gPodder 3.x: Changing the Downloads Folder Location and Missing Subscriptions

In Ubuntu 12.04LTS (and variants) gPodder v2.20 was shipped and as with all previous versions of this podcast catcher software, it was relatively free of any major bugs as all good software should be if properly tested.

So it was with a degree of horror on upgrading Lubuntu 12.04 to 12.10 that I discovered all of my podcasts (10Gb worth) had apparently disappeared off my hard disk along with the subscription lists.

Missing Subscriptions

It a pity that not enough consideration had been given to how to transparently migrate from the SQLLite2 database in gPodder 2.x to the SQLLite3 database in 3.x this could have been avioded. It’s hardly surprising that with these sorts of problems, the year of the Linux desktop remains a distant hope for the community. If stuff worked in the previous version, it should remain working in the new version and if it does not then the software should be held back until fixed as with open source there is no commercial pressure to get software out of the door at any cost other than that self imposed by the developers.

After a bit of searching on the internet I found an post from gds which is reproduced below:

Re: gPodder subscription list gone after upgrade to 12.10

I had the same problem. Ubuntu 12.10 now ships gpodder 3 which uses a new and incompatible database format. They don’t appear to have supplied any conversion tool nor any warning that your old config wouldn’t be converted (thanks!). However – it seems gpodder3 keeps it’s configuration in a gPodder directory in your home dir, while gpodder 2 was keeping it’s configuration in .congfig/gpodder. So I was able to recovery my subscriptions.

Here’s what I did: from the gpodder download site I downloaded the last release of version 2 (I used this one). Unpack the files somewhere (we don’t need to actually install it, just run it once. I put them in /tmp). Make sure gpodder 3 isn’t running.

Then from a terminal I ran

cd /tmp/gpodder-2.9

Now you can export your subscriptions to an OPML file that gpodder 3 can import (it’s on the subscriptions menu). Once you’ve done it you can quit and run gpodder3. Skip past the initial dialog offering you default subscrptions and you can import the OPML file you created in the last step.

I had an extra problem, because even after this gpodder3 didn’t recognize any of my previously downloaded podcasts (it wanted to pull down 3Gb of new shows!). This might be unique to me because I was using a non-standard location for my downloads, but I solved this by the brute-force technique of doing one last sync to my player from gpodder 2 and then telling gpodder3 to consider all the subscriptions up to date. I’m sure we could do better but this was enough for me.

Changing the Downloads Folder Location

With my subscriptions back, the next step was to find out where my previously recorded podcasts had gone.

Now I suspect I’m not too unusual in downloading a lot of podcasts both video and audio. becaue of the formers size, I do not store them in the default download folder location dictated by gPodder but store it on a separate data drive so if my filesystem partitions runs out fo disk space (as that is where my Home directory is located) I will not crash the system! I’ve been there before so I’ve learnt the hard way.

Up until version 3, gPodder allowed you to change the downloads folder location and in the Wiki this is still possible if you run Windows, Linux/ Unix/ OS X and MeeGo. If you run a varient of Ubuntu Linux, then as far as version 3 of gPodder goes you are stuffed as this feature does not work due to a software bug.

Whilst the Wiki does suggest making “session-wide changes on Ubuntu Linux”, it does not really explain how to do it and how to test that the change has been applied and gives up in providing proper instructions by pointing distressed users to the Ubuntu community documentation on Persistent Environmental Variables, which isn’t great in itself.

Whilst a bug has been raised about this probelm and Thomas Perl has tried to provided some assistance to my question about how to see if the variables have been set, I’ve decided to take a different approach and redirect the gpodder downloads folder residing in my Home drive to another folder on a different drive. Whilst useful for resolving this particular gPodder problem, it also has other users like redirecting the contents of your Documents folder to another folder on the same or different drive.

To mount one folder on to another you need to use the following command syntax:
sudo mount -o bind <source folder path> <destination folder path>
This is what I did:
In my case my gPodder folder is located in /home/username/gpodder/ and I wanted it to be located on /media/data/gpodder/
1. I moved all files located in the source folder /home/username/gpodder/ to the destination folder /media/data/gpodder/
2. Opening Terminal I entered the command
sudo mount -o bind /home/username/gpodder/ /media/data/gpodder/
This mounted the destination folder on to the source folder, effectively redirecting it to the new location.
Whilst this command is useful, it’s of no use if you have to keep reentering it every time you wish to use gPodder.
To make this permanent you will need to edit /etc/fstab and add it in. Using the above example this is what I did:
1. In Terminal enter the following to edit fstab as sudo:
sudo nano /etc/fstab
2. At the bottom of the file add the following comment:
# Mount Folder /media/data/Documents/ on to /home/username/gpodder/
3. Then add the following line below:
/media/data/gpodder/ /home/username/gpodder/ auto bind,gid=46,defaults 0 0
4. Save the file
5. Exit nano and from Terminal enter the following to rerun fatab and mount devices listed in it:
sudo mount -a
If the syntax was correct, there should be no error messages and you should be returned to the command prompt.
Using you file manger check that the /home/username/gpodder/ folder contains the same content as /media/data/gpodder.
If uncertain, create a file or folder in one and see if it appears in another, you may have to refresh the display (F5) to display the change.
GPodder will continue to think it is saving podcasts to the default folder location, but using this trick it will actually be saving them to a location of your choice without the need to fiddle around with environmental variables.



7 thoughts on “gPodder 3.x: Changing the Downloads Folder Location and Missing Subscriptions

  1. Thanks for the post – Though I have played with Linux (Ubuntu and then Mint) for a while after finally giving up on Windows I am changing my main OS to Mint 15. So far so good but when I picked gPodder for my Itunes replacement I was in danger of blowing away my home disk. This post has saved the day!

  2. The new releases of gPodder have basically ruined the application. It’s such a shame and I don’t know why.

    Previous functionality that was essential/useful has been removed, or does not work and this, to me, makes the product now near useless.

    I’m referring to things like the ability to set double click on a podcast to play it, absence of a toolbar icon to transfer, removal of automatic deletion of podcasts once played on media player (the podcast deletion after a time period does not work).

    Sometimes developers should just leave things alone and not tinker for the sake of it.

    A poor show indeed for what was an excellent tool.

      1. Microsoft would disagree! Windows 8 leaves off a whole lot of good W7 stuff and introduces a bucket load of crap. At least the W8 project manager was sacked and the CEO has resigned.

  3. Gpodder installed version does not work on win7 64 bit. Gpodder portable did for a while but recently stopped. I have moved over to NooPod which works just fine. I liked Gpodder but why wont it work?

  4. thank you for getting me through the rude shock I experienced when starting gPodder for the first time since upgrading to Ubuntu 14.04.

    since i have only minimal experience with gPodder, i’ve yet to notice great deficiencies in version 3 as compared to 2. ignorance is bliss!

    as for the re-locating of the gpodder storage — would it not work as well to simply make a symlink, e.g., ln -s /media/data/gpodder /home/username/gpodder ?

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