[news=http://download.nullsoft.com/customize/component/2004/2/5/P/small_image/ml_ipod.jpg]iPod users are raving about a plug-in that makes the Winamp digital jukebox a better way to manage the iPod than Apple's iTunes.
The plug-in, called ml_iPod, allows iPod users to bypass iTunes and manage music collections in Winamp instead. The iPod is supposed to work with iTunes only. A new version of the software was released Monday.
Justin Frankel, creator of Winamp and the open-source peer-to-peer software Gnutella, initially developed ml_iPod, but programming was taken over by Will Fisher, a computer science student in the U.K. Fisher and other developers programmed a slew of features, including the ability to synch multiple iPods with Winamp, create smart playlists and -- the most useful option -- the ability to copy songs from an iPod onto a hard drive.
"A lot of the feedback I get is people thanking me for freeing them from iTunes," said Fisher. "It shows the dissatisfaction people have with iTunes."
Apple Computer did not respond to several requests for comment.
ITunes -- a 40-MB download -- takes up a lot of space on a computer, Fisher said. By contrast, Winamp is 4 MB and the plug-in only takes up 130 KB of space. "ITunes takes up a lot of resources on the computer. Winamp is a lot faster," Fisher said. "Indeed, a lot of our users are still using Windows 98, which iTunes doesn't work on."