Tunesviewer Brings iTunes U to Android, Linux

When Apple launched the updated version of iTunes U back in February, they had planned to only make it available on their hardware.Unfortunately for Apple, someone forgot to tell that to a Linux developer who has been working to make the content in iTunes U accessible to those not lucky enough to own an iPad or iPhone.

Tunesviewer is a 2+ year-old app for Debian, Fedora and Android. It predates the current iTunes U app by quite a bit, and it has one simple goal.  It helps Android owners (there's more of them than Linux owners) find and download the podcast and videos in iTunes U.

The app won't help you with the more sophisticated features that Apple added this year (like shared notes) but that's okay.  It would require far more tricky programming to do more than simply download content. And it does show you everything that is currently available via iTunes U (I double checked with my iPad).

Update: The app has been updated and it now works for me.

TBH, I'm not sure it can even download content. I've now tried it on a couple Android tablets (including my eeePad Transformer) and I cannot download anything. I can find the course pages, but when I click the button nothing happens.

Right now I'm scratching my head.  This apparently worked for someone at some point, but it's clearly not working for me. What's more, I've looked through the various pages and I don't see where I can do anything to change it. (Perhaps the app doesn't like the latest version of Android?)

Even though I cannot get it to work, I'm posting this anyway. I'm hoping that it works for you and that someone might have pity on me and tell me how I can fix it. I am willing to put some work into troubleshooting my issues.

I definitely like the idea and I think the developer deserves a round of applause.

Tunesviewer

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader: He's here to chew bubble gum and fix broken websites, and he is all out of bubble gum. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills at the drop of a hat. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.

22 Comments

  1. Luqman12 June, 2012

    I can use it to wath/download videos on my Toshiba Thrive Running Android 3.2. Thanks for covering this.

    Reply
  2. menelic12 June, 2012

    Thanks a lot for introducing me to this tool! It works well on my Android 2.3 Samsung Galaxy S as well as on my Ubuntu 11.10 install – both streaming and download worked immediately,no tweaking required.

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder12 June, 2012

      Great! I’m glad it works.

      Reply
  3. Luke13 June, 2012

    “they had planned to only make it available on their hardware.” Are you sure? When iTunesU was introduced, a major selling point on their site was that it was “accessible to all”. (granted, at the time it was dependent on iTunes and they had not yet released a software for access from Linux/Android).

    As for the Android version not working… You could probably find the error message with ADB Logcat, right after you select “download” and it fails.
    http://www.shahz.net/android/adb-installation-and-how-to-logcat.html

    If you can capture the error you could post it as a bug at:
    http://sourceforge.net/tracker/?func=add&group_id=305696&atid=1288143

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder13 June, 2012

      I could be wrong, but I seriously doubt that Apple plans to make iTunes U any more open than iBooks. Both are currently limited to iOS. Knowing Apple, they will likely remain that way.

      Reply
      1. Luke14 June, 2012

        iTunes U wasn’t, isn’t only iOS, it was originally for iTunes, a Mac/Windows program. Not sure why iBooks and other features aren’t yet available for non-ios, but hopefully after they fix it for pcs they will expand these to Linux/Android, once it gets more popular.

        Reply
        1. Nate Hoffelder14 June, 2012

          I seriously doubt that will happen. It looks to me like Apple has turned iBooks and iTunes U into iOS specific apps as part of their overall strategy (OSX for creation and iOS for consumption). Note that there’s not even an iBooks app for OSX.

          Reply
    2. Nate Hoffelder13 June, 2012

      The bug has been submitted.

      Reply
      1. Luke15 June, 2012

        Does it happen in latest version, 0.9.1?

        Reply
        1. Nate Hoffelder15 June, 2012

          That fixed it, thanks!

          Reply
  4. Ray Hoffpauir14 June, 2012

    It works for me on Motorola Xoom 4.04

    Reply
  5. […] Een van de grootste beloften van internet was de komende bevrijding van burgers en informatie uit de ‘klauwen’ van instanties. Drastische veranderingen volgden, voor vele grote bedrijven en instanties betekende internet het einde (o.a. videotheken en postdiensten). Ook voor het onderwijs lijkt er de laatste jaren een beweging op gang te komen die de lesboeren weldra wakker zal schudden. De hoeveelheid online lesmateriaal en studie platformen neemt steeds sneller toe. Apple was met iTunesU een van de pioniers, die het mogelijk maakten colleges te volgen van verschillende gerenommeerde universiteiten. Door een eigen app en de verspreiding van iPhones en iPads, is er voor velen een krachtig platform om vandaag al te beginnen. Voor Android is er dit alternatief. […]

    Reply
  6. Jaha Llabal23 September, 2012

    Ah the joy of Linux, shit works now and then…

    Reply
    1. anonymous26 October, 2012

      The joys of Mac/Windows… having to install 100MB program in order to view/download your university’s podcasts 🙂 Not to mention no preinstalled Office etc.

      Reply
  7. Scoob20 November, 2012

    Well, I don’t see this App on Google Play – so not sure what happened to it… 11/20/12

    Reply
    1. Anonymous23 November, 2012

      It’s not on Google Play, to my knowledge it has never been on there. Source code and app download are available on the site linked.

      Personally I don’t like to use Google Play because of security (Anyone with your account can add any software to your device, and it has had some site security issues in the past…)

      Reply
  8. Ansar11 March, 2013

    How can i enroll in tunes viewer????????

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder11 March, 2013

      Do you mean enroll in a course? You can’t.

      Reply
  9. Christian Karnath8 May, 2013

    Alternatively I can recommend the iTunes U App “TuneSpace” for Android which is available on Google Play:

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder8 May, 2013

      Thanks!

      Reply
    2. Luke6 September, 2013

      What’s the advantage of Tunespace over Tunesviewer?

      Reply
  10. Luke12 May, 2013

    Not bad, though Tunespace requires 2.3 or greater to run? Also it seems to not have any general podcast+iTunesU searching capability like Tunesviewer has, and many error messages are not in english, or are somewhat odd english translations. It’s a good start though, it has holo theming if you like that style.

    Reply

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