Olympus VN-480PC working in Linux! ODVR.

Piotr Krzyzek —  May 1, 2008 — 6 Comments

For the longest time Olympus’s stuff has kinda sucked in Linux. Ok, lets me frank: it plain and simple didn’t work. And even if you did get it to work, they had their own pathetic and horrible file format. Really annoying. But at least, a solution!

A guy (or girl) going by the username tristan.will on code.google has created a working solution. The project is dubbed ODVR. You can access the project page here (http://code.google.com/p/odvr/).
The only problem is a lack of documentation in the .deb package and the help command (-h) doesn’t give the best info either. Anywho, click the more button to read upon the goodies this great software offers (FOR FREE!)

*quick note #1: I use Kubuntu Linux 8.4 AMD 64. Just in case if you were wondering*

From the website:

odvr is a user-space driver for USB-enabled Olympus DVRs that do not support the USB Mass Storage specification. odvr is tested against the VN-960PC, but should support other “VN” Olympus models.

Even better is that there is a nice little supported devices page! As luck would have it, it supports my VN-480 device. Wohoo!

Installation of the software was very easy and painless. Downloaded the correct .deb file (AMD64 onto kubuntu), clicked on the file and everything installed nicely. With a lack of documentation it can be a bit ‘weird’ for the non-command-line-literate person to figure out how to run it. To help any of you along, here is a quick step by step:

*quick note #2: you’ll need to be root to get files from the device, unless you setup permissions and all that fun jazz (I didn’t, so I just used sudo)*

  1. Connect the VN-480 to your linux box
  2. Take it off of hold (aka: turn it on)
  3. Open up a console window and type the following command:
    • > sudo odvr

If you see something like this:

$ sudo odvr
Model: VN-480PC

You know things have worked out well. If not … well, I can’t exactly help you with that. Try asking the project people or googling.

To download ALL the audio files:

$ sudo odvr -e

After you download all the files and want to delete them all now:

$ sudo odvr -c

And for your reference, here is the -h output:

$ odvr -h
Usage: odvr [options]
-= Options =-
-h             : This help.
-v             : Print version.
-d <folder>    : Download all files in <folder>.
-e             : Download everything.
-l             : List all files.
-x <folder>    : Delete all recordings in <folder>.
-c             : Delete all recordings.
-y             : “yes” to all yes/no questions.
-r             : Reset the DVR. This may fix some sync issues.
-D             : Enable debug tracing.

A word of warning though, I don’t know if it is the device or linux or the connection … but it took ungodly long to transfer a device full of audio to my computer. My guess it that it’s the device and NOT the software or linux.

Piotr Krzyzek

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Piotr Krzyzek is one of those rare people who can say he's a consultant, author, entrepreneur and programmer and mean it. His consulting firm, Chykalophia Group, has attracted international startups, Department Of Defense contractors, local mom-and-pop shops and many others from all around the world. He is a bonafide computer nerd with a passion for business, networking and business development. Learn how your business can improve conversion rates, attain a better business image and increase profits by connecting with Peter on his author page http://www.piotrkrzyzek.com/author/piotrkrzyzek/.
  • TriumphantlyGrim

    I just tried odvr and it is indeed a lifesaver. I’d just like to bolster your point about the slowness of the connection being the device and not the odvr softwware or the fact that it’s running on linux. I can attest to this because my VN-240PC just _crawls_ on file transfers even when it’s connected to a WinXP box running Olympus’ proprietary “Digital Wave Player” software.

    And for the record, I’m running Ubuntu (Gnome) v8.04 ‘Hardy Heron’ on a new Dell Studio 15n laptop (Yep, that’s right–factory-installed Linux!!! What a concept! I can’t promote it enough…)

    All the best,
    -TG

  • chris

    aw man! great! thanks. it don’t work for shit w/ windows (even with the provided and updated software)

  • http://www.catontech.com/blog Joel

    Thanks for this information…
    I’ve installed this on fedora 12 along with the olympus software (wine) for the vn-960pc model and it works well. The latest odvr version has a gui that works well.
    Just download the source and follow the instructions in the readme file. You’ll possibly need to grab up to three files through yum for dependencies.
    Links for those following this solution:
    http://code.google.com/p/odvr/
    http://aboutfedora.blogspot.com/2010/12/using-odvr-for-olympus-digital-voice.html

    • http://www.piotrkrzyzek.com Piotr Krzyzek

      Hey Joel,

      Thanks for the updated links! Great to hear that the Olympus linux software is updated and better than ever!

      –PK

  • Rudy

    under slackware I had to download, make, make install and then odvr -e

    thank you for your post !

    • http://piotrkrzyzek.com/ Piotr Krzyzek

      Hello Rudy, Thanks for letting us know! Glad it worked out for you.