MP3 player's operating system to Rockbox. Rockbox can install on many different types of MP3 players, including many iPod models, Sansa and iRiver players. To install, you must download the build for your player. Then use Rockbox's proprietary software and bootloader to install it on the MP3 player. Rockbox users will also have access to an installation manual that provides step-by-step instructions to download the freeware operating system to their particular media player.
Install Slax on your MP3 player. Slax for USB is a freeware operating system formatted as a TAR file. The software will install on FAT32 drives, which are often used by MP3 players. The zip file must be unpacked on the MP3 player, and it will create new "boot" and "slax" directories. You will need to also install the bootloader in order for the internal disk of the player to recognise and configure Slax as the new operating system.
Add a Linux operating system to your iPod with the iPod-Linux Installer. The iPod-Linux Installer is a project run by SourceForge, and the firmware is free to download and install. Only certain iPods, namely the iPod 1G through 4G and iPod mini, are capable of utilising this operating system. This operating system will work in conjunction with the preinstalled operating system provided by Apple. This option is only for iPod users running Mac OS X or later.